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  1. Member
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    Having spent a good few days glued to Google and various forums I finally decided that this was the forum to be in! Basically I need to do what a lot of others have done but time, and hence software has moved on a bit and I am rather confused as to what the "best" software would be to do what I want it to do! I have gleaned from this forum that it is best to copy the footage (from my ageing Sony TRV78E [taped analogue output via S Video Cable] onto DVD RAMs on my Panasonic DMR-EZ27) and edit a copy of the original files on a large-ish HDD (using a quad core cpu PC). The home movies I want to edit and archive have a value beyond money and I want to preserve as much detail & resolution etc. as possible and archive them both to DVD RAM (the best long term optical storage media I have been lead to believe) and if possible a NAS system in the near future as a more accessible backup; I also wish to distribute edited DVD-Rs to family around the world.

    OK, well sorry for that long paragraph, but I have tried to put in as many correct words in there so that others can find this info in the future more easily than I did and hopefully the fruits of my (and anyone else’s wishing to impart any serious input) labour will be indispensible?!?

    So, I have tried various packages mentioned on the forum so far but they have all been lacking somewhat in key areas, viz., usability, loss of resolution, just don’t work etc. I notice that all posts relating to any of these topics seem to be ages old and as a consequence I wonder if I have been missing the point and that this problem has been well and truly solved by the use of more modern software? Please could someone advise me which package to go for if I have to buy one and quickly because I have to get many hours of footage ready in just a few days and need a short-cut silver bullet solution!

    Many thanks in advance!
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  2. Member hech54's Avatar
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    I personally would not choose DVD-RAM over good quality DVD-R media like Taiyo Yuden or Verbatim. Getting the video to your computer or editing/authoring software from RAM discs is much more difficult than standard DVD-R media(for me)....and I've never heard of better archival properties of DVD-RAM either.
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    Thanks for the reply! You are probably right in your archive assumptions but I am only going on what I have read about it on here and in a mag not that long ago. As to using the RAM disks it makes no odds at all as the recorder records in the same file format regardless of the media - unless i've got that wrong?
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  4. Member hech54's Avatar
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    RAM discs....as I recall...are/were more difficult to get the video data from. That problem existed in the early days but has since been rectified by many of the authoring programs like TMPGEnc DVD Author....but I still would not use them personally.
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    My experience with DVD-RAM has not been positive. DVD+/-RW is the more convenient reuseable format to use if the video will ever be transferred from the disc.

    I have found TMPGEnc's DVD authoring programs don't handle one of the possible difficulties that can arise from the use of DVD-RAM discs. They are almost like a mini-HDD, and can compensate for bad sectors and allow file fragmentation.

    One of my recordings was made on a disc that turned out to have some bad sectors. It played perfectly using the DVD recorder that made it, and using Cyberlink Power DVD, but except for Cyberlink Power Producer none of the other software I tried that can import VRO files could get past the bad sectors, including TAW, MPEGStreamclip, and VRO2VOB. Even data recovery programs failed to correctly read that VRO file.

    I finally was able to use Cyberlink Power Producer to transfer the video from that disc to my PC as a .mpg file, which I could then edit with any of a number of MPEG-2 editors and author as a regular DVD-R. I suspect some of the programs that come with video cameras that use RAM discs would also work, but VRO on DVD-RAM is sometimes a pain to deal with. Use DVD-RW or DVD+RW as temporary storage instead, and DVD-R or DVD+R for permanent copies.
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    Thanks for the input so far but I can't help feeling that the point here is that the files I want to edit are the copies taken from the RAM disk on my hard drive. RAMs have never let me down and I can view all files copied from them on the PC fine. The problem now is purely one of choosing the best program to edit the file(s) with. I tried a download earlier of the latest cyberlink power producer which seemed to split the vor file correctly into the various sessions/chapters according to the info in the IFO file but then crashed totally! More success with VideoReDo - and I like the timeline options (very useable) but came unstuck and didn't reads the IFO file correctly - AVS didn't read the info either. Going to try Corel next...

    I follow what you're (usually_quiet) talking about and would tend to agree that the fragmentation would cause a problem but I use brand new RAMs out of the box together with the DMR out of the box new as well and only have one contiguous file stream so that's certainly not the issue! Surely if there was any problem in the file(s) then they would not play correctly in any of the three DMRs that I have (in three years only two disks have "failed" - one possibly due to overuse and the other by my baby boy doing his best to bite through one - scarily sharp teeth!). It is surely a software issue as the files copy over fine to the HDD. I will oviously keep everyone informed of my endeavours over the coming days in the hope that there will be a DEFINITIVE and possibly quantitative answer to this as well as a qualitative one although I doubt the former can be addressed by me and leave it to a higher authority?!?
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  7. Member hech54's Avatar
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    Dump the RAM idea man...I'm telling you. If you can't get useable video data from the RAM disc to the computer....what good are they? Get yourself a 50 pack stack of Taiyo Yuden DVD-R discs and start copying your video to those in the highest possible quality your Panasonic recorder will allow.
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    OK, well I'm taking your advice on the DVD-R's as I write! I'll get back with the results before my head hits the deck tonight if its the last thing I do... and from next week on its saving up for a decent replacement for my "trusty" old Sony camcorder!
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    Assuming the bad sectors on a DVD-RAM disc were there at the time of recording, your DMR will play recordings made on those discs perfectly. You'll never know they are there, until you use a software player other than PowerDVD, or try to copy the data. Yes, it is a software issue, but precious few developers have created applications that are capable of reading DVD-RAM discs correctly. I've been coping with DVD-RAMs peculiarities for over 4 years now, and don't recommend them for anything beyond time-shifting TV.
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    Seems to be that (usually_quiet) above is close to the answer but after some basic elimination I still feel it is the software to blame - after all if the firmware in the Panasonic recorders reads the disks fine then ipso facto the problem is purely software, assuming of course that the hardware on the peripherals adhered to the RAM standards.

