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What is my best option? MC5+Panasonic MiniDV preserving quality

scottclark's picture
Last seen: 5 years 6 months ago
Joined: 06/12/2009 - 1:38am

It is my goal to capture the highest quality video I can to burn to
Archival DVDs with my current equipment.

I have a Panasonic Mini DV PVGS120 camcorder and boatloads of wonderful movies I want to save. But this camcorder will NOT connect to any of the 4 computers I own (firewire) Believe me, I have tried EVERYTHING with multiple computers, made tons of calls, dropped messages on forums, etc. The camcorder cannot be recognized as a device and videos cannot be imported. If this would work, I would be done and happy.

So, I got my hands on a Sony VRD-MC5 | DVDirect MC5 Multi-Function DVD Recorder, which works like a champ with my Little Panasonic. Videos transfer over, and the way I understand it, the video it creates is MPEG2. To my eye, this part of the process preserves quality of the MiniDV tapes pretty well.

But ... here's where things go wrong.

Standard Def Videos from the MC5 will not play in new Sony BluRay DVD players. MPEG2 is not listed among the compatible formats for my new Sony Blu Ray, and the disk freezes up if you insert it. Only SONY camcorders can record in AVCHD on the MC5.

So what would you do?

  • Dub the videos to the MPEG2 disks using the MC5, edit them in Corel Video Studio and then output a DVD*?
  • Buy another MiniDV camcorder that the PC will recognize (I really don't want to spend the $$$ - I have a Canon HDD/HD camcorder already)
  • Something I'm not thinking of?

* My cursory test of this method shows "muddy" video output (like VHS
quality) but I cannot figure out where the quality loss is happening -
or how to avoid it.

I'm exasperated. Your expert opinion is needed


jimcvideo's picture
Last seen: 5 years 8 months ago
Joined: 04/15/2009 - 1:39pm

I just looked up the MC-5 stats on Sony's website. It leads me to believe that it doesn't work with DVD-R discs, but only DVD+R. DVD-R is closer to the standards for DVD, so that could be some of your problem. I have a $90 DVD recorder I bought from Wal-Mart for live video recording. It seems to be universally compatible with DVD players and Blu Ray.

Honestly, if you're just trying to archive footace, MPEG2 is way more compressed than DV tape. Your best bet is to leave it on tapes for now. Alternatively, grab $75 and head to the nearest pawn shop. They'll have a dirt cheap MiniDV camcorder you can use as a tape deck for transfer.


zoobie's picture
Last seen: 6 years 9 months ago
Joined: 03/18/2008 - 8:40am

More info needed...

Nobody's gotten the Panasonic Mini DV PVGS120 to be recognized by their OS or just you? Perhaps you can pass the Panasonic thru the Canon HDD/HD to the comp? Firewire between the cams? Triedanother device? Tried WinDV? Tried Linux? Tried +R discs?

Until we know your specs and what you've tried besides "everything", it's just a guessing game...

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