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View Full Version : Anyone have a stand alone DVD recorder for LD backup?


FulciZombieFan
05-11-2003, 06:50 AM
Hello :)

A friend of mine has a Panasonic DMR-E20 DVD recorder. This is one of the stand alone units that operate similiar to a VCR. I've tried backing up some LaserDiscs to it (at the 2 hour SP recording speed) and the quality looks pretty darn good. On a 27" TV I can barely tell the difference between the DVD copy and the LD original.

However, I've tried making a DVD-R on the Panasonic unit and then ripping it to my computer's HDD so I could do some editing (basic trimming of the start, end and side break) but if you do it that way you have to re-encode it on the computer. Software re-encoding takes FOREVER (usually at least 2 to 3 times the length of the movie you are re-encoding and that is on a FAST computer) and of course the quality suffers. Then I read that if you copy it to DVD-RAM and import it into a computer that you won't have that problem. However, everytime you put an edit on the DVD-RAM disc the authoring software reads it as a seperate MPEG2 file. So after editing you don't end up with one single file but multiple files (divided at the edit points) which means when playing back the final custom made DVD-R it pauses for a noticeable amount of time (couple seconds maybe) at each edit point. The benefit of the DVD-RAM route is that there is no re-encoding of the video/sound files.

I found out though that if you have one of the Panasonic stand alone DVD recorders that have a built-in hard disk drive that you can first record to the HDD (using the 2 hour SP speed) and then do your edits on the hard drive. At that point you can then transfer it to a DVD-RAM disc and as long as the DVD-RAM is recording at the same speed (in my example the SP speed) then it simply makes a perfect digital copy from the hard drive to the DVD-RAM ... no re-encoding ... and since it was edited on the hard drive the edit points are not remembered on the DVD-RAM and you get a single file. Simply copy that file onto your computer, run it through an authoring program (so you can make custom menus and custom chapter points etc.) and then burn to a DVD-R (yes that means you need a computer based DVD-R burner). The key to this process is that you end up with one sinle mpeg2 file and the computer never does any re-encoding ... all because the editing was done on the hard disk drive of the Panasonic stand alone DVD recorder.

Well I have a computer with a DVD-R/W drive but the only Panasonic stand alone DVD recorder I have access to is a model that does not have the built-in hard drive (the DMR-E20).

So ... if anyone has such a Panasonic unit (Toshiba also makes one) and a LD player then please contact me directly with a private message. :D

- John "FulciLives" Coleman
e-mail = coleman4829@adelphia.net

PLEASE NOTE
I am doing this in an attempt to BACK UP my LaserDisc collection. My own LaserDisc player died a year ago and I have a player on borrow. I have some really kewl horror/cult titles that have yet to come out on DVD so I am simply trying to back-up some of my LaserDiscs so I can enjoy them now on DVD. This has nothing to do with bootlegging.

Dave
05-11-2003, 12:52 PM
You should be able to re-encode it with the same quality. You need to check around for a high quality codec that will do this. I would suggest looking around, or posting on, www.vcdhelp.com.

Personally, I wouldn't mind dealing with the start and side break delays. That's no biggie to me. It's too much hassle to copy it down to your computer, edit it, re-encode, and then reburn it. I think there's a few more steps in there too.

P.S. Bootlegger....

ekent
05-11-2003, 02:30 PM
I use a capture card and snag it from the LD onto my PC.
From there I edit out all the nonsense, and then burn it to DVD.
Here is the kicker, I use one hour per disc, maximum quality.
2 hour quality does not look very good at all, much worse than the source. I do not like the quality that I have seen from standalones at all. Especially on 2 hour mode (yuk!). Here is a link to the card and software I use.
http://www.pinnaclesys.com/ProductPage.asp?Product_ID=577&Langue_ID=7

I have the AV analog one, about 5 or 6 down, that has an rca and a s-video input. I already have a firewire for my camcorder so by adding this card, I have the best of both worlds.

Dave
05-11-2003, 03:05 PM
Interesting. Everything I've read on standalones indicates the exact opposite of what you are saying. They are much easier than capturing into your computer, and they generally produce higher quality unless you have a high end capture card ($300+).

The downfall is unless you get an expensive standalone, you lose the ability to make copies, menus, and various other features. None of those are relevant to me, however.

