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DVD formats for home video and data backup

Discussion in 'Camcorders, Action Cams & Video Editing Forum' started by lampshuk, May 8, 2003.

  1. lampshuk

    lampshuk
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    I've been tinkering with DV for a while but now want to get a bit more serious, since DVD Writers are getting to be a sensible price.

    Before buying anything I wanted to double-check a couple of things.

    My primary interest in a DVD writer is for making home movies on my PC for replay on my home cinema and for backing up large quantities of data (digital still photos).

    I've figured out that DVD RAM is not the way to go, but am now rather stuck trying to decide between DVD pluses and minuses with R or RW.

    There are various recorders that support all the formats (eg Sony 500a) but they are quite a lot more expensive than players that support, for example, only +R, which may be all I need if they are readable on a living-room DVD player.

    It may be that I can use SVCD, but my one attempt at that with Pinnacle Studio 7 SE produced very blurry results which aren't acceptable.

    Can anybody out there advise? Should I be able to get better quality with SVCD? If so the 30-minute capacity wouldn't be a problem for home movies (my tolerance level is about 15 minutes for those anyway...)

    Thanks,

    Lampsh.
     
  2. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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    The DVD format debate is the same as the old VHS/Betamax war.
    One format will win, but the other will end up dissapearing into history to stand besides Betamax. The +R(W) format does seam to play in more DVD players but the disks do tend to be slightly more expensive. If I was to buy a DVD writer then I would go for the multi-format Sony. Spending an extra £50(ish) now is cheaper than replacing the drive in the future if you do pick the wrong one.

    SVCD should be close to the quality of a DVD, but only if the source material is up to that quality. VHS copies will never get even close to that, but trying a different CODEC to convert the footage to MPEG-2 might give better results.

    Mark.
     
  3. steev

    steev
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    Try TMPGENC http://www.tmpgenc.net/e_main2.html. It's a very well rated MPEG2 encoder. I used it on the one SVCD I've made so far and the quality is better than I could get from Studio 7. I don't know if 8 is any better.

    When I last looked at this program it had a 30 day timeout then you had to reinstall it. Something to do with MPEG licencing.

    I also decided that SVCD was adequate for home movies. If you can work out how to do a menu and/or chapters it would be ideal.

    --
    Steve
    www.bagofspoons.net
     
  4. lampshuk

    lampshuk
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    Thanks for the response, Steve. I had similar feedback about Pinnacle 7 from a work colleague who's into this, though he recommended Ulead Studio as having a good MPEG2 encoder.

    I was trying out a freebie version of Instant CD/DVD last night and found that there were some MPEG configurations that it wouldn't allow me to write to CD due to "MPEG license conditions". I think it was the higher sample rate I tried on one clip.

    I'll try TMPGenc and report back to the forum.

    Thanks for the tip,

    Lampsh.
     
  5. Paul D

    Paul D
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    I've just bought the sony 500ax DVD writer to be on the safe side.
    I'm writing my DVDs to DVD-R at the moment and they have played on everything i've tried.
    The reason i'm using -R rather than +R is due to cost ie 100 DVD-R = £56.40 - 100 DVD+R = £100!
    I think the sony tends to write quicker on +R "cheap" discs (4x vs 2x) than -R cheap discs etc.
    I think the only problems between the formats will be playing on old DVD players.
    I think +R will win the day, but -Rs cheaper discs may tip the balance!
     
  6. lampshuk

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    Just a quick update:

    I tried out Ulead Version 7 (trial edition) and tmpgenc and both produced significantly better results than Pinnacle Version 7. I had to play around with some of the tmpgen advanced settings for the encoding, which weren't always easy to find. Setting "constant quality" bitrate and "best motion detection" gave the best results with a small increase in the file size, but quite a hit in terms of processing time.

    Ulead V7 looks like the best combination of ease-of-use and quality so far, but now I have a trial of Pinnacle V8 so I will try that...

    Lampsh.
     
  7. Paul D

    Paul D
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    I have Pinnacle 8.1, make sure you have the latest version (8.5 ish). As there are some serious bugs in the original version etc.
    Once updated, it has worked perfectly.
    I have found Pinnacle 8.1 almost foolproof to use as the software is so user friendly.
    I got Ulead 7 on saturday, but have not had time to try it yet.
    The interface looks a little scary to me!
    But i hope some time with it will prove fruitful etc.
     
  8. lampshuk

    lampshuk
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    Very interesting, thanks Fulabeer.

    I installed a trial of Pinnacle 8 last night and here are my initial thoughts vs Ulead 7 (also eval version):

    Pinnacle 8 is easier to use but has less flexibility: There is a limited number of image filters that can be applied to the video, but the really important ones (bright/contrast, colour) are all there. The subjective performance while editing seems better, and the ability to do all the edits with only preview quality DV then auto-load the bits you want to use when rendering is _very_ helpful BUT the one thing that I wanted to test: quality of SVCD output, is disabled on the eval version!

    Ulead V7 has much more flexibility but feels clunkier to use. More features (filters with key points and so forth) and transitions are nice if you spend the time to get to know them and the SVCD output quality is good. The main niggles I have are:

    Video filters and transitions don't apply to titles, only the video stream itself. This can be annoying if you want to use a transition to wipe a title from the slide (for example at the end of a film).

    Titles don't stay attached to their video clips, so if you create a title and then change the length of a video clip earlier than the one with the title attached, the video clp to which the title applies will have moved in time, while the title stays stationary.

    I guess that these niggles are relatively minor compared to the SVCD quality problem. Even so, I think I would go for Pinnacle for the ease-of-use if it wasn't for the quality issue. What was your experience there?
     

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