Video to DVD Convert Techniques
There is an abundance of movie amateurs converting video to DVD and earning a good living out of your ignorance of technical issues.
Most video companies are now offering video to DVD conversion as an extra service to their normal services in an attempt to bolster profits. Some charge professional rates for a second rate service as they use old video camcorders to play your tapes.
Out of date camcorders could be of a lower quality model than the one you used to originally film the video! Old camcorders usually have dirty, worn and misaligned video heads.
Many of the amateurs use domestic computers which have had encoding cards loaded on. They simply stick a lead from an old camcorder and plug it into the computer - press play on the camcorder and record on the PC. You can usually spot these people as they only offer the cheap domestic camcorder formats eg VHS, 8mm, Hi8, Mini-DV etc. In other words they transfer only the formats where they can buy a cheap camcorder from Ebay. The professional however will offer the full range of video formats such as Digibeta, DVCAM, Digital 8, BetaSP.
At worst they will use a domestic VHS to DVD converter machine which can be easily purchased in most high street electronics shops. With a bit of technical jargon, fancy sounding words and less than £500, anyone can have a website and be converting video to DVD in a few days. The product that you end up with is a poor pirate quality DVD. As a professional video transfer studio, we find this very frustrating. This is why we have put so much information on our website to help you understand that once your video is converted on inferior equipment then no amount of fancy editing will make it better.
If you choose professional you will be able to very clearly see the faces and details that you remember. Most amateurs and businesses converting video to DVD as a sideline do not want to rip you off they believe that they are doing a good job.
Here are two very quick question to ask someone if you think they are using the above methods. Check if they charge VAT and If they do not then they clearly are doing such a small turnover that they don't make the compulsary VAT accounting threshold. Secondly ask if they transfer DigiBeta tapes (not Betamax) but DigiBeta as these machines are used by professionals.
Questions to ask a DVD conversion company
Ask the following questions to anyone you may consider an alternative to ourselves
1. Will there be any DVD compatibility issues?
If your video transfