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The only way to do that is to play it in a device that plays Hi8 tapes and somehow converts it to a digital signal (likely through firewire as DV), then capture it to your computer just like a digital camcorder.
There are several ways: 1. Buy a device (like a camera) that plays it, output through RCA cables to your other camera or tape deck that is digital through the line in, and then just record that. (Alternatively, you could put that signal into a DVD-R machine and record onto a DVD, then just copy the files off the DVD, if you don't have a way to capture DV through firewire.) 2. Buy a device that plays Digital8 (same tapes, but miniDV FORMAT) and output directly from the tape through firewire. This means you must buy a SONY (only brand that made [now discontinued] Digital8) camcorder or deck [if decks were made, though those are usually expensive].
So, the simple answer: get a Digital8 camera and capture, or get another digital camcorder and a Hi8 camcorder and play through the digital one into the computer.
Buying a Sony Handycam (OLDER model) will be your easiest option, and probably possible on ebay, etc., for $100-$200.
Short of this, you could look to a friend or a professional solution for just getting the tape copied (like VHS->DVD services exist, there is probably some place you can mail your tape to).
EDIT: I should add: You included "8mm" in your title-- that is a bit confusing. 8mm refers to a few formats. One is film (obviously not what you're referring to), but then there is the older "8mm" tape format; it's like Hi8, but I believe it's actually not the same tape-- unlike Digital8 and Hi8which share a physical medium. I don't think you can get an 8mm -> Digital device, so you'd need to go through the RCA cables, as described above. [And though Hi8 is actually 8mm in width, it's not quite the same as the other "8mm" format... for whatever odd reason someone decided.... ] However, I suspect you ARE actually working with Hi8, so this shouldn't be a problem.
I was having the exact same problems, and I read a post on this website somewhere recommending that I just record a few seconds of video on a blank portion of tape and then the camera should start playing video normally again.
What it is, is the standard 8mm tapes are not digital, and therefore won't import into imovie, unless you have the 8mm to Hi8 option enabled in playback mode, by setting it in the menu, under playback settings.
What's happening is that the tape in the cassette is being chewed on one side by the camera's tape transporting mechanism during playback, hence the distorted image and sound. The mechanism might be damaged (misalignment) or just dirty. Try not to play other tapes on this unit because they will become permanently damaged. The best way is to find another camcorder (if cleaning does not help). Note that some old cassettes of long recording time will exhibit this behavior more often because of thinner tape used.
Yes. Hi8 camcorders are manufactured to work with 8mm or Hi8 tapes. The difference is the quality of the tape. 8mm tapes will provide about 270 lines of resolution where a Hi8 tape will provide up to 400. For better quality recordings, you'll want to use Hi8 tapes.
There are no such adapters that would allow 8mm, Hi8 and Mini DV tapes to be played in a VHS VCR. Only the old VHS-C tapes can fit and play in an adapter.
There are several reasons why 8mm (or Hi8 and miniDV tapes) cannot be physically played in a VHS VCR:
1. 8mm (Hi8, miniDV) is a different format with different technical characteristics than VHS. These formats were never developed with the intention to be mechanically compatible with current VHS technology.
2. 8mm/Hi8 tapes are 8mm wide (miniDV is 6mm wide), while VHS tape is 1/2" wide, making it impossible for a VHS video head to read the taped information correctly.
3. 8mm/Hi8/miniDV tapes are recorded and played at different speeds than VHS, so even if the tapes could physically fit into a standard VHS VCR, the VCR still couldn't play back the tapes at their correct speeds.
4. 8mm/Hi8/minDV audio is recorded differently than VHS. 8mm/Hi8 audio is recorded in AFM HiFi mode, while miniDV audio is recording in 12-Bit or 16-Bit PCM digital audio format. So, even if the video could be played back in a VHS VCR, the audio could not be read properly.
5. 8mm/Hi8 video is of higher resolution than VHS and is recorded in a different bandwidth length (miniDV video is recorded digitally), so once again, a standard VCR still could not read the information correctly, even if the tape could fit into a VCR.