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What hardware will best help me to compile and burn DVDs?

by jcrick / January 24, 2006 6:38 AM PST

I have asked this question form some local sales people as well as browsing through numerious forums and have gotten conflicting answers to this question. Here is my situation.

I frequently edit recorded TV and home video recordings and burn them to DVD. I have been using Pinnacle Studio Plus and Nero for this. I have upgraded to a new PC with a Pentium D 830 processor with 1 GB memory and a 250 GB S-ATA drive, and an onboard Intel

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A render farm would help.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 24, 2006 9:05 AM PST

Sony Vegas can use multiple PCs in a "farm" to drive the time down. I've yet to find a video card to help.



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You don't say how long long is, but a video card will have
by Kiddpeat / January 24, 2006 9:30 AM PST

zero effect. Ditto for more memory. You've really got enough at 1 gig. Faster rendering means either a faster cpu, or rendering done on multiple PCs. A faster cpu would be, at a minimum, a dual core AMD 64 running as fast as they make them. Better would be a multi-processor, dual core, AMD 64 system. The same or better would be similarly equipped, multiple machines running a parallel rendering process.

The professional version of Sony Vegas can parcel out rendering tasks to multple machines if they are all on the same network.

Many folks just start the rendering process, and go do something else. Some go to bed. It simply takes time to perform the render operation. My system (2.66 gighz) probably takes between 1 and 2 minutes to render 1 minute of video.

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My experience on this...
by Art / January 24, 2006 2:06 PM PST

I don't know which hardwares would help the most but I think the video card would help the least. I think encoding is where most of the time are being used; the more compression is required the longer the process would take. Knowing this I now use a dvd recorder to help my encoding because the recorder uses hardware "real time encoding".

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Thanks for the insight....
by jcrick / January 25, 2006 2:14 AM PST

Thanks to everyone for the replys,

You have basically confirmed what I already suspected about video cards and/or additional memory helping to imporve any rendering performance. I kind of like Kiddpeat's idea of just "kick off the process and go do something else"; sort of what I do now, really...

I have a vague idea of what it would take to set up a "rendering farm", but think that unless I were in this for more than just a hobby, it just isn't practical.

And from what everyone seems to be saying, I would be better off spending my money on something other than additional hardware that will only burn more electricity, and yield little in return. I like that too!


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Hardware for encoding video
by MarkASparks / January 26, 2006 10:32 PM PST

I am not a genious in this area but I have been doing a vast amount of research prior to completing a system for capturing of analog video. From what I have read a good hardware based capture card can do the job in real time, not sure about editing mpeg2 - still researching this. If anyone has any suggestions on this technique please respond.


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Sharing my thought on this.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 27, 2006 12:49 AM PST

Don't waste your money. Here's why. 99% of the time you have to let the video editor re-encode the video when it does the final cut to DVD. You can spend less money and get more payoff on higher speed dual core systems.


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That's exactly what I bought...
by jcrick / January 27, 2006 1:26 AM PST

My new PC is a Pentium D (dual core). I'm pleased with the overall performance of the PC, I'm just wondering how I can shave some additional time off the rendering / transcoding process.

And I really asked this question because of the conflicting information I have read on various BLOGS and advise from the self-appointed experts at places like Best Buy, Circuit City, etc. Regardless of the particular topic, there is a lot of misinformation out there and I think a lot of people spend (waste) a lot of money on unnessary add-ons and upgrades because of it. But they all sound like such experts, letting volumes of techie jargon roll flippantly off their tongues.

I'm learning it's best to find a forum where some folks with real world knowledge hang out and can better answer the questions. Book knowledge is good, but it is no substitute for practical experience.

I don't really know what the difference is between Pinnacle and Nero (except for the fact Pinnacle Studio currently cannot process DVR-MS files directly), but the entire rendering process seems to be much faster with Nero. I haven't spent a lot of time with these application on my new machine yet, so I don't really want to rag on any particular product without investigating it in more detail first.


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My reasoning of using the dvd recorder as a capturing device
by Art / January 27, 2006 12:19 PM PST

It's inexpensive (less than a $100).

It captures dvd in 6 levels (from 129 minutes to over 6 hours).

If it the video doesn't require editing (then the dvd is already done).

Since I can't afford a FAST computer now (this does help on processing time).

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DVD Recorder as c apture device
by MarkASparks / January 27, 2006 11:11 PM PST

Hey Art,

Art = If it the video doesn't require editing (then the dvd is already done).


If the video does require editing can that task be accomplished by then using the completed DVD to transfer files to you PC and edit?


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For editing,
by Art / January 28, 2006 12:15 PM PST

I use "dvd shrink". If I think the video will need editing then I would use a dvd-rw to record the tape then transfer the dvd files to the harddrive. Here I must say dvd shrink will not read multi-sesson dvd, so single session only.

Multi-session will require multiple dvd-rw then just reauthor /edit with dvd shrink.

I also like to say that dvd recoder is not as newbie friendly as a vcr; it took me a little before I learn how to use it fully. I have an Aspire AD-8091 (other recoder maybe better..I don't know.

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Using a DVD as a capture device is a bad idea.
by Kiddpeat / January 27, 2006 11:41 PM PST

First, the video data gets heavily compressed when converted to mpeg2 which is what is usually written on a DVD. That means that any subsequent editing will be working with a severely degraded image, and that the resulting output will be degraded further when it is recompressed to mpeg2.

