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  1. First thing first ... I already have an Ilo DVD burner, and can take these high quality for their time tapes and turn them into basic old school DVDs with no real menus. And I don't have the creativity/knowledge to make real, decent DVD menus.

    But taking these 2 hour tapes, and converting them at the highest settings means putting a single hour on a DVD. And I am almost certain there have to be other formats that can handle the amount of information, and take up a lot less space than an entire DVD for a single hour of footage.

    The tapes we are talking about were recorded on a full-size VCR camcorder on full-size VCR tapes, and considering they are 20-25 years old, the picture has held up remarkably well ... but it is time to get them digitized and in a safer format. While the Ilo to DVD works, it still takes lots of disks to make multiple copies to try and keep things safe. And to be honest, I'd like to share them with friends on the internet, since it is live taped stuff, and not copyrighted stuff.

    So any advice on what kind of format would likely work best to keep as much quality as possible, while not wasting any file size on these old videos? And how much or little difficulty would I likely have taking these from Ilo DVD to a better format? (Since I likely don't have any way to get them from the actual video tapes, themselves directly into the computer.)

    Anybody willing to argue best formats and discuss just how involved a process this would be?
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  2. Batchman: But taking these 2 hour tapes, and converting them at the highest settings means putting a single hour on a DVD.
    I'm curious about how/why you determined that you are restricted to one hour per DVD? If you do a little online research about maximum bitrates and other quality considerations on "high quality for their time tapes," 2-hour VHS tape, you likely will find that the highest quality possible on those VCR tapes is waaaaay below what a 1-hour speed DVD quality is.

    If so, then using the 1-hour speed is not necessary. In fact, a 2-hr DVD recording speed may still exceed the max possible of a 2-hour tape. That halves the number of discs needed.
    Last edited by CobraPilot; 10th Aug 2014 at 22:40. Reason: Clarity
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  3. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by CobraPilot View Post
    Batchman: But taking these 2 hour tapes, and converting them at the highest settings means putting a single hour on a DVD.
    I'm curious about how/why you determined that you are restricted to one hour per DVD? I
    He appears to be a using a DVD recorder.

    And that may not be the best option for a quality transfer.
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  4. Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
    Originally Posted by CobraPilot View Post
    Batchman: But taking these 2 hour tapes, and converting them at the highest settings means putting a single hour on a DVD.
    I'm curious about how/why you determined that you are restricted to one hour per DVD? I
    He appears to be a using a DVD recorder.

    And that may not be the best option for a quality transfer.
    True, but if that's what he wants/needs to do, is there any advantage to using a DVD recording method (1-hr) with recording capability that far exceeds the "best quality" of the tape? That just seems to be a waste of DVDs. A low(er)-bitrate VHS original won't look a lot better transferred/-rerecorded at a much higher DVD bitrate, will it?

    I have a couple of DVD standalone recorders which have 1-hr, 2-hr, 3-hr, 4-hr, and 6-hr recording-time speeds per SL DVD. 2-hr and 3-hr speeds aren't too different visually to my uncalibrated eyeballs, 4-hr is noticeably degraded, and 6-hr is like VHS SLP on a really bad day, almost unwatchable.
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  5. OK ... can still get the best quality onto DVD without using the 1 hour speed. Noted. I'll stick with the 2 hours for a DVD.

    But any thoughts on the rest? Or should I just stick with the Ilo DVD format?
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  6. For the best file size to quality ratio, h264 is the current standard. For most of us, that means using the x264 encoder.

    In a perfect world, you'd probably use a PC capture card (or a USB version) and a VCR to capture to a lossless format (really huge files) and keep them as the "master copy". From there you can edit and convert to another format. Or you can generally use a capture card to "capture" directly to a specific format. A DVD video compliant format would be common.

    If you want to stick with the current method you could record to DVDs (1 hour or 2 hour quality, whatever you decide) and keep them as the "master copy". The DVDs could be re-encoded using the x264 encoder (outputting MKV or MP4s etc) with very little visible quality loss, if any. There's quite a few free programs which can be used for that (if you want to do some serious editing you might need to purchase software).
    Keep in mind though, the newer encoders are more efficient than mpeg2, but even so, sometimes you still can't reduce the file size much if the video is really hard to compress (ie noisy VHS source) without reducing the resolution or sacrificing a bit of quality etc.

    As you're not experienced with video editing/encoding I'd be tempted to stick with the DVD recorder method which should give you a decent quality "master". You could experiment with that copy later on if you wanted to.... editing, re-encoding, uploading to YouTube etc, but you'll always have the DVD "master" to fall back on when you discover a newer and more clever editing method, or the next latest and greatest encoding method comes along etc (h265).
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    Originally Posted by Batchman View Post
    OK ... can still get the best quality onto DVD without using the 1 hour speed. Noted. I'll stick with the 2 hours for a DVD.

    But any thoughts on the rest? Or should I just stick with the Ilo DVD format?
    If you are using a DVD recorder, I would not go under 2 hours per DVD, but 1 hour would be better. The more the encoder compresses, and the lower the resolution, the worse the compression artifacts and loss of picture details becomes, especially if there is lots of motion.

    The video signal produced by playing VHS tapes is lower resolution than DVD, but the signal is noisy, which produces snow and other defects in the picture. The VHS picture defects have the same effect on encoding as lots of movement and detail. You have to record at a higher quality setting to avoid loosing real details that you want to keep and to avoid introducing too many compression artifacts.

    You can re-encoding to a different video format later that will give you a smaller file size, as long as you have a player that supports using it. However, you should edit the DVD video first, and re-encode only after you are completely finished with editing. MPEG-2 will be much easier to work with than something that uses more compression.
    Last edited by usually_quiet; 14th Aug 2014 at 13:04. Reason: correct typing errors
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