VHS to DVD questions (Mulder?) ...

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colin72

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I have some questions about transferring VHS to DVD (I definitely want to burn DVDs).

So you know where I'm coming from, I knew nothing about transferrring VHS to DVD until I started reading last week (including threads on this forum). My head is still spinning from all the info. I'm a novice when it comes to computers.

1) I've realized I need to buy a new computer. I'm looking at a Dell (one of these). Considering I want to do transferring, what specs should I be sure to have (and not spend over $800 if possible)?

2) I want to combine scenes from multiple VHS tapes. Will there be any problems doing this with a 160GB hard drive?

3) What are the advantages/disadvantages to using ADS Instant DVD (or a similar product) compared to installing a video capture card (and comparing cost)?

4) I don't have a digital camcorder, but if I get one in the future what do I need to be sure my new computer has to be able to transfer my movies directly to the hard drive?

Thanks!
 
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colin72 said:
I have some questions about transferring VHS to DVD (I definitely want to burn DVDs).

So you know where I'm coming from, I knew nothing about transferrring VHS to DVD until I started reading last week (including threads on this forum). My head is still spinning from all the info. I'm a novice when it comes to computers.

1) I've realized I need to buy a new computer. I'm looking at a Dell (one of these). Considering I want to do transferring, what specs should I be sure to have (and not spend over $800 if possible)?

2) I want to combine scenes from multiple VHS tapes. Will there be any problems doing this with a 160GB hard drive?
Just make sure that drive is a separate dedicated drive. In other words, nothing on it except your videos--so you need a system with two hard drives.


colin72 said:
3) What are the advantages/disadvantages to using ADS Instant DVD (or a similar product) compared to installing a video capture card (and comparing cost)?
The advantage of an external hardware encoder (that's what the ADS Instant DVD is) is that it doesn't take up computer resources--you can do other things while the encoding is going on and you will get real time MPEG encoding, which means if your movie is 30 minutes long, it will take 30 minutes to encode it to MPEG. With the video capture card, you will have to capture it, then encode it, unless you get one that does MPEG encoding, but I found those card don't do a good job at the encoding because the card is attempting to be a "one thing does all"--i.e., serve as a video card and also capture and encode MPEG.

colin72 said:
4) I don't have a digital camcorder, but if I get one in the future what do I need to be sure my new computer has to be able to transfer my movies directly to the hard drive?

Thanks!
All you need to do is have a Firewire port on your computer, but you could always buy a fireware card--they are only like $20 or $30 bucks--for your computer later if you needed it.
 
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I use the Dell Dv.now pci card and a dazzel breakout box to make the hook up on my analog stuff the dv.now pci card has an extra firewire port I use for the Digital hookup (Ieee 1394), the biggest recomendation I can make is get a really good camera Canon GL2 is an excellent rig. I use Sony Vegas to capture and render my files and then Sonic DVD to create the menu's, it does a pretty good job of compiling also.
 
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The system I use is code the vhs by using a Dazzel 80 to Pinnacle studio 9.
Be sure to select the dazzel 80 on the start setting on the studio 9. Select the hard drive for the storage. After the loading is completed it will be stored as an .vmi file or similar. You can select a name for the file when to load it into the HD. I use a maxtor external 120gig for storage.
After all the tapes are loaded into the hard drive, I switch to Nero 6 which allows more than one file to be burned on to the DVD. In Nero if the files are too large for the DVD it will lower the storage space until it fits. I have not noticed any change in the quality of the video after the change. The DVD that Nero burns will play in most commercial DVD players.
This process takes lots of time. The VHS to HD is a one to one ratio, in that a hour tape will take a hour to code. The transfer from vmi to DVD format can take several hours and the burning will also take several hours.
I set mine up to burn at night so it will be done when I awake.
 
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Here is another thing I like about an external stand alone MPEG Encoder like ADS as oppossed to an internal card like Hauppage WinTV is that you can use it on any other computer that has a USB connection. I've taken mine on vacation with my laptop and used it to make DVD movies and burn DVDs for relatives. You can't use a Hauppage WinTV card on anything but a desktop and of course, you have to take it apart and install the card. You of course also have to install the software for the ADS on the computer but I have it installed on my desktop puter and my two laptops--all three have DVD burners (actually, I only have one swappable DVD burner that I can use with either laptop because they are both Dells with hotswappable bays). Since I almost always have my laptop with me, I can create movies and burn DVDs anywhere I go--impresses the hell out of the relatives to shoot video of them and then hand them a DVD before you leave! ;)

Also, those internal cards get very hot so you are of course adding heat inside your puter.

