I prefer to use AdScan to do the whole recording then go back and clean up the cut points. Get familiar with the Batch Manager, it is one of the most powerful and useful features of VRD. I usually edit in batches so I will queue up 5 or so files to batch to have AdScan run on them and save the results as a project file -- you start the batch and walk away or do something else (like post here). Then I go in and open the project files 1 by 1 and clean up the cuts to make the endpoints where I want them. It generally takes me ~5 min to do each one. I don't save the video file, I save the project file which is instantaneous. After I clean them up I go back to batch manager and queue up the project files to now save the video files with the edits that are stored in the project files. Start the batch and walk away. You will create your own routine that you get comfortable with as you use it. The only advice I hope you take away from this is to get familiar with the Batch Manager.
The WD Live seems to love .m2ts files so that is the container I have always used to save all my TV shows. VRD will also save in MKV container but I have never tried it. I have experimented with converting MPEG-2 HDTV shows to H.264 to save a little room on the server. I used the VRD defaults of 70% quality mode going MPEG-2 --> H.264 and double pass encoding -- single pass always looked like crap and had audio synch issues. 70% and double-pass looked really good on a 50" plasma and I could not tell the difference between the H.264 recode and the original MEG-2, but recently I bought a new Panasonic 65VT60 plasma and on that screen the recodes look noticeably inferior to the original MPEG-2 so I've stopped recoding.
When I first started using VRD, Dartman gave me a set of parameters he used for AdScan that he found by manual tweaking. I have been using them ever since without a change because they are spot-on. Nothing is perfect because I'm seeing a lot of instant transitions from commercial to show without a black screen, so you have to hunt them down, but it doesn't take long. That is where the frame-accurate editing of VRD shines. Here are the parameters:
Good luck. I use it just about every other day to edit HDTV recordings from My TiVo that go on the servers for streaming through the house with the WD Lives.
Great info - thanks!
Initially I'll be cleaning the PlayLater MP4's I've been accumulating. Fortunately these internet replays have good blocks of black frames around the ad blocks (unlike live TV recordings which may have zero black frames between scenes - SYFY is the worst offender in that regard). AdScan detects them, unfortunately it just doesn't pause within the black frame block.
I haven't figured out yet how to let AdScan do the edit and then go back and tweak result; just how to adjust cut points on the fly by pausing at each scene change. Still, it's no worse than than navigating to cut points on the Funai recorders, and there I lose precision when I high-speed-dub to DVD...
$95 is more than I wanted to spend, but considering the alternatives it will save me tons of time in the long run. The licensing is good too - I can install on multiple computers as long as I don't use it concurrently - I wish PlayLater allowed that - it's not like my lousy DSL service would support more than one recording at a time anyway!