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Discussion Starter #1
I am considering entering the realm or DVD recording.


What I mainly plan to do is capture old VHS and 8mm footage and archive them on DVD. (Making them more viewable, preserving them and clearing up lots of space)


I plan to take like 30min of monotonous home movies and shorten them as much as possible to store them on DVD. And make chapters for weddings and other family events, etc.


I have a 2.53Ghz P4 with 512MB of RDRAM. And have about 50gigs of HD space to devote to this process.


I have a Sony DCR-TRV38 Mini-DV camcorder which has an analog-digital pass through. I aim to capture analog footage by connecting a VCR and 8mm camcorder to my Mini-DV camcorder in hopes of not having to mess with all those capture cards.

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I have some experience with Adobe Premiere 6.5 as I have read the book and made some practice VCDs and SVCDs with the free TMPGEnc encoder.


All I need to buy is a PC DVD-Recorder and a firewire cable to get going.






-How would a standalone, say Panasonic DVD recorder, be to my advantage?

-Which method is more cost effective?

-In particular is the PQ of digital-analog pass-through on my DV-cam good or should I buy a analog capture card?

-If I am to buy an internal PC DVD recorder, which one is the best?

-Is standalone recording faster than a PC?

-Which method is better at preserving PQ? (whether I will notice any on analog captures.)



(I have minimal interest in recording TV programs, even if I wanted to record them, I could utilize a TV capture card for my PC, which I assume is better than a standalone.)



Any help would greatly be appreciated!!


Thanks!!!
 

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I gave up trying to convert my home videos to DVD via my PC...too time consuming and a pain at times.


I opted for the Philips DVDR75 recorder ($399 nowadays) and I love it.


Best of all it has Component in and out AND DVI input for you Mini-DV video camera! The Panny's don't offer this. :(


Plus my DVD+R has been 100% compatable with all my friends DVD players and the media is pretty darn cheap now. Plus my Philips can play BOTH +R AND -R..the Panasonics are VERY spotty playing +R..the ones I tried didn't play any of my +R's.


For me the choice was simple, I'd I'd bet you'd be plenty happy with the DVDR75 or even the DVDR80.


Good luck!

G

p.s. The picture quality is great too! I recorded all my sisters 1996-200 8mm video in 2 hour mode and it all looked great.
 

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To repeat myself...

-------------------------

I spent 2 years mucking with the capture card method of making DVD's and let me give you advice from experience.


Stop right now and get a standalone.


It's not worth the time, headache, frustration, muddling thru different software, upgrading hardware to avoid drops and on ad nausium..


Unless you're really have your heart set on the E100 for the (slightly) bigger harddrive and the firewire input... get an E80 as fast as you can and put the $400 price differental into an LF-D521 ($189 @ buy.com w/$90 rebate) and a stack of cartridge DVD-RAM's.


If you fill up the HD on the 80 too quick.. unload to DVD-RAM till you can burn them off on the E80.


If you want to do fancy editing/menus then uload to the DVD-RAM, take it to the LF-D521 and pull the VRO file.


Womble MPEG2VCR is probably the best editing program that will handle MPEG2 and VRO, price is reasonable.


either DVDLab or TMPGenc Author are good (inexpensive) authoring programs (TMPGenc will do custom menu background with simple buttons, DVDLab will do some more elegant work (DVDLab is still in devlopment but quite usable as it stands).


Your TIME and FRUSTRATION is worth more than mucking about with capture cards nowdays... 2 years ago.. yeah, but not today.

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furthermore...


having the internal HD of the E80 will give you something that no +R unit can do.. ~40 hours of UNATTENDED recording.. or better put.. let's say you have a 4 hour tape you need to record down... on anything without a HD, record 2 hours, change discs, record 2 more hours... and if you wanted to edit it and have something from the 1st disc on the 2nd.. well, spend a while juggling tapes back and forth... with the HD, dump the entire 4 hours down at once, go thru clip/edit/trim/re-arrange and burn baby burn... and then burn a second, third, fourth... without HAVING to either a) rip/burn on a PC or b) copy the copy.


The Panny's internal TBC will clean up/stablize those VHS/8mm tapes just as well as going thru the DVD camcorder... and you may like the results even better on the analog captures (the internal Y/C seperation does wonders).


oh, and I don't know WHERE you got the impression that a TV Capture card will give better results on TV captures.. 'taint so... not unless you plan to capture in raw AVI then do the software MPEG2 encodes... with spending a LOT of extra time...
 

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A recorder like the Pansonic E80 is far simpler and more cost effective, with the sacrifice of a certain amount of flexibility.


Having wasted plenty of hours wanting to do it on the computer, I'm pretty certain its not even worthwhile without spending at least $1k to get some prosumer hardware and software to do capture and MPEG2 encoding.
 

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I have to agree that using a stand alone is far more convenient than doing capture on the PC. PQ in the 1/2 hr modes is very good. I have even archived some old vhs stuff on the 3/4 hr modes which are perfectly acceptable.