    It seems my main problem came when I tried a disk that had a number of sessions on it, it had been previously recorded and re-recorded on and the sessions were recorded at different speeds. Probably too much for the software coders to be bothered with and I daresay that Panasonic has kept its code close to its chest. However, I am always open to critisism and debate as the next step in my epic saga of archiving and distributing our video clips has yet to come.

    I take it that the reason other disk formats and hence software cope better with the more usual VOB files generated by using different media is because it is the most popular and the coders have thus targeted that as a priority. With the on-going march of technology it seems that optical disks won't be around for too much longer either, however, in the defence of DVD RAMs we have been using them for ages and have found them the most versatile disks for our purposes to date. The Panasonic machines are also geared up to using them as the default technology as RW media is slow and a pain in comparison and of course many of the recorders features can only be accessed through the RAM disks. HDDs are all very well but with a large house and three recorders you can easily record and move the disks around the house and cheaply! Other alternatives revolve around NAS and wireless now but still works out more expensive than a recorder for £80 and the disks £1 for the moment.

    Also, no-one has given their opinions on what software to use as yet...
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    As you can tell the last post itself was a case of time shifting as it were! Yes, it seems we agree and you hit the nail on the head! I suppose its all a bit academic now as once I get these "old" recordings sorted somehow its all digital and HDD based for me at least from here on in...

    Really appreciate your input - thank you very much. Now I am concerned that the software I use will be as lossless as possible - the original heads on the camcorder are just starting to go and I need to make the very best copies I can asap.
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    I have used several programs that can edit and/or losslessly copy the audio and video from perfectly contiguous VRO FIles to a different mpeg container -- MPEG Streamclip, TAW, VideoRedo, MPEG Video Wizard. All these work just as well with VOBs too.

    MPEG Streamclip only cuts on the GOP level, and does not re-encode at all unless you want that. It does not split VRO files into individual recording sessions automatically. TAW is better for importing video and authoring than for editing, but it does split VRO files into individual recording sessions. MPEG Video Wizard and VideoReDo cut on any frame and do smart encoding only around the cuts for a minimal loss of original data. I can't recall if MPEG Video Wizard detects individual programs or not.

    Cyberlink Power Producer is best used only for extracting the content of problem discs. If you do anything other than import video as .mpg files, it does re-encode. At least the version I have does, though I'll admit it is an outdated version.

    Most people find they prefer one program for editing and another to author DVDs, rather than an all-in-one solution. Evaluate the trial versions of some of these programs and see what you like. There are also more expensive, professional applications too, that I have never tried, but which might work equally well.

    Ultimately "the best" = the best for you, and only you can be the judge of that.
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  13. Member buckethead's Avatar
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    I've been using tmpgenc express 4.0 for inputting my Panasonic dvd-ram disks and have not had any problems. The contour filter works wonders for 'focusing' soft video. I save as uncompressed rgb and process as needed in virtualdub using colormill, neatvideo and msu smart sharpen. From here I save as avi and send it to tmpgenc 3.0 (which I guess has been upgraded to something else) and author to dvd-r.

    From day one, I decided on archiving using the dvd-ram cartridges, thinking that more room in one package, encased in a cartridge would be the way to go. Wrong. Players and recorders which can handle the cartridges are going the way of the horse and buggy. As an intermediate solution, I've burned all my cartridges to single ram disks and the next step will be to use tmpgenc to archive all these to dvd-r.

    Hope this helps ...
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  14. Member
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    Thanks for all your comments - someone mentioned to me that to get the best possible digitisation of my "old" family Hi8 tapes that the best way is to connect the camera direct to the pc via the s video connector on the graphics display card? I have a "TV-OUT" socket on the EN8500GT Nvidia card installed at the moment and also one on a laptop and a HD 2400XT not fitted at present but it says it is the TV-Out version and I believe it needs to be a VIVO version to work as an input socket? And then again, I have no idea how to do it! I suppose I would have to buy some other specialised card? I am not getting very far but take your points about DVD-Rs and will try again with some better quality ones (the memorex ones were **** - better luck with the RAMs) but I am running out of time and must complete the project tomorrow at the latest!
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  15. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    someone mentioned to me that to get the best possible digitisation of my "old" family Hi8 tapes that the best way is to connect the camera direct to the pc via the s video connector on the graphics display card
    No.
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  16. Member
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    So I am doing it in the best way possible via a DVD recorder?
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    Dvd-ram with vegas has always been my preference and never had problems except for the lack of local media supplies ... far easier to use rw media... Dvd-ram for $7 vs dvd+rw for 80 cents... but it depends on media supported by the recorder.

    Normally in my setup vegas will import what it finds on the dvd-ram disc's which are questionable from customers and has had better source recovery than any other product... only the odd disc requires minor resurfacing but once recovered the disc is discarded.

    Ah ... the graphics card Q ... Only if it supports video in ... if not then no is answer.

    Dvd recorder is a recommended method only to save time and money.
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