Can Windows format a Panasonic DVD-RAM for DMR-EH55? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 9 Old 03-20-2019, 07:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Can Windows format a Panasonic DVD-RAM for DMR-EH55?

Does anyone know of a way for a Windows computer to format a DVD-RAM so a Panasonic machine can use it? My experience so far is not only no, but if the computer uses any of these UDF format systems: 1.02, 1.50, 2.00, 2.01, or 2.50, my DMR-EH55 considers the disk trash afterward even if it was a new disk which it offered to format before. It seems that there is something on the DVD-RAM which the Panasonic machine needs to see and the computer overwrites it.
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post #2 of 9 Old 03-22-2019, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by pdreyfuss View Post
Does anyone know of a way for a Windows computer to format a DVD-RAM so a Panasonic machine can use it? My experience so far is not only no, but if the computer uses any of these UDF format systems: 1.02, 1.50, 2.00, 2.01, or 2.50, my DMR-EH55 considers the disk trash afterward even if it was a new disk which it offered to format before. It seems that there is something on the DVD-RAM which the Panasonic machine needs to see and the computer overwrites it.
Deciphering HDD formats for DVD recorders is giving me a little insight to this problem. I am no "expert" but those are my credentials.

DVD-RAM is a form of VRO (or VR) formatted media which means it was intended to be used as Edit material, not Playback material. So they had to adopt a Hard Disk "like" format.. but at the Time of the MtFuji working group, Microsoft was both involved and suing the heck out of Linux and Camera manufacturers for using anything like the FAT filesystem.. this lead to Mr. Gates famous video interview with an investigator in which he said ('what do you mean by the word - concerned?')

Anyways, Toshiba, Pioneer and et.al. used the OSTA groups UDF as their "file system" which was an open format, but its a (container) not a a whole disk partition. Outside this container is a Volume format that generally sits at the Top and often at the Bottom of the drives addressable "logical blocks" they surround and cradle the UDF.

You can create a UDF, just like you would on a Windows hard disk, but Windows is going to assume you want a "partition" in the Windows "way" of partitioning the disk to hold that. That means an MBR or DOS Partition style table. Panasonic and others could not do that without fear of being sued.. so they did not. In fact most companies used the EVB, or evaluation board reference partition and file system format provided by the development environment. For DVD-RAM they tweak that back towards UDF compliancy so that they could use the DVD-Forum features and appear to be one happy family. The volume partition format however was deliberately (not) DOS or Windows compatible.. hence why they won't work with that when formatted with something from Microsoft. - Monopoly protected.. but darn wouldn't it have been great to get the royalties from all those DVD recorder and camera sales? All we got was one round of lawsuits.. one and done.

So sounds hopeless.. right?.. not exactly..

Panasonic made DVD recorders and Cameras.. and were just as wary of Microsoft on both platforms.. so they started writing their own software.. well actually it was "out-sourced" and re-branded as Panasonic software for their cameras.. but it was just as useful because it followed their Volume formats. And it ran on Windows.

It would be a research project I don't have time for now.. but The Panasonic DVD-RAM "camcorders"... the ones that allowed you to insert a (mini) DVD-RAM disc could quite possibly come with the Panasonc DVD-RAM format and reader software you need to run on Windows in order to format your DVD-RAM discs for use in your Panasonic DVD recorder.

That would be my first guess, if that did't work.. you'd have to turn to something in linux-land.

Everyone at the time was trying to extract profits from 'thin air' and thus it was a hostile envionment. Compatability was dangerous.
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post #3 of 9 Old 03-22-2019, 02:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jwillis84 View Post
Deciphering HDD formats for DVD recorders is giving me a little insight to this problem. I am no "expert" but those are my credentials.

DVD-RAM is a form of VRO (or VR) formatted media which means it was intended to be used as Edit material, not Playback material. So they had to adopt a Hard Disk "like" format.. but at the Time of the MtFuji working group, Microsoft was both involved and suing the heck out of Linux and Camera manufacturers for using anything like the FAT filesystem.. this lead to Mr. Gates famous video interview with an investigator in which he said ('what do you mean by the word - concerned?')

