I'd like to import my miniDV tapes. I'm using Windows 10 and the built-in Movie Maker software. My goal is to get the highest fidelity import from the miniDV tapes. I did a trail run and it looks like Movie Maker stores the content in AVI files.

My questions:

  1. Is the import lossless/uncompressed?
  2. Is it possible to do a higher quality import? If so, what software should I use?
  3. I know AVI is an older container format. Is AVI a suitable format going forward? If not, what should I use? I'm trying to future proof as much as possible.

DV is a compressed format to begin with. Unless you apply further compression at the time of capture within WMM, the captured stream is identical to that on the tape. The bitrate of the capture should be roughly 3.5 MB/s.

AVI is an old format, and for broader compatibility, you can store the video in Quicktime .MOV, but this will have to be done after capture, using a tool like FFmpeg. This process is quick since it's just rewrapping the data.

Command will be

ffmpeg -i file.avi -c copy file.mov
  • Thank you. When I convert from avi to mov, safe to assume it will be a lossless conversion? – Sajee Jul 10 '16 at 12:10
  • Also, do you know of any free Windows 10 software that will import directly into a modern format? – Sajee Jul 10 '16 at 12:11
  • 1
    I don't think any free s/w captures DV to MOV. Yes, my command does a lossless transfer to MOV. – Gyan Jul 10 '16 at 14:28
  • Any idea what's causing this error? pastebin.com/238dxZfi – Sajee Jul 27 '16 at 20:19
  • Your output cannot be MP4. Use either MOV or MKV. – Gyan Jul 27 '16 at 20:23

You can use a free, good-quality software like "ScenalyzerLive" (http://www.scenalyzer.com/) or also free "STOIK Capturer" or "WinDV".

AVI is not a "video format" but a "video & audio container". You can wrap very high quality video formats into an .avi container. You can google "avi container wikipedia" for more info.

DV is interlaced (you should deinterlace it), 59.94 fields per second (29,97 frames per second), 480 or 576 pixels high, YUV 4:2:0 (4 times less chroma info than luma info), etc. Don't expect too much quality. Therefore, you can use an MPEG-2 codec or higher to wrap a DV capture into an .avi container.

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