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vicks: I just spent 15 minutes reading this thread. I guess it took me that long because you were very confusing on what you said you were going to do, then not do, then do again. The way I see it, compusolver, On a roll and svhs addressed everything you asked. Mind you that these guys had quality in mind as do I, which is what we all strive for. Of course you have the right to go else were for answers but Id like to talk to the guy that said that Adobe Premier Pro works great for editing mpegs. He obviously has a lot of time on his hands not to mention low standards for video quality.
The bottom line is this:
If you are just looking to record video using your DVD cam, and you later want to transfer that to a bigger DVD for archiving purposes, then keep your camera. As what was already mentioned, copying smaller (.mpeg) files from one little DVD to another big DVD is no problem and quality stays the same. Any CD/DVD writing software should be able to do this for you.
If you are planning to do ANY kind of editing whatsoever which includes adding a sound track of some kind, or even a title, then going with a DVD camera is NOT a good idea. Of course if you dont care about quality then go nuts! You mentioned that youre a professional so if thats true, I have to think that you do care.
It doesnt sound like you understand video compression so to explain why we are telling you that editing mpegs is not a good idea, I will attempt to give you crash course. Besides it was a slow day at the office. 8)
First of all you need a CODEC. This stands for COmpression/DECompression. Think of them as a software solution that shrinks file sizes down using a special algorithm process. You usually need to have the codec to first compress a file and then the same version to play that compressed file back.
I bet youre asking, Why would I want to do that? The answer is simple. Digital video data takes up a lot of space. This is nothing more than a clever way to shrink up that amount of space needed. If we didnt have that then you would need 4 regular DVDs to watch just an hour of video which is not what we want.
Heres how it works:
Lets say you have a 5 second video clip (150 frames @ 30fps) of a flag waving against a blue sky. The compression software looks at each frame at the digital pixel level and determines if anything has changes from the previous frame or frames. (I say this because it all depends on compression settings used.) Now if you can imagine, there is probably a lot of incidences where the blue pixels of the sky didnt change from frame to frame so why use that data again? What the software will do is drop the redundant pixels (using this special algorithm) that havent changed within a certain time frame and uses the data it had stored from the previous frame(s) again. By dropping this redundant data, naturally the file size starts to become smaller. When you do this for each 720×480 frame (345,600 pixels per/frame) you can imagine that you can shrink a file quite a bit after a while. That is the COMPRESSION side of it. Now when you want to play this compressed file back on something, you will need to have the DECOMPRESSION side of the codec available to interpret how the data stream should be put back together again (by using the same algorithm) so it can display the pixels in the same manor as was originally compressed. Thats pretty much how it works! (Generally speaking of course.)
Now. the reason you DONT want to use compressed (mpeg) for editing is because once the compression is done; the data of the redundant pixels is permanently deleted and can NOT be brought back anymore. The quality of the video will look OK as long as you have the codec (using its algorithm) working for you but it will not be close to the original uncompressed video which still has all of the pixel data present.
OK, now let say you want to edit some footage from your DVD camera you shot. REMEMBER it is already a compressed mpeg file. When you take that and edit it, you will have to take your newly edited version and re-encode it again. The same process starts all over again. The compression software looks at the data and plucks out the pixels that havent changed for a set period of time but NOW its taking data from something that has already been picked apart from the first time around. What do you end up with??? You get a VERY poor quality video because the DECOMPRESSION end of the process is having a hard time filling in the blanks thus giving you a lousy blurry picture with a lot of artifacts and blocking on the screen.
This is why you always want to use uncompressed AVI video (DV tape) during editing because you have the best possible quality of picture available and when youre all finished editing THEN you compress it to mpeg DVD video. Compressing video once using a nice codec is still going to give you a real close likeness of the original video. When you start compressing it more than once, the quality really starts to suffer.
PS: To be honest with you… you can do a lot of cool stuff with the tape cameras, computers and the neat software available so I guess I’m wondering why anyone would want a DVD camera in the first place?