Using 1 hr per disc from a laserdisc source is pointless. You will see absolutely no difference in quality. If you are, then you are doing something wrong or using a shitty codec. Shit, half the time a VCD will retain nearly all of the LD source's quality.

ekent
05-11-2003, 03:19 PM
if 8000 kb per sec looks as good as 1000 kb per sec, then you must be watching it on a 3 inch monitor. Also, the reason it is such a high bitrate, is because it does not compress the audio, leaving it in PCM form. I imagine that software that compresses the audio as well would be in a more expensive package. But as for the video I capture, it cant be more perfect than exact, which is what it is.

And of course the standalones are much easier, I didnt say anything about ease. I am talking about being able to edit and do what you want w/ the final product, including menu's or whatver.

The only experience that I have had w/ standalones has been bad. I got someone to record some miniDV footage onto disc for me using a standalone, a 47 min file, done in 2 hour mode, looks like a pixelated mess. I bet it would have looked a lot better in the 1 hour mode, but I may never know. But I do know that the standalone recorded in PCM audio as well, so that is killing the bitrate too.

Dave
05-11-2003, 03:30 PM
2hr is not 1000 second. 2hr is around 4000 or 5000.

ekent
05-11-2003, 03:30 PM
yeah but you said vcd buddy, which is 1000. Not trying to start any kind of war here. Just stating my experiences. I also added more to my comment so I am sorry that you responded before I was done with the edit.

Dave
05-11-2003, 03:46 PM
I agree higher bitrate is always a good thing, but I think you are overdoing it. I suppose it depends on the source material, as well as the codec being used and how much knowledge the person cap'ing has on the whole process.

Anything I cap will be in DVD-R at the 2hr rate. I just don't think the higher bitrate is going to produce a noticeable difference, especially considering most of what I'm archiving is lasers from the 80s.

I have VCDs of the Twilight Zone show from the 80s. The source material is from Japanese lasers from the 80s. I have the lasers and the VCDs. I see NO difference on my 50" 16x9 TV. These VCDs were properly created using a high quality codec. I don't see a single MPEG artifact on any of them.

ekent
05-11-2003, 04:02 PM
Hmmm, maybe I could play w/ my vcd settings some. Now that I think about it, the vcds that I have made were from a somewhat crappy source in the first place. I also make the my vcds w/ a differenct program (vegas video and mydvd) than what I use for dvds.

Do you mess w/ svcd and xvcd at all? The bitrate can go up to 5000 on xvcd, I think.

I capture at the highest rate possible for the program (pinn studio 8.5) which is 6000k/ps and 48khz PCM audio. Full quality I can get a one hour. I did a couple of 80's vhs movies, 90 minutes a piece, and to get all on one disc, it had to render at 63% quality. It looks pretty good, but not as good as the source. Thats the reason I am splitting to 2 discs on LD source. I can live with 63% on a vhs source because one day, the vhs will turn to mush.

FulciZombieFan
05-12-2003, 05:28 AM
Hello :)

Listen ... my point to the original post is that if you record to a stand alone DVD recorder using the built-in HDD, do your editing there (which is simple since you are just doing simple cuts like trimming the start, end and maybe LD side breaks or commercials if it is a TV recording) and then burn it to a DVD-RAM disc. You can then input the DVD-RAM disc into a computer and use Ulead authoring software (either Movie Factory 2 or DVD WorkShop) and create your custom menu/chapter points and then burn a DVD-R with your computer burner.

The process is simple and fast. The original recording of course is real time. The simple editing doesn't take long. The transfer from the HDD to the DVD-RAM is done faster than real time since it is a pure digital copy. The importing of the DVD-RAM into the computer is quick because again it is a digital transfer. Make your menu and chapters with a cookie cutter authoring program (such as the Ulead software which seems to work best with DVD-RAM files) and then do a final burn to DVD-R with the computer burner (about 30 minutes for a full DVD-R at 2x speed). DONE

Video capture is a friggin' nightmare. You need a VERY fast computer with MASSIVE amounts of HDD space. First you capture at real time to HUFFYUV (for optimal quality). Then you import into whatever (virtualdub is easy to use) to do any editing. So far this probably takes a wee bit less time at this point. Assuming your computer can handle a 720x480 30fps capture to HUFFYUV avi file format. That's a big IF unless you have a super fast computer with a MASSIVE amounts of space on the HDD. I've been told that HUFFUV captures of say 90 to 120 minutes (average length of typical movie) can take up as much as 50 to 60 GB of HDD space!

NOW you have to do the most difficult task of all ... import the avi into TMPGEnc or CCE and do a software mpeg2 encode. Here is the part that makes you want to kill yourself. Even a very fast computer can easily take 2 to 3 times the length of the program to do the mpeg2 encoding. That means a 2 hour movie would take 4 to 6 hours but on slower computers it can take as long as 12 to 24 hours. Completely insane.

