DESPERATE: need advice importing my personal video to idvd

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by jbsteven, Oct 6, 2008.

  1. jbsteven macrumors newbie

    Oct 6, 2008
    Im new to Mac, digital video and the forums so alot to learn.
    The frustrating issue Im experiencing is this. Apx 18 months ago I purchased an iMac and since have slowly created slideshows using digital pics via iphoto, added music, title pages and even burned a couple of dvd's.
    I now want to step it up a notch and add video to these finished pieces.

    I once again created a slideshow with digital pics, music, title page, menu buttons....THEN attempted to add two short (3min) videos and hit a wall.

    The videos are two short VHS home movies which I transfered from VHS to DVD. (I have a unit which transfers vhs to dvd.) Once transfered, I finalized the dvd's and they play on the Mac but WILL NOT import the transferred Dvd footage into the iDvd slideshow program we have created. Keep getting a "parse" error?

    I have asked everyone with no success you guys are my last hope. Any
    assistance would be greatly appreciated.
  2. ftaok macrumors 603


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    You have a few options.

    1. Convert the DVD footage to DV and use iMovie. You can use MPEGStreamclip or Visual Hub. Both are shareware, but you can use the demo to evaluate.

    2. Convert the DVD footage to MPEG-4 and use iMovie (I think this works with iMovieHD aka iMovie'06). You can use Handbrake to do this. It's freeware.

    I think converting to DV would give you the best compatibility and image quality. Especially coming from VHS, I would want to retain as much video quality as possible.

  3. jbsteven thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 6, 2008
    Deseprate: need advice

    I assumed that if the VHS footage was transferred to DVD then it is digital video. How do I then convert the DVD to digital video? You mentioned MPEGStreamclip or Visual Hub...where do I locate these? also where do I locate Handbrake? and finally, I have not used iMovie instead I use iDvd is this not the best method?
  4. ftaok macrumors 603


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    You are correct, the video on the DVD is indeed "digital", but it's not in a format that you can readily use. DVD video is MPEG-2 wrapped in a VOB container. I'm not sure, but I'm pretty sure that you can't just take the DVD footage and put it into iDVD (or iMovie).

    Hence the need to convert it. You can find Handbrake, MPEGStreamclip, and/or Visual Hub by googling them. It's easy.

    You might want to try using MPEGStreamclip to see if it'll let you convert the DVD footage to straight MPEG-2 and then see if iDVD will accept it. That's another option, and I think this would be preferable above all other methods as it should keep the conversions to a minimum.

    Hopefully, others will chime in on this topic and give other suggestions. I'm no expert and I'm sure others will have better ideas.

    Good Luck!
  5. notjustjay macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    Part of the confusion stems from the similarity of the acronyms "DV" and "DVD" and the generic term for "digital video". One might assume they are the same, or at least closely related, but alas, they are not.

    The "DV" format is the digital format used by camcorders that record onto miniDV tapes. You transfer this video to your computer over a Firewire cable. iMovie (and other video editing programs) likes this format best for doing any sort of video editing. When you drop a video clip or still image into the iMovie timeline, internally it is re-rendering the clip in DV format. "When in doubt, use DV" is a reasonable mantra for video editing projects.

    When you converted your VHS tapes to DVD, you did indeed encode them to a digital video format, but that video is encoded digitally in a specific way for DVDs (MPEG2 video stored in a VOB format on the DVD). It is not as readily editable due to the way the MPEG2 format works.

    What the other posters have suggested is to use a "DVD ripper" to first copy the video data from the DVD to your hard drive, then use a program to re-encode that video into DV format so you can drop it into your editing program. This will work, and the video quality should be decent despite the double-conversion since the original source material was only VHS quality anyway. (For the very best quality, you would want to start over and copy from the original source material directly to DV format, by using a miniDV camcorder, but in your case it should be OK.)

    I hope that helps clear things up a bit.
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    DVD is a good format for distribution but is a very poor working format. YOu can't do much with it except put it inside a DVD player. Yu best bet in terms of quality is to go back to the old VHS tape and convert it to miniDV format. For best quality it is best to never convert formats multiple times. But you likely do not want to do that. You will not loose to much if you convert you DVD to another format. Just pick one that is less compressed then DVD. "handbrake" (find it with Google) is a pretty good program for doing this and it's free.
  7. NeoMayhem macrumors 6502a

    Aug 22, 2003
    MPEG Streamclip is free actually, and is one of the best ways to do this. Handbrake will also work, but the quality will be worse.
  8. jbsteven thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 6, 2008
    what is the difference between iDvd and iMovie?

    Thanks to everyone who offered assistance with my initial issue of importing my Dvd's into iDvd. I got and understood more information in this one thread than I did in days of asking around. I will take a closer look at both Streamclip and Handbrake and Im sure will have additional questions.