Anyways, Toshiba, Pioneer and et.al. used the OSTA groups UDF as their "file system" which was an open format, but its a (container) not a a whole disk partition. Outside this container is a Volume format that generally sits at the Top and often at the Bottom of the drives addressable "logical blocks" they surround and cradle the UDF.

You can create a UDF, just like you would on a Windows hard disk, but Windows is going to assume you want a "partition" in the Windows "way" of partitioning the disk to hold that. That means an MBR or DOS Partition style table. Panasonic and others could not do that without fear of being sued.. so they did not. In fact most companies used the EVB, or evaluation board reference partition and file system format provided by the development environment. For DVD-RAM they tweak that back towards UDF compliancy so that they could use the DVD-Forum features and appear to be one happy family. The volume partition format however was deliberately (not) DOS or Windows compatible.. hence why they won't work with that when formatted with something from Microsoft. - Monopoly protected.. but darn wouldn't it have been great to get the royalties from all those DVD recorder and camera sales? All we got was one round of lawsuits.. one and done.

So sounds hopeless.. right?.. not exactly..

Panasonic made DVD recorders and Cameras.. and were just as wary of Microsoft on both platforms.. so they started writing their own software.. well actually it was "out-sourced" and re-branded as Panasonic software for their cameras.. but it was just as useful because it followed their Volume formats. And it ran on Windows.

It would be a research project I don't have time for now.. but The Panasonic DVD-RAM "camcorders"... the ones that allowed you to insert a (mini) DVD-RAM disc could quite possibly come with the Panasonc DVD-RAM format and reader software you need to run on Windows in order to format your DVD-RAM discs for use in your Panasonic DVD recorder.

That would be my first guess, if that did't work.. you'd have to turn to something in linux-land.

Everyone at the time was trying to extract profits from 'thin air' and thus it was a hostile envionment. Compatability was dangerous.
Thanks. I have also been thinking about Panasonic internal DVD burners and the software that usually comes with them. So far both have been hard to find. Do you know of any filenames for Panasonic utility programs that could run under Windows and format a disk in a Panasonic-friendly way?
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post #4 of 9 Old 03-22-2019, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by pdreyfuss View Post
Thanks. I have also been thinking about Panasonic internal DVD burners and the software that usually comes with them. So far both have been hard to find. Do you know of any filenames for Panasonic utility programs that could run under Windows and format a disk in a Panasonic-friendly way?
I went down this path about 1 year ago in 2018 for different reasons.

I was looking at connecting an IDE or SATA cable from the outside into a Panasonic recorder and powering the HDD with a dock so that I could extract/copy the recordings without removing the drive.

In my stupidity.. I had not read people thought it "insane" or "impossible" and Citibear, JJeff even talked to me about it. I didn't know at the time how incredibly patient and kind they were being. Today.. its on the road map.. and may come to pass.. 15 recorder brands and models and counting.

Anyway.. one of those first "experiments" I saw something that looked like VRO format and sought out how to get a copy of the Panasonic DVD-RAM software.. and rather.. accidentally obtained two copies on original OEM media.

I didn't need them.. got further along after I ordered them.. but they might do what your trying to do.

First let me install one and see if pre-formatting a DVD-RAM disc for the camcorder is a legitimate operation. I think the workflow was intended to be, format in camera, then use this software to read and offload the videos to the PC. Going the reverse direction may not be in this particular version. Professionals would want to "pre-format" their media so they didn't have to wait in the field to begin recording.. or didn't want to burden their expensive cameras to do so.. but that may have been a more expensive version of the software I do not have.

This is only a "possibility" it doesn't mean its for sure until we run the rapids.

The other option would be to do like I'm doing now.. examine the format on a DVD-RAM formatted by the Panasonic and then write/cobble together a "formatter" app on Windows or Linux which would "write" to a blank DVD-RAM so that it conformed to whats required. Since a mounted DVD-RAM is basically a random access hard drive volume to most drivers on Linux that would sort of be the simplest approach. Windows tends to jump into the fray and prioritize its routines "automatically" over any other programs.

