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  1. Member
    Join Date: Apr 2009
    Location: Slovenia
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    orsetto mentioned in this post http://forum.videohelp.com/topic366035.html#1956207
    Note to jcool: if you really do depend heavily on your 520, understand you are living on borrowed time. The vast majority of 520 burners have long since died, that yours still works after five years is a minor miracle. To extend the life of your 520, you need to do three things (if you haven't already): stop all use of 16x DVD-R and switch to Taiyo Yuden or Verbatim DataLife 8x media (this puts much less stress on the burner), limit your R/W use, and search places like eBay for a working, second-hand Pioneer DVR-107 or -A07 PC burner. If your 520 burner ever dies, you can replace it with a used 107 burner if you swap the controller boards in the two burners. (See other threads here such as "DVR-R09-XP needed"). The Pioneer company recently tanked, they are in serious financial trouble and are reorganizing as a strictly "car audio" supplier: this means no more Kuro TVs and no more DVD recorders. The Pio recorders have already been pulled from the USA and Canada stores, if you can possibly afford it I suggest you buy a new DVR-560 in your country while they are still for sale. They make a worthwhile supplement to a 520 and can finalize 520 discs, as well as exchange unfinalized and VR-mode discs.

    While it does not offer the old-style full screen chapter marking, the separate chapter editing window in the 560 is the fastest and most responsive one Pioneer has come up with since the 520 (mainly because the CM skip now allows jumping in variable increments up to an hour in either direction, and the nav is more linear). The 560 is actually much more refined than the 520 aside from the full-screen feature that some have grown addicted to in the 520: definitely worth having as a reserve machine if you don't enjoy computer editing. I own the 510, 520, 540 and 560: once I got used to the much easier navigation and tools in the later models I stopped using the older units as anything but duping slaves. But its a matter of taste, everyone records differently- for my main purpose of archiving shows for later viewing and dubbing a huge collection of VHS tapes, the later models are more responsive. Others who are more immediate in their viewing prefer the 520, as would someone needing a machine to integrate into a HTPC system. Regarding the edited finalized DVDs from the 520 being more difficult to reauthor on a PC, I would only add that such issues occur with media from any DVD recorder- none of these burns a disc in a way that completely satisfies picky PC authoring tools. The Pios are actually as close to spec as you can get, there are endless tales of Panasonic and Toshiba created discs needing much more work to reauthor (depending on the vintage). Anyone expecting to re-author frequently should just avoid a recorder and take the direct-to-PC route, unless they can find something like a 520 that integrates via DV connection.
    Thank you for your advice. I did make some insurance for all my unfinished DVDs by purchasing the sister model 310 (just as 520 but without HDD). I credit a long life of my 520 to good ventilation. I put all my components on square aluminium profiles that put about 2.5cm (almost 1 inch) of space for better cooling. I picked that idea from a video pro who I purchased a used Super VHS recorder (Panasonic NV-HS900). He said it would last longer with bigger distance between other components for cooling. So I purchased an aluminium square profile and cut it to make two "legs" for a component and glued it to the bottom by using two-side tape. I also put thick cloth feet so that the "feet" wouldn't scratch the bottom component.
    My 520 obviusly caught up with its age a few weeks ago when some problems with power supply started. Now it works like this: when it is switched to standby, a few minutes later, display turns off and it's dead (it won't come back). If I pull out the power and leave it for about 10-15-minutes, after reconnecting it comes back to standby and I can switch it on. It works just fine util switched to standby again. Great power saver, but useless for timer recording

    I checked the user manual of 560 and it looks really interesting. Did you try to use the USB keyboard with it? It could be a great solution for all my unfinished DVDs left open to set Title names some day. To use the keyboard for navigation would also be nice.
    Did you try recoding from a miniDV camera? I really want to know if chapters are more accurate. On 520 they are a few frames too late. So if you delete a clip (chaptered segment), you have to clean up some residual frames from the beginning of deleted clip.
    Also it would be a real kicker to access TV recordings from a PC. I guess that is deliberately disabled
    Is the transfer one way only? User manual doesn't say.
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  2. Member orsetto's Avatar
    Join Date: Oct 2007
    Location: NYC
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    Other than the burner wearing out from age, the main failure issue found with the 520 is in the power supply, which like every other electronic item manufactured in 2004 contains faulty counterfeit Chinese capacitors. These eventually swell or fail leading to power on-off problems. There are some repair tips on the pioneerfaq.info website, if you're handy with a soldering iron, if not you can bring it to a service shop and ask them to repair the power supply section.

    Yes, keyboard entry on the 560 is very convenient. The "connect to PC" feature is extremely finicky and unreliable, your PC has to be formatted exactly the way the recorder wants and even then it doesn't recognize or allow transfer of many files. In any case it won't transfer primary video files via PC connect, only JPEGs, DiVX and MP3 files. I find it easier to use USB thumb drives or DVD-ROM/CD-ROM for such transfers. The DV connection only seems to work with cameras, the accuracy is somewhat better than on the 520 but still off enough to require some cleanup. It depends on the camera to some degree.

    Overall I find the 560 much more intuitive to use than the older 510/520. I totally understand the attachment some have for the fullscreen chapter and thumbnail marking features of the older units, and I agree they should have been retained as options in the newer models. But in my use, I gladly gave that up in exchange for much faster and cleaner navigation system and much easier operation of the editing system (recorded titles scroll up and down and always have their names visible, unlike the inscrutable checkerboard of the 510/520 nav screen, and switching a title into its various editing options is quicker and more direct). One thing I dislike very much on the newer models is the typeface used in all the displays: it is thinner and smaller and harder to read on smaller screens than the chunkier, contrastier typeface of the 510-520. Considering the thousand features incorporated in these machines, it really is odd Pioneer could not combine the best features of the older units with the improvements in the new ones.