    I did have one other question, what is the difference in iDvd and iMovie in terms of their purpose and use. I just started using a Mac and a few of the programs. I have been using iDvd with much success but had difficulty understanding iMovie or why I should use it.

    Thanks again.
  9. tcgjeukens macrumors regular


    May 16, 2007
    IJsselstein, the Netherlands

    iMovie is a video editing programme
    iDVD is a DVD authoring programme.
    Neither are true sildeshow creation programmes but both do the tric to a (limited functionality) extent.

    In a programme like iMovie, its bigger brother Fincal Cut Express or professional cousing Final Cut Pro you will work your video creativity. Starting with all your source video clips, stills and audio, you will create your story. In a video editing programme you will add transitions, apply filters, create (text) overlays etc. The end result is a MOVie. You can either look at your movie using your video editor or you can EXPORT the MOVie to a MOV file. This MOV file is playable in e.g. Quicktime.

    Most likely your purpose is not only to have a MOV file on your own iMac, but you want to DISTRIBUTE your creative result:
    1) Distribute MOV file
    2) Prepare for webviewing
    3) Make a DVD

    In case 1 you simply pick up your MOV file and give it to yur friends. They will need Quicktime to see your movie.

    In case 2 you will have to convert your MOV file to a web-friendly-distribution format. You will have to think about the display size, internet bandwidth and client-browser-platform. The latter meaning: does the viewer need to install special programmes/ pluginns to view the movie. Converting to FLASH is the least obtrusive for any audience.

    In case 3 you will enter the domain of DVD authoring. You will create a DVD with menu's. main movies, chapter indexes, extra goodies, etc. You can choose/ create your own theme's.
    Making a DVD is done with a programme like iDVD or its professional cousing DVD Studio Pro.
    In a authoring programme your movies or stills are called "assets". You will import your assets and define where and how they are inserted into your DVD layout. In iDVD layout's are predefined by Apple templates, in DVD Studio Pro you can start greenfield.
    As explained by ftaok, your final DVD will have all assets converted to MPEG-2 in a VOB container. This means that your DVD authoring programme has to convert your assets into MPEG-2. iDVD will do this for you using default presets that are not controllable by you (Apple has made that choice for you). In DVD Studio Pro you can control the conversion quality by means of Compressor.

    When done with authoring there is one last step: make the actual DVD. In iDVD or DVD Studio Pro you can say "burn". It will use your built in DVD burner to make the disc.
    You can also "burn" to a disc image. In this case the rssult is a IMG file on your hard drive. You can use Toast to burn it to disc or you can send the IMG file to a company that will duplicate the disc for you.
    Beware: when using your built in DVD burner, expect that approximately 5% of your audience will NOT be able to play your dics. Your built in burner will create -R, -RW, +R or +RW discs. These will not play on all brands. Only DVD Rom discs will play on all players. So if you have a large audience, send the IMG file to a duplication facility and let them make the DVD-Rom disc for you.

    Last item: what about sildeshows.
    Since video editing programmes gear towards editing video and authoring programmes focus on creating DVDs, both have added limited slideshow capabilities. In most cases those capabilities are sufficient.
    Prime difference:
    a) In DVD Authoring programmes you are mimited to 99 slide per slideshow. Each picture is stored as a "chapter" and DVD's have a limit of 9 chapters.
    b) In video editing programmes you stich pictures together and create a single video track. You have more flexibility in individual slide duration and transitions.
    Note: video and DVD are all meant for display on TV sets with a display ratio of 4:3 or 16:9. Most (serious) still fotography is at 3:2. When targetting to display stills via a DVD slideshow on a TV, be prepared for black bars or streched images.

    Have fun with your Mac

  10. jbsteven thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 6, 2008
    desperate need advice importing home video

    Coen, Thanks so much for the detailed info on iDvd versus iMovie. I now have a better understanding of the differences. I attempted to create in iMovie and found it challenging and have since created a few slide shows with music, titles etc in iDvd with much more success. Im assuming that at least for the time being I can continue creating slideshows and as mentioned in my earlier question add videos and subsequently burn to Dvd"s using iDvd........?

    In regards to my initial question and thread: I just downloaded Streamclip to address the problem of being unable to import a two minute VHS homevideo into my current iDvd project. (I transfered the VHS to Dvd)

    Now that I have downloaded I simply put the Dvd homevideo into my iMac and drag the video into Streamclip and it will convert to an appropriate digital file I can use or is there something else I need to do?

    Thanks again guys. appreciate your wealth of knowledge. This stuff can be overwhelming but Im getting a better understanding of the terminology and the functionality.
  11. notjustjay macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    Just be aware that you might run into limitations the way you're doing things. For example, I'm not sure that it's possible to include video clips in a slideshow made in iDVD (in fact, I'm fairly certain it's not possible).

