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post #1 of 4 Old 10-29-2007, 03:19 PM - Thread Starter
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I have a Macbook and several VHS tapes of the family dating back to 1980. I wish to buy a one-step VCR/DVD burner to copy the tapes onto DVD and then import them into imovie for final editing and burning. Might you have an opinion on whether I should buy the SONY RDR-VX555 or the Panasonic DMR-ES45V? Perhaps you have a preferred third choice? Thanks.
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post #2 of 4 Old 10-30-2007, 06:37 PM
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I am not that familiar with the two you mention, but a possible third choice would be a Toshiba D-VR5 if you can find one. They are on closeout at some stores and are also available on eBay and elsewhere.
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post #3 of 4 Old 10-31-2007, 12:52 AM
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Don't buy the Sony. If you ever want to use it to record from cable or satellite, you're going to run into some excessive copy protection problems.
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post #4 of 4 Old 10-31-2007, 07:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billingw View Post

I wish to buy a one-step VCR/DVD burner to copy the tapes onto DVD and then import them into imovie for final editing and burning.

You might want to consider that your image quality will take a double hit using the procedure you describe. When you dub VHS to DVD in the DVD recorder, you will compress the video data a lot in order to get it onto the DVD in MPEG-2 format. When you import it into iMovie, it will be converted into a different format for editing. Finally, when you burn a new DVD in iDVD, the video will be converted back to MPEG-2 and compressed heavily again.

I've extracted video from DVDs and then used iMovie and iDVD to make new DVDs, mainly to add chapter marks where I prefer to have them. The final product isn't really bad, but there is nevertheless a noticeable difference in image quality, especially when there's a lot of motion or video noise in the original.

If this material is important to you, I recommend getting an analog-to-digital video converter that takes analog output from a VCR, digitizes it, and sends it directly to iMovie in DV stream format via Firewire. I've had a Canopus ADVC-100 for over four years and have been happy with it. There's a more recent model, the ADVC-110, which seems to run about $220-250. There are surely other similar units. You can also use a digital camcorder for this, in "pass-through" mode.
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