Panasonic DMR-EH55 User Review and Questions - Page 22 - AVS Forum
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post #631 of 881 Old 01-23-2008, 06:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ekim67 View Post

plplplpl,

I have the first ver Sony 8mm camcorder with DV out. I had the same problem with my recording to the HD as you. But I found out that if your tape is not at the point of video, the panny will shut down. Does your panny detect your camcorder? Mine said the brand and specific model! The panny will also shut down at blank spots in the video from the DV camcorder.

One way that might work around the "blank-spot shutdown" is to "stripe" your tape before using it for shooting. It's time consuming but can be done well in advance on several tapes, as needed.

Insert a tape, keep the lens cap on, and record the entire tape with black. You might want to go the extra step and prevent audio by inserting a mic cord (w/o mic) in the external conn. or just let the camera stripe in a quiet room.

Striping puts a continuous time code on the tape that the Panny should see as good recorded tape and not shut down at camera stops?


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post #632 of 881 Old 01-24-2008, 02:41 AM
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I currently have the opportunity to test drive an EH50 from work. It is similar to the EH55, but with a 100 GB HDD, no DivX, a few other differences and no DV In, only composite and S-video. I tried to record widescreen (16:9) video from my DV camcorder, both though composite In and S-video In. The EH50 can recognize the camera's signal, of course, in both instances, and does record it, but does not record it as widesceen 16:9. It is vertically squished, whether I start the recording from the beginning of the tape or several seconds in, once the tape is playing.

I'm wondering if anyone has successfully recorded widescreen (16:9) video from a camcorder either on an EH50 or an EH55 and retained the correct aspect ratio, and if so, how?
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post #633 of 881 Old 01-24-2008, 05:16 AM
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My guess is unless you use a RAM disc, you will need to "unsquish" the DVD for correct playback on a 16x9 TV.
The unsquishing can be easily done in the DVD setup. Look for something called "stretch 4x3 programs to fill 16x9 screen" At least that's what my Sony DVD player calls it. Or you could have your 16x9 TV do the stretching. Both results in a fine picture, in correct ratio.
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post #634 of 881 Old 01-24-2008, 05:24 AM
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Yes, I suppose I could do that, but if I burn DVDs for sharing home movies with family and friends, I'd have to instruct everybody to jump through that hoop, and it comes off as amateur. My Toshiba RD-XS35 will record and burn DVDs with the correct 16:9 aspect ratio (is this what's called the 16:9 flag?) and so will a whole variety of computer video applications, even Windows Movie Maker. Can the Panasonic?
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post #635 of 881 Old 01-24-2008, 07:12 AM
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The Panasonic recorders do not set the "widescreen flag" on DVD-R or (I think) DVD+R, only on DVD-RAM and on HDD (if the unit has a HDD, of course).

When I want to create a widescreen DVD, I record it to DVD-RW on my Panasonic, then put the disc in my Mac, copy the VIDEO_TS folder to hard disk, set the widescreen flag using a freeware DVD-editing utility, and then burn a DVD-R on the Mac. It's time-consuming, but at least I can re-use the DVD-RW's.
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post #636 of 881 Old 01-24-2008, 10:09 AM
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Yes jtbell, I don't think any current DVDR sets the flag except when using RAM's, for whatever bizarre reason! Really is stupid. And plpl I agree, if you want to give relatives the disc, I'd stay away from the RAM's for compatibility problems.
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post #637 of 881 Old 01-24-2008, 01:58 PM
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plplplpl,

Yes, it did not "shut down" completely. Just gave an error message. But when I set the tape to the point where there was actually video, it would record. The striping method is only good to do before you use the tape, just to time consuming. Also, maybe a good thing to stop at break points if it's different footage? The tape control thing didn't work like it says in the manual, I think that would only be for Panasonic camcorders.
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post #638 of 881 Old 01-26-2008, 07:41 PM
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OK, progress, to some extent. I tried the EH55 again via firewire, and keep getting the error message whether I let it auto-detect the DV signal (it starts up then craps out right away) or whether I go to the Functions menu and select DV Camcorder Rec (same error message and inability to record). However, by cycling the Input Select button through its permutations (Tuner, Input 1, Input 2, Input 3) it then goes to DV In. If I start the DV tape playback first, then hit the Record button on the EH55 remote, it does start recording!

