Need advice on process of getting digital video to DVD
I am in the process of converting my 42 miniDV tapes to DVD (all personal family stuff). I am not cleaning up before burning...just putting each tape straight to DVD in chronological order. I have transferred 12 so far. After creating the DVD I will keep the miniDV tapes in a safety deposit box as my backup. I am only burning 1 DVD of each tape. I though about burning 2 and then putting 1 of the DVDs with the tape...but that seemed overkill. I can always make a DVD copy or if itâ€™s destroyed Iâ€™ll just redo it from the tape.
I'd like to get input on the process I am using to see if there's something I should be doing differently. I'm not as interested in people telling me I should edit for content as I like having everything I've shot. I'm looking more for feedback on the overall process I'm using for moving the content from miniDV to DVD.
1. Computer specs:
CPU: Intel P4 3200MHz
Motherboard: Asus P4P800
Memory: 1024 MB of Geil PC-3200
Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce 6800
Hard Drive (system): Western Digital Raptor WD740GD 74.0 GB @ 10000 RPMS
Hard Drive (capture): Hitachi 250GB @ 7200RPMS
DVD R/W: Pioneer DVR 108
Operating System: Windows XP Professional
Other Components: Sony DCR-PC110 Mini
I use the Raptor as my system drive where my software is saved. I have the Hitachi 250 GB as my video drive that has nothing else on it. I create my DVDs in groups of 4 so when I start I erase everything on the video drive and then create 4 folders where I capture my video to, create my Premier file in, create my Encore file in and create the image in. After creating 12 or 16 DVDs (in groups of 4) Iâ€™ll probably defrag the video drive. Should I do this each time I create the 4 DVDs and then erase everything?
2. I am using Adobe Premier Pro to capture (and edit if necessary...but rarely done). I use Adobe Encore DVD 1.5 to put together the DVD and create the image. I use Nero to burn the DVD image to DVD. I had heard previous recommendations that as good as Encore is it my be better to leave the DVD burning to software that specializes in that field...hence Nero.
3. When capturing in Premier I start a new project using the DV-NTSC Standard 32Hz preset. I then capture the video from my Sony DCR-PC110 to the capture drive. At the end of each capture (about 1 hour) I get an error about it not finding the timecode or timestamp (something like that). I ignore this and save the .avi file to the capture drive. Once I kept getting the timecode error in the middle of a tape and it would cancel the capture. I had to capture the tape in 2 portions and then splice them together in Premier...but this has only happened once. Before capturing each video I always fast forward to the end and then rewind back to the beginning to make sure there are no tension issues w/ the tape.
4. I then open Adobe Encore DVD 1.5 and start a new project. I insert the .avi file and have Encore convert the .avi file into a timeline. I go through the timeline and insert chapters at each scene change. I set the transcode settings to automatic for the amount of compression of the .avi file. After setting up my links and checking the project for errors I have Encore create an image.
5. I then use Nero Burning ROM 6 (6.6.0. to burn the image to DVD and I use Maxell DVD-R 8X media. I then burn the image to DVD using the following settings: Image type=data mode 1, block size=2048 (under foreign image window) and I finalize the DVD and write it at the slowest speed possible (4x).
I know this is all rather straight forward but thought I'd write it down and see if anyone has any feedback.
Thanks for taking the time to get through all of that.
I've gone through something similar (but from Hi8 to DVD).
The main difference is that instead of just marking chapters, I "cut" each tape into 15 to 20 different avi files of approx 5 minutes each (whatever made sense).
From there I use a Nero-like software as you do to burn as many avi files as I can fit on a 4.7GB DVD - so I typically need 3 to 4 DVDs for a 1-hour DV tape. I also export in mpeg (mp2) from Premiere and then use an authoring software to see my DVDs (w/ menus, chapters, effects etc.) on a regular living room DVD reader - and for this I trust the authoring software to burn the DVD correctly.
I'm not experienced enough to comment all steps of your process. It looks like you really know what you're doing! The only recommendations I have are pretty much dictated by common sense:
- Once you have burnt one DVD with avi file(s), load it back into Premiere and check that you can exploit it as you want.
- Take the time to watch and listen through an entire file. If you have perfect audio vs. video synchronization from beginning to end, you're much luckier than I usually am audio sync issues led me to manage avi files no longer than 5 minutes and perform additional manual sync in Premiere when needed. I worked only w/ my Hi8 tapes so far, maybe you won't have these problems w/ DV tapes.
- I read that we should not use a DV tape off the shelf, but always record it (w/ camcorder lens cap on) so that it is timecoded from beginning to end w/o interruption. I do it religiously w/ all my DV tapes. I wonder if the timecode error message you report in your step 3 may come from shooting with new DV tapes without timecoding them in 1 uninterrupted session. Give it a try (would be nice if you could let me know if you still get the error).
Now my 2 cents on your process - but remember I'm a rookie (I don't want to teach things I don't master!):
1) once you have captured and burnt a few DVDs, you could simply delete the avi files (and others) from your video drive. Make sure the wastebasket is empty - then defragmenting should be fast.
2) no comment.
3) see above. Avoiding tension in the tape is a good thing to do, but independently from this you also want to avoid any blank area i.e. w/o time code.
4) & 5) no comment - as long as the output is usable for whatever you want to do with it in the future (I guess, selecting scenes and editing real family movies rather than all your rushes), you're good.
Oh, last comment: Because it takes me a long time to cut my 5 minutes avi files and adjust audio sync until I like it, I definitely burn 2 DVDs that I keep in physically different locations. How long DVDs can last even when they're not used is another question... yikes!
JP...thanks for the reply.
I too had sync issues but that was becuase I was trying to put 4 hours of video on one DVD and it was one continous file. If finally fixed it by breaking the video up into about 10 files and it was ok after that.
For the tape transfer I'm doing now it's always 1 hour to DVD and i've never had a sync issue.