Bottom line is I would spend my money on a good high quality video card without a hardware MPEG encoder rather than try to buy a video card that handles your graphics and your MPEG encoding. The other thing is if you video card dies, you also lose your MPEG encoder and visa-versa.
 
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ctuna said:
The system I use is code the vhs by using a Dazzel 80 to Pinnacle studio 9.
Be sure to select the dazzel 80 on the start setting on the studio 9. Select the hard drive for the storage. After the loading is completed it will be stored as an .vmi file or similar. You can select a name for the file when to load it into the HD. I use a maxtor external 120gig for storage.
After all the tapes are loaded into the hard drive, I switch to Nero 6 which allows more than one file to be burned on to the DVD. In Nero if the files are too large for the DVD it will lower the storage space until it fits. I have not noticed any change in the quality of the video after the change. The DVD that Nero burns will play in most commercial DVD players.
This process takes lots of time. The VHS to HD is a one to one ratio, in that a hour tape will take a hour to code. The transfer from vmi to DVD format can take several hours and the burning will also take several hours.
I set mine up to burn at night so it will be done when I awake.
That's fine, but the advantage of the ADS is it will burn directly to DVD if you want! So all he has to do is hook up his camcorder to the ADS, the ADS to the puter, make a few choices and burn his move directly to a DVD--no wating for hours to burn to a DVD and he can use his computer while the burning is going on because the ADS is doing all the work--you are not using much computer resource!

Bottom line is a real-time hardware MPEG encoder, whether external or an internal card is definitely the way to go. In years past, the lower priced hardware encoders did a crappy job a encoding MPEG and software was much better. But today, they have refined the technology such that both the external and internal hardware MPEG encoders are doing a really good job. That's why I recommend the ADS because it did a great job for me--I converted every movie I have on VHS to the hard drive in MPEG-2, DVD standard without a glitch--never had a problem. I can tell you with software encoders, there'd be plenty of times I got an error, or the system would crash in the middle of a really long encoding and it took 3 or 4 times longer to do and I still had to capture the video anyway in AVI format.

Honestly, for home movies forget software encoding--the price difference between software and hardware is maybe $100--not worth it for all the hassle.
 
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ctuna said:
Sounds like a good system but can you add several tapes to one DVD?
Do you mean before or after you burn the DVD? Before, its really easy. You can add as many VHS tapes or any other MPEG or image files you want to completely fill up the DVD. Once you burn a DVD, its done--you can't burn to it again, unless its a Re-Writable DVD.

I am going to beat this drum again, but I think DVDs are going to go the way of the 8 track, it will just take longer. I don't see any reason to burn to DVDs except possibly for backup or to send a home movies to relatives. It is much easier, much more efficient, and much safer to burn to the hard drive (assuming you back up to another hard drive). DVDs are notoriously problematic--the can be scratched very easily, the quality varies significantly from manufacturer to manufacturer--they simply are far less reliable than hard drives as a storage medium.

Here's the bottom line. When I want to watch movies or show people movies when relatives come over, I pop just pop up into my video folder from my DVD player, find the video I am looking for by name (you can store in subfolders to further categorize, if you want) and click on the movie. If I want to move ahead, I don't have to use fast forward, I just click "2" or "4" or "7" to move to 20 percent or 40 percent of 70 percent through the movie or any gradation between 0 and 100.

When the guy who stores all his movies on DVD wants to show a movie, he first had to burn them all on DVD and then go through all the labeling nonsenses (or try to handwrite it all). They he has to get up, go to his DVD drawer--fumble through all the DVDs (I have close to two hundred home movie titles and I'd have at least 50 DVDs to store that and probably more)--find the one I wanted--put it in the DVD player, wait for it to load up, then hope the DVD hasn't been scratched or is clean (not to mention wearing out the DVD player heads). Then, to find the next movie, he has to go through the same routine while everyone waits. That doesn't even count the fact that seeing all the movie titles on the screen allows people to say "Hey, let's watch 'Mulder and Moonmist--Private Showing'" when they see the title up on the television.

And the most important thing. How do you protect your movies from fire damage? :confused: If you have 50 DVDs, you have to burn 50 more DVDs as backups. All I have to do is buy a second hard drive (external or internal--doesn't matter) and make a copy of the drive, then take it to work and leave it there (or store it in a neighbor or relatives house or even a fireproof box at your house).

I can't think of one good reason to burn a DVD--not one.
 
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Mulder, let me see if I follow you. You have a dedicated computer or one of your laptops hooked to your TV, you connect your portable hard drive to that computer and watch the movie from there. How large of, and how many hard drives do you have?
 