However, recording to the HDD at least, it does not set the widescreen 16:9 flag, and the widescreen recordings from my DV camera are vertically squished. I tried changing the TV Screen settings in the Setup menu to 16:9, but I'm guessing that's for output only. I even tried changing the Disc -> Settings for Recording -> Enable High-Speed Mode to off, as I recall it says something about that in the manual. Each time it was no go; I got a vertically squished 4:3 video.

Sure, it might be possible to burn those videos to DVD-RW, take it to my computer and add the widescreen flag in VideoReDo or something, then burn again, but that sort of defeats the purpose of recording DV cam with a DVD Recorder. I could just as well capture directly to the computer, where most video apps will capture as 16:9, even Windows Movie Maker:

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post #639 of 881 Old 02-28-2008, 07:36 AM
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hi all. i'm in dire need of help on this unit. i was copying a show from the dvr hard drive to a dvd-r on monday night. the copy failed (perhaps because the disc was smodged). since then the machine is not reading DVDs at all. i receive error code U88 at times. it won't even read a lens cleaner DVD.

i left it plugged off today to see if it will reset.

has anyone been able to fix this problem ? i've seen several posts about it on the internet but with no definitive solution.
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post #640 of 881 Old 02-28-2008, 08:29 AM
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Here is advice concerning DVD drives that seem to be failing but just need a spindle/hub cleaning:

http://club.cdfreaks.com/showthread.php?t=210507

Following these detailed instructions clean the lens, rubber and plastic spindle parts and hub area, and the circular guide in the DVD drive lid.

Panasonic 2006 and newer DVD drives are easy to service. Remove the case top cover to get access to the DVD drive. Remove the four small Phillips screws and lift the DVD drive top lid. When viewing the DVD drive from the front (where the tray rolls out) notice the roller assembly at the rear of the DVD tray. This mechanism must be positioned to the left corner before reassembly so these parts will be correctly aligned to the guide rail on the underside of the drive lid. With the 2006 and newer models opening of the Panasonic case, removing the DVD drive lid, cleaning the drive, closing the drive lid, and closing the case takes around fifteen minutes.

With 2005 or older models the case cover and the front panel assembly may need to be removed in order to give clearance for the DVD drive lid to be lifted somewhat at the front, slid forward, allowing the rear to disengage, following which the lid may be lifted off. The opaque plastic part at the left rear seems to be a retainer/guide. Allow around 35 minutes for opening the case, removal of the front panel after loosening the snap clips at the top, sides and bottom; removing the DVD drive lid; cleaning and reassembly.

Note: On a combo recorder be sure to hold the VHS door open as the front panel is fitted back into place. This will correctly align the VHS door opening mechanism.

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post #641 of 881 Old 02-28-2008, 10:18 AM
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thanks!

what should i use to clean the DVD player parts? rubbing alcohol and a cotton swab?
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post #642 of 881 Old 02-28-2008, 10:23 AM
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Yes.

Keep in mind that the poster's terminology (found in the link) is UK useage.

"A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME WILL SMELL AS SWEET. BUT IT DOES NOT FOLLOW THAT WHATEVER WE CHOOSE TO CALL A ROSE WILL POSSESS THE ROSE'S FRAGRANCE."

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post #643 of 881 Old 02-28-2008, 11:11 AM
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Or of you feel adventurous you could try my little trick first. If it works you should probably take the machine apart and clean it right. But I have one DVDR that is extremely hard to get at, and I keep limping along with the occasional temp fix.
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...hen+finalizing
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post #644 of 881 Old 03-01-2008, 04:51 PM
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well, today i cleaned the spindle of the damed thing until i could not see a spec of anything on it. unfortunately, the machine is in the same state it was before and still giving the U88 and not reading ANY DVD.

does anyone have any idea what i should try next? the thing worked fine last weekend.

shucks!
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post #645 of 881 Old 03-01-2008, 04:51 PM
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here are some pictures from today's adventure - http://s3.photobucket.com/albums/y72...nasonic%20DVR/
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post #646 of 881 Old 03-01-2008, 05:32 PM
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Dre1988,

One of your close-up photographs shows that your machine has some leakage of a large electrolytic capacitor in your power supply.

