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  Topic Review (Newest First)
30-01-2008 10:51
jimbo_hippo Thats interesting Chris. Never tried it on a Mac.

Got a couple of Mac-Minis we use for trade shows sitting on the shelf in the office. Might bring one home and give it a whirl.
29-01-2008 22:31
tokkalosh Hi Chris,

Thanks for all that info

I've already got two laptops so please don't talk me into another

Got to go through all the information now and see what is best for me, not a clue which avenue to take at present.

The last paragraph ...... will certainly bear that in mind when next in the area .... cheers Chris
29-01-2008 21:16
G2EWS Hi Tokkalosh,

Forgive me if I am going over old ground!

I have been making DVD's from my camcorder tapes for nearly 10 years. On the pc I moved up to Pinnacle Studio 11 I think it was. I found the whole process to be a true nightmare due to the inadequacies of the MS computer and Pinnacle. However it was something I had to do and particularly every Christmas when I created a DVD of the school nativity play. This had titles and chapters and finishes with photographs and music over. I always had tears from parents on how great it was!

This year I sorted the nativity play on my new iMac 24". What a complete joy by comparison to MS and Pinnacle. From switching on to importing the DV tapes from my Sony HD recorder to learning the software and putting onto DVD took a total of 2 hours! What's more it worked first time! More often than not the old MS and Pinnacle set up would create a DVD that was not playable on many DVD players!

So what am I suggesting? If you are serious and perhaps are in the market for a new computer buy an iMac! The free software is all you need.

If you are in the Devizes, Wiltshire neck of the woods, drop me a pm and come and stay for a couple of days and I will show you easy it is!


29-01-2008 20:45
tokkalosh Dubpaul and Richardjames, many thanks for sharing your experiences.

jimbo_hippo, thanks again, more food for thought
29-01-2008 15:48
jimbo_hippo 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 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. 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.
29-01-2008 14:48
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
29-01-2008 13:36
DubPaul 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.
29-01-2008 10:34
tokkalosh Many thanks all of you (buttons duly pressed )

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

Will deliberate further
29-01-2008 06:43
timbop37 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 but it doesn't solve your dilemma with your videos. I would tend to forget converting your old movies unless they are home movies.


29-01-2008 01:49
jimbo_hippo 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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