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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 28-01-2008, 22:13 Thread Starter
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Dazzle DVD Recorder

I want to record all my videos onto DVD, has anyone experience of the Dazzle DVD Recorder?

Seems like a good buy but would like to hear some first hand experience
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 28-01-2008, 23:24
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Hi Trish

I'm just trying to go through that exercise but it's a long slog, especially when your tape collection runs into the hundreds.

I had one of these Dazzle units some time ago and it was adequate, probably not much to choose between the various makes. At least Pinnacle (who make them) are a respectable concern so they should be OK. It really depends on what quality you expect from the finished product. For best quality you'll need to import in DV format via firewire then use a good authoring programme to create the disks. You'll need a lot of spare time too.

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 28-01-2008, 23:46
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We decided we wanted to be able to record films to watch later. After a bit of toing and froing, we got the :: Sony HDD DVD recorder ::. It was a bit expensive, but recording programmes from the Freeview program guide is dead easy. We can put them onto DVD if we want to, and of course we can link it in to our old tape VHS recorder, and put the VHS videos straight to DVD.

I've done a bit of work on video on PC, and it takes f-o-r-e-v-e-r, even on a 3GHz PC. Chris (G2xxx) (sorry, can't remember the other letters ) has said that he found doing video and DVD authoring much easier on his new Mac than he ever did on PC. But then, I guess that's a bit more expensive

I love my Sony. I didn't know (until someone said on here) that it can also do series recording; set up one episode to record, change the "series" from no to yes, and whenever another of those programs pops up (I presume it ignores repeats) it records it. It will also adjust its timer to match when the program actually comes on, instead of when the guide says it should come on.

This may be old hat to some, but it's new and dead exciting for me.

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 29-01-2008, 00:49
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I'd second the idea of a DVD recorder. Tokkalosh, if you just want to archive forget getting into the PC stuff.

I work with video day in day out with all sorts of magical (and expensive equipment) yet the art of making a DVD is still long-winded. Especially if you are more interested in the film/program than the technology. Think of the DVD recorder as a very good real-time encoder plus authoring tool and suddenly it makes more sense than any capture device for the domestic field, also because it has a use beyond the initial capture (put it in your van?).

If you also have a DVD burner in your PC I would offer the following tip: Record to DVD+RW or DVD-RW and then trim the bits off the end/beginning etc. Most recorders have the facility to edit recordings. Once complete make edits compatible (usually an option in the menu) then duplicate THAT disc on your PC onto a DVR-R or DVD+R and treat it as your archive disc.

Whats more the technology is now fairly standard and even the TESCOs cheapies have pretty solid technology. I have a Phillips recorder I paid over 500.00 for several years ago and it has been flakey to say the least but those days are gone. Even the most basic recorder can do a decent job if you just want to archive old TV stuff.

One final thing to be aware of. Pre-recorded VHS tapes often have a protection system called macrovision. It only kicks in when you record not when you view. On old VHS to VHS this would show as a roll to dark then light repeatedly but on many DVD recorders it will simply say 'protected' on the display and prohibit recording. However a 'clever' scart can sort that. Got one somewhere but no idea where or who it was from. Let me know if you have this problem and I'll look it up.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 29-01-2008, 05:43
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I would tend to agree with the others. I have transferred video to DVD many times in the past by connecting the video to my camcorder, puttng it onto miniDV tape, and then capturing it on the PC. I just make a DVD ni the normal way on the PC. However, although this results in better quality than you would get with a Dazzle setup, it still takes to long.

A HDD Freeview recorder with video out to a DVD recorder, or built-in DVD recorder is the quickest way to get movies. It doesn't solve the problem with your videos. I download in DIVX and convert to DVD quite quickly but this is not something I could recommend that you do.

You could backup any DVDs in DIVX format (there are free converters on the net) onto a HDD media player like http://www.digitalpromo.co.uk/electr...s-c-4_252.html but it doesn't solve your dilemma with your videos. I would tend to forget converting your old movies unless they are home movies.


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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 29-01-2008, 09:34 Thread Starter
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Many thanks all of you (buttons duly pressed )

Not straightforward then
It is home videos and some music videos mainly.