    The beauty (and possibly downfall) of these iLife apps is that they are each designed to do one thing, and to do that one thing extremely well. Of course, in addition to each program's "one thing" they are all robust enough to know a few other tricks, and there is some overlap. As you've discovered, iDVD, iPhoto, and iMovie all know how to do slide shows. But you have to understand that each one will do a slide show in the context of what it knows how to do best.

    For example, iDVD is primarily a DVD "authoring" tool. Its intent is to let you take a bunch of completed videos, that you've already made in iMovie, and burn them to a DVD using a beautiful theme, animations, and so on. Its focus is on finished videos. It is capable of making slide shows "on the side" as a convenience to the user, but slide shows are not its primary job. When it creates a slide show, it's really quickly generating a finished video of all the selected photos, on the fly. But iDVD does not give you much in the way of options for editing this video -- that's not its job. (And since it is always creating these on the fly, it has no concept of saving the finished video to disk, and thus it takes a long, long time to keep rendering slide shows every time you burn the DVD again).

    Similarly, iPhoto is primarily a photo management tool. It is excellent at managing large collections of photos, letting you pick smaller collections of them, and making slideshows. It is also capable of playing video clips that come from your camera. However, it is not particularly strong at anything related to moving video or a timeline, since its primary focus is still photos -- and as such its photo slideshow options are very good, but still fairly basic. It treats slideshows as a simple list of photos to display one after the other. It doesn't create video clips of them, it just displays them. It knows how to do a few tricks like pans and zooms for the "Ken Burns" effect and fading transitions, but it does them on-the-fly, and does not give you fine-tuned frame-by-frame control over time -- that would be a video, and that's not its job.

    iMovie is primarily a video editing tool, and it does this purpose very well. It does not handle photos -- that's not its job -- but it approximates this by turning each photo into a short video clip of the still image. It is thus capable of creating a slideshow out of your photos, by turning the collection of photos into a set of video clips on the timeline. If you want fine control over the pans and zooms, and transitions and titles and effects, this is where to do it, because this is iMovie's specialty. If you wanted to add other video clips to your slides, like from your VHS tapes, iMovie is the tool that understands how to work with multiple video clips and arrange them to make an exact, frame-accurate video. That is its job! You'll find, however, that putting photos in a slide show is a bit more work in iMovie -- and that's because, again, you're actually working with video clips.

    I hope that makes sense. Any one of those programs knows how to do simple slideshows, and it is your preference as to which you like best. But when you start getting fancy, you need to pick the tool best suited for the task. In your case, mixing video footage with photos, I think iMovie will be the only one that knows how to handle both. Then once you've got exactly what you want from iMovie, create the finished video and send it to iDVD, which knows how to take it from there and burn a nice DVD out of it.
  12. jbsteven thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 6, 2008
    desperate need advice importing home video

    notjustjay, thanks for the response you actually clarified the differences between iPhoto, iMovie and iDvd perfectly. Sounds as if I should begin to learn iMovie to do these slideshows, and definitely if Im incorporating video into any of them.

    Any thoughts on the streamclip download i mentioned?

    thanks again.
  13. webraider macrumors member

    Feb 22, 2005
    Anything on DVD is in a special "Mpeg 2 Format" not DV. DV stands for Digital Video and it's the format that exists on some Digital Cameras. DVD and DV Are not the same things. You will have to use a program like Disk Utility to rip the DVD to Disk Image. Disk Utility can rip non commercial DVD's. This will create a VOB File in a folder of the main feature of the DVD's Disk Image. Then you can use Mpeg Stream Clip to convert the VOB files to something you can work with. Incidentally. I would leave the file as MPEG 2. Then I would export the extra movies or slideshows from iMovie.. then use Mpeg stream clip to add it to the Mpeg 2 footage. Then I would save it as the VOB file and add it back into the Disk Image. This way you would save your self re-compression issues on the original content. Make sure that the VOB is the same name as the original VOB. Add it back where you took it from on either the disk image or the folder. You now have an updated movie. Sorry it's so confusing but it's because they purposely designed DVD's to be difficult, that you literally need special software to Author them. It takes almost as much time as preparing a Movie! This is to thwart Pirating.. Not that it really does that.
  14. webraider macrumors member

    Feb 22, 2005
    I would agree with this.. this is the best option unless you opt for Final Cut Pro Express. However.. there is also a cheaper option than FCPE. You can also create great looking slide shows in Keynote, then export the final show as a Movie.. to arrange in iMovie '08. You can then put it with your other movie clips. It's not as delicate as FCPE, but you can do some great stuff.

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