Six of my eight functional Panasonic 2006 models developed varying degrees of leakage with the largest power supply electrolytic capacitor.

My first DMR-ES15 now has around 2,900 recording hours. This machine is still functional but exhibited leakage from this electrolytic capacitor. I also have three other functional DMR-ES15 models, two of which evidenced this capacitor leakage.

Three of my four functional DMR-ES35V models also exhibit this capacitor leakage. These three average over 3,000 recording hours per machine.

In the last week I replaced the leaking capacitors in three of my DMR-ES15 models. Next I shall turn my attention to the leaking capacitors in three of my DMR-ES35V models. Different models use different specification capacitors in the power supply. (C1143 in a DMR-ES15 is 100uF 350V 105 degrees; and C11108 in a DMR-ES35V is 220uF 250V 105 degrees.) At my local electronic parts supply store I special-ordered these electrolytic capacitors. These were priced less than $4.00 each.

Replacement of electrolytic capacitors in my models requires dissassembly of the machine to the extent of removal of the chassis motherboard from the case.

Be sure to leave the machine's power disconnected overnight before the procedure. Observe capacitor polarity when removing the old capacitor and soldering in the new capacitor.

In my DMR-ES30V models the power supply is located on a platform at the rear center. That power supply uses two large electrolytic capacitors instead of one. These models do not exhibit capacitor leakage. (One of my DMR-ES30V models has over 4,200 recording hours and the other one has around 2,300 recording hours.)

This thread provides more information concerning circumstances related to leaking power supply capacitors on a Panasonic hard drive model:

http://club.cdfreaks.com/showthread.php?t=204006

The Jazzguy1233 post is most on-point.

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post #647 of 881 Old 03-01-2008, 08:17 PM
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DigaDo,

You could be right! We experienced some horrible storms here this week that knocked out the power. Even though the DVR was connected to a surge protector, it could have been damaged. Unfortunately, I have very little experience with the internals of electronics. Can you please point our which capacitor is leaking in the picture below.

http://s3.photobucket.com/albums/y72...8-03-01048.jpg

I you have picture editing software, can you circle it? Will I be able to get the capacitor at a place like Radio Shack? I can try changing it.

I don't have a soldering kit but can get one and try this.

Thanks for your advice.
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post #648 of 881 Old 03-01-2008, 09:47 PM
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Dre1988,

Electronics is not my field. Nevertheless I will offer my observations and advice based upon my experience in replacing electrolytic capacitors in several of my Panasonics.

In the single photo (you linked) the electrolytic capacitor that I observed leaking (in an earlier linked close-up, the second of your group) is just opposite the sliding assembly on the back of the DVD tray and between the DVD drive case and the heat sink with two coils appearing in the foreground just below the heat sink on the chassis motherboard. This capacitor is the black or dark brown cannister with the silver top (with a dot on the top) with a grey stripe running down one side. The grey stripe indicates the capacitor's polarity orientation. The other close-up photo I mentioned shows the leakage, a bubbly ooze around the capacitor's base. This leakage will probably be somewhat hardened rather than pliable or moist. While this capacitor is in an early to moderate stage of failure this leakage may still have an adverse affect upon your Panasonic's operation or performance.

Upon closer scrutiny of several of your photos (instead of the close-up showing the leaking capacitor behind the DVD drive) I observe that your Panasonic appears to have one large chassis motherboard extending across the whole rear area and includes the area at the right beside the DVD drive (as viewed from the front of the machine). In order to replace the leaking capacitor it is necessary to remove the front panel; the hard drive and its cables/connections; the DVD drive controller circuit board assembly and its cables/connections; many of the screws securing the rear panel to the tuner, I/O jacks, ac power connector, etc.; possibly the fan; those motherboard screws indicated by the adjacent screw icon (seen on the motherboard in your photos); and the central anchoring screw from the chassis found recessed into the motherboard's front input jack assembly. Then the motherboard itself may be lifted off its small blade type guides and removed from the chassis in order to gain access to the back side for the soldering process. In an orderly fashion lay out all the various parts and screws so that they may be correctly reassembled following the procedure.