But on Windows.. come to think of it.. Neo Hex Editor can treat a Volume as a document, and cut and paste bytes as documents between one volume and another. It might be as simple as opening a Panasonic DVD-RAM as a hex document, selecting everything.. or the most important parts.. saving to your hard disk. Then open a blank DVD-RAM and pasting that hex doument into the DVD-RAM space. Whacky concept.. awesomely stupid idea.. but it might work... <caution>.. I make a lot of people "mad" for getting away with awesomely stupid ideas.. be careful who you associate with on the internet.
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post #5 of 9 Old 03-22-2019, 10:53 PM
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I took a look at the Panasonic software disk I have, its DVD-MovieAlbumSE and a MEIDHS UDF file system driver for XP.

Its also got a Panasonic branded DVD Formatter utility, but I gather it only performs UDF 1.5 or UDF 2.0, or FAT formatting. The generic Volume eraser is present as well. There is a plain document which states. Panasonic recommends UDF 2.0 for DVD recorders.. which "sounds like" what you want to do, it depends though on whether this 2005 version formats in the way an EH55 will understand.

That won't tell you much unless I try reading or writing to the DVD-RAM disc in a EH55, and then successfully make it work after formatting in a PC. I think I have an EH55, but I'd need to set it up and test it.
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post #6 of 9 Old 03-22-2019, 11:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Again, thanks. That is what I hope to do and does sound promising. There are a lot of references to DVD-MovieAlbumSE on the web, so I can probably download it.
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post #7 of 9 Old 01-28-2020, 07:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jwillis84 View Post
I took a look at the Panasonic software disk I have, its DVD-MovieAlbumSE and a MEIDHS UDF file system driver for XP.

Its also got a Panasonic branded DVD Formatter utility, but I gather it only performs UDF 1.5 or UDF 2.0, or FAT formatting. The generic Volume eraser is present as well. There is a plain document which states. Panasonic recommends UDF 2.0 for DVD recorders.. which "sounds like" what you want to do, it depends though on whether this 2005 version formats in the way an EH55 will understand.

That won't tell you much unless I try reading or writing to the DVD-RAM disc in a EH55, and then successfully make it work after formatting in a PC. I think I have an EH55, but I'd need to set it up and test it.
Is there a way I can get copies of these utilities from you?
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post #8 of 9 Old 01-28-2020, 07:33 PM
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Is there a way I can get copies of these utilities from you?
I think so.. but be sure you understand these are from 2002, written for Windows 2000 and then WinXP. They absolutely will not work on Vista, Win7 or Win8.1.. and forget about Win10.

There are three programs:

1. DVD - formatter (DVDForm)
2. DVD - video editor (Album SE)
3. DVD - menu editor (Fun)

The formatter is first a device driver that looks for a compatible DVD-RAM drive when it starts.

It can physically format the disc, by writing and inspecting the DVD-RAM disc sectors.

After the disc is physically formatted as a collection of sectors, then it needs to be carved up into logical volumes.

The choice of logical volumes are:

1. FAT
2. UDF 1.5
3. UDF 2.0

So its a little like a USB flash drive formatter.. back before USB flash drives existed.

I think the way it was intended to be used was with a Panasonic Camcorder that burned video directly to mini DVD-RAM discs. The discs could be pre-formatted in a PC and then put into a Camcorder so the videographer didn't have to wait while a new disc was formatted to begin capturing video. After they shot the video they could remove the DVD-RAM disc and put in in a PC and copy the video off to the PC hard drive. They could then edit the video with AlbumSE and then master a DVD-Video disc in DVDFun and burn it to a DVD-RAM or a DVD-R disc for sharing and distribution.
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post #9 of 9 Old 01-28-2020, 07:42 PM - Thread Starter
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I do understand. I have XP on a laptop and one hard drive on my desktop - would be very pleasantly surprised, albeit hopeful, if a PC could format a disk for the Panasonic machine. Thanks for offering to help.
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