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Thread: Losing Precious Memories Daily

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Cypress, CA, USA

    Default Losing Precious Memories Daily

    Hello everybody,

    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.


  2. #2


    Hello and welcome to the forums!

    DVD cameras are great for recording and instant playback. Unfortunately they ain't so great for editing! However, you might have better luck by ripping the disc (there'll be "VOB" files on the disc ) to your harddrive, converting them to an editable format, and then finally converting this edited footage to DVD.

    Lucky for you you're not the first, so it's all covered in the FAQ.

    Take a read of that (or watch the video!) and hopefully you'll be editing footage of your daughter before she starts dating!

    If you feel like spending some money and Pinnacle still isn't "doing" it for you, take a look at other products on the market (for example Ulead VideoStudio and Premiere Elements - both have free trials). I'm certainly not saying Pinnacle isn't good, but sometimes people just "click" with another package!

    And good luck!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Cypress, CA, USA


    Thank you very much for the link to the FAQ. I will try exactly what is suggested and report back. I have used (and still have loaded on the pc) a variety of different video editors, by the way, and I do like Pinnacle, assuming it is not the source of my troubles. They "unofficially" suggested a few shareware sources to transfer my DVD-R mini's from .vob to .mpeg and I then they lost frames and quality in the process so it didn't help my situation. So disappointed in my new camcorder but I have to remember that my problems are caused half by me not being totally familiar with the finer points of MPEG editing, and half either the hardware or software involved. Maybe another half is due to using the MPEG recording format. The trick is figuring out which half is bad and fixing it.

    I continue my quest

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Cypress, CA, USA


    OK, I have an update.

    I did exactly as outlined in the FAQ by converting my mini-dvd-r's .vob files to .avi. Cool, so now I have it in a format that can be edited.

    But wait, closer inspection reveals the .avi playback is skippy and poor, definitely inferior to the .vob it was supposed to replace! NOW what????? I noticed during conversion that the frame rate was hovering between 11 and 16 fpm, which made me wary to see the results...which ultimately disappointed! I thought good smooth video needs to display at 25 or 30 fpm to be considered good quality.

    Is it just a simple miserable fact that if you go from .vob to .avi, and edit the .avi, and then burn it to a new (regular sized) dvd-r (in mpeg2 format!) it's going to always just plain stink?

    Sounds like it but I'm not ready to throw in the towel just yet.

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