Quality loss after converting MPEG2>DV>EDIT>BURN TO DVD

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Europe calling, Mar 27, 2008.

  1. Europe calling macrumors regular

    Europe calling

    Jun 27, 2007
    The Netherlands
    Hi everyone,
    I would like to buy a camcorder. I had a HDD camera in mind, but after reading some of the forum comments, a MiniDV cam seems the most hassle-free way to go.
    But if i do that, will i not be buying an obsolete technology, seeing that the first flash-memory camera's are already on sale?
    Will i still be able to buy MiniDV tapes three or four years from now? :confused:

    I would like to know how much the loss of quality really is, when editing and converting MPEG2 to DV in iMovie, then writing it onto a DVD. It will not be used professionally, but image quality should be what you'd expect from a digital camcorder.
    Do any of you have expirience with this?
    Can someone maybe post stills showing the quality difference 'before' and 'after' the conversion.

    I want to do a sensible buy, but i'm not convinced what is the best investment.

  2. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    mini DV is a tape. It is the medium used by the HDV high-definition format. mini DV is a consumer-oriented medium, but it is also used to record news reports, TV commercials, and even low-cost theatrical films. People use the competing consumer technologies to record children's birthday parties. There are technologies that are far better than mini DV/HDV, but they are more expensive. Like everything else, the mini DV medium will eventually be obsolete. However, you have many years to go before that happens. For the here and now, mini DV/HDV cannot be beat for the price and nothing cheaper is as good.

    The thing about MPEG-2 that you need to understand is that it is a distribution format. It is the format used in commercial DVDs and broadcast digital TV. This format cannot be edited. That is why it must be converted to a frame-based format for editing. OTOH, DV (and mini DV) is frame-based. It lends itself easily to editing. What is the source of your pre-edited MPEG-2 files?
  3. pinktank macrumors 6502

    Apr 5, 2005
    thanks that covered something I was wondering about mpeg 2 as well
  4. -DH macrumors 65816

    Nov 28, 2006
    Nashville Tennessee
    It all depends on what you intend to do with the footage you record. HDD or flash media cameras are more hassle free than tape cameras, but they do record in highly compressed formats that don't lend themselves to easy editing. So if you plan to edit, a tape based camcorder would be more hassle free on the back (edit) end. If you don't plan to edit, go with a HDD or lash media camera if simplicity is an issue.

    I would imagine that DV tape will be available for quite some time to come. You can still buy VHS and BetaMax tapes at retailers so why wouldn't DV be around a long time as well?

    But you need to stop considering a personal use camcorder as an "investment." Unless you plan to earn money by using it, it's merely a purchase - there will be NO return on investment.

    When you make a DVD, you're taking footage and compressing it highly to fit onto a disc with very limited space. That process WILL affect quality. How much quality loss is subjective and depends on way too many factors for the average consumer to worry about. If you want to make DVDs of your footage, just do it and don't worry about the quality so much. They key would be to learn to maximize the capabilities and limitations of whatever camcorder you choose.

    Your image quality expectations need to be realistic regardless of whether the process (or camera) is digital or not. Video recording, editing and encoding is pretty much a garbage in - garbage out process. The better quality the original footage is, the better quality the final product will be.

    Too get great quality to start with, you'll need much, much more than the typical consumer/prosumer camcorder.

  5. xracy macrumors newbie

    Mar 27, 2008
    Hannover, Germany
    moin Europe calling,

    btw: the workflow is not very good. (you losing too much quality)
    the right way: :) don't use the dv codec
    editing in mp2 or in e.g. Apples Intermediate Codec (Apple's codec is lossless but needs pretty much space of hard disk)

    after you finishing your project, then convert to mp2 -> burn to a video dvd

  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    These other formats have become popular because 99% of all consummer never edit their video. Very few people take the time to set up shots and plan out a show. Most just pan the camera around and play with the zoom. then go home and look at the really bad video and lose interest in shooting more of it. These same 99% would never fill up a 20GB hard drive even after owning the camera a year. If yuo are in this group then the hard drive camera is for you. If not buy something better like mini DV or Hi def.
  7. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    The OP said he wanted the quality you's expect for a digital camera -- as if all digital camera were the same. Some are pretty low end and not very good at all.

    While converting the mpeg2 to AIC might work, I would not suggest buying a camera that forces that workflow on you. AIC is a large, high data rate format
    So you are in effect suggesting buying a Mac Pro and some kind of disk storage array, maybe a $5K system just to edit the low-end video from a hard drive camcorder? I think the money is better spent on a beter good camera and then editing on a lower priced iMac.

    If you have the money buy one of the 3-CCD chip cameras that record to mini DV tape. Even a used VX1000 doe breathtakingly good work. All digital is NOT alike.
  8. Europe calling thread starter macrumors regular

    Europe calling

    Jun 27, 2007
    The Netherlands
    XRAYCY: I thought the only format that can be edited with iMovie/FCE is DV.
    So the MPEG2 output from a harddisk camcorder would have to be converted to DV before i can edit it, not?
    How can i not have to use the DV codec then? :confused:

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