Capacitors store an electronic charge. That is the reason to disconnect the AC cord well in advance of the procedure to allow the capacitor to lose its charge. Exercise caution when working in and around the power supply, even after it has been disconnected from the power.

The specifications of this eletrolytic capacitor will be found on its side. This will include specifications for uF, V, and the degree range. You may wish to measure its physical height as an additional specification as it appears that the case is of the same low-profile as found in the DMR-ES15 and other models. I would guess that this capacitor is 20mm or 25mm in height. A capacitor more than 30mm or so may be too tall to fit. Radio Shack doesn't list many electrolytic capacitors in their online catalog but they may be able to special order them. A local electronics parts store may have them or be able to special order them. Panasonic usually prices these electrolytic capacitors in the $12-$15 range but these may be ordered from some online sources for as little as $2 each.

I purchased my five-piece Soldering Tool Set at Radio Shack; around $7, their item #64-2802B.

Make a notation of the grey stripe polarity orientation so the new capacitor may be oriented the same way. When unsoldering the capacitor from the back side of the motherboard be careful to pull the capacitor straight off the front side of the motherboard after heating both soldered areas around the pins on the back side of the motherboard. Do not rock the capacitor as that may loosen or damage the "foil" covering carrying the circuitry on the back side of the motherboard. (If the "foil" lifts somewhat that does not necessarily mean that the repair has failed. This is just meant as a caution.) The capacitor removal is somewhat difficult as the electrolite leakage itself forms somewhat of a bond to the motherboard. Carefully remove the residual leakage from the front side of the motherboard. Guide the new capacitor's pins through the holes, heating the solder to allow insertion, if necessary, making sure not to loosen or damage the "foil" on the back of the motherboard. Be sure to reheat the existing solder or use very little new solder until the solder flows smoothly around the pins, taking care not to allow any excess amount to intrude upon another circuit or another component's solder or pins. Trim off the excess pin length after the solder has cooled.

Allow at least one hour for the procedure.

Jazzguy gives a description of a different model Panasonic than you have. He mentioned the failure of two capacitors in his Panasonic's power supply. His description of the leaking capacitors sounded more like those that appear (in your single linked photo) like the small blue chip-type capacitors standing with two legs, as seen in your photos (for instance) in the foreground below the heat sink and two coil-type devices.

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post #649 of 881 Old 03-02-2008, 05:36 AM
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Dre-Cool photos. Reading Digado's post I could see where he was going, being in radio and TV repair years ago(before almost everything became disposable). I could also possibly see your head spinning with all the possible investments. Soldering iron, solder, capacitor(which may or may not correct your problem). It could very well be the capacitor, Digido knows his Panny's, and capacitor failure in Panny's have been very well noted, but were not positive this is the cause of your problem.
If I were you and didn't want to get too deep into the whole thing I would check out this post (also by Digido) to the Panasonic factory service center. For a $130 flat fee Panasonic will fix your machine no matter what the problem. Considering you have a Panasonic w/hdd, which are very hard to find now a days I think it would be worth the investment to keep it going. It's up to you. Note the EH-55 does have a analog tuner(which you could just add a converter box(like the upcoming TR-50)). So don't think the machine is obsolete just because of that.
You could also try selling it as-is on eBay. You may be able to get something out of it that way. I just wouldn't toss it. There becoming somewhat of a collectors item.
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...8#post13002258
Good luck!
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post #650 of 881 Old 03-02-2008, 10:13 AM
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Dre1988,

My lengthy post gave a description of what one might do. Jeff is correct in that replacement of the capacitor may not correct the problem.

To the practical considerations that Jeff raised, your large investment in this fine and unique product that may still provide years of outstanding service, what would I do in your situation?

Personally I would make up an information sheet with all your observations/concerns about your Panasonic and then contact the Panasonic Service Center in Illinois. Include your information sheet with your Panasonic. The $130 flat rate includes shipping both ways. Your Panasonic may be gone for a week or two but will return in new functional condition.