The other method, using a stand alone DVD recorder with built-in HDD, takes a HELL of a lot less time. As for quality ... like I said, I've done a couple LaserDisc to DVD-R recordings using a Panny standalone and I could NOT tell the difference between the copy and the original on a high quality 27" TV. I have also seen some VHS DVD-R recordings using a stand alone DVD recorder and they look surprisingly good (considering the low quality of VHS).

Anyone who says you can do better with a computer capture is either doing it to the hilt (with a VERY fast computer) or they need glasses ... big time!

- John "FulciLives" Coleman

P.S.
The Panny recorders record audio in 2.0 AC-3 whereas video capture to DVD-R usually ends up with MP2 sound which is lower quality. Also please note that the Panny stand alone recorders incorprate a TBC (time base corrector) and an adaptive 3D Y/C comb filter. These two things do A LOT to clean up an analog video source. The only video capture device (made for a computer) that also has a TBC and adaptive 3D Y/C comb filter is a capture card made my Canopus. This capture card sells for about the same price as the upcomming Panny DMR-E80H which is a stand alone DVD recorder with a built-in 80GB HDD. Which would you rather own for $600 bones?

ekent
05-12-2003, 03:28 PM
I have an 80gb HD and a 20GB extra HD which is decent size but not huge

My pent 3 1.0Ghz does just fine w/ no hang ups.

Its not the capturing, its the rendering. You either capture at full speed or you don't. You either have enough hd/ram or you dont. The only difference is the rendering speed, and that has to do with the processor/ram/hd speeds/size. As far as I know, a p3 500 can handle all the capturing you can do, as long as you have enough HD space.

Dave
05-12-2003, 03:37 PM
I agree with you, Fucli. That's why I decided to go with a set top DVD recorder. Less work is always better for me! I could care less about edits, but I can understand it's important for some people.

I have captured onto the computer before, so it's not like I haven't tried that route. Just making SVCDs was a pain in the ass. Like you said, you end up with this 40-50gb file and then you still have to render it to MPEG-2.

I don't mind leaving the LD side breaks, and the occassional items I record off TV can have the commercials for all I care. Menus - I hate them anyway, so there's no way in hell I'll be adding any in myself.

I'll still probably get a DVD-R for my computer soon, as you can get one for under $200 now. But that's mainly for the occasional copy. I won't be doing much work on my computer, though.

Dave
05-12-2003, 06:23 PM
Originally posted by ekent
Hmmm, maybe I could play w/ my vcd settings some. Now that I think about it, the vcds that I have made were from a somewhat crappy source in the first place. I also make the my vcds w/ a differenct program (vegas video and mydvd) than what I use for dvds.

Do you mess w/ svcd and xvcd at all? The bitrate can go up to 5000 on xvcd, I think.

I capture at the highest rate possible for the program (pinn studio 8.5) which is 6000k/ps and 48khz PCM audio. Full quality I can get a one hour. I did a couple of 80's vhs movies, 90 minutes a piece, and to get all on one disc, it had to render at 63% quality. It looks pretty good, but not as good as the source. Thats the reason I am splitting to 2 discs on LD source. I can live with 63% on a vhs source because one day, the vhs will turn to mush.

I've made plenty of SVCDs. I was starting to copy my LD collection onto SVCD. I stopped because it was too much work. I don't have the greatest capture card, so I would have to first capture to a large AVI and then render to MPEG-2. The end result was fairly decent, but it was too much work. Now that I'm getting a set top DVD recorder, I'll start archiving everything to DVD-R.

Rather then spend $300+ on a good MPEG-2 capture card and $200 on a DVD-R, I'm just spending $370 on a set top DVD recorder. I lose some features, but none that matter to me all that much. Actually, there is one feature I'll lose that I would have liked to have had - the ability to store multiple audio tracks onto the DVD (commentary and movie soundtrack, for example). I could get the set top with hdd, but it's not worth the extra money for me. For now I'll just record the commentary onto a separate DVD-R. There's only a handful of lasers I have that have commentary tracks anyway (or commentary tracks that aren't on DVD).

Aceman
05-13-2003, 03:58 PM
The quality of my stand alone in 2hr mode is killer!! Every bit as good as a LD! We are selling "Scarecrows" unrated from a LD transfer to DVD! The quality is excellent!! Especialy since this title is unavailable on DVD here in the US! And is EXTREMELY hard to find!

"you play a good game boy....but the game is finished.........now you die"

Aceman
05-13-2003, 03:59 PM
I cant edit on my stand alone???:rolleyes: