Last Updated on Saturday, 23 June 2012 10:42
Many Many Customers are coming to us asking how they can edit their own DVD's, they give us a 8mm digital tape or vhs and ask for it to put in a format that can be edited. Well there are so many formats, I stopped asking if they wanted a avi, or a mpeg, most people do not know where to start. Having said that, new menu driven programs and faster computers are making the task easier.
First, you can edit a video that has been put on a DVD but that was not the intention of the disk, they are highly compressed and meant, in my opinion, to be the final version of your project. Better to edit a .avi (huge file size=better quality) or a mpeg 2, Standard DVD’s are VOB files, a form of mpeg 2 but more compressed than standard mpeg 2, yes I know that’s confusing...
It’s all about the compression. Compression is done with a Codec (short for Compression-Decompression) Codecs are needed for encoding and decoding (playing) audio and video
Compression is simply put data redundancy, if the sky is in the background is present for more than 1 frame then the program does not draw every pixel/picture of the sky in every frame, it will blur together some of the information to save time and file size, 2 hours of video data is compressed by 15 to 30 times while still producing a picture quality that is generally considered high quality for standard-definition video. This works very well if the video has little motion.
A DV file has in theory only 4% compression. (Thats a good thing)
A video compressed for youtube or web application is not suitable for your home Tv but it's getting there, They use different video codecs such as win media 9 or flash. It is video designed to show minimal information / quality so the world wide web can display it. Your internet connection can only handle limited bandwidth.
But having said that, and now that youtube offers so called hi fed, if you really need to show a youtube video on tv download or rip as a avi using this free tool found at this web address:
It works quite well, after you have it ripped (converted) as a avi, simple burn a dvd with Pinnacle or some other video application
Improve the quality with
free trial video improvement for low res video
Vcd, SVCD, XSVCD is a compression option in video applications to put a DVD video on a CD at a lower quality, Just a waste of time considering the price difference in cd and DVD blank media. Also presents playback issues with some DVD players. Do not waste your time with vcd.
Never, never put more than 2 hours on a disk, (DVD-5 single layer) it almost always causes playback issues on many DVD set top players. 1 hour will result in min. compression, i.e. little quality loss. Yes it’s digital to digital editing but the decompression / compression will kill quality in order to fit your vid on the disk. Its like over inflating your car tire with air, you can do it but it will cause problems.
Never burn video files to dvd at a high speed. 4 to 6 times burn speed will limit your failed burns
However sometimes you just have to edit a standard DVD so how?
Pinnacle studio 12 does a great job of importing a DVD as a mpeg, the simple editing timeline can be mastered by anyone in a hour or so.
Pinnacle tip to stop you from pulling your hair out... After you drag and drop in transitions and a menu, STOP, walk away for a few min so the computer can pre render in the background, You will see the yellow progress line above the transitions and menu change color when they are done, if you don't and just press burn disk, you will have menus that do not work and in some cases the transitions as well.
Some of its features like effects do not work when you buy the program but can be unlocked for more $$, Don't worry the effects that do come with the program are great and enough for most people. Do Not overdo transitions, most of the time a dissolve will do, think of it as starting a new paragraph when you write a letter, starting to present a new thought or scene. Some of the far out transitions are great eye candy but draw you attention away from the video story that is being told.
Years ago when Tv's "tool time" with Tim Taylor was on TV the show presented overdone transitions as the editing style for the show.
Your not on tool time.
Heres the deal, you can use these easy programs and they will work but they will crash on occasion. They offer enough flexibility but limit options as a trade off for convenience, ease of use. The truth is most consumers do not want to set multiplexing values or know if they should.
These programs fill a nitch and offer easy workflow for students or anyone that need to put a presentation together that will look more fluid than a slide show PowerPoint presentation.
Ulead movie factory also allows the program to "suck" (or rip)in your DVD as a mpeg 2 for editing straight from disk.
Its a consumer DVD creation software that supports Blu-Ray Disc*, HD DVD* and AVCHD™ disc formats with the optional Hd plug in.
Click here to visit site.
Ulead movie factory has a better output quality but offers less options in editing, mostly for setting your in/out points (trimming) your vid.
Not good for adding /dubbing audio / music to your DVD.
