Three newbie questions...
1) What is the maximum MPEG2 file size that can be burned onto a single DVD+R/+RW, to be playable on a home DVD player?
2) What software can I use to capture video with my Dazzle DVD Creation Station 200 without splitting up the file like MovieStar does?
3) What software can I use to compress an oversized MPEG2 file so that it fits onto a single DVD+R/+RW?
DVD capacity is a source of a lot of confusion. Assuming that your disks have a “4.7GB” capacity, it means that a disk will hold 4.7 billion bytes. A gigabyte is 1024 bytes cubed, so a disk will actually hold 4.37GB. If you are asking how long a video file you can get on a disk, it depends on the video and audio data rates. You can get about an hour of Mpeg 2 at a video data rate of 8Mbits/Sec constant bit rate, which is the highest quality setting on the DVD authoring programs I am familiar with. I am not sure about DVD Complete.
What do you mean by saying that Movie Star splits the video? Do you mean that it captures/creates separate video and audio streams, that is separate files for the video and audio? If so, check you configuration in Movie Star and see if you can change it to create a single file. TMPGEnc can be used to multiplex (combine) video and audio files into a single file. This is its URL: http://www.tmpgenc.net/e_main.html
You would be better off re-capturing video at a lower data rate if you are capturing directly to Mpeg. If you are capturing as DV, you can re-encode at a lower data rate. It is not a good idea to re-encode an existing Mpeg file to a lower data rate. There is a siginificant loss of quality when this is done.
MovieStar splits files up into smaller chunks so that they are compatible with earlier file systems but I run XP which has no limit. They are multiplexed but the largest file I can capture is 4.7GB and I am trying to archive movies that are up to 2 hours long off VHS and would like to capture them and put them onto individual DVDs. Also, I only have one option for capture quality so I need a program (DVD Complete may already do this) to compress the movie to fit.
Do you think I am better off maintaining high quality and splitting them onto 2 DVDs? I have also seen information about DVD-Ram which has a storage capacity of over 8GB, is this correct and can my incoming HP 200i burn them for so I can archive the original capture files as well?
I am not familiar with the DVD Creation Station and the version of Movie Star that comes with it, so I need to ask some basic questions.
When you digitize/capture the video to your hard drive, what is its format/file type? Is it DV AVI or Mpeg or some other file type? At what point in the capture-editing-authoring process is the video converted to Mpeg 2? Do you do the conversion in Movie Star or DVD Complete? How many minutes of video can you capture in one 4GB file and what is the total size of the files for one hour of video? When you output your movie either to the DVD burner or to a file, are you given choices for the quality and can you customize the output? What does your manual say about customizing Mpeg 2 data rates?
The point is that some capture devices (such as the Dazzle DVC II) use hardware/hardware-assisted encoders and must be configured before capture. Some programs (such as Ulead's Video Studio) will let you convert DV AVI to Mpeg as you capture. I am not sure about how this is done. I suspect that you must choose a template before capturing with it too, but, again, I am not at all sure. The other option is to convert the video to your desired output settings when creating the movie or DVD. This works best when you capture the video in some high-quality format (such as DV AVI) and convert to Mpeg at the end of the process. It is not a good idea to capture Mpeg and re-encode it at a different setting. You can edit Mpeg, but to maintain the original quality, you must output to the same settings as the capture settings.
If you can customize the output, try 6000kbs variable bit rate and see how big the file is and how you like the quality. You can also fiddle around with the audio data rate to decrease the file size a little.
Check your Movie Star manual to see if somewhere in the capture utility there is a way to turn off the creation of new files at 4GB intervals.