    Oh, well, that's what keeps all these models valuable second hand to someone: nice to know in a crisis we could always sell them quickly (not that we ever would! )
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  3. Member
    Join Date: Apr 2009
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    I'm confused about USB ports. There is an input port and an output port. On the input port you can connect a storage device or a keyboard, on the output port you can connect PC that sees DVR as a storage device. You said that PC shoud be formatted in a certain way... I read in the manual that DVR can only read FAT formatted storage, which makes sense, because NTFS and other formats are more complex.

    I think I read somewhere that firmware can be upgraded. It could make a dream machine to have access to VOB or VRO files on a DVR disk, but that's just my wishfull thinking .

    Since you have a lot of DVRs, you must also record a lot of material. How do you use it, where does it all end up (on DVD, computer)?
    Do you catalog your DVDs? How?

    I noticed you also use Mac OS (Tiger was in your OS list). I have a MacBook over a year now and I like it much more than Vista. I wanted to "try something else than Windows" and dual booting Intel CPU Apple was ideal. Linux is just not enough consistent for my taste (some GUI looks beautiful, but settings and management can be butt-ugly). Years ago Apple was had a reputation of being expensive and not as much software was available as for a PC. I can tell after a year of browsing, there is a lot of stuff available for Mac.
    I also have a long term plan for a video library along with photo (iPhoto, Expression Media) and music (iTunes or something). The only software I could find to have a video and tape library was iDive (and FootTrack) for Mac OS X. Other soutions for Windows were just too professional (read: expensive & unavailable).

    What do you use for managing your collectins?
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  4. Member orsetto's Avatar
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    The USB ports are interchangeable, USB is USB, I really don't get why they bothered with the expense of both the small and large ports: its just a very minor convenience that it can accept either end of a typical device cable. It doesn't matter which of the two ports you plug into.

    It isn't just the hard drive format that the recorder is picky about, it also wants to "see" your files organized in a certain way before it will recognize them on your PC. Regarding the Mac, I've never bothered trying to connect my Pioneers via USB since the instruction book only indicates PC compatibilty. I suppose you could try it, and tell us what happens! In my work (when I can still get work), I'm involved with both Macs and Windows PCs. I started back in the 80's with Macs and eventually learned to integrate some Windows "expertise" (it puts food on the table ). One thing I have learned over the last 20 years is neither platform is perfect for everything: advanced users can often obtain benefits from both. Back when computers cost as much as a used Volkswagen, this was a big problem, but today when you can buy a both a Mac and a Windows PC together for under a grand its easy enough to take advantage of both. Windows is much easier to get useful free tools on for handling DVD tasks, so I do most of my personal DVD work (which isn't much) on a beat-up Pentium 4 XP Pro box I picked up for $200 years ago. For everything else I use Macs. It depends on your personal preferences, tasks, tools, and willingness to alternate platforms. (I do use various Linux flavors for a small assortment of "hardcore" tasks that can't be done with anything else, usually involving hard drives formatted in "machine language" or other inscrutable formats.)

    Forget the idea of any Pioneer firmware upgrades: the last time Pioneer released one publicly was 2006, only after their service centers were swamped with warranty claims to repair a minor titling issue on the x40 machines easily fixed by consumers with a firmware disc. The followup x50 and x60 machines are bug-free and Pioneer never releases feature upgrades via firmware anyway. Not to mention the company is circling the drain, about to go under, and has even less interest in upgrading its now-discontinued recorders. No DVD recorder allows direct transfer of VOB files between the recorder and a computer: this would run afoul of their handshake agreements with Hollywood. Its a nice dream, but only a dream.

    I'm not big on cataloging anything, because its very hard to catch up on if you start trying after you've already accumulated thousands of items. I haven't even tried with digital photos yet, I just have them grouped in a number of folders alphabetically and manually search when I want something. In the old days of VHS, I had an index card file that was useful for manually looking up where something was (I organize the tapes in uniform boxes of ten and use a numbering/catalog scheme based on box number and tape number within that box). About nine years ago, I created a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet and entered all my index card data: this makes life much easier, because I can track down anything within a couple of keystrokes. Each movie or TV show has a row in the spreadsheet, which is broken down by column into title name, its type (tv show or movie), genre (comedy, thriller, drama, etc), box number, tape number within the box, and a brief description of the title (plot or actors or whatever).

    In the last five years I've transferred many of my 3500 tapes to DVD, and of course recorded many new titles directly to DVD. At present the DVDs total about 1900. I hate to admit it but I've been really REALLY lazy about cataloging the DVDs: I haven't even started yet (no time, what with trying to copy all those tapes ) My main goal in "going DVD" was to get rid of the tapes, which take up half my living space. The DVDs I store in their original 50-disc cakeboxes, which are stackable, protective and use up the least amount of storage space. I easily find what I want in any given cakebox if I know the disc is in it, but its now very hard to guess which cakebox contains what disc . I have the spindles roughly divided into three groups: TV series, movies I have already seen and know I'm keeping, and movies I have not seen yet. Other than that I have no clue where anything is. Recently I cloned my tape spreadsheet, and from memory checked off everything that has been replaced by a DVD, but I haven't updated the spreadsheet with the exact locations of those DVDs, never mind the newer titles that aren't even on the list yet. Life is too short to ever complete all our obsessive-compulsive tasks , especially if you have a combination personality like mine (obsessive perfectionist who is a compulsive procrastinator).
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  5. Member
    Join Date: Apr 2009
    Location: Slovenia
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    Sorry to hear about your employment problems. With a small delay, the crisis is also hiting my country, mostly dependant on exporting to EU. That's the way crisis goes: the big ones can't sell, so they don't produce and order parts that little ones make (guess which ones we are ) .

    Wow, your collection is much bigger than mine. I guess it must be the age difference. At the time I bought my first VCR, I didn't have that much money to throw on tapes and my first VCR still lives today, collecting dust on a shelf along with the second one (SVHS).
    Most of the VHS tapes I just forgot about, they're not worth transferring to DVD. If I want a movie, I can get much better quality from DVD rental or from a torrent. Also most of my DVD recordings done by 520 is not in IMBD, so catalog software for DVDs that downloads info from IMDB is mostly useless. But I did one thing right when recording DVDs. I have marked chapters to help me catalog my recordings. Just by making snapshots at chapter markers, I could get a pretty decent catalog. Unfortunately software that makes snapshots at DVD chapter markers doesn't exist (yet?) and I doubt many people record DVDs as I do. All that I could find can make snapshots manually or by some time interval. And I couldn't find a software DVD player that was able to pause and jump through chapters. It's easy to press a pause on 520 and then jump between chapters. All software players start playing after making a jump to the next chapter. If you want to stay on that chapter you would have to press a pause really quick after jumping to the next chapter.

    I did manage to "hack-up" a proof of concept Applescript that does just that. Jumps between chapters and pauses for a snapshot. It will take some more testing and polishing but I think it is doable with Mac OS X DVD Player and Applescript.

    I'm also planning on transferring all DVDs to a hard disk storage (Home Server) and compressing them with H264. I think H264 is enough standard and advanced video compression format to last a while, just like MPEG-2 it's not going away soon. I'm really concerned that DVDs wont last more than 5-10 years. So I'm also going to make a backup on "inexpensive" USB disks. WD is my favourite, because it has SMART test and sector verify software. If you just put a hard disk in USB case, you won't be able to access any low level diagnostic.
    My idea for a digital archive is to have two copies on different brand DVD and one on Hard Disk. I'm determined to have that done at least for pictures and videos of my family and friends that I took with a camera.

    I guess I have the same problem as you do (perfectionist and procrastinator) so just any old DVD compression software is not good enough for me. They mostly have a flaw of forgetting "the beautiful chapters" that I have worked so hard to put in tracks 8)

    Again the only "practical" solution that I have found that keeps chapters is Handbrake. Unfortunately it's not designed for batch conversion of the whole DVD .
    Most of my cartoon DVDs have more than 20 tracks (I have more than 100 of them). No way I going to put them in queue by hand. My moto: convenience over quality (it's not that important on stuff from TV). The Handbrake authors believe you have to hand optimize every movie (track) so batch processing is not on their list. However they didn't consider that someone may actually have more than 1 or 2 tracks to convert per DVD. Well I'll just have to find some way to automate that. Since my most powerful computer is a MacBook, it would have to be on OS X, perhaps with Applescript.

    You're right about life being too short for our obsessive-compulsive tasks. And my wife and kids demand their attention too, so you can imagine the progress of my "projects".

    About USB: I gues the different connectors are used to determine functionality of the port. Computer for example never has the same connector as a disk, because you can't use it as a disk (Macs with firewire can imitate disk - pretty cool feature, now gone with new MacBooks - bye bye DV camera and firewire peripherials: disk, sound interfaces).
    Can you use both USB connectors at the same time? Perhaps you havent tried printing protos from USB key or a camera using DVR-560.

    I did a search for a device that would record from a tuner and have recordings available for copy with a computer. Kiss' PVR is obviusly obsolete since Kiss got bought by Linksys and Linksys got bought by Cisco. I don't think we will see any improvement from them. Another gadget is TVIX R-3300 PVR, aparently able to record on NTFS formatted disk that you can connect to a PC and copy the files. Interesting toy, but I have doubts about its stability and usability.
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  6. Member orsetto's Avatar
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    Your English is so good, I keep forgetting you're in Slovenia! Yes, my tape collection is huge because it was in progress for 25 years before I switched to DVD-R, also many of my DVD-Rs consist of copies of those tapes so the two collections overlap (eventually the tapes will be discarded). Many titles I had on tape are not available on commercial DVD or are not worth the cost: the important stuff I slowly replace with studio DVDs as finances permit. The rest (70%) is typical compulsive collecting: I have it just to have it, know what I mean?

