Recording quality to DVD


Standard Member
I'm about to buy a Sony PC120 camcorder, and already have a new 2.5GHz PC with firewire card and fast 80Gb disk. I want to use this set-up to edit my videos and would like to buy an external DVD rewriter and output my edited tapes to DVD. However, I don't want any loss of quality in the final result. Will this set-up preserve the full 500+line quality of the original or would I be better re-writing to DV tape through the camcorder?

Also, what (inexpensive) software would you recommend?

Many thanks


Your setup is certainly powerfull enough.

All DVD video is held in MPEG2 format. The quality you get on your DVD's depends on the MPEG encoder you buy. These range from free to about $15000!

You will need some kind of video capture/edit software. Canopus, Pinnicle and Ulead are all good. Have a look at their web sites:


Some of their products include MPEG encoders.


Active Member
If you have good quality DV footage, a good encoder, and an Mpeg at a high bitrate the quality on DVD will be indistinguishable from the original. In fact if you use the TMPGEnc encoder with the optimum settings it will appear better than the original when played on a good DVD player and TV through RGB inputs! It will rival commercial DVD's

For best quality use use a high bitrate, and if DVD capacity is not an issue use a constant bitrate of about 8000. TMPGEnc has settings for all parameters, and the defaults are far from the best. To get the best quality the encoding is slow but well worth the wait. You can encode overnight in batch mode to save time.

If you use a seperate encoder and authoring software use Pinnacle Syudio 7 as the capture and editing application. Studio 8 still has some annoying bugs and the encoder although now quite good is still not as good as TMPGEnc. A good cheap authoring program is Ulead DMF


Standard Member
Thanks for these helpful replies. However, I'm now a bit confused. Do I need three different programs? Capture and editing, encoding and authoring? What is the authoring software for? How can I find the optimum settings if these are not the defaults? Also how much will these suggestions cost?

Sorry, but as usual, the more you tell me the more I feel I need to know.

Thanks in advance.


DVD authoring from PC is a complex business.

To try an answer your questions:

1. You will need some form of editing software. You use this as the name suggests: For editing, chopping, changing and adding sound tracks to your video.

2. The MPEG encoder is another piece of software. This takes your edited footage and encodes it into an MPEG file. There are two ways to do this: If your editor has an MPEG encoder, then you should be able to encode your edited footage directly from the editor to MPEG. If you are using a standalone encoder (like TMPEG), then you will need to create audio/video files (AVI files) from your editing software and "feed" them into the encoder.

3. Authoring the DVD is where you bring all the elements together to write it to the DVD. That is, your video, your audio and any menu's and chapter links you wish to create on a DVD.

Depending on how much you want to spend, and how serious you are about this, you could have a look at the Pinnacle products. Some of these packages have "all-in". That is; Editor, Encoder and Authoring, for a reasonable price.

What I would recommend is the following:

Canopus DVRaptor-RT with Premiere 6.5. This package contains everything you will need, from vaideo capture, editing, encoding and authoring. This is a fantastic package and will serve both the enthuist and hobyist. Just make sure your PC can handle it. The best price I've seen it for on the net is at:


Its where I bought mine and they are very good.

I personally do not like Pinnacle, but lots of people swear by them. Studio 7 is supposed to be quite good, and is cheaper than the Canopus package I mentioned above.

Visit both the www.canopus.com and www.pinnaclesys.com sites and have a look at their support forums for the products you are interested in. This will give you a very good idea of the kinds of successes and problems everydays users of the products are experiencing.


PS: The further down this road you go, the more questions you will have.


Active Member
The excellent reply by Madman says it all.

Pinnacle Studio 8 contains all the application elements you need; capture, edit, encoding, authoring, and finally burning.

The all-in-one programs are fine except they may not be the best at every action, especially encoding. Using seperate applications for each stage allows you to use the best for you, and gives flexibility.

For capture and editing I would recommend Premier, or Studio 7

CoolEdit 2000 for wave file editing (optional)

For 3D transitions and effects HFX Pro (optional)

For encoding TMPGEnc Plus (but not with default templates)

Ulead DVD Workshop for authoring (Ulead DMF is good but simpler and a lot cheaper)

Roxio EasyCD for writing authored ISO files to DVD (this can be done by the authoring application but gives writing flexibilty)

The above depends upon personal opinion but will give really excellent professional results, with quality rivaling commercial DVD's


Standard Member
Thank you for these very comprehensive replies. I will have a look at prices for these packages. I'll let you know later how I get on.


Standard Member
I've got the Pinnacle 8 .. it's great piece of software that does it all from capturing until DVD is done ..

By the way, I heared that there are HARDWARE encoders ?? are they available ?? Software take a lot of time ..


Active Member

There are hardware encoders which operate in real time, but they are very expensive, and no better quality than software encoders. Most of the cheaper hardware MPEG encoders are capture devices and not what you need to produce a DVD compliant MPEG2 file from an AVI file (unless you recapture an edited DV file from a camcorder).

Although software encoding is relatively slow, does this really matter, especially when compared with the time taken for editing? If you use TMPGEnc you can batch encode and leave it running overnight and set it to switch off the PC when its finished. With the right settings Most importantly, TMPGEnc can give a quality second to none.
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