400 MiniDV Tapes Onto DVD

By LindbergMTL · 46 replies
Jul 24, 2009
  1. Hi folks,
    First post here, and glad to have found you!

    I am asked to put the content of 400 one-hour MiniDV video tapes onto 400 DVDs. I first thought of transfering the MiniDV files onto DVDs with a DVD recorder, onto mpeg files. But the client is now asking to put then as .AVI files.

    What is the best way to proceed?

    Do I need to capture the miniDV tapes through an editing software (I already have Premiere), and then burn each DVD on my DVD burner? I own a laptop, not a desktop computer. It has a DVD burner. But with 400 DVDs, I will wear it out quickly.
    I would prefer to not use my HP laptop to do the transfers.

    Thank you all in advance for your input.
  2. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,982   +2,527

    Well, a DVD burner is only worth about $30.00 nowadays. One of them should be good for 400 DVDs easily. So, tag 30 bucks onto his bill and burn away!
  3. LindbergMTL

    LindbergMTL TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 18

    Thanks Cranky,

    Is there any way to bypass the laptop and transfer my minidv files as AVI files by burning a DVD?

  4. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,982   +2,527

    Not exactly. Faced with this prospect, I think I'd compile the files on the laptop, then output them to a flash drive, then burn them with a desktop.

    I didn't quite read your post as thoroughly as I should have. My $30.00 estimate was for a replacement desktop drive. There are several USB 2.0 external burners available, but around the 60 dollar level. With the extent of burning you're doing for this individual, it seems to me that an external drive might be billable as well.

    Here's the Newegg external optical drive search page; http://www.newegg.com/Store/SubCategory.aspx?SubCategory=420&name=External-CD-DVD-Drives You might peruse this before reaching a decision.

    I'm with you though, I'd use the optical drive in a laptop as little as possible.
  5. LindbergMTL

    LindbergMTL TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 18

    Great, thanks for posting the link.
  6. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    AVI and MPEG are just containers for video that can be encoded in any number of forms. For instance, does he want his avi's to be divx, xvid, motion jpeg?
  7. LindbergMTL

    LindbergMTL TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 18

    I am doing some tests now regarding capturing and burning DVDs. My first hurdle is the FAT partitioning of the Seagate external drive that I wanted to use. It limits the size of transfer to 4 GB. I explored the possibility of creating a new partition using the NTFS format, which allows any size of transfer, but i was not capable of creating such a format on the Seagate. My hard drive, however, has the NTFS format already. So I am making room on my hardrive to use it as scratch disk.

    As for the type of Codec, I don't know what to answer you. I can use Adobes Premier or Roxio for capturing the video, what do they use? I want to use a format that is most common for the ordinary guy who will want to use the video files from the DVDs.
  8. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    I almost didn't post because if I didn't you would probably have just gone on without anticipating any more problems. But I decided to post, if for nothing else, informational purposes.

    It is probably something you should ask your client, most likely he won't have any idea about the different codecs, and will just want 'avi'. If that is the case, ask what he intends to use to view what you are making for him because that may dictate what format you should use inside that avi container.

    MOST LIKELY it will just be divx. But it might be xvid (which is supposedly backwards compatible) but if it is some other codec you will want to know that before going through all that work.
  9. LindbergMTL

    LindbergMTL TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 18

    Well thats the thing. 400 DVDs to 400 different athletic organisations. Some may want to copy them, others to do some basic editing .
  10. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    MiniDV is going to be mpeg2. mpeg2 is probably going to be the easiest to deal with IMO just because if the system they are using can play DVDs it can play mpeg2. To go to a modern avi you are switching from mpeg2 to divx or xvid, which does make a substantial size reduction. This is how you can find pirated dvds to download at 700megs that look almost as good as a full dvd which will be several gigs (up to about 9).

    I don't want to overburden you with things, I'd just suggest you again confirm with your client what he wants, if he doesn't mention anything that I have in these few posts, then I would just carry on like you initially thought you should.

    Edit: How many minutes of video do you have that you are supposed to put on these disks to send out? If it is less than say.... 120 minutes I would STRONGLY suggest keeping them as mpeg2 (regular DV and DVD format). That will save you conversion time and it will ensure a format that the 400 recipients will be able to play.
  11. LindbergMTL

    LindbergMTL TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 18

    The client asked me to transfer in AVI to avoid degradation of the resolution if I used mpeg. What is mpeg2 compared to AVI:?
  12. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    heh. if it is minidv as the source, then it already IS mpeg2. I suppose its technically (maybe it isn't?) possible to take mpeg2 and put it in an avi container, but I think any of the traditional avi formats will cause degredation.

    I wish I had a good link to give you to explain it, but I don't know of any, I can't really explain beyond what I have because I simply don't know all the details on how the formats work.

    But I do know that it isn't as simple as what you initially had thought, and my involvement in this thread was informational and then later to try and help you be able to ask the right questions.
  13. LindbergMTL

    LindbergMTL TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 18

    This is very important and thank you for your input.