    If you read some of the other threads here, there has been a lot of discussion regarding archive formats and methods. In terms of what we have access to as consumers, technology has not yet caught up with archival standards: DVD-R can deteriorate, USB memory sticks are poorly made and lose data, and hard drives have a limited lifespan of a few years in storage (longer if they are used regularly). The only media that was known-good archival was magneto-optical discs, but the advent of CD-R and DVD-R totally killed this format (magneto-optical is 20x-30x more expensive per disc). We will probably have to transfer our digital data to two or three newer technologies in our lifetimes, because standards change rapidly. Your plan to kee pthe DVDs + H264 on hard drives is very popular.
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  7. Member Seeker47's Avatar
    Join Date: Jul 2005
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    Originally Posted by orsetto
    Other than the burner wearing out from age, the main failure issue found with the 520 is in the power supply, which like every other electronic item manufactured in 2004 contains faulty counterfeit Chinese capacitors. These eventually swell or fail leading to power on-off problems. There are some repair tips on the pioneerfaq.info website, if you're handy with a soldering iron, if not you can bring it to a service shop and ask them to repair the power supply section.
    And it may have to be some independent service facility. I was shocked to see your report about what dire straits Pioneer seems to be in -- that they are circling the wagons (or perhaps the drain), and could soon fall back to car audio and little else ? That would be a tremendous loss, in the quality home electronics field. Their Kuro line were regarded to be the best Plasma TVs available. They are currently going away in closeouts, but even if you could pick up one of those fancy $6K+ panels for $1500., you'd have to wonder about future parts and service. We may really be stuck with DIY solutions for their DVDRs.

    As to the 520, you were very impressed with someone's report of one of these lasting 5 years. The one I have has seen about 4 years of heavy use, with only fairly minor issues. But it has pretty good ventilation, good power protection, and has mainly been fed a diet of TYGO2, Sony or Fuji 8x (from when the former was actually good and the latter was in fact TY), with the occasional TDK -RW thrown in. A relative also has a 520, which has been in service for about 2.5 years of light use, and that one is doing quite well also. Maybe those bad caps are not universal, or perhaps we've just been very lucky ? (But there could be age as well as usage issues there, at some point ?) My 640 has seen about two years of steady use . . . so I hope your estimate of 3 years on the 640 burner turns out to be overly conservative in that particular case too. I would be very interested to hear if and when you ever need to replace one of those 640-or-later model burners, since I know it is much more difficult and may require some mad skills.

    Originally Posted by orsetto
    No DVD recorder allows direct transfer of VOB files between the recorder and a computer
    What about that Tivo-2-Go business ? A friend of mine has made regular use of that, but I don't think he'd recognize VOB files if he tripped over them.

    Originally Posted by orsetto
    The DVDs I store in their original 50-disc cakeboxes, which are stackable, protective and use up the least amount of storage space.
    That's a popular space-saving mode. Don't think I'd do that with the 100-spindles, though, as I'd be concerned about the accumulated weight pressing down on the lower-half discs. What I've been using are those rigid aluminum CD/DVD storage boxes with the carry handles, mostly in the 200-disc or 300-disc sizes. These can often be found on sale at Fry's. They come in larger sizes too, but past the 400-size you're dealing with a trunk, which gets to be unwieldy. You can flip through these pretty quickly to find a particular title, especially if they are divided by type of recorded material, and then each alphabetized. I'd still like to work up a comprehensive catalog, but that is not going to make the Priority Task List anytime soon.

    Originally Posted by jcool
    I'm really concerned that DVDs wont last more than 5-10 years. So I'm also going to make a backup on "inexpensive" USB disks. WD is my favourite, because it has SMART test and sector verify software. If you just put a hard disk in USB case, you won't be able to access any low level diagnostic.
    My idea for a digital archive is to have two copies on different brand DVD and one on Hard Disk. I'm determined to have that done at least for pictures and videos of my family and friends that I took with a camera.
    I take it you mean standalone, external USB HDDs ? Didn't know that about the availability of the SMART test. We probably can't expect the HDDs we can now buy rather inexpensively to last any longer than what you projected for DVDs. So, anything critical and irreplaceable should exist on more than one HDD -- preferably not all stored at the same location. Redundancy with flash media / DVDs is not a bad idea either. And, as Orsetto indicated, we should expect to have to re-backup any or all of these periodically.
    When in Las Vegas, don't miss the Pinball Hall of Fame Museum http://www.pinballmuseum.org/ -- over 150 tables from 6+ decades of this gradually disappearing American art form.
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  8. Member
    Join Date: Apr 2009
    Location: Slovenia
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    Originally Posted by orsetto
    Your English is so good, I keep forgetting you're in Slovenia!
    Do you know where is Slovenija?
    I read a lot of stuff in English, so I have to be good at it to understand latest technology and information which is mostly available in English. If you want to be good at a foreign language, you have to be able to "switch thinking modes" and think in that particular foreign language. Sometimes I have a problem translating something (for example from English), because my understanding of the language works on another processing path, separate of my native language (or any other language that I understand).

    Originally Posted by orsetto
    Yes, my tape collection is huge because it was in progress for 25 years before I switched to DVD-R, also many of my DVD-Rs consist of copies of those tapes so the two collections overlap (eventually the tapes will be discarded). Many titles I had on tape are not available on commercial DVD or are not worth the cost: the important stuff I slowly replace with studio DVDs as finances permit. The rest (70%) is typical compulsive collecting: I have it just to have it, know what I mean?
    Most of recordings I collected is "for the kids" and I never watched them again. If I manage to catalog the stuff, my kids (or maybe some friends) can have some benefit from my collection.
    I remember the time wasted before DVD-R became cheap: grabbing DVDs, converting them to DiVx, fixing subtitles and recording to CD. I was single then and had lots of time to waste - well not anymore.