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AKA Arizona said:
Mulder, let me see if I follow you. You have a dedicated computer or one of your laptops hooked to your TV, you connect your portable hard drive to that computer and watch the movie from there. How large of, and how many hard drives do you have?
No. I have a networked DVD player:

http://www.momitsu.com/dvd_880n.html

There are others, but that's a really good one--upscales DVDs so if you have High Definition television and good surround sound system you'll see and hear a significant difference over the commercial DVD players you'd buy at an electronics store. And the price isn't bad--$299. You can connect it either via wirless (must have "G" is you want to stream video over wirless) or hardwire (that's what I did) to your network. Then, you run a little software server program on any computer on your network and the DVD play can access any media on any computer on the network. I don't have a dedicated computer--I just use the desktop in my office--I ran RJ45 cable from their to the entertaiment center in the living room where the DVD player is.

So, when with the DVD player you have a menu--on that menu will be a choice to play a DVD or to select any of the computers on your network that are running the server software. I only use the desktop for that because that's where the big hard drive is.

I have three hard drives in my computer. One is for my windows and applications and data. The second drive is solely to backup the first drive. The third drive is 200 Gigabytes and that's where all the movies are--dedicated for that purpose. So far, I have used up 120 Gigs for all my home movies from over the years, which is about 120 or so VHS and mini DV tapes (originally, before digital camcorders, I used S-VHS camcorder)--not all filled up of course. Some tapes had 5 minutes, others the full 30 minutes. It probaly works out to 100 hours or thereabouts. I put every single minute of tape on--even stuff where the kids were just fooling around. I did that by using the ADS DVD Express:

http://www.adstech.com/products/USBAV_701/intro/usb701intro.asp?pid=USBAV701

My point is I can take the above product with me, a laptop, my camcorder, and some blank DVDs to a relatives house. I can shoot some video on my camcorder. I can then hook up the camcorder to the DVD Express and burn the movied to a DVD and hand it to my relative. Or, I can get more fancy and edit the movie on my computer (using transitions and building menus like a commercial DVD). The relatives think your a fricken genious and are green with envy at how you can hand them a DVD they can watch like it was from a movie studio on a DVD with menus and transitions and music added and sound effects, etc., etc. Of course, to do the latter, you need a video editing software loaded on your computer.

I do not have a portable hard drive that I take with me, although I could do that as well, if I wanted. All I would need to do is buy an external hard drive that connects by USB (almost everyone has USB ports now) and copy everything on my 200 Gig drive to that. And I probably will do that because I still haven't yet backed up my home movies to a second drive. You should do that in case of fire--take that drive to work or leave it at a neighbor or nearby relative's house so that if you have a fire, all your home movies are safe in another location.

As I said, that system beats the hell out of burning to DVD and also an interntal MPEG hardware encoder since the ADS box is portable. Plextor also makes one, but it doesn't as of yet have a Firewire port on it. Although frankly, I don't use the firewire on the ADS I have (I use the S-VHS out and left right audio from my camcorder) because when I preview the output on my computer, it preiodically freezes (not the computer, but the preview window)--that doesn't happen with the analog connections and I can't tell the difference in the compressed MPEG file afterwards anyway.
 
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Very cool Mulder you have me sold. I have never seen a networkable DVD player, I use Sony Vegas video so I will have to stick with my firewire setup (Vegas does not recognize USB to slow) I have a firewire port on my laptop so that works out just fine. I suppose it would be possible (if you where so inclined to do so) to copy a complete DVD with out any compression needed to fit on a DVD-R. good information Thanks.
 
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Mulder last question as an experiment I have saved a movie on my hard drive, which file should be associated with opening my DVD player? bup vob or ifo?
 
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AKA Arizona said:
Very cool Mulder you have me sold. I have never seen a networkable DVD player, I use Sony Vegas video so I will have to stick with my firewire setup (Vegas does not recognize USB to slow)[/b]
I think you might be confused. You don't need to capture using the ADS Tech box to Vegas. You just capture using the software that comes with the ADS and it writes an MPEG file to the hard drive. Then you use the MPEG file in Vegas as your source (rather than the AVI captured through your firewire). When you render the final film, Vegas will do it much faster because it won't have to encode the video to MPEG--it already will be encoded. That's the point--you eliminate the MPEG encoding step that all the PC software programs (ULead, Vegas, Pinnacle, etc.) and DVD Burning software have to do with a DV AVI file captured directly from a camcorder. Essentially, it is all done in one step--capture and encode simultaneously with the ADS boxe.

AKA Arizona said:
I have a firewire port on my laptop so that works out just fine. I suppose it would be possible (if you where so inclined to do so) to copy a complete DVD with out any compression needed to fit on a DVD-R. good information Thanks.
Yes--you can capture directly to DVD or use the captured MPEG file to burn to a DVD and the software should burn it directly without encoding it.
 
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