I have a new daughter, well, almost 8 months old now, and am losing opportunities to catch her daily development because I am having a video quality problem that makes shooting video less than enjoyable and less than professional! I am thrilled to see there are some very helpful and knowledgable people here.
I will try hard to be as brief as I can, and I have spent several hrs looking for the answer in the diff't forums here and elsewhere, but can't seem to get what I'm after by reading existing posts and using tech support of either the mfr of the software I'm using (Pinnacle), OR the mfr of the camcorder (Hitachi). Maybe I missed it, but the frustration grows. If you are able, please read and please help. I wish I knew what was relevant and what's not. I'll err on the side of providing more info, just in case it helps:
I am using a Hitachi MV580A DVD camcorder. I thought this was the hot ticket format, but am having serious doubts now. I am using Pinnacle Studio 9 for editing and a new Toshiba dual layer 16x DVD burner in the PC. My Dell PC is reasonably new and capable of chugging through video, and I bought a new larger hard drive dedicated solely to holding my video captures. After all this money spent, still no satisfactory results :( The disc I record to, inside the camera, is (mini) DVD-RAM and (mini) DVD-R. The discs I burn to for final copies are DVD-R, standard size. I cannot figure out where in the entire process my problem lies, which is where (I hope) you come in
I can shoot the video to the mini DVD-RAM (always at XTRA fine resolution), no problem. Play it back on the camcorder's tiny screen, no problem. I can transfer the video to the hard drive using the Hitachi proprietary software (which is weak and amateurish), no problem. Quality is still ok at this point but contains what I now suspect are interlacing lines. Fine, that's ok, I'll be viewing on a t.v. anyway. I then use this raw footage in the software editor (Pinnacle) to create videos with music and special effects, etc., so I can share a more professional looking (and more engrossing) home video with family and friends. At least that is the plan
After getting it all set up the way I want the video laid out, the menus and animations and music tracks added, etc., it is time to render and burn to a standard DVD-R. I go through that whole process, no problem. When I go to play my new DVD on the t.v. OR on the computer monitor, it looks "ok" a lot of the time, but definitely NOT ok a lot of the time. Mixed results within the same video scene/segment, even. All of the sudden, during playback on the regular DVD, I get this skipping effect, especially with (even minor) motion. It appears almost as if it's being played in slow motion for a few seconds at a time, going in and out between good and bad quality. This could be simply missing frames, I surmise. I read the FAQ about using firewire but my DVD Camcorder comes with a USB2 port (can the same port be used for firewire if I buy a firewire card and new cable?), so that's what I've been using to x-fer it to the PC. Again, the quality is still OK when it's been sent to the hard drive off the camera's mini-DVD-RAM so maybe I can't blame this particular symptom on lossy USB2. I can play the videos, through the camcorder onto the t.v., and they look great.
All I want is good quality video after spending a ton of money just getting to this point and having not a single GOOD DVD as a result.
Do I need to get rid of this DVD-RAM recorder and go to mini-DV tapes? I don't care so much about being able to play the mini-DVD right out of the camera, into a t.v.'s DVD player to watch the video (that's a big advantage of using a DVD camcorder, I presume)...because this is raw video and I want to edit it first...PLUS...not enough video fits on a mini-DVD disc to begin with. So if you want a decent sized project on one DVD, WITH edits and special fx, you have to x-fer it to standard DVD anyway.
Thanks if you made it this far. I will stop now but will answer any follow up questions you can think to ask. Maybe I'm making too much of this and it's simply the USB2, but I really (unfortunately) don't think it's that simple of a problem to fix.