I am relatively new to the video side of things (have been involved in pictures for a bit) and have been pretty successful navigating all the idiosyncracies of this craziness, but have bumped into a couple of things recently.
First...I have a Canon ZR400 DV camera with firewire connectivity. I have a Toshiba DVR with 80GB HD. I took about 3 hours of footage while on a cruise with my family and was going to make a cool DVD (one with stills with background music, transitions, etc.) on my DVR.
Then, the walls started falling down. No audio track capability in the editing function in my DVR. Big part of what I wanted to do. So, I started investigating software packages. Downloaded a couple of free ones and they messed up my computer. Also did a bunch of editing on my DVR that I didn't want to lose, so I brought a finalized DVD over from the DVR to my computer and ripped the content into .avi files.
In the meantime, I found that I wouldn't be able to play anything that I edited on the computer in my DVR as the DVR is -R format and my only burner drive was +R, so I got a +/-RW drive. I also got a capture card and PowerDirector Software from Cyberlink.
I used the .avi content that I brought over, but after editing down to about 1 hour including many transitions, music and other stuff (PowerDirector crashed about 100 times during the editing process) I burned the disc. That took about 2 hours.
1) Why am I getting lesser quality than my recording in the PowerDirector DVD? Original conversion from DVD to .avi and then back? Processor speed on my computer? Burn speed on the burner? I heard that PowerDirector does not do DVD as well as other packages?
2) I recorded in 16:9 aspect ratio and burned that way as well, but it plays differently on the computer and the TV/DVR both cutting different parts off.
3) Can I use an external USB hard drive to capture video to as my internal hard drive is getting full? Will there be degradation there as well due to the speed of USB? Should I save to my internal HD first and then save on the external?
Any advice anyone can offer will be helpful.