orsetto mentioned in this post https://forum.videohelp.com/topic366035.html#1956207
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.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.
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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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! )
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?
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).
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.
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.
Originally Posted by orsetto
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
Originally Posted by orsetto
Originally Posted by jcool
Originally Posted by orsetto
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
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
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 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:
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
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.
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.]
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).
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.
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.]
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.
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.
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.
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 22:26.
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.
I must be lucky. My Pioneer DVR-320 lasted almost 14 years before it stopped working. I burned around 2,000 discs with it.
Although I've used it less than the 320, my DVR-520 (which I bought at around the same time) is still working.
I've been very happy with both of them. Knock on wood!
Orsetto, you still there? Having 560 from day one, but never thought of this... should I switch off the TBC on the JVC (or Panasonic) VCR when using 560 as a passthrough, as you suggested to be done with ES-10? I didn't see any trouble thus far with JVC TBC on and using 560 as a pass, but just checking ater I saw your comment on what should be done when using ES-10 as a pass, thanks.
And I have one for Orsetto as well, which occurred to me recently, and then this thread popped up again, coincidentally.
Do you (Orsetto) ever do any video editing on the computer, using any of the common apps discussed here on VH ? I'm not sure whether any of the editing programs I have will cut on anything but keyframes. So I wondered if anything could be gained by transferring video to the Pio DVDR and using "Exact Cut" -- or whatever it should be called -- there ? Kludge or not . . . . It's a case of something that I know how to do vs. something a lot more complicated that I never mastered in software.
Last edited by Seeker47; 3rd Dec 2018 at 10:12.
kodec: if you haven't yet seen any problems when using the your JVC TBC/DNR in tandem with a Pioneer 560 passthru, I don't think you need to worry about it. Some people experience occasional issues when chaining their vcr TBC/DNR thru the ES10, because the ES10 has very powerful signal conditioning thats more likely to interact with "similar" circuits. The Pioneer 560 signal conditioning is much more low-key: less effective at correcting dramatically bad tapes, but also less likely to conflict when fed by a VCR with its own TBC/DNR. Should you encounter an unusual tape that does not give decent results processed by both units, deactivate one of them (switch off the vcr TBC/DNR, or take the Pioneer 560 out of the loop).
Seeker47: hello, old friend! The only PC-based MPEG editing software I currently use is MPEG Streamclip. It functions more or less like the Pioneer system: frame accurate or "keyframe". If I archive the edited MPEG files as-is to a hard drive, the "frame accurate" edits are retained. If I convert those edited MPEGs to a standard DVD using an authoring utility, sometimes the edit points roll over to keyframes in the finalized disc (ala Pioneer). So I usually just look for a keyframe, to avoid surprises.
Among my circle who do more elaborate editing of multiple video formats, the software of choice is VideoReDo (which is capable of forcing "frame-accurate" edits to carry over to burned DVDs). Of course there are several other editing utilities that can force "frame accurate" edits to carry over: it simply requires the same targeted re-encode feature. Any edit points not made on keyframes are re-encoded as the new file is saved. Only a few frames before and after the "non-key" edit points are re-encoded in this manner, creating a new keyframe: the bulk of the video remains untouched. If you have some projects pending where you really must have absolute to-the-frame MPEG editing precision for finalized DVDs, you'll need an editor with that feature. The most basic functional part of the interface should look familiar to you: timeline bar at the bottom you can click around in to navigate the video and select start/end cut points.
Last edited by orsetto; 3rd Dec 2018 at 18:20.
MPEG Streamclip from way back, when it may have been on Apple only. (?) Later, due to the QuickTime business -- said to be a requirement -- I tended to overlook it. Had some issues with QT in the past, but can't recall now. Have not had that installed anywhere for quite some time. But I've put Streamclip and QuickTime Alternative 181 (hopefully sufficient for the pre-req.) on one rig, and will check it out.
I've taken cursory looks at Virtualdub, VSDC, Shotcut, and a few others, plus have had a free promo edition of VideoRedo 4 for a long time. Some are (to me) seemingly complicated beyond whatever I bring to the table. I always seemed to get lost in attempts at navigating and controlling the editing timeline, what is done with which pieces, and other editor program aspects. Truly, the only video editors I've sampled that were very simple and immediate-access were Movica and a couple other extremely basic, feature-limited ones. Maybe I should bite the bullet and spend a lot more time delving into VideoRedo . . . .