Captuirng, filtering, editing, etc. on the PC might give you slightly better quality, but only if you are willing to spend lots of time. The quality I get from hitting 'play' on the vhs and 'record' on the recorder is good enough for me.
 

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I love my Panny DMR-E80 with the 80 gig hard drive. Very easy to dub your home movies and edit on the hard drive, then output, (at high speed!) to a DVD-R. Zip, zip, your done.


Plus you can use it as time shift tv recorder, instead of crappy VHS.

If you go standalone, get a hard drive unit.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
So let me try to get this straight.... I want to clear some things up.


For example.... is it possible to completely do the following with a standalone?




Case 1. Say, I have a 20 year old wedding VHS videotape....


Connect VCR to DVD Recorder.

Press play and record entire VHS to stand-alone's hard drive.

Go through the VHS which is now on the hard drive and create different chapters.... (i.e Church chapter, leaving Church chapter, banquet chapter, etc.)

I create a menu custom menu by adding some graphics and such.


And voila!? DVD ready to roll!?




Case 2. I have videos upon videos of the new baby on 8mm....


I connect the 8mm camcorder to the DVD recorder.

Transfer raw contents of various tapes to hard drive....

Edit out and delete the footage that is too long, over-done etc....

Add some effects (wipe, fade, etc.)

Possibly even add music???

Create a custom menu with chapter selection and possibly some graphics.


And voila!? One complete DVD from a bunch of tapes ready to roll?!




Case 3. MiniDV Footage


I connect to firewire...

Transfer raw footage digitally to HD...

Edit out the stuff I don't want...

Add some effects, titles and create chapters...


And voila?! A seven day vacation with 4 hours of raw footage on a 1 hour DVD!?





This is what I mainly plan to do with DVD recording to get rid of all those stacks of degrading tapes piled all around the house.

What are the limitations with standalone recorders with regards to the three cases I just described?


I need all the help I can get.


If I can do these three effortlessly as you guys describe with a standalone, I will most probably take that route.



Thank you for the responses and keep them coming!!





(P.s for DVD-recorders w/o HDs, whatever I feed into the recorder gets directly copied to DVD-R. right? But if I copy it to DVD-RAM, I can edit the footage the same way I do with a recorder with a HD but must use another DVD player capable of DVD-RAM playback to play the final edit externally into the DVD recorder and on to DVD-R??? right??)
 

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Yes all doable, except wipes and effects. You could dub music via the dub from the camera via another audio source into the audio inputs, but if you edit the video the audio will get edited too.

I don't believe you can add music (audio) during the dub from hard drive to DVD.

You could always add the music input to audio ins when playing video from a DVD-RAM player back into the hard drive.


Most of those things you mention I do all the time on on Panny E80, but it does not have firewire, just S video and composite or graphics for menus, just words,


Case 1 - can add Thumbnails with chapter names with some recorders like the Panny E100, which also has firewire. The E80 I have only lets you name each chapter, and/or the entire disk too. These chapter names are clickable/scrollable from the title menu on the DVD-R.


Case 2 - except music will take another pass, and graphics with titles is machine dependent.


Case 3 - firewire and thumbnails is machine dependent. Music is an extra step, probably. But if you edit to a DVD-RAM and play that back externally to the E80 and add music during this last dub.


I hope this helps some, I havent tried adding music but I'm going to when I dub some stills from my Sony camera to DVD. Hard drive to DVD-R internal dubs can not be directly added to when dubbing.
 

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You can do all of the above on the Panny EXCEPT for the 'custom menus' and 'back ground music'... you CAN however use the Panny as the recording device, transfer the edited footage to a DVD-RAM, take that DVD-RAM to a PC with a LF-D521 drive (see www.buy.com ). Pull the MPEG2 files and feed them into a more elaborate DVD Authoring program and go nuts on menus/music.


The menus on the PANNY are simplistic but functional. You would NOT want to 'finalize' the DVD-R on the panny if you want to do further editing/authoring since it can (somewhat) complicate the procedure in ripping the MPEG2 from a 'DVD Structure'. Using the DVD-Ram is more of a straight 'data transfer' (and a whole lot quicker than burning a DVD-R on the PANNY to move the data.. and you don't blow a blank for a data transfer)
 

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Follow up - Basically you feed the video/audio into the inputs of the recorder, to the hard drive for editing, or directly to a DVD-RAM or DVD-R disc. You can pause or stop recording anytime and edit on the fly to the DVDs if you want to, but with the hard drive there really is no need to, since you can easily edit it later.


On the hard drive you then can delete sections, and divide sections. Dividing creates individual chapters that can be named and further edited if needed. So yes, you can have a chapter of the 1- Banguet, 2 - Ceremony etc. These names will show up in the title menu of the finalized DVD-R as scrollable, chooseable chapters. it works very well.