This is the corporate Panasonic Service Center that offers the flat-rate repairs for $130.00:

Panasonic Service Center
1590 Touhly Ave
Elk Grove Village, IL 60007

1-888-439-2676

"A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME WILL SMELL AS SWEET. BUT IT DOES NOT FOLLOW THAT WHATEVER WE CHOOSE TO CALL A ROSE WILL POSSESS THE ROSE'S FRAGRANCE."

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post #651 of 881 Old 03-02-2008, 07:43 PM
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DigaDo,

whoa! thanks for the instructions. i think changing the capicitor is beyond my skillset!

for less than the $130 that panasonic wants, i can go buy a dvd recorder without a hard drive. i can then output the A/V signal from the panny hdd dvr to that if i need to record anything to disc. plus, i'll have a working dvd player for watching discs.

of course, i'm wondering if this is all worth it as the price of blue ray dvd players fall. maybe we'll see a blue ray hdd dvr for a reasonable price soon.
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post #652 of 881 Old 03-02-2008, 09:16 PM
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Dre1988,

If I had known months ago what I now know about the current state of technology I would have certainly diverted some of my resources to purchase a DMR-EH55 when it could still be found in the USA marketplace.

Your DMR-EH55 is a model to maintain for continuing use.

My attention to technological trends was diverted by the need to copy to DVD selected portions of my twenty year archive of home-recorded videotapes. I deemed that the best approach to the project was to purchase several machines and set them up to dub at the same time. Such a project was more than any one machine could handle. With completion of my ten month long dubbing project I found that Panasonic had discontinued its hard drive recorders with the transition to the analog/digital tuning DMR-EZ models.

You are indeed fortunate to have your DMR-EH55. It is certainly worth $130 to return it to as-new condition.

"A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME WILL SMELL AS SWEET. BUT IT DOES NOT FOLLOW THAT WHATEVER WE CHOOSE TO CALL A ROSE WILL POSSESS THE ROSE'S FRAGRANCE."

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post #653 of 881 Old 03-02-2008, 11:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dre1988 View Post

for less than the $130 that panasonic wants, i can go buy a dvd recorder without a hard drive.

Sure - if you want a piece of junk.
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post #654 of 881 Old 03-03-2008, 05:40 AM
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Dre-Ramm makes a good point. You may have something "new" for $100 but it will more than likely be total junk in both build quality and picture recording quality. IMO putting that money into your older unit would be better money spent. New is NOT better in the current DVDR market. It's like saying it would cost $5000 to get your Mercedes fixed, but you could buy a new Yugo for $5000. I sure know where I'd put my money.
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post #655 of 881 Old 03-05-2008, 10:27 AM
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I continue to have problems with dropped scheduled recordings. It seems to most likely occur with "regular" scheduled recordings (vs once or weekly). The scheduled recording will work fine for weeks, and then just disappear. I reported this to Panasonic support several months ago, and they sent me a FW update which I installed. I'm still having the same problem. Anyone else experiencing this issue?
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post #656 of 881 Old 03-19-2008, 03:34 PM
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Hi,

I got my EH55 in December so I'm a newbie. I'm also a profession editor so hopefully I won't be too dense. I've made a playlist from pgms on the HD that I've transferred to dvd in fast-copy mode. My dilemma is that the finalized dvd retains the chapters I used to create the playlist* (that's good) but additionally I'd love for each item/chapter in the playlist (made from different programs) to get its own thumbnail on the final(ized) dvd. I have a hunch this might require me to copy first, take some additional steps and then finalize, yes, maybe?

*My method for making the playlist is to define the select scenes I care about by bracketing them with chapter markers in regular viewing/playback mode. Then it's quick work creating the playlist from the chapters I defined earlier. But the resulting dvd so far has one thumbnail (bad) though retains the chapters so I can "chapter skip" on the remote from scene to scene, ah tolerable. The IDEAL would be if each item/chapter had its own thumbnail for a quick menu overview, possible? Thanks in advance.

