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· Hall Of Fame
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I guess there are 2 ways to go

1) Entertainment unit device

2) PC Component device.

If I wanted to go PC component device, I assume I would need

a) DVD-R/DVD-RW drive

b) A video capture device (if not already on Video Card)

c) DVD authoring software (not all created equal, so junky SW sometimes comes on good drive).

I had a Belkin Videobus I which only gives me 352x288 and does the audio thruo the sound board, so that would not do the job.

Are there any good USB based devices that will do full screen recording from VHS Analog imput so as to be converted DVD?

It looks like to me that best option right now is the Entertainment Center type units?
 

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I use the dazzle hollywood bridge. It is a firewire device, but it comes with a firewire card for the pc (make sure you get PC version, mac version does not include the card). It is pretty easy to use. It uses the same file format as a DV camcorder uses. Very handy because it also has a pass through firewire port on it that you can hook up your DV camcorder to without having to scrounge around under the desk for the firewire port.

I bought a Pioneer A03 drive quite a while ago (A04 is current model), it came with authoring software. Probably any drive would come with authoring software.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the info...

WHen taking the analog signal off the VCR thru the
"Dazzle Hollywood Bridge" was it easy to specify to make the size and quality destined for a DVD burner.

I have a 40GB drive of which I have a full 20GB partition I can devote to creating the files and burning. How large are the files that you created ? Is 20GB GB enough? I don't plan on keeping the files lying around after burning. I'm assuming since a DVD holds 4.7GB that should be enough?

It dosen't look like PC the package includes the Firewire card anymore?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I understand there are new drives that support DVD+R as well as DVD-R. What is the difference, is it worthwhile to wait for a DVD+R. I see DVD+RW and DVD-RW, are these standards any different or is that a spelling error by some sellers
 

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The Dazzle box captures at 740x480 which is the same format that DVDs are recorded. So, it is perfect for it. Also, you probably want to be running windowsXP because the capture files are around 15MB per hour of video, and you need large file system support like NTFS. A 2 hour video needs about 50GB to make a DVD. You need the 30GB for the uncompressed capture, 5 GB for the DVD image, 5GB for the MPEG-2 compressed file, and a few other GB for temporary authoring files. I ended up getting an 80GB drive that I formated with NTFS just to do DVD work.

Also windowsXP media player can handle files over 4GB, previous versions did not (95 was 2GB, 98 was 4GB).

I was at Best Buy a couple weeks ago and saw it include the fire wire card, they have an unmarked white box attached to the box the Dazzle comes in with the card in it. It could be a Best Buy thing. It saves $50 that the card would cost.
 

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The different standards -RW/-R and +RW/+R are really not too important. Each camp claims theirs is better, but many tests have shown about the same compatibility with players. The newer the player the more likely it will be able to play any of the disks.

+R/-R are the most compatible. -RW/+RW work in most new players. I have found that using name brand media makes a difference. It is not as exact as CDs are at this time (remember when they first came out they had a lot of compatibily problems with CD players).

Which ever standard you choose you will just have to be sure to buy the same disks (i.e. -RW/R will not work in +RW/R). This is for recording only. You can play a - in a + drive and vice versa.

I chose -RW/-R for a couple reasons. +RW/R was very new when I bought my recorder. I also have Pioneer DVD players and it was a Pioneer recorder (A03), pioneer players play -RW/-R very well.

There is supposed to be a new sony drive out, or coming out, that will record on either media.

If you have old DVD players (before 2001) you will have some compatibility problems. I find if I limit my recordings to less than 4GB (out of the 4.7) I make the most compatible disks (this is because the last 20% of the disk is the hardest for the player to read).
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I have a very old RCA DVD player that dosen't like to play anything (so if it works on that it will work on anything). I also have a Sony (560? I think) that plays just about everything.

Well ordered all the stuff.

Thru buy.com got the
Got the Dazzle Hollywood for PC for $244
Got a Firewire card for $32
Got the OEM version of the Pioneer A04 from CenDyne for $297
Bought a 80GB drive (to add to existing 40GB drive)

The machine (2.0GHz, 640MB Ram) came with XP Home , I guess I will reinstall it (I was using Linux and Win2000 Adv server) I will probably use NTFS across on both drives.

Most of the DVD-R media say General Data "Not for Authoring". I assume that means not authoring a playable DVD-R but for like PC data and such. Where do you find "Authorable" DVD-Rs or do you use DVD-RW media??? Bought Maxell and TDK brand 10 packs (one of DVD-R and one of DVD-RW)
 

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DVD for General is what you want. Authoring drives are for "professional" use. Essentially to work around the entire copyright issue, DVD for general has the disk encryption information permanently stamped on the disk. This track controls copy protection, it is stamped that the disk is not encrypted.

This keeps you from making a bit for bit copy of a Hollywood disk, because the hollywood disk is encrypted and the DVD for general has the decryption section permanently stamped not to allow decryption and region control.

Authoring drives run about 3k, and allow you to produce an encrypted disk, but they have a limitation of only 4GB or so data capacity. The general disks go to 4.7 GB.

You want DVD-RW and -R general.

If you ever decide you want to mass produce a disk and you want region control and encryption, you can use the DVD-R and take it to a professional production house and have them reauthor it that way. Many disk copiers will take a DVD-R for reproduction (they used to require a DLT tape), but you will not have the encryption, region control, and copy protection without going to have it reauthored first.
 