If you also want markers (the >> button on your DVD player sees these as new chapters) inside of each chapter also you can add these when editing. You must use high speed dub to DVD-R (on the Pannys) from the hard drive to keep these customizable markers, the chapters and names will always be there no matter which dub speed you use, hi-speed or regular).


basically, yes the standalones do everything you want. On the Pannys you can also create video Playlists, which are similar to the edits/chapters already discussed, but Playlists DO NOT alter the original video on the drive.

That is, Playlist leaves your original video dubbed to the hard drive uncut, even tho the playlists are edited versions of the original. This is helpful if you want the original version uncut.

Hope it makes sense.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I really appreciate your enthusiastic and helpful responses!



BUT, If I buy a standalone I see myself firewiring footage from my camcorder to my PC, editing around, outputting final footage to the camcorder through firewire, then connecting it to the standalone through firewire and finalizing on DVD-R.


I don't understand why I should not make a DVD-R with the much cheaper PC DVD writer



Again, I also would not have to deal with any capture cards, as I will use the digital pass-through on my camcorder.
 

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Get yourself a Panasonic E80 or E100 if you must have a firewire input. Next buy the Panasonic LF-D521 burner for about $100 on buy.com.


Using your cam corder, input the footage to the Panny Recorder HDD.

Do all your shortening, dividing on the Panasonic DVD Recorder and dub to DVD Ram for sofisitcated editing with thumbnails, etc. Of course if you can live with the Panny menus, you can forget the PC involvement.


If you haven't done the PC exercise, I don't think you can appreciate the time savings involved by using the stand-alone DVD recorder.


I have the E80 and the 521 Burner for times I want to add some nicer menus, titles etc. Most of the time I am perfectly happy with the DVD's I have burned with the stand-alone.


Side benefit to the DVD-Ram and hard drive is the time slip which allows you to watch a program from the beginning before it finishes recording.


You have gotten some sound advice from folks that know this stuff inside out. Much more than I do. From your last response, it sounds like you are not convinced to go the stand-alone route. You certainly can get a great product with your proposed procedure but will spend much more time.


Good luck with whatever you decide.
 

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As others have said, the standalone is miles and miles ahead of a PC based solution in terms of convenience. It won't give you the power of unlimited customization, though. For that, you will have to transfer to PC and do your thing there. But still, letting the standalone do the capturing will save you tons of time and misery.


Advocates of PC capturing will poo poo the standalone units, but if your objective is to transfer the video to DVD without worrying about dropped frames and audio/video sync issues, go with standalone. You will never regret it.


By the way, the E80 does not have firewire input.
 

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I've been looking at this option myself lately. Right now I'm just waiting for prices to fall a little more in my reach. I've done the PC thing myself creating SVCD dics and playing with DVD-R outputs. I can say the editing part is great on the PC. It's the MPEG2 encoding that is the problem for me. I've tried custom settings for TMPGenc and CCE(Cinema Craft Encoder - expensive trial software), but it still wasn't satisfactory to me. Maybe, I just don't know it that well???


Anyway, how do the standalone units compare visually to PC based solution when it comes to the MPEG2 encoding process?


Thanks.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by video321
Anyway, how do the standalone units compare visually to PC based solution when it comes to the MPEG2 encoding process?
In terms of time, Adobe Premiere 6.5 takes about 3 minutes for every 40 seconds of video, using its built-in mpeg2 encoder. The PQ is not too bad. The real reason you may want to use a PC is to add rolling titles, graphics, voiceovers, music, effects, etc., all of which require overlay and multiple track capability, and none of which are really the forte of the standalone recorders. Plus, dvd authoring programs (on the PC) which can produce fancy motion menus.
 

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I think the technology is now good enough on the E80 to do the basic things I wanted, like taping shows.

I even elevated to Satellite now to take advantage of the better picture resolution.

I bought 4 of them and am in the process of emptying out my E30 and selling it, as I don't need the extra card inputs on it and the 40GB harddrive is too small for me now. It has served me well in the interim last year.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by JustinCheckin
I bought 4 of them and am in the process of emptying out my E30 and selling it, as I don't need the extra card inputs on it and the 40GB harddrive is too small for me now. It has served me well in the interim last year.

E30???


I'll assume that was a typo and you meant HS2????


(and how much you want??? PM me)
 

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I'm still a little confused about this. If you have a digital camcorder with firewire what would be the reason for getting the E80? Are their reasons you would still get the E80 or is it a slam dunk that you just go with the E100?


Thanks.
 

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Well....price mainly. The E80 ain't real cheap and the E100 is $350-$500 more, depending where you find it. For me it's hard to justify the extra $ when the E80 is so good for my needs.

If you just want firewire go with the cheaper E60, is it?
 

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Also, in spite of not having Firewire, the E80 does a pretty decent job dubbing DV via analog S-video... I really doubt you would notice much difference quality-wise compared to Firewire.. Remember, DVD does NOT use DV format, so you won't get a true bit-for-bit copy anyways. A DV-to-MPEG2 recode is required.


Of course, Firewire DOES provide the convenience of synchronized control, and a single-wire connection, but I can live without these....


Personally, I think the hard drive is worth a lot more than Firewire, making the E80 a better "bargain"...
 
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