What is the best way to compress 2hrs of dv footage for a DVD?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by sammyj46, Oct 13, 2006.

  1. sammyj46 macrumors newbie

    Oct 13, 2006
    Hi everyone,

    I am currently converting my analog 8mm videos (i.e. wedding, honeymoon) to dv via my minidv camcorder. I capture and edit in Final Cut 5 and then export a quicktime movie(not self-contained) and let iDVD to the compressing. However, this has been encoding for 4+ hours and I don't know if this is the fastest or best quality way to do it. My questions are?
    1) how long should a 2hr quicktime movie exported out of FCP take to burn in iDVD?
    2) would Toast work faster or have better compression?
    3) would exporting a quicktime using H.264 compression out of FCP be any faster or look better?
    4) should 2hrs of raw dv footage be 25+GB? If not, what could I be doing wrong during capturing?
    Since I am started with bad analog footage to begin with I don't want to make it worse by using the wrong compression so quality is definitely more important than time. Thanks everyone for your help in advance.

    I use a 17" 1.9 GHz iMac G5 (is this dual core...it's a year old??) with 1.5 GB DDR2 SDRAM with 160 GB HD and 250 GB external Lacie drive.
  2. edcrosay macrumors member


    Oct 27, 2005
    Compress the footage using compressor.
    Use export to Compressor, and choose DVD 120 minute Best Quality.
    This will take some time, as it does two passes, but should be faster and better quality than any of the other options you mentioned.
  3. PegasusMedia macrumors member

    Mar 29, 2006
    Jacksonville, FL
    4 hours is not out of hand for 2 hours of footage. While the above tips are good, what you are doing should give you good results as well.

    You'll want to get in the habit of timing your work so that you kick off a process like that right at quitting time and let it go overnight.
  4. Keebler macrumors 68030

    Jun 20, 2005
    Hi Sammy,

    firstly, good for you in doing this. it's important to save those memories before the tapes start dying.

    the others answered your questions, but i'll chime in on this one:
    4) should 2hrs of raw dv footage be 25+GB? If not, what could I be doing wrong during capturing?

    yup. 1 hour is approx. 13 GBs so 25+GBs is right on.

    using compressor is probably your best choice for compressing. check the bitrate settings for compressor wrt to the 1 hour vs 2 hour rates. since you are dealing with analog, you may want to make 1 hour DVDs instead of 2. I would run a test of your first tape. run 1 2 hour compressor and then run the first hour on a 1 hour rate. See if you notice any difference while watching on your TV. I don't use compressor so i don't know what the difference is (I use Bitvice from Innobits, but it's over $200 USD....much better results than compressor, if you're looking for options).

    I know you might be thinking that would suck to have 2 DVDs per 1 tape, but really, you're dealing with analog and these are your family memories....make sure you get the best quality while you're taking the hard earned time to do the job :)

    good luck,
  5. aloofman macrumors 68020


    Dec 17, 2002
    I agree. Unless you have a huge number of old tapes to convert, forcing 2 hours onto a DVD will just make the footage look worse. If you can split them up, or even edit out some of the unnecessary footage, that will make things easier.

    He's correct that 25 GB for 2 hours is about right. It might be worthwhile to invest in an external hard drive to keep these files on. Then you could go back to them and get snippets from them whenever you want. (If you want to really be safe, keep all the DV dubs you made too.) The main factors regarding your final quality will be (1) how good the footage looked in the first place, and (2) the connectors and cables you use to transfer the signals. My experience with transferring analog tapes to DV has been pretty good. Only really close examination shows many differences.

    And is there a specific reason why you want them on DVD? Is it just so you can play them on a TV? Because if you're willing to watch them on a computer instead, compressing to H264 or even a Sorenson QT will be much smaller and easier to play.
  6. sammyj46 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 13, 2006
    Thanks everyone...

    Thanks for the advice Keebler, Edcrosay, PegasusMedia, and Aloofman!

    just a quick response to Aloofman:

    I do have an external 250 GB Lacie drive...I have 20+ 8mm tapes though so to make 2 dvds per tape isn't too much of a problem if it will significantly increase the quality. Oh ya, and I want them on dvd instead of the computer because they are for the family to watch so having the ability to share and be portable are important factors. Thanks again for all the help.


    Sammy J.

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