- Tip: You can easily convert to and from pal to NTSC with this nifty program, their is free fully working demo on the ulead website that will work for 30 days, if after that time you have not mastered your disk, buy the program or hire me to edit your vid
The output settings are hiding under preferences, lower left icon on the screen under the playback window
Be mindful of your output settings, they will affect the quality of the dvd, if you have the option to do a 2 pass encode, try it! Takes longer, more time that the program takes to render the video out the better the quality.
Ulead does make more advanced vid apps as well, ulead videostudio8 for example.
I feel Adobe Premiere or avid is the best for any editing but the learning curve is steep. Its overkill for a consumer who just wants to do a few projects.
Burning at a slow speed (4X-6X)is always a good plan, far less chance of errors. Did you know A DVD can have errors and still play... but it will limit the compatibility of playback on other DVD players and may cause the DVD to come up with a Fatal error code when you try to copy it!
I know your DVD/cd drive claims it can copy at 52X but leave that option for data burning.
How fast does my computer need to be?
You may be surprised, a off the shelf dell with 2 gig of ram is low priced basic computer that is great for email and word processing. Using Dell as a example, could you edit a video on one? Yes, well standard def video can be editing on a dell but the rendering time will be long. When you finish your masterpiece, you have to hit a button labeled render or make video. It will take a 2 hour DVD 3 to 5 hours to "render" and 10 to 15 min to burn depending on how many transition and effects you used, how "complex" your video is.
Dell as one example shares its on board memory with its basic video card, the video card is not advanced enough to take some of the workload of video off the core cpu.
Thats ok, set it up to render overnight but make sure your anti virus program does not auto-launch at 11 P.M or when ever your computer is rendering as it will overload the cpu and probably crash.
As you edit the preview screen will stutter at times and you may have to wait for the computer to catch up with you. Some plug in transitions like "prodad" will not function on a basic computer or on a video card with 8meg of ram.
Laptops and video, Mine is 7 years old and I can edit on it (standard def) with no problem but here is the trick with a laptop. Have an external drive! and capture your video to that drive. A laptop harddrive is only 5400rpm, even sata2, and is stressed by the workload. Having a external USB 7200rpm drive splits the workload across two drives. It makes all the difference in the world. Also recommended for your desktop computer for video or audio apps. (mixing of 24 tracks).
External USB drives with 200 gig are very cost effective right now or a SSD conversion kit to replace your HD
Having said all that it is better too use a powerhouse computer or a workstation class computer. I custom build a quad core for this purpose. With a nvideo video card with 2 gig of Videoram on board (8 gig on Motherboard). It is designed to take the video workload compression off of the computer cpu. It is designed to render video and does it well. A project that would take some computers 2 hours to render I can now do in 12 min. How often are you going to do video editing determines your need of hardware. You could even get a breakout box that makes your video render free. (dv mojo but it does not support hi def as I understand it)
Powerhouse computers will not crash (as often) as they hum along cheerfully piecing your Hollywood production together. Now nvidia video cards offer "cuda" and it takes the workload off the cpu very well in premere 's latest version. Even a cheap $69 nvidia card will speed you up by a factor of 2 but you have to perform a simple hack. Search youtube for nvidia hack for more info
You can buy a 10,000 rpm drive from seagate if you do not mind sitting next to a jet engine, Its alittle loud but is the fastest in its class without stepping up to a raid hard drive sys.
If you are advanced with computers and want to configure a raid sys do not use windows raid ulity to configure the raid, it is software driven with resource overhead that takes away some of the speed advantage. You need a raid controller card that has hardware control of the drives to archive mind blowing speeds
New to the market are green harddrives. Stay away from green drives, They are Green meaning they use less power, typically the run at 5400 rpm so your whole sys will slow down
I'm all for green but giving you 1/2 the performance is not a good way to do it, I could just take two of 4 pistons out of my car to get better green mileage but the car would perform very badly.
Dumping warehouses of old HD's on the market with a new sticker on them that says Green is just dumb.
Capturing old vhs/beta/8mm video tapes
I have a great tip for you. Lets say you want to capture a old vhs tape and you only have firewire on your computer, no video rca inputs, no problem, dig out your mini dv camera and use it to as a analog to digital converter.
The outputs on most mini dv cameras are also inputs! Just run your audio and video cables from your vhs to your camera, use the s video cable if your vhs deck has one, and run a 4 pin firewire from your camera to your computer.