Will deliberate further
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 29-01-2008, 12:36
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I got a Dazzle thingy.

It worked fine but it took a bit of experimenting with settings etc to get it right.

Also, it can take AGES!

But I only have a dozen or so camcorder tapes I want to record and a few VHS so it's kindof a once off exercise. I switched to a HDD camcorder.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 29-01-2008, 13:48
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sony dvd/vcr

I have had this dilemma as well and finished up with a Sony DVD/VCR and do a straight copy with limited editing. The process is easy and painless and will copy most Tapes as long as they are not protected. The system cost about 200 from dear old Currys. You might find difficulty in finding a unit, Sony do not list one now, but I think that Samsung do a model try
Qvc are a good company to buy from they even have 30 day trial then return, no questions asked
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 29-01-2008, 14:48
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Ok chaps I'm gonna share a bit of what I know here because I can see 2 distinct scenarios appearing here and we need to diferentiate between them.

The first is just to archive some old VHS or DV camcorder tapes. You don't want to edit them (except the odd dodgy cut editing with the remote). Best bet is a DVD recorder or HDD/DVD recorder combo. But be prepared for some stuff you hadn't expected such as chapter markers and trimming maybe only working on the system you did it on etc. It isn't plain sailing even with this simple option.

Second is if you want to actually CREATE a DVD with edited footage, menus, chapter markers, labels and so on. This is entirely different approach and requires several stages, half your waking life and the patience of a saint but can be immensely rewarding when you get it right.

The stages for option 2 are capture, edit, encode, author the DVD then burn to disc. All are seperate in essence although some programs may group some of the processes together.

Capture: this is getting raw media into the PC and might be by firewire cable or by analogue capture card. It could be via a gizmo like the Dazzle DVD which started this thread but you might already have suitable hardware to do this without knowing it. For example If you have a camcorder connect it using firewire and it'll save you an age of messing about with codecs, compression etc. Just capture using PAL DV settings. All parameters fixed already. Also, many camcorders also let you 'pass through' so feed a VCR into your camcorder and you can do same for VHS' too. Often overlooked is that feature!

Once you have your raw media (preferably in DV or similar low compression format) use a programme to edit it. Nothing to do with DVD yet this is the video you want to make. Don't dismiss Windows Movie Maker. It isn't exactly laden with broadcast features but it is free (check for updates too) and you can make a decent video with fades, music and so on. When you're done you'll have a single file which is your video.

Now to encode it. Oh yes, you thought you could just burn it to a DVD and it was all finished but no, you have to get it into the correct format. Editing is easier with AVI or Quicktime files, but DVD (ideally) wants a special form of Mpg2 called elemental streams where the video and audio are seperated. I use Tmpeg encoding software for this but it isn't free. From experience, cheap or free encoding software will give you results showing what you paid! So anyway, let it encode while you shave and get a haircut (you'll need both if you got this far).

Then you take your encoded files and 'author' a DVD by adding your newly encoded files to authoring software (I recommend DVDlab if you are a keen amateur - made by mediachance....google it ). Here you will make menus, chaptermarkers etc and the programme will probably create 2 folders in a special structure which you can then burn to a DVD using Nero or similar.

So.....you still up for it?

To be fair, something like the Dazzle will take most of those stages and using its own software, combine most of them into simple wizard-driven tasks. For many being guided through step by step is the prefered way. Whichever way you go, it's not a simple case of burning a DVD like you might burn some pictures to a CD for archive.

As mentioned, editing your own films and authoring your own DVDs can be hugely rewarding. But be aware of what's involved before parting with cash as you might just find the whole thing a complete pain in the rear and wish for your VHS tapes back!

I would also read the reviews of the Dazzle on Amazon to see how everyday users find it. They read exactly as I thought they would. The idea of "plug it in and bingo! a DVD", made me rub my chin I must confess.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 29-01-2008, 19:45 Thread Starter
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Dubpaul and Richardjames, many thanks for sharing your experiences.

jimbo_hippo, thanks again, more food for thought
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