I bought a Sony Mini-DV digital camera. This records at around 500-520 lines of resolution. I also have some Hi-8 tapes (records over 400 lines of resolution) and also VHS tapes. I want to digitize my Hi-8 and VHS tapes and archive them all. Here's the $100,000 question: What format is the best format to record to in order to maintain the original recorded quality? I have a couple options but there may be more. 1 - I can record from the camcorder to an AVI file that is huge (could be a meg per second. I can burn and store the AVI files on DVD. 2 - I can record to a DVD (MPEG2 I think). This is a considerably smaller file, but for archiving purposes I do not want to loose quality). I can create DVD's from whatever format I choose to save as. The main objective here is to maintain the captured quality for later viewing once I get a Hi Def TV and/or future video formats change to accommidate better quality.
Regarding the qality of the DVD that came from the DV camcorder. It all depends on the MPEG2 encoding...I like to use 8Mb/sec video rate and 224Kb/sec audio rate. If I need to squeeze 1 1/2 hours (which is my limit) I drop down to 6 Mb/sec video rate. Any lower and it will start to look grainy/blocky. In addition, more expensive software usually does a better job.
I learned a little and burned my first DVD last night from the files I created. The quality was not bad. What file format were you archiving to? My steps - 1 - Using Windows Movie Maker, I created and edited my movie clips using the DV-AVI file format. Be warned - these files are huge (a 20 minute tape was maybe around 7-10 gigs). The files were saved with an AVI extension. I use these files to archive since this seems to be the best quality format to use. From these *.avi files, I archive to DVD and then when I want to create a DVD for viewing on my DVD player, I pick and choose the *.avi files I want and burn. 2 - Using the DVD software that came with my camera (DVD Builder, although I think you can do with Windows Movie Maker as well), I created the DVD by importing the *.avi files. The PC has to convert them to MPEG2 format, my PC took quite a long time to convert (2.5 gigs took over an hour) and then it created the DVD. I tested the quality and it does not look bad.
Let's try to bottomline this. If you want said DVD to play in most players, you'll be encoding the video according to standards. The current DVD is MPEG2. At the current time, most people just have DV camcorders so you don't see the generational loss as you move the video from DV to DVD. At least I don't.
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