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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
New here, so sorry if this has been addressed before. I primarily want a dvd recorder with hard drive for taking all my video cam tapes and putting them into a more permanent/safer format. Initially (6+ years ago) we had planned on using the computer to dowload video cam recordings, edit, and burn dvd's of our "precious little ones" (now, not so precious, but still little). It was painfully slow and tedious, and hence all the recordings are still on the little cam tapes. So I'm looking for something reasonably priced where I can copy all the tapes to, sort it into some kind of chronological order and chapter it into events, and edit out all the crap (you know, waiting for the baby to do something but because the camera is on, the baby justs sits there). Burn this onto dvd's with menu and chapters so you can watch specific events, unlike vcr tapes. Is there a better option than a dvd recorder that is still reasonably priced? My dh just found the philips at sams club the other day and picked it up because I've been wanting one so now I'm researching to make sure this will do what I want it to do in an easy, not overly time consuming way. I don't really care how this performs as a tuner or recording tv shows, although it would be a nice bonus, but not the primary function.
 

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The Philips 3576 and Magnavox 2160 can both do what you want in a basic way: copy to HDD, edit out scenes, and set chapter marks.


Altho you didn't mention it, they won't have separate thumbnails for each chapter, only one for the entire title. So, if you want to go, say to baby's first throw-up and it was on a longer title, you'd have to press the NEXT button to go thru each chapter until you see the video you want.


The other option, if you know what chapter number each precious "event" is, you can use the INFO menu (3576) and go directly to a specific chapter by number, in a specific title on the HDD also by number. That is, with multiple titles on the HDD, you can select a title and chapter by numbers, as long as you know what those numbers are. If not, you select each title # by arrowing up or down in the "T" box of the menu and that title plays immediately, so that's be the "hunt-n-peck" method in a way. Same with Chapters except you arrow up/dn in the "C" box of the menu.


These DVDRs also have a Marker option in the INFO menu so you can go back to up to six points in one or more titles directly, at "digital" speed.


Click #1 in my signature for a list of help files, one of which is on "Title EDIT/DELETE and Using/Editing CHAPTER MARKS." For the INFO menu options mentioned above, look for "INFO/DISPLAY Button for Search, Audio, Subtitle, Angle, Repeat, Marker, NR, Zoom, Surround."
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
thanks for the info. My dad has a dvd recorder with hard drive, I think it is a pioneer, and from the research I did a couple years ago, I think that was one of the better ones (he got the last one in our area). He just burned some 30 plus years worth of family videos to dvd's and while I don't know specifics of doing it, know that it does take some time. I'm just looking for something that doesn't make the process any more cumbersome than it needs to be and don't know if there are other options out there that would be better for this task.
 

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It sounds like the 3576 should be a good option for you. No current DVDR allows you to thumbnail chapters, it was a very rare option for standalone DVD recorders. Since you're material sounds important I'd be inclined to use SP speed to the HDD and then HS copy losslessly to DVD R. I think your dh? did good.
 

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I'm a little surprised to hear you had so much annoyance trying to transfer your camcorder tapes to a computer- assuming the tapes are digital, this is the one type of tape transfer that computers generally do a little easier and better than DVD recorders. There is pretty simple software on both Mac and Windows computers to control the camera feed and create a DVD. Where computers usually fall down and become a huge pain is transferring analog tapes like VHS or Hi-8: this is much easier done on a DVD recorder.


As others have pointed out, no current DVD recorder allows the creation of thumbnails for direct access to chapters: something that would be very useful indeed on family and personal videos. (The only recorders that ever did this were the high-end Toshibas (discontinued three years ago), most casual users found them more difficult to operate than a computer.) Many members here use a combination approach to camcorder footage: they connect the camera to a standalone recorder for basic DVD capture, then put the disc in their computer to add final touches like thumbnails for chapters and customized menu backgrounds. Depending on which part of the computer process you found most tedious in the past, you might find this the "best of both worlds".


Or you could just use the DVD recorder for everything: edit the raw footage on the recorder hard drive, insert your chapter marks where you like, but before burning the DVD use the recorders "divide" function to break each chapter out into an individual "title". You can then select a thumbnail for each "title", and when you burn the DVD be sure you have each "title" in sequential order. On most typical DVD players, once you start playing the first "title" the machine will continue playing the rest of the titles one after another until the end, as if it were a single movie, unless you interrupt and go to a specific spot. There will be a slight freeze-frame of a couple seconds between each "title" which is a little less smooth than "real" chapters would flow, but it really isn't that big a deal and most viewers could care less. This is the easiest way to make such a family DVD.


Note the Phillips/Magnavox recorders burn titles to DVD in "reverse" order (the last one you add to the burn list will be the first to appear on the DVD). You must remember to add the individual chapter/titles backwards, from last to first, so they appear correctly on the finalized DVD. Wajo covers these small details in great depth: his sticky posts contain a treasure trove of tips.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
thanks for all the info. Yes, the videocam is a digital sony that uses the mini-dv tapes to record on. From what I remember, the editing on the computer was really slow and really bogged down the computer...I talked to my sister and brother in law, they are in the editing business, and basically said editing on the computer was not the best way to go, this was a few years ago. Both they and my dad have a dvd recorder with hard drive. I think my dad's is a pioneer he got a couple years ago, snatched up the last one in the area here. Anyway, he's taken vhs, hi-8, and mini-dv and burned family dvd movies for the past 30+ years. My brother in law recently did the same. So they can give me some pointers, I just need to learn how to use the philips brand. Right now, I'm not looking to make my family videos "professional," but I would like to have them chaptered to find things easily. I guess it all depends on how easy it is to do...I do know there is a lot of boring footage that needs to be cut out and a lot of iffy footage because I was learning how to use the camera, ie, really unsteady, wacky zooming, etc. I just wasn't sure if computers have gotten much better at editing footage in the last 6 years since we bought ours, which at the time was a high end dell meant to do all that stuff. I know in the last 6 years memory has gotten really large and really cheap, just not sure if processing speed has improved that much. Not really up on all that stuff anymore.
 

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You're right- I did forget a lot of us are still using older computers that may be underpowered for video work but fine for everything else. In that case, you would definitely find the DVD recorder a faster solution. The finished DVD will be a little "cruder" than you could achieve on the PC, but easier to create. Also some of us
find trimming and editing more fun to do on the TV screen with a remote than on a computer with a mouse.
 
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