The only issue I have with MPEG Streamclip with Quicktime Alternative on a Windows 7 PC (and its a dealbreaker for most people) is it flatly refuses to play MPEGs in real time (normal playback). This could likely be solved if I could be bothered figuring out what exactly the damned program wants to see in terms of installed codecs, but I honestly can't be bothered and it isn't worth messing up a stable PC video box to find out.
For my specific purposes and lackadaisical MPEG projects, I can work around the limitation. First I run thru the MPEG using a fully functional player (software or hardware), noting the start and end times of sections I want to delete. Then I load the file into MPEG Streamclip, and use the "Go To Time" menu to type in the start and/or end times (working backwards from end of the video to beginning). These times will be approximate at first, but the program will (weirdly) play the file in 8x fwd speed and 2x reverse, as well as frame by frame in both directions, so its easy enough to locate the exact entry/exit points for a delete.
If I were pressed for time and needed to be more productive I'd just buy into and learn something more integrated and up-to-date like video redo. But for the moment, MPEG Streamclip works well enough for my quick-n-dirty purposes, mostly because I have several old PCs and Apple Macs I can alternate between. MPEG Streamclip works better on my Macs with AVI and MP4, which it often won't load at all in the PC version. While it won't load MPEGs at all on my Macs (it insists on Quicktime Pro for that, which I never get around to finding and installing).
I'd recommend you look for a less half-baked application and workflow (I should take my own advice and do the same).
Orsetto, what do you think of the quasiTBC passthru ability of Pioneer DVR-540? By chance got my hands on one the other day for free, in excellent condition. Plugged it in, seems by the menu the same or very similar to the brilliant 560, except that this one has only one S-Video input, in front (and no HDMI out, but it has the component). Haven't tried the VHS transport yet.
kodec, my Pioneer 540s have been packed away in storage since I replaced them in my rack with the final 460 model back in 2010. So unfortunately I don't have one at hand to run a test for you as passthru device. AFAIK it should work reasonably well in that capacity, since its an improvement on the earlier 530 (which was already dramatically better than the unusable 520).
The 540-543-640, 450-550-650, and 460-560-660 are identical for all practical purposes. Insignificant slight changes to the front panel layout, Home Menu appearance and "jukebox" functionality were made between the three generations, but hardware remained largely untouched. The two major differences added to the x50 and x60 were HDMI output connections and somewhat better video encoder chips (I forget the exact specs, but there was a 2-bit advantage to the later units, something like 10-bit vs 12-bit). The difference in encoding quality is very apparent when dubbing VHS to the x40 vs the x50/x60: the x40 recordings tend toward a sort of "unfocused" slightly fuzzy veiling that is much less noticeable with the x50/x60.
That encoder difference should not materially affect performance of the 540 in passthru applications, since final recording is not being made with the unit itself. The input signal conditioning topology is almost certainly the same or very close between x40/x50/x60. That is not the case with earlier Pioneers: the x10 and x20 were just terrible with VHS (useless without a full-blown external TBC). The x30 was much better, I never had any issues passing VHS thru the 2005-era Pioneers. The 2006-2007-2008 models were better still.
Don't expect miracle cures, however: the (later) Pioneers are upper-mid-level, journeyman pass-thru devices. They'll help with ordinary-quality, run of the mill tape signals, but if you've got some trainwreck VHS with massive tearing and jitter, the only passthru recorder that will help is the one-off Panasonic ES-10.
Thanks orsetto, you're always great to read. If you are familiar tell me about 555 ability, I also have a chance to acquire it for little money, stacking up Pioneers ATM, ha ha... My guess is, it is also decent as the others from the series (555 having HDMI already) but I don't know where it fits exactly, probably closer to 560 than to 540 bc of the HDMI and the same S-Video ports (2 back, 1 front)? Actually seems the back panel is the same as with 560.
this thread, by PuzZLeR, who gave the most extensive explanations and experience report I've ever seen on the topic. I didn't play much with the "undocumented" FireWire export feature of the DVR-510 and DVR-520 when I had them, because they were so dismal at encoding vhs I replaced them with later models ASAP.
kodec, the DVR-555 units were not sold in North America so I've never used one. They were limited distribution "Multi System" aka "Middle Eastern Businessman" variants of the DVR-550: looking at my service manuals, it appears the primary difference was the 555 incorporated all three analog tuner bands (NTSC, PAL, SECAM) while the much more common 550 was sold to specific markets with just the one tuner required for that market (i.e. a DVR-550 sold in UK would have only a PAL tuner and the USA/Canada DVR-550 would have NTSC only).