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Well on a different note welcome to the world of DVD authoring. Here are some quick and dirty secrets that will probably save you a lot of time:

1. The DVD authoring software you get from the drive make (does not matter which maker) will be a slightly better than demo version. They will have an "upgrade" available to a more powerful version. With the Pioneer drive you probably got a program called DVDit. You probably got DVDit LT and will want to upgrade to SE. There is also PE but you will not really need PE until you get serious.

2. The mpeg encoder that comes with the software will probably not do a good job if you try to put more than about 75 minutes on a disk. http://www.tmpgenc.net/ is a link to a very low cost (I think it is free for 30 days then $50). This is an extreamly powerful encoder (in fact I do not know of an encoder that really does more or better), but it takes forever to work. It can take 48 hours to do a 2hour video if you try to maximize picture quality, there are faster modes. Remember the hollywood takes 6 weeks to do a movie (they have people look at each frame and adjust by hand if needed (tmpengc will allow you to do that if you really wanted to)).

3. it is an enormous time sink. If you are just doing VCR quality you will probably not have to worry about #2 very much. You can put a 2 hour VCR tape on a DVD without much problem using the software that comes with it. This is because the VCR tape is low resolution to start with. But you will have to worry about how the disk works. i.e. if you want to have menus, scene selections, you are responsible to put it all together, and link what you want the next, back, menu, buttons do. You have tremendous flexibility and I would definitely use RW disks for a while until you get it just like you want it before doing -R. I always test a disk as much as possible, testing the buttons at each menu and menu selection.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I figure if I want to archive my tapes, I would want to use chapters and Play all, but not that much. I guess first priority is get them off the VHS tapes and then later on make them "Presentable".

How long to master a 2Hr Video tape to DVD with no menus, just start and play. Tape has already started to lose sharpness due to age of the tape?

Obviously 2 hours to run thru the playing of the data?...
 

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If you are using DVDit it will probably take:

1. 2 hours to play the tape and send it to disk

2. If you know what you are doing (after a bit of practice) it will take just seconds to make a dvd if you do not want any menus. You just have to drag and drop the AVI file on to the firstplay box (makes it autoplay when inserted) and presto you are done.

3. MPEG-2 encode -- this step depends on your CPU, a 1.9GHZ P4 will do about real time encoding with DVDit. So, about 2 hours for a 2 hour video. Seems like they sped up the encoder so maybe less than 90 minutes.

4. DVD image creation (it builds the DVD image on hard disk first) about 20-30 minutes

5. Burning the disk about an hour. (DVD-RW is 1 hour, DVD-R is recorded 2x so as little as 30 minutes) depends on your system.

So a total of about 6 hours if all goes well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
A friend said I will never been seen again at 6 hours per tape :D

Well I installed XP Home back on my P4/2GHz. Applying all the patches. So I should be ready for when the hardware arrives late this week or early next week.
 

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Well the best part about most of the process is that it is pretty automatic. You start the transfer from tape to disk, come back 2 hours later.

Same thing with DVDit, once you click on the make disk it MPEG-2s it, builds the disk image and writes it out without you needing to be there.

Errors usually occur in the fist few minutes, so stick around a bit before leaving it to go.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
With Firewire only costing $30 for a PCI card for price of entry if you don't have it, that shouldn't be the limiting factor.

At work today I saw one of the Web design people with the Dazzle Hollywood. I asked him if it was any good he said for the 320x240 web site stuff, it was probably overkill, but he said any time he used it it worked great, and he figured that it would work well full screen from the messing around he did with it.

I'll let you know how it goes. Of course the DVD drive won't arrive till mid Next week, It looks like tomorrow the blank DVDs arive, the day after the Dazzle, the day after than the Firewire and the day after than (weekend) the DVD. I think I saved about $100 going internet, but it might have been nicer to walk out of a CompUSA with everything in hand :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
No experience, but from the web site (8500)

"Capture still images and analog video in MPEG-2 format at resolutions up to 720x480 and 30 frames-per-second"

That seems that the specs would allow it do the same job as the Dazzle Hollywood. But of course specs and reality may differ :)
 

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The video that the Dazzle box captures is not compressed very much (it is turned into DV format, it is a bit compressed color wise 4:4:4 to 4:2:2 I think. MPEG-2 is 4:2:0).

If the ATI is compressing to MPEG-2 that is quite a bit of compression. I prefer software compression to hardware compression because you can play with the parameters much easier.

When I make a DVD and I want it done quick I use the Ligos MPEG encoder, if I want ultra high quality I use the Tmpengc compresser (takes like 8x longer than the ligos). I use variable bit rate encodiing. Tmpengc does an exhaustive search for motion vectors to get the max compression, that is why it takes so long. Hardware compressors can only hold so many frames in memory to look for motion vectors. Now the ones that hollywood use do a great job, but they cost 100k+.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Well Dazzle showed up today. So now I have Firewire card and Dazzle (but no media or DVD-RW drive) I've been tinkering with recording stuff. The SW does VCD, so I guess I could record the tapes to file, and then just practice with VCD. My Sony DVD player supposedly plays VCD, so that might be interesting.
 

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Well now you can have fun playing with recoding and editing. Windows has a basic movie editing program (windows movie maker, comes with XP) that you can cut and paste around clips and write out a new avi file.

I use the windows movie maker first on all my DV camera loads because it will go through the video and read the timecode that is on each frame and make separate clips for each time the camera is record/paused.

I use Adobe Premiere for complex editing (not needed for just VCR to DVD). You can do all sorts of titles and scene change transitions. It does "near linear editing". With the clips separated out by the windows program it is easier to make all the cuts with premiere.
 
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