Hello, I have approximently 50 sony digital Hi8 tapes one hour long. I travel with them most of the time. I want to maintain the best quality digital recording format. What is the best way to travel with this in a digital format at the best quality? I am currently considering buying a Dell inspiron 8500 laptop with a +R/RW dvd burner. I will also want a dvd burner for home/office. Can I record all the 50 digital one hour tapes onto 50 one hour dvd +R discs and not degrade the video any? What brand or model dvd burner should I buy to work with the dell laptop? Is this the best way to travel and record with this much instructional video and view it? Thank you for your time.
As far as burner's go i have the Sony DRX-500ULX and i love it. With the firmware upgrade it will record at 4x on -r, -rw, +r, +rw's as well as record on cd-r's and cd-rw's. it's a great drive being usb(2) based so you can "pull up stakes" when you need to and simply plug it into any pc you want when ever you want.
for laptops i'd go with either the Dell Latitude lines or if ya have the jing, i'd rock a IMB ThinkPad they are the best laptops in my opinion (as far as stability goes).
You can't take a minimally compressed format like digital Hi8 tapes and compress them further and expect that they won't degrade the video at all. With that said, with an excellent encoder (like Procoder from Canopus), you can get compressed files that rival the original. You can't practically fit 50 hours of tape on dvd recordables without compressing the files.
If there is no editing required, just a straight conversion to dvd, then one of the stand alone dvd recorders would be the fastest and easiest to get the job done. Without a stand alone, you would have to capture your video to your hard drive (or use a hardware mpeg convertor to do a direct encode to hard drive) and then convert the dv format (~ 12 gigabytes per one hour) to mpeg2 for dvd format (~2 gigabytes per hour depending on compression setting). The mpeg2 file would then need to be imported into a dvd authoring application, and then outputted to be burned to a recordable disc.
I have a Dell laptop that I use an external burner with. I connect via a PCMCIA firewire card to burn discs. The laptop has an internal (swappable) dvd-rom drive that I can view my discs on when I travel.