One vague footnote in the service manuals indicates despite having HDMI output, the 555 apparently used the video encoding circuits from the earlier 540 chassis (10-bit vs the 12-bit 550/560 encoder). This is not entirely unusual: the Sony RDR-HX780 clone of the 550 also used the older 10-bit encoder. Presumably all of these models would have roughly the same performance as pass-thru signal conditioners, per my previous answer re the 540 vs 550.
Last edited by orsetto; 2nd Jan 2019 at 18:12.
A friend of mine has a Pioneer DVDR problem, and I thought you'd be the best source I can think of on this, and this thread as appropriate a place as any. (At this point, I expect all of the Pio threads here will be saddled with the "Old Thread Warning.")
My friend bought a Pio 633 during the Pioneer DVDR heyday, despite my then attempts to steer him to a different model . . . but that's a different and I think unrelated story. He reckons it has seen very little use since he got it, and particularly over the past 8 years. That said, he did note that his house has experienced a number of power surges over that period, which I mention in case it has any relevancy. (I will remind you that I had one of those Walmart / Funai units -- and some other electronic gear -- trashed by just such a surge, even though it had one of those Monster power blocks ahead of it and supposedly protecting it, but which also got fried. I don't know for sure whether a piece of gear even needs to be ON to be destroyed in this manner, but my experience suggests that ON vs. OFF doesn't matter.)
[And that reminds me: I've had it on my 'To Do' list for a long time to find out what is the best "whole home" surge protection unit that can be obtained, to install ahead of everything electrical. That would probably mean best, regardless of cost. But hopefully something that would not introduce any detriments of its own. At one point, my electrician -- who would presumably have to install it -- was going to research this and get back to me, but he never did.]
Anyway, my friend has some quite rare movies on the HDD of a Verizon FIOS receiver box that he wanted to transfer off, using his PIO 633 for that. The FIOS box has been starting to exhibit some issues for awhile now, in part because it is no longer fully compatible with the system or gear that the successor to Verizon FIOS (can't recall their name just now) has put in place. But when my friend checked out his 633, just prior to hooking the video chain up for this task, he started seeing "HD Err." on the display. (He also told me he does not recall whether his 633 had ever been dropped.) I can tell you that despite pretty heavy use, I've never seen that particular error on my 520s, 640s, or 460s. It sounds dire, and an indication that the unit is very possibly toast. What I had seen occasionally on my units is what I'm surmising might be the equivalent error for the burner, "Copy Err." However, in those infrequent cases, the latter proved to always be an intermittent error, rather than a lasting one. Shooting some compressed air in there (or some other lens cleaning strategies ? -- I don't recall specifically) could and did make that error go away, even if it did suggest some indication of the burner's lifespan limitations. Is there any realistic chance that this "HD Err." could also be transitory, and if so how would one best approach any possible remedy ? Or is this just curtains for his 633 ? I told him, "Man, this falls under that category of jobs we really should have done years ago !" Like all the good material I've lost that had just been left on the three DirecTV DVR boxes that died on me, during the time I've been a DTV customer. Should have learned that lesson by now, but time and the necessary effort were lacking, so I guess I haven't. OTOH, there is a great amount of material that I have preserved, thanks to my Pioneer DVDRs. My friend is much less of a video gear enthusiast . . . . I told him I would make some inquiries on his behalf.
Which leads me into this segue, with a related question of his: are any of those Walmart / Funai models still being sold, and if so which might he consider getting ? I've already cautioned him that it would be erroneous to suppose that these approach the same level as the Pioneer DVDRs, particularly in regard to a nice UI and ease of use.
Last edited by Seeker47; 31st Mar 2019 at 15:32.