The camera must be in play mode, not camera mode! One more step, you have to go to your camera menu and "tell" your camera that you want it to convert the video to digital. Drill down in the menu and you will find something like "vcr setup" hit enter, the scroll down and change av to dv out. Hit play on your vhs vcr and you should now see the video playing on the camera screen. Plug in to your computer firewire, wait a few seconds for the computer to "see" the camera and your ready to capture.
Also if your vhs original that you are capturing will not "track" turn off the audio tracking in your vcr menu. Many old tapes, especially long play recordings have a control track that is weak. It confuses the auto tracking and the playback toggles from blue screen to picture. If the audio cuts in and out, switch the audio from hi-fi to normal in the audio setup in the vcr menu, the audio will then be mono but it should stop cutting in and out.
Don't bother with a video processor to clean up the signal unless it is a good one, most of the video processors that I have seen under $1000 are junk. One exception is the MX-1 mixer by Videonics, it has a built in time code corrector clock that is a true time code corrector.
Any processing of video can be done better with the computer with far more control.
If you are trying to capture hi-8 or 8mm video (not film) to your HD and the heads keep clogging you have moisture in your emulsion (tape), you can use a food dehydrator to suck the moisture out (AT YOUR OWN RISK!) or gently warm with the sun on your front porch before playing
but you will have 2 days to transfer after dehydration before the tape is dead
Firewire! It the savior of video, before its day video editing was only for the brave. Everone can now achieve great quality capture with no dropped frames thanks to this industry standard.
Pictures from my Video?
If you capture stills from your video (through firewire) they will be 720 by 480 pixils.(standard def) You can do this in Pinnacle studio for example, before printing these you need to know a few things. The picture is not really a picture, it is two overlaid frames of a video and needs to be de-interlaced.
Video is 30 frames or stills a second, and you just captures two of them is you wanted to or not. Video overlaps as it creates the illusion of motion like the old flip books you may have seen years ago. Pinnacle has a check box when you capture a still that is labeled flicker reduce and I imagine that it is another term for deinterlace. If you need to you can just bring up your picture in Photoshop and after you "select all" under video click on deinterlace.
You may have to play with a few check box options to see the best results.
Now you are ready to print but as I mentioned the image size is 720 by 480 pixels, that’s not very much so do not think you can print it out as a 8 1/2 by 11. It just won't fly.
Also if your source of video was a old vhs, the lack of video information will will make for a very basic picture, if your original source was mini dv then you might have something worth printing at 5 by 7in.
(Update, Pinnacle now allows higher res captures of video stills so there is some improvement.)
Damaged Disks, protecting Disks
- Scratched DVD's can be fixed with car wax if the scratch is not too deep.
- Paper Labels are not a good plan for DVD’s, printing on the disk is ok
- A cracked DVD is a wonderful coaster for your coffee. Don't try to glue two pieces together, it will fly apart in the DVD rom causing damage to your computer. Do I really have to tell anyone this, well yes I have seen a person try it in spite of my protests
Here is a link to a useful article on DVD disk quality, if you don't have time to read the short answer is summarized in the next paragraph
"Regarding the type or brand of disk to buy it a mystery to some extent, the major players hire different factories to make the disks at different times and put their logo on them. It is the media ID that reveals the disc manufacturer. A free program called DVD Identifier (and others)will reveal who really produced the blank disk, DVD Decrypter also displays the hidden code."
The short answer is to buy name brand Pioneer, Taiyo Yuden, Memorex, ridata are safe bets in my opinion, your experience may differ.
Use -R not +R for video, +R is better suited for data backup
There is a new product out called "d skins" that are like a sandwich bag for your disks. They fit the disk perfectly and once on, they stay on even during play offering protection from scratches, Freezer fresh? Mmmm maybe.
It is a pricey item so you may want to just buy archival quality disks.
Blu-ray, this next-generation optical DVD has become or at least will soon be the new standard, but the Blank Disks are expensive. Did you know you can burn full hi def on a standard DVD, Just not as much, If your video project is 30 to 50 min long, burn on a standard dvd in full hi def! You see its not the blu ray disk that is "hi def" The blu ray just allows a narrow lazer burn so you can fit more data on your DVD. (The Lazer is Blue, thus the name)
(but)The one advantage of the hi def disks is that they have more of a protective coating and its believed that they will last longer.
Good Luck with your projects!
Copyright Dave Steeves