    Originally Posted by orsetto
    If you read some of the other threads here, there has been a lot of discussion regarding archive formats and methods. In terms of what we have access to as consumers, technology has not yet caught up with archival standards: DVD-R can deteriorate, USB memory sticks are poorly made and lose data, and hard drives have a limited lifespan of a few years in storage (longer if they are used regularly). The only media that was known-good archival was magneto-optical discs, but the advent of CD-R and DVD-R totally killed this format (magneto-optical is 20x-30x more expensive per disc). We will probably have to transfer our digital data to two or three newer technologies in our lifetimes, because standards change rapidly. Your plan to kee pthe DVDs + H264 on hard drives is very popular.
    Yes I remember MOs, but they were pretty exotic even then. I think the best way is to "go with the flow" of current common technology which is also the cheapest way. I advised against tape backups at work, since tapes are much more expensive than hard disk storage, slower and harder to work with. If anything goes wrong, self-help is pretty limited.
    For bulk storage, I think external USB disk drives is the best option at the moment. I don't want to waste too much space, so I want to compress video stored on disks. Another reason is to make videos usable on portable players like iPod.

    Originally Posted by Seeker47
    I take it you mean standalone, external USB HDDs ? Didn't know that about the availability of the SMART test. We probably can't expect the HDDs we can now buy rather inexpensively to last any longer than what you projected for DVDs. So, anything critical and irreplaceable should exist on more than one HDD -- preferably not all stored at the same location. Redundancy with flash media / DVDs is not a bad idea either. And, as Orsetto indicated, we should expect to have to re-backup any or all of these periodically.
    Yes, in their original factory USB case. I don't have good experience with separete USB cases. They're pretty expensive, but use cheap components, especially power supply (bad power blew up and disk was gone). And I have burned some disks defragmenting in external enclosure (heavy use, bad cooling).
    I disagree about comparing life time of Hard Disks and DVDs. DVDs deteriorate by themselves and there's nothing you can do to refresh them except make another copy on a new medium (time consuming). I've seen tests of old CD-R media that looked like some worms were eating them up. I think it was the result of oxidative damage (and maybe some mold and bacteria). On the other hand, Hard Disk can demagnetize by itself if left alone. Todays technologies try to slower that process. You can refresh the recording on magnetic platters or perhaps do a backup/format/restore routine easy and unattended. I don't know what else can go wrong (other than drive failure - that can happen to any drive).
    Multiple copies are text-book good backup practice. Periodical maintenance (verify, copy) of the archive is unavoidable to prevent data loss. My guess would be once or twice a year and tranferring the whole archive as soon another generation of "inexpensive" mainstream media emerges.
    I have positive experience with WD My Book (Essential Edition is entry model). Check here:
    http://www.wdc.com/en/products/Products.asp?DriveID=580
    They make me confident because I can use Data Lifeguard Diagnostic for Windows (find it in Downloads). You can test SMART status of most WD external USB drives and do quick and slow surface diagnostic test. It's selfcontained with enclosure and power supply that make it just a little more expensive than the drive alone. It's more expensive to buy USB case separately. Always ready to use, just power it on and plug in USB. I don't know if any other external USB drive has such low level diagnostic capability.

    The challenge with transferring massive amount of data is to ensure integrity. Every time I transferred a lot of files, something always got damaged. So it is important to be able to determine which files are corrupted.

    Anybody has any good practice?

    For integrity check on DVDs (and sometimes on disk too) I use a free utility DVDsig (http://members.ozemail.com.au/~nulifetv/freezip/freeware/).
    DVDsig is a files verification software for DVD-ROM, DVD-Video, CD-ROM and other removable media. It will scan all files and directories of a new disk compilation and create a list of reliable MD5 file signatures. DVDsig is small enough to be conveniently included on any disk compilation and offers immediate, independent verification of the files after burning is completed. The inclusion of DVDsig along with the signature list it generates is a simple, quick and effective way of validating your data at any time and anywhere
    If SFV tools are too complicated (they often work on current folder only), this one is a keeper.
    Unfortunately, I don't know a tool to check DVD-Video. I used to work with a tool that accessed low level DVD media error correction that was available in LG's DVD drives. By analysing that data you could predict if DVD is stil in good shape or if the one just recorded is bad quality media. After moving to a new appartment and not using it for a while, the drive started acting funny, so I don't use it anymore.
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  9. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    I know this is an old thread, but it looked like the most relevant one I could pull up without spending half an hour on searches. This post is probably intended for Orsetto.

    My 520 has been in storage for a few months, though it may go back into an equipment chain before too long. For the time being, though, I don't have it or its manual to refer to, which would have settled the question I wanted to ask. Were several editing features removed after the 520 ? I could have sworn there was a manual 'Set Chapters' (not just thumbnails) feature I used to see as an option, although I don't recall ever using it. This is definitely not present in my 640, which is hooked up at the moment. It looks like I could force a kind of ersatz chaptering by snipping out a few "expendable" frames here and there, like from black or transitional shots. Then, the Chapter jump control on a remote would have something to seek and grab onto.

    I just transferred a movie to the 640 HDD -- on its way to DVD -- and thought that the 10 minute auto-chaptering setting would do its thing, but this seems to have been ignored. Other things seem to get ignored also, like the ability to FF the resulting DVD on other players. I attribute this to non-standard aspects of these DVDRs. If I want an end product that really plays by all the DVD standards -- particularly if the material has any edits within it -- I guess I'd have to go the extra steps of ripping, running it through FixVTS, and re-burning from the PC ? Ah, well . . . .

    So, was I just imagining having seen Set Chapter functions on the 520, or maybe thinking about a Toshiba model or something else ? I've also got a 460, as a hedge and spare for the future. This is apparently quite similar to the 560 also mentioned in this thread, but I'm doubting that it will offer much in the way of additional editing options that I'm not seeing on the 640.

