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Playback of video8 tapes on DCR-TRV120E




Following recommendations on this forum, I have just purchased a second-hand Sony DCR TRV120E in order to transfer my old video 8 (8mm) tapes into digital format.

Now that I have it, I find I cannot view the 8mm tapes! Can anyone please suggest a setting I might need to adjust in order to do so?

Many thanks

Karl :confused:

Peter Brereton

Active Member
The instruction manual can be found below. As far as I am aware all early PAL D8 camcorders could play any Pal 8mm/Hi8 tapes. There is an option to select playback of the different formats in the playback menu, this over rides the auto format selector (see page 78). If your original recordings were out of spec you may have problems. Does it record and play in it's native D8 format.




If the 8mm tapes were recorded in LP mode then there is a chance that you wont get them to replay on a D8 camcorder, especially if they were not origionally recorded on a Sony cam.



Thank you Peter and Mark for your prompt replies!

Peter, I will try adjusting the mode to suit the format - I had not realised this option existed.

Mark, thanks for mentioning the LP issue. Some of them are LP and some SP -don't know which - although I suppose I will soon find out!

Your help is much appreciated!




To keep you informed: I managed to get the camcorder to play back my Video 8 tapes. I changed the playback setting from auto to Hi8/(video)8. Great - but this did not actually work. The screen was black! I tried about 5 different video 8 tapes. I then thought that all my tapes might be LP, and therefore not be viewable. Then I noticed the indicator was showing SP. Out of desperation I started fast forwarding the tape while playing. Did not work either, however when I did stop FF, the screen at least showed a bit of distortion, but no images. I carried on doing this. Then tried the same on a different tape. On about the third tape, eureka! Suddenly the images were as good as they had ever been when I shot the footage 17 years ago!

I found all the other tapes now work - looks like I rarely used LP after all!

Therefore a big TIP - if it don't work, fast-forward in play mode!

Thanks a lot for your help guys.

My next step is to try to get the footage onto my Mac - will keep you posted!

Karl :clap:


Distinguished Member
Well done.. Just a caveat though
Not all Digital8 camcorders can actually playback all 8mm footage.. Digital 8 was Sonys clever and innovative way of allowing people who had a lot of Hi8 footage to record digitally and the initial camcorders were very richly featured with many having AV in and "pass through"

The latter models were not only less well endowed, some actually had the hi8 backwards compatibility removed. :thumbsdow
I have a TRV 620 which still works well ( and has a lot more than many of the current entry level miniDV models) but I had to move quickly to MiniDV early on as I wasn't convinced of Sony's continued support for the Digital8 system which was not widely adopted. Also they didn't really make Prosumer models as such after the initial few


Thanks for that Senu.

By the way, late last night I seamlessly uploaded some trial video 8 footage onto my Mac using iMovie. Quality is not quite as good as digital 8, but a good clear picture with no "noise".

It works just as easily as with my CDR TRV-130E (which I bought years ago thinking it would playback video 8!)


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