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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have started the process of conversion of my home movies onto DVD RAM. The following is the process I am following but am wary of 'gotchas'. I would appreciate any warnings or suggestions for the more experienced users.


My plan is largely a batch process:


1. I am putting all my VHS tapes on the HDD at SP speed


2. I am reviewing each, adding markers and shortening segments as appropriate. Side note: I had no idea how many hours I had spent in dance recitals.


3. I am then using 'Divide Program' to establish my timing and arrangement for RAM burning.


4. Make the RAM master copies via HS burn.


5. Use a DVD burner to make multiple copies. At this point, I believe the basic editing capabilities of the recorder are good enough. Eventually, I will use the pc for highlight type editing, but not now.


Any suggestions for a better process? I am really in step 1 and 2 which I am doing concurrently.


Thanks,

Mike
 

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While we're on this topic, can someone also comment as to whether or not I'd be foolish to use XP for recording home movies (wedding/Barmitzvah etc.) to RAM disks as master copies. Is it ok to think that SP should suffice for such events?


I'm in a similar scenario as Mike K, but no PC burner and no recitals :)
 

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If you are planning to have no more than 1 hour on the final -R disc, XP would be okay. I have tested both ways and found it to be overkill for my 8mm source. For a DV tape, it may be different.


I would avoid re-encoding (non-high speed dub) if at all possible. You will notice that quality change for sure.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by stevorino
While we're on this topic, can someone also comment as to whether or not I'd be foolish to use XP for recording home movies (wedding/Barmitzvah etc.) to RAM disks as master copies. Is it ok to think that SP should suffice for such events?


I'm in a similar scenario as Mike K, but no PC burner and no recitals :)
Not foolish, you'd get the best pic possible from your source but in my testing of my favorite programs, there is little to no difference so I use SP most of the time. Like the other poster said, your source may produce simple results so the best thing really is to take some weekend and run some test runs to see if/what you notice XP vs SP.


You are also smart to use RAM and I just wish panasonic would have made their new recorders able to burn back to the HD with -R. Keeping the darn copy protection on of course.


Does panasonic actually make their own RAM? maybe that's the deal there.
 

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If you mean Ram Disks, then yes they do. I just ordered 2 packs of 5, for 19.99 a pack at the circuit city website. I'll be making DVDr's as well for these home movies as well (for distribution). I just figured I'd keep the master copy on RAM disks for later burning if needed. Between the 2, I believe that I'll have enough media types for whatever the players accept in the future. I'll just have to cross my fingers.


It's very tempting to use SP and have the process cost me half as much, but I don't want to sacrifice the quality if there is a difference. I guess I'll try both xp and sp as you all suggest and see what is acceptable.


BTW- I've gotten no responses in my thread for DVD red pro. Either of you try it? I just ordered it.


Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Before I decided on SP, I experimented between XP and SP, and between s-video and composite. I saw no difference between XP and SP and felt that 2 hours was a better time frame for how I wanted to organize things. I also felt that the s-video was slightely better. Trial and error is a must to be comfortable with the decision about quality.


next, I will be doing my DV tapes; I suspect that I will chose XP for those, but not if I can't see a difference.
 

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Mike...


Keep in mind that the difference between XP and SP is dynamic. During scenes with little motion they are virtually indistinguishable. When there is a lot of motion, having the extra bits in XP prevents bit-starving so there will be fewer motion artifacts in the final product. Other than that, the resolution will be the same.


The term "speed" in DVDR's is a bit of a misnomer, a carryover from the term when it referred to the tape-head-to-medium writing speed of analog videotape. In that case, a slower speed meant reduced quality across the board, regardless of amounts of motion. MPEG encoding turns that paradigm on its head.


Try experiments with shots of floor-level pans of an NBA game during a fast break or some white-water rafting footage, and you will see a huge difference between XP and SP during those moments where there is lots of motion, yet still shots will look virtually identical. With that in mind, for home movies and wedding footage, XP might actually be overdoing it (unless you subscribe to the shaky camera crowd).
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Tomcat,


Good explanation; it is easy for us oldtimers to think in terms of VCR speed and corresponding loss of quality. Why can't everything stay the same; once I figure 'it' out, 'it' has moved on. oh! well.


Your point though would indicate that sp is fine for the majority of home movies, unless, of course, the groom (or bride) is in full sprint leaving the wedding.
 

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Tomcat, you may have a more refined eye than I do. I've found that a good quality original seems to work fine in SP mode...I doubt most would notice the difference between the two in a homemade video. To be specific, I could not tell a difference between an original VHS tape (admittedly poor quality) and 1.5 hr (FR mode) recording.


I also did some recording from my DishPVR of motorcycle racing...I think ESPN2 cheated me of some bits from the start...Clarity appears equivalent between the original PVR recording and a 3 hr FR mode recording...however, color saturation was apparent.


To each his own...you gotta test it for yourself and determine what satisfies your needs. good luck with the recordings.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by 23tex
...

I also did some recording from my DishPVR of motorcycle racing...I think ESPN2 cheated me of some bits from the start


...you gotta test it for yourself and determine what satisfies your needs...
Good point. That kind of experimentation is what makes all of this fun.


Regarding the "bit cheat", you could be right. MPEG is used in a lot of areas, including acquisition, editing, format conversion, DBS (or other broadcast), or even in your Tivo before you eventually dub to DVDR. Bitstarving can happen at any stage where digital compression is used.


But the most likely culprit by far is the DBS vendor themselves. What they receive is highly compressed before being sent to the customers. They have a fixed pipe and hundreds of signals to cram into it. They make arbitrary bit-ceiling decisions on each channel, with regular programming getting short shrift compared to pay or PPV offerings. Stat-mux helps, but is only as good as the techs who prioritize it. Bitstarving on DBS is then both a political and a technical and even an artistic issue.


I've seen posts where folks who should know claim that the bit rate for a typical DBS channel is between 1.2 and 2.5 Mbps. While I can't confirm that (and have my doubts about the veracity), imagine what the DVD's you create on your DVDR would look like at that rate. Mine are normaly SP and hover around the 3.9-6.1 range. Of course we are comparing apples to oranges (consumer gear with limited VBR to professional DBS encoding with stat-mux) so the comparison is unfair, but it still nicely underlines my point, don't you think? :D
 
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