    [Yup, I'm lazy: don't really like learning new software programs or doing certain things on the computer that maybe really should be done on a computer -- like video editing and DVD authoring -- but I'd rather do them more simplistically on a good standalone device. I have done some pretty basic stuff with MPEG using VIDEOREDO, but, at least for the time being, I'd much rather just fire up one of the Pioneers.]
    When in Las Vegas, don't miss the Pinball Hall of Fame Museum http://www.pinballmuseum.org/ -- over 150 tables from 6+ decades of this gradually disappearing American art form.
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  10. Member orsetto's Avatar
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    Ya know, seeker47, I was *just* thinking of you! Why? Because I just got back from visiting the new PINBALL MUSEUM on the Asbury Park boardwalk in New Jersey! I don't know how it compares with the Nevada museum you reference in your signature, but it was pretty cool. The one slightly disappointing aspect is they advertise "over 100 machines" but almost all of them are twins (replay and non-replay versions?) so really there's "only" 56 different machines. Anyway it was a blast, and I thought of you the whole time I was playing.

    ON TO YOUR QUESTION: the summer heat is making you lazy, my friend! If you scrounged around to look for your instruction manuals, you would see ALL Pioneers except the first 510/5100 do have complete chapter editing functions, the only difference is after the 520 the interface changed significantly. The interface for the x30, x40, x50, and x60 are all the same, so you only need your 460 manual handy for future reference. To get into the 640 dedicated chapter edit mode, highlight an HDD title in the navigator screen then press the right arrow remote button to pull up the options menu. Hit the down button to highlight Edit and press Enter. Press down again until it highlights Chapter Edit and press Enter. A warning will appear about different types of editing, just clear it by pressing Enter to choose the default Video Mode and you will find yourself in the Chapter Edit screen, which looks a helluva lot like the "Erase Section" editing screen but with smaller preview window and controls for manipulating chapters. The title will start playing, with the controls defaulting to "Divide" (i.e., enter chapter marks). You can insert chapter points at any time by hitting the Enter button on the remote. If you change your mind, use the down arrow to select Combine instead of divide. Move the pointer to the chapter mark you want to remove and hit the Enter button. If you choose the Erase function, you can use the left and right arrows to highlight a chaptered section of video in yellow and delete it.

    It all works much like the 520 except the interface is sleeker with smaller text display (hard on the eyes). The only function available on the 510 and 520 that was dropped from later models is the dedicated chapter marking button on the remote, which let you insert chapter marks on the fly while watching a recording in normal full-screen mode. That button does not work on later models, you're forced to go into the dedicated Chapter Edit system any time you want to work with chapters.

    Note the "auto chapter" function in the x50 and x60 is a useless joke: a lot of people think it inserts automatic chapter points every ten minutes but it really doesn't. Instead, it uses a totally clueless algorithm to try and detect commercial breaks in recordings and insert chapter marks there, on the theory you can then easily delete the commercials afterward. Unfortunately this only seems to work right in the rigidly controlled Japanese broadcast system, here in the Wild West where commercials start running while show characters are still talking the Pio detection system is random and useless. Go into the setup menu of the recorder and turn it off, its much more efficient to manually insert chapters using the Chapter Edit screen (press the CM Skip button on the remote 7 times to jump ahead in 10 minute intervals, hitting Enter to pop in the chapter marks, takes two minutes to do in a two hour recording).
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  11. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    Ya know, seeker47, I was *just* thinking of you! Why? Because I just got back from visiting the new PINBALL MUSEUM on the Asbury Park boardwalk in New Jersey! I don't know how it compares with the Nevada museum you reference in your signature, but it was pretty cool. The one slightly disappointing aspect is they advertise "over 100 machines" but almost all of them are twins (replay and non-replay versions?) so really there's "only" 56 different machines. Anyway it was a blast, and I thought of you the whole time I was playing.
    Hiya, and thanks for the quick reply ! There is supposedly one somewhere in Maryland, but I had not heard of the one you just mentioned. For sure, there must be very few of them. The one in LV is owned and operated by a really good guy who has done a lot for charity, and his place is so great I just had to give it a plug with that signature. He's certainly one of the last of a vanishing breed, devoted to keeping alive something that may not even be a memory in another 20 years. Although it (also) technically qualifies as a museum, in how many museums do they let you touch -- let alone use -- what is on display ? I haven't been able to get back there since the end of '08, and since that time he has relocated it to a new, much better location with roughly twice the square footage. So, the next visit remains high on my list.

    Due to that sig, I've received PMs on this subject. I replied that eventually I would try to post something, probably a cross between an article and an essay, including some rather good links. Might explicate some things for anyone interested, and possibly re-awaken some interest in others. Haven't gotten around to that yet, but it may depend on whether the former "Everything Else" section here survived post V-Bulletin.

    Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    . . .
    you only need your 460 manual handy for future reference. To get into the 640 dedicated chapter edit mode, highlight an HDD title in the navigator screen then press the right arrow remote button to pull up the options menu. Hit the down button to highlight Edit and press Enter. Press down again until it highlights Chapter Edit and press Enter. A warning will appear about different types of editing, just clear it by pressing Enter to choose the default Video Mode and you will find yourself in the Chapter Edit screen, which looks a helluva lot like the "Erase Section" editing screen but with smaller preview window and controls for manipulating chapters. The title will start playing, with the controls defaulting to "Divide" (i.e., enter chapter marks). You can insert chapter points at any time by hitting the Enter button on the remote. If you change your mind, use the down arrow to select Combine instead of divide. Move the pointer to the chapter mark you want to remove and hit the Enter button. If you choose the Erase function, you can use the left and right arrows to highlight a chaptered section of video in yellow and delete it.
    O.K., here's what threw me. I never looked past that "Divide." In my mind, "Divide" was only that other, drastic, can't-go-home-again "Divide" (for whole Titles). I forgot that they had a different, more specific one. What you outlined above is not really discussed in the 640 manual. My recollection is that the 520 manual went into more detail, and might well have had this info.

    I've done an extensive amount of editing with these decks, which creates chapter marks at the excised sections as a by-product. But what you described above makes perfect sense and will be most helpful.

    [I just had to add an editorial comment here. In one of these threads, someone posted that this type of device is now useless and pointless, since it's analog and not HD. I couldn't disagree with that more. Given a really good source, the PQ can be very good indeed, and a hell of a lot better than nothing, for archival purposes. The editing functionality -- and the convenience of getting to it -- won't readily be found elsewhere.]

    Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    It all works much like the 520 except the interface is sleeker with smaller text display (hard on the eyes). The only function available on the 510 and 520 that was dropped from later models is the dedicated chapter marking button on the remote, which let you insert chapter marks on the fly while watching a recording in normal full-screen mode. That button does not work on later models,
    . . .
    Note the "auto chapter" function in the x50 and x60 is a useless joke: a lot of people think it inserts automatic chapter points every ten minutes but it really doesn't.
    Yeah, I remembered something about the dedicated chapter button on the remote. In regard to the auto-chaptering, I'm certain that I've transferred some Beta recordings in the past -- into the 520, at least -- where chapters were created automatically every 10 minutes. That's probably the only example of this I recall. It stands out in my mind because that is where I discovered something better than the Sima CT-200 would be required to deal with the abrupt speed-change anomalies I was getting from the Beta output signal. The Sima helped somewhat, but added its own annoying color-shift anomalies. I had a much better result on a couple trials with the TBC-1000, but did not persevere with that big transfer project, and need to get back to it.
    When in Las Vegas, don't miss the Pinball Hall of Fame Museum http://www.pinballmuseum.org/ -- over 150 tables from 6+ decades of this gradually disappearing American art form.
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  12. Member orsetto's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Seeker47 View Post
    In regard to the auto-chaptering, I'm certain that I've transferred some Beta recordings in the past -- into the 520, at least -- where chapters were created automatically every 10 minutes.
    I sold my 520 three years ago when I was offered crazy money for it so I don't really remember if it had automatic 10 minute HDD chapter insertion. I'm pretty sure it did not, because the earlier 510 didn't and the 530, 640, 550 and 560 didn't either, at least on the HDD. All Pioneers do auto-chapter if recording direct to a DVD, but for some odd reason not on the hard drive. The HDD auto-chapter feature added to the 550 and 560 series functions as I described above: you can't set a manual interval, it just randomly inserts them where it thinks they should go. I find this just gets in the way of editing later, so I turn it off and just put manual chapters in when I clean up the recording. If its a TV show with commercials, as you noted you get an auto-chapter wherever you delete a commercial anyway, which suits me fine.

    It stands out in my mind because that is where I discovered something better than the Sima CT-200 would be required to deal with the abrupt speed-change anomalies I was getting from the Beta output signal.
    I've found the 520 does very poorly with flawed Beta or VHS input. it can't handle it at all, worst deck I've ever used (aside from JVC) for borderline tape transfers. All the Pioneers that came after the 520 do a MUCH better job with tape input. The 640 is solid but a bit blurry, the 450/550 and 460/560 with their 12 bit encoders are superb, as good as it gets with anything made after 2006. You might not even need a TBC for your bad tapes at all when you try your 460, I almost never need to connect my TBC1000 to my own 460 (and some of my Beta tapes are very lame).
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  13. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    Ya know, seeker47, I was *just* thinking of you! Why? Because I just got back from visiting the new PINBALL MUSEUM on the Asbury Park boardwalk in New Jersey! I don't know how it compares with the Nevada museum you reference in your signature, but it was pretty cool. The one slightly disappointing aspect is they advertise "over 100 machines" but almost all of them are twins (replay and non-replay versions?) so really there's "only" 56 different machines. Anyway it was a blast, and I thought of you the whole time I was playing.
    I hope this is not the place you were referring to:

    http://www.cnn.com/video/?/video/crime/2010/08/07/pkg.chernoff.pinball.ban.cnn

    There may be other localities with such laws still on the books, due to a (true) history of usage for gambling purposes, long ago. There are two locations I know of where I'm at now -- bowling alleys with two and three tables, respectively -- where the operator has added a custom LED display on top. These are basically like those "silent radio" displays one used to see in some banks, stores, etc. But these announce a prize pool, and those players who have placed or are currently leading. The sums involved are nominal -- I think the last one I saw mentioned a prize of around $30. Still, given the history and those archaic laws, I'm wondering how they get away with it.
    When in Las Vegas, don't miss the Pinball Hall of Fame Museum http://www.pinballmuseum.org/ -- over 150 tables from 6+ decades of this gradually disappearing American art form.
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  14. Member orsetto's Avatar
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    Wow, seeker47, I had no idea those dopey laws were still on the books!