Second, you've now got to figure out how to get the video off of the DVD. Sony Vegas, for example, will not read the video directly from a DVD.

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Capture Card
by MarkASparks / January 28, 2006 2:33 AM PST


We are back to the idea that a PCI based capture card is the best way to go if editing is what you want to do?

So which one out of the to many to choose from in the affordable price range.

I believe I have narrowed it down to the

Hauppauge WinTV-PVR 250 PCI

for mpeg2

What if I want to capture in AVI?

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efficient software can help
by glennlee / January 28, 2006 5:41 AM PST
In reply to: Capture Card

Mpeg2 is the format of DVD data. The problem is, that in rendering a DVD from an Mpeg2 file, this is a complicated process of putting the data into a format that DVD players can accept and use. This involves not only writing the video data, but also ?multiplexing? the audio data so that is properly synchronized with the video data, making an info data file with information about the formatting including chapters, subtitles, languages etc. This is what takes the time and processing power to complete. This process is hardware limited by the cpu speed primarily (as long as RAM, HD speed is adequate). If you acquire the file in AVI from your source, the data is probably not compressed. But when you go to translate the data into a DVD, it must first be compressed to an Mpeg2 file, your computer will have to spend considerable time compressing your file into the Mpeg2 format before you start the rendering process to write a DVD. You are best off capturing your video in Mpeg2 format to avoid that extra processing time. That is why a hardware based Mpeg2 encoder saves time. The file size is considerably different. One hour of video can be captured in a 2g Mpeg2 file. One hour of video will generate an 11g uncompressed AVI file.

I use Arcsoft Showbiz DVD 2 as my capture/editing/writing software. It has the ability to handle dvr-ms (digital video recording from cable to hard disc) files, import uncompressed AVI files, Mpeg2 files, edit them, and then ?author? a DVD. When writing the DVD, I have two options. The ?smart rendering? option takes advantage of the fact that the material is already in the Mpeg2 format and is more efficient. A 1? hour video will take about 1? hours to render a completed DVD disc with near commercial DVD quality when played in a standard DVD player. The limitation is that only 1 ? hrs of video will fit on a standard DVD blank. As a comparison, standard rendering will take 2 + hours to render the same 1? hr video at 3mbits/s and this is at a modest reduction in resolution. But 2hrs of material will fit on a standard DVD when rendering in the standard mode at 3mbits/s (necessary for longer movies). If your video is less than 90 min, smart rendering can produce a very high resolution DVD in less time. You can find the software online for download on a limited time trial, or order it retail at for less than $70 at Amazon. By the way, a Sony HC 32 miniDV camcorder has an Mpeg2 hardware encoder, and you can capture your video digitally in the Mpeg2 format on the fly with the firewire connection.

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You should not compress video if you intend to edit it.
by Kiddpeat / January 28, 2006 1:49 PM PST

Compression involves a considerable loss of detail information. Editing software will need to decompress the video to make changes, and then recompress it when rendering to mpeg2 or whatever the final format will be. Recompression causes additional data loss.

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The Haupage is quite good if you want to record
by Kiddpeat / January 28, 2006 7:01 AM PST
In reply to: Capture Card

TV broadcasts.

That is usually not considered to be a 'capture' activity. If the Haupage has options comparable to the ATI TV cards, then AVI output will be an option. However, if its best output is mpeg2, then mpeg2 can be used as input to the editing process.

'Capture' usually refers to material coming from a digital camcorder. If your homemade tapes are digital, they should be sent through a firewire interface. Firewire is obtained by installing a card, and the capture program I use captures Firewire as an AVI file. If your homemade tapes are VHS, they will be sent through the TV card for conversion to a digital format.

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I have an ATI TV caard
by jcrick / January 29, 2006 9:15 PM PST
In reply to: Capture Card

My Gateway ccame with a ATI Theater 550 Pro TV Tuner (with 3-D Comb filter). I like the way it works and capture is simple to set up. The PC OS is MCE (Windows Media Center Edition 2005). The interface is in MCE is simple, even my wife can use it. <grin>

She started razzing me because here machine didn't have a card so I bought one off eBay called EasyTC (don't know the particular model) and it works pretty well, but I have to say the MCE integration is much better. With MCE I can automatically download the TV schedule and it integrates with the tuner to automatically record preselected events. I am looking for a way to do that with the tuner card I installed for my wife.

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That is the reason why I use the recorder..
by Art / January 28, 2006 12:28 PM PST

What comes out of the recorder has already been compressed therefore no farther compression is needed; and using dvd shrink, I save the 'analyzing' time and maybe some encoding time as well (maybe?).

Before I bought this recoder, I use to do my video work with Adaptec "dvd media center" which is an external usb 2.0 capture device. Now I almost use the recorder exclusively.

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As long as you never edit the results of compression, you
by Kiddpeat / January 28, 2006 1:54 PM PST

are probably fine. That's assuming dvd shrink does not recompress it. If you edit it, the video will need to be completely recompressed after editing is complete.

USB should never be used in video capture.

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USB should never be used in video capture.
by Art / January 28, 2006 4:39 PM PST

My computer is 733Mhz and it is just too slow to use a pci capture card, so usb2 is the only way (usb1 is not good enough either in this case).

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