Best,

Paul
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post #657 of 881 Old 03-19-2008, 03:57 PM
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My guess is going to be you will need a computer to make thumbnails for each chapter. Many people seem to inquire about this and the computer is what's usually suggested. Maybe someone else is more familiar with the EH-55, I know on non HDD Pannys what you want to do is not possible, at least to regular DVDR's.
Another option is to have a DVD player such as my Sony DVP-NS41p. It has a NAVI button. What it does is to make it's own thumbnails for each chapter. You push the button and after a few seconds, wala, thumbnails for each chapter. Then you just arrow to the one you want and hit enter, it goes right to that chapter! Note obviously this would be no good for giving the disc to others, but for you yourself it would be a option. It was ~$60 at Sams or Costco.
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post #658 of 881 Old 03-19-2008, 08:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff View Post

My guess is going to be you will need a computer to make thumbnails for each chapter. Many people seem to inquire about this and the computer is what's usually suggested. Maybe someone else is more familiar with the EH-55, I know on non HDD Pannys what you want to do is not possible, at least to regular DVDR's.

It is possible to create chapter thumbnails, even custom chapter thumbnails, on a Toshiba RD-XS35 and possibly on other Toshiba HDD models, but if you don't have access to one, jjeff's suggestion of doing it on a computer would be the way to go.
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post #659 of 881 Old 03-20-2008, 10:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pauld2007 View Post

Hi,

I got my EH55 in December so I'm a newbie. I'm also a profession editor so hopefully I won't be too dense. I've made a playlist from pgms on the HD that I've transferred to dvd in fast-copy mode. My dilemma is that the finalized dvd retains the chapters I used to create the playlist* (that's good) but additionally I'd love for each item/chapter in the playlist (made from different programs) to get its own thumbnail on the final(ized) dvd. I have a hunch this might require me to copy first, take some additional steps and then finalize, yes, maybe?

*My method for making the playlist is to define the select scenes I care about by bracketing them with chapter markers in regular viewing/playback mode. Then it's quick work creating the playlist from the chapters I defined earlier. But the resulting dvd so far has one thumbnail (bad) though retains the chapters so I can "chapter skip" on the remote from scene to scene, ah tolerable. The IDEAL would be if each item/chapter had its own thumbnail for a quick menu overview, possible? Thanks in advance.

Best,

Paul

Instead of making "a playlist from pgms on the HD," don't make "A" playlist, take "the chapters I used to create the playlist," and make each one of them a separate playlist, then copy them as separate titles onto the DVD. Each title gets its own name and thumbnail. If you start playing the first title, it will automatically move to the next one, and then the next one until all the content has been played. Pressing the skip forward will automatically skip to the next title, etc. The ony drawback with this is the one second or so transition between titles.

If you ever have too much content for a normal -R, you can use a DL disk, and I have found the layer change on my DL +R disks to be longer than the title change on a standard DVD -R.

Luke

Evil is charming and beautiful. It makes you doubt yourself. It asks for one small compromise after another until it whittles you down, and it functions best when no one believes in it.-JOA
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post #660 of 881 Old 03-20-2008, 01:18 PM
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Church AV Guy beat me to the punch answering you, and he is exactly right. (For more detail on similar task, see posts #576 to 587 where I got some great helpfull advice when I was a newbie, esp #580 & 585.)

Also, you can easily copy all of the "chapters" (now each a separate playlist, treated as a title on the target disk) at one time. Use Functions/Other Functions/Advanced Copy to create a copy list; at the "Create List" prompt, right-arrow to "New Entry." A list of the titles on the hard disk will be presented, but just press the "B" button to display your all of your playlists; select the first and repeat as necessary until all the ones you want to burn are listed.

Another advantage of "Advanced Copy" is it does not finalize the disc unless you explicitly tell it to. It is faster to set the thumbnail for each playlist on the hard drive, but until it is finalized you can also reset the thumbnail on the DVD+R (I'm not sure about this on -R.) By not automatically finalizing, you can get a "do-over" on the thumbnail selection if you change your mind about which frame to use; you can also add additional titles later, so you don't have to complete the entire project in one pass. The EH-55 will nag you to finalize the disk every time you open the tray, giving you the choice to finalize or leave it unfinalized. The completed menu of your now-independently named and thumbnailed "chapters" will not be displayed until the disc is finalized.

Hope this helps.

Steve
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