    The new museum on the Asbury Park, NJ boardwalk that I mentioned above is this one:

    http://silverballmuseum.com/
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  15. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    I could use a bit of a refresher clarification on just what does and does not trigger re-encodes, regarding the use of the Pioneer chaptering feature and edited-out sections. In another thread, someone advised me to avoid the "Frame Accurate" option when setting chapter points, so I have done that. In regard to edits, my standard preference is "Frame Accurate", so I've done that. With most movies, the edits tend to be chopping out excess time before and after. (The recording will have started a bit early, and run a bit late, just as a safety measure.) My assumption was that cuts before / after the movie should not involve any re-encode.

    Within the running time, frame accurate edits would have removed commercials or promos, if there were any. Shows would have these; I tend to avoid movies that are shown with commercial interruptions. But am I actually lowering quality without realizing it (via a re-encode) by using the Frame Accurate choice ?

    What if I had already set chapters (not frame-accurate), but subsequently found a commercial I had missed, and then removed it with a frame-accurate edit ? It would be much less precise or controlled to my exact preference, but I could start doing all the cuts via those 00:00:15 keyframes.
    When in Las Vegas, don't miss the Pinball Hall of Fame Museum http://www.pinballmuseum.org/ -- over 150 tables from 6+ decades of this gradually disappearing American art form.
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    The Pioneer instruction manuals tend to be unclear or omit those details altogether, seeker47. I can only tell you my own experience with these options, and as it confuses me sometimes, I imagine you'll probably need to run your own experiments as well. There has been heated debate on some other AV forums regarding unit-to-unit variation between Pioneer recorders: some owners swear that "frame accurate" edits are carried over intact to finalized DVDs, while others swear the points move slightly every time. I find my Pios vary depending on the recording: sometimes "frame accurate" carries over, sometimes it doesn't (probably because I just happened to choose a keyframe or not). The Pioneers don't re-encode during HS lossless dub, they just move the "Frame Accurate" edit points. Rather than be surprised, I stick to "Video Mode" instead of "Frame Accurate" (so at least I can see in advance exactly what points the recorder will insist on).

    The "Frame Accurate" option is basically a crock in most recorders, including the Pioneers. It only really keeps the "frame accuracy" when using the HDD, DVD-RAM discs, DVD+RW, or -R/-RW/+R discs you pre-format with the proprietary Pioneer VR Mode. The minute you decide to high-speed-lossless-burn a finalized DVD-R compatible with other hardware, the frame accuracy goes out the window and the recorder overrides your edit points to the nearest key frames, as required by the DVD Video standard. Because of this, I long ago gave up on the "frame accuracy" fantasy: it requires a PC authoring system to do properly, and I can't be bothered- I prefer using standalone recorders. (This is the point where some Toshiba XS troll usually jumps in to boast their high-strung boxes of pain DO maintain frame accurate mode from HDD to DVD- my reply is "show me a Toshiba XS with a fully functional burner, or don't talk to me.")

    The automatic keyframe edit point rollover in "Video Mode" gives a very accurate preview of where the edit points will appear on a standard finalized disc. You are prevented from setting an edit point on an "illegal" frame, which is frustrating creatively but you do get to see exactly how far off from your preferred frame the recorder will stray. With practice, I've gotten better at rocking the fwd/reverse frame advance to hit a good compromise edit point in Video Mode- it rarely changes during the HS Dub process. Unfortunately, the compromise gets harder to accept as years pass and TV networks collude with advertisers to completely eliminate any space between ads and program material. It pisses me off that I'm forced to either chop a half second of material, or include the final half second of an inane commercial (especially grating with nostalgia channels that cut directly from graveyard insurance ads to Gracie Allen or Jack Benny in mid-sentence). I can't really blame the recorder for this, when the DVD recording system was invented it was not unreasonable to assume a half-second discrepancy would be OK. The TV stations are the ones to blame here.

    The only consistent way to preserve your "frame accurate mode" HDD edit points is to bypass the HS lossless dub mode and copy the video from HDD to DVD in real time. This entails re-encoding the entire recording on the fly, with some sacrifice of PQ and loss of all custom chapter marks (the machine instead inserts automatic chapters every ten mins). Its been so long since I've done this that I don't remember how to set up a real time dub- sorry, seeker47. I've combed the instruction book for my Pio 460 and of course there's no mention of it. I think you can invoke it by using the One Touch Copy Button instead of the dubbing menu: I vaguely remember the DVR-520 manual had a section describing this in more detail.
    Last edited by orsetto; 4th Jan 2012 at 23:26.
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  17. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    Thanks for clearing that up, Orsetto. I guess the way I had been doing it all this time is o.k. Perhaps -- as with you -- this has been a case of choosing the right edit spots, by some combination of luck and instinct. For the most part, I haven't really noticed edit points shifting appreciably after the HS dub & burn.

    Keyframe cuts are probably still the better bet, though, if I can get used to that. It gets a bit more complicated when there are subtitles: I really avoid cutting during those, or in the middle of anyone speaking, for that matter. About the worst that happens, the way I've been doing it, is having someone turn their head in closeup (same thing would happen in an action scene, even if just of people walking), and then the image blurs for an instant. But sometimes you just can't find the exact interval you wanted for placing a chapter point, etc.

    Whether it's a Mickey Mouse kludge or not, I do still find the 'Frame Accurate' choice to be very useful.
    When in Las Vegas, don't miss the Pinball Hall of Fame Museum http://www.pinballmuseum.org/ -- over 150 tables from 6+ decades of this gradually disappearing American art form.
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