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DV Tape Dilema


Active Member
Hi all,

Was a keen camcorder-er back 10 odd years ago, and have lost track of recent developments, so after a bit of advice.

I want to archive a whole load of DV tapes onto hard drive (before disposing of the DV camcorder – now replaced by an AVCHD one YIPPEE!!!), some footage is edited some not.

1) What’s the best way to store the footage – (importing using the default windows 7 - movie maker importer creates massive AVI files)

2) Is there any software to convert the AVI file type to something less memory hungry, or is this not recommended?

3) Is there any simple software to do basic/quick editing of unwanted chunks of footage and then save the remainder as a losless/high quality file. (Windows XP Movie Maker used to be handy for this, but the new version windows 7 does not seem allow you to maintain the same file quality and only gives you restrictive compressed output options from what I’ve found)

I have a budget of upto £100 for new software – nothing too fancy (if needed to do the above - it would also need it to be able to handle AVCHD files as well saving new finished projects in HD format and also creating AVCHD DVD's)

if i've been a wally and missed any similar threads, please point me in the right direction


Distinguished Member
Long post short Answer
Any of the Editing Software available now will handle both AVCHD and DV and simle editing is a turn of phrase; hey are have a learning curve albeit some steep other gentle

My advise will be a bit of an opinion, so take what you can from it

Unless you have the patience of a saint . ( and massive HDD space) I would suggest to get a Settop DVD recorder with HDD and quietly " dump" your tapes on at Standard quality in which you can get 2 hrs worth onto a 4.7Gb disc
You can then burn discs which would be one storage form

These discs can be imaged on the PC ( as ISO files) onto HDD or copied ( just copy the DVD folder) ( I like imaging: you can burn disc easily and you can infact play them of virtual disc drives), but you can just as easily pay off DVD folders too

Just to say it isnt WMM that makes massive DV AVI files . these are merely the files as they were on the tape , Any method to get them smaller would involved compressing them "on the fly", or converting after capture.

Im sure you are aware that DVD videos use mpeg2
The point is that you dont need to capture as avi then convert to mpeg2 on the PC unless you really want to . You can edit off a DVD and remake one if you wish from the dited material although for absoute quality it is still best to capture as DVAVI on the PC edit and then output to whichever format you wish

With regards AVCHD you completely dispense with firewire caoture and so on and you get lovely Hidef files . but to get decent quality , you will be better getting a mid range higher end model
There is also the matter of computing power needed to edit AVCHD files:nothing less than a Quadcore PC with 4Gb RAM will do it with fluidity

And there is the " how do you watch them" ? : Via PS3 , AVCDH discs? ( Hi def on DVD media) or even BD discs : do you have BDbplayer and wish to get a burner media?
Many folk now use small media players which can also play back all your DV material

It may be a good idea to keep you tapes and camcorder safely even after transferring them to HDD ect : You just never know if and when you might need them; HDD fail and Optical media .. well they fail too

Just as I said , an opinion.:D


Active Member
Thanks Senu,

Backing some off onto a hard drive/DVD recorder thing, completely forgot I could fire wire the footage onto it.

also useful for quick cropping of unwanted footage.

need to try burning to DVD & check quality to see if I’m happy as the only backup.

I assume I should be able to import the DVD’s into pc editing software if and when I get round to editing it properly???


Distinguished Member
need to try burning to DVD & check quality to see if I'm happy as the only backup.
You need not use the DVDs as the only backup though , you can ( as I said) still image these to a HDD
I assume I should be able to import the DVD's into pc editing software if and when I get round to editing it properly???

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