    In other words, by using the AVI format to capture from a miniDV tape, I am using a heavy and big envelope to put something in there that already doesn't need that much information? In other words, using AVI is inefficient and I should transfer to something like mpeg, withouth losing anymore information?
  14. strategic

    strategic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,020

    Might this be what you're looking for?
  15. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,982   +2,527

    The thing is, if the DVDs are going to 400 individuals, then they have to be custom tailored to each person's particular piece of equipment for them to be usable. Or, the discs must be in a format in which they all have equipment with common playback capability. Wouldn't that be DVD-Video?

    As I said before, if you have your editing software installed in the laptop, the most sensible, (or at least easiest and cost effective) thing to do is, output the master file to a USB drive, then burn them with a borrowed desktop. You can volunteer to buy a new burner, them simply leave it in after you're done. Whatever burns are left in the drive, belong to the proud new owner!

    Most, if not all burning suites, should allow you to select the number of copies. So, you just dial in 400, then hang out, and slap in new disc in the drive every six minutes or so.

    But, 6 times 400 equals 2400 (minutes), divide by 60 to get the number in hours, which incidentally works out to 40 hours, the time to burn all the discs. Boy, won't you be busy. And that's if they're all in the same format.

    *footnote* 6 minutes equals a full 4.7 GB of DVD-Video burned at 16X. Your results may vary.
  16. LindbergMTL

    LindbergMTL TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 18

    I will be burning one copy for each miniDV tape. One DVD per cassette.

    It took me 1h45 minutes to burn only one DVD from a AVI 60 minute capture, burnt on an external DVD burner.
    Way too long! So I wonder if I chose an mpeg format, if the burning time would diminish. I need to find a way to cut down on the time it takes to burn the DVDs.
  17. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,982   +2,527

    No, it probably took you that long to transcode the file and them burn the disc. Unless we're talking about 400 different tapes that need encoding, the next copy should take 6 to 10 minutes.

    If not, then it's time to spring for a quad core desktop, and overclock the crap out of it.
  18. Ph30nIX

    Ph30nIX TS Rookie Posts: 243

    Dude, read his initial post:

    400 Dv tapes --> 400 DVDS.

    I suggest leaving it in mpeg2, if they dont know WHY they want it in AVI, then there is no good reason to put it in AVI.
  19. strategic

    strategic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,020

    AVI's will play on more sytems than MPEG, it has better compatibility, that's most likely why.:slurp:
  20. Ph30nIX

    Ph30nIX TS Rookie Posts: 243

    I'd like to know where you pulled that from.

    Also, as mentioned above, they are just containers, so it depends more on the codec.
  21. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    Are you sure? If it's not high definition (ie. HDV), then it's most likely just DV. MPEG-2 is used in HDV, not standard definition DV, as far as I know. It wouldn't need any compression/conversion to put in AVI containers.
  22. LindbergMTL

    LindbergMTL TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 18

    Hey Dudes

    The client asked me to use AVI in order to stay as compatible with the most systems as possible.

    Another glitch I am encountering is the skipping of frames. The Avi video contains moments where the video seems to jam and catches up by skipping frame.

    Do you know if an increase of RAM would help alleviate the problem?

    As for the mpeg2 format, is it widespread enough? What about MAC users?

    I will make tests today with mpeg2 to see if capture/burn is handled better.
  23. LindbergMTL

    LindbergMTL TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 18

    In the meantime, I found these answers:


    In a nutshell:

    Creating DV-AVI and MPEG files from a DV tape
    If you wish to store video recorded on a DV tape on a computer hard disk, you can choose between two file formats: DV-AVI and MPEG (MPEG-1 or MPEG-2). DV-AVI files allow you to store video without loss of quality. This means that if you write a DV-AVI file out to a new tape, its quality will be the same as the original video. However, DV-AVI files need large space on disk (about 13 GB per hour of video). MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 allow compressing video; video stored as MPEG-2 provides better quality but requires larger disk space than MPEG-1 (about 4.5 GB vs. 700 MB per hour of video). MPEG-2 is the best format for archiving and distribution, while DV-AVI is very good for editing.
    * DV-AVI files should not be confused with �classic� AVI files (the standard Video for Windows), which have the same extension *.avi but contain much less information. In order to play DV-AVI files on a computer, you need special software called codec. This software must be the same used by the DV device to create the video file (see below).
    * You can play MPEG-1 files with Windows Media Player without specific codec installed. To play MPEG-2 files, you need either a software DVD player or Windows Media Player provided that a MPEG-2 codec has been installed.

    That was written in 2004, donno if things have changed much since then.
  24. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,982   +2,527

    I actually meant this. That's exactly what the quad core CPUs are for, encoding media. Sorry, but them's the facts.

    A high end quad desktop would probably cut that time into eights.

    I wish there was a simpler, cheaper solution. Steroids won't work on a laptop.
  25. LindbergMTL

    LindbergMTL TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 18

    How about just increasing my Pentium ram which is only at 1 gb now?
    And burning a DATA DVD instead, would that decrease burn time?
Topic Status:
Not open for further replies.

Similar Topics

Add your comment to this article

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...