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Thread: Starting a small DVD business. Help me spend $2000!!!

  1. #1

    Default Starting a small DVD business. Help me spend $2000!!!

    Hi, I'm new here so this is obviously my first post. I'm interested in starting a small DVD authoring business and I just wanted to get some suggestions for what I might need to get started. I know that generally, I'll need:

    1.) Mpeg Hardware Encoder Card
    2.) Dual Layer DVD Burner
    3.) DVD Authoring Software (I already have Sonic DVDit)
    4.) Video Editing Software
    5.) SVHS VCR
    6.) DV input card???

    *I already have a Pentium 4 computer

    Anyhow, if anyone could give me any recommendations on Hardware encoders etc, I would really appreciate it. I look forward to your responses.

  2. #2
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    I might be missing something here but why do you think you need a hardware mpeg2 encoder? I don't think this is an essential piece of kit. the one I have is a time saver but not an essential.

    Is it for capturing analgue signals (from a VCR?) and converting to mpeg2 on the fly to save time? Again not an essential. I thought this would be a great asset myself as I can capture my old VHS tapes and then autor DVDs straight away from them. Alas not. Indeed I can do it but typically I always find some aspect of edit I want to make. Be it a colour corrections and sound filter or something. So typically I want to hit the edit stage for all projects so tend not to capture straight to mpeg2.

    Of course the card does let me export from my editing application in real time rather than take an age which is very nice - but like I said, not essential for a startup business.

    Also, the DV input card you mentioned need only really be a firewire port which is likely on your PC anyway.

  3. #3

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    Alan, thanks for your reply.

    I was under the impression that converting to mpeg from DV or AVI (whatever the footage was captured in) can be a real time consuming task (possibly taking hours on end depending on the speed of your pc). I was led to believe that encoding in real time would shave quite of bit of time off this task.

    However, I read a report that editing files already in the MPEG format could lead to a degrade in the final quality. Therefore its best to record in AVI files and when I'm ready to authorize for DVD, I can render the file to an MPEG format.

    These two points of view is where I'm kind of stuck between between a rock and a hard place because I'm not sure of exactly which scenario offers to best solution for my clients.

    For the record, all I want to do is take home video footages (VHS tapes, ETC) and convert the files to a professional quality DVD complete with menus and the like. Most people are also under the impression that putting their home videos on DVD should also improve the image quality of the picture (of course we all know that this depends on the source material). That's why I thought that a real time hardware encoder might be the thing to get as its converters would probably be more superior to the lower end capture card products. However, if you have any suggestions otherwise, please feel free to contribute your thoughts.

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    Agreed. If All you intend to do is capture from VHS (or similar) and then add a menu (or seven) then I think you have the right idea. Capture and convert to MPEG2 and save the editing stage.

    Of course, the moment you find something in the footage you want to change (i.e. re-introduce the editign stage) then you'll have to re-capture to AVI so you can edit it).

    Maybe you should offer two products for your company on this. Firstly a simple capture and master as DVD. and also a second product where you offer a clean-up process on the footage as well.

    And, for the record, I use a Matrox RT.X100 to do my realtime conversions and exports to MPEG2. However, As much as I like this card (and I really do) it is much better to have a system built around it rather than buy the card and attempt to install it into an existing system .

  5. #5

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    Maybe you should offer two products for your company on this. Firstly a simple capture and master as DVD. and also a second product where you offer a clean-up process on the footage as well.
    Alan, this is exactly what I had in mind. One service being a straight capture and convert to DVD with no signal processing (although I might edit out the blank spots on the file where there is no video between clips).
    The other service will consist of more editing work such as video source cleaning etc. I'm assuming that a card that works in real time would probably be an idea solution for the more detailed service.

    For that matter, what feature set does the Matrox give you that works as an advantage for you. I was considering the Canopus ADVC 300 as well as the Matrox RT100 that you have. Are you familiar with how these two products compare to each other? What considerations would you give them in regards to how they fit for the services I'd like to offer.

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    I can't comment on the Canopus at all. I've never even laid eyes on one let alone know what and how well it works.

    The Matrox cards has it's fans, of which I'm one. however, be warned that there are those that hate it. They can be temperamental beasts if added to an existing system.

    However, mine offers me render free editing of SD footage in Premiere Pro and real time export to just about all formats. e.g. I can replicate the 'neo' effect of Magic bullet in realtime on my system

    Basically, it save loads of time.

  7. #7

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    So let me get this straight: Rendering has to be done for any effect or edit that you want to add to a video file? If that's the case, I can't imagine having to constantly render and unrender a file if I don't like how the edits look.

    I've been hearing a lot mixed reviews about the Matrox. However, there's got to something out there that can offer the same feature set but with more userfriendliness. Are there any other cards on the market that you are aware of that offers render free editing?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jlacck
    Rendering has to be done for any effect or edit that you want to add to a video file? If that's the case, I can't imagine having to constantly render and unrender a file if I don't like how the edits look.
    No. Most simple effects can be previewed in real time.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jlacck
    So let me get this straight: Rendering has to be done for any effect or edit that you want to add to a video file? If that's the case, I can't imagine having to constantly render and unrender a file if I don't like how the edits look.
    There's no such things as 'unrender' as far as I know. The point is that the more effects you pile onto your original footage the more work your editing s/w has to do to build your output for when you want to review it. This is the render. For light editing, i.e. straight cutes here and there, a few simple transitions and maybe a pip effect or two then there will typically be little to no rendering required. But add a page curl, a colour replace effect and wrap the whole thing around a cylinder floating around the screen then you will have to render the clip before you can see what it looks like. A necessary evil I'm afraid. I suggest you try a few editing suites and play with each one and get a feel for which one suits you best for the type of editing you will typically do.

    I've been hearing a lot mixed reviews about the Matrox.
    As I said, it has both it's fans and it's antagonists. But be aware that it's usually the few poeple suffering problems that are the ones posting on forum boards. You're only hearing the bad stories, not the good ones. But I will say, before I get flamed on this again, that the h/w design for the Matrox card is a few years old now and the vibes coming through are that poeple have more and more problems integrating it into 'modern' systems. I've had zero problems with mine however.

    However, there's got to something out there that can offer the same feature set but with more userfriendliness. Are there any other cards on the market that you are aware of that offers render free editing?
    Dunno. I stopped looking when I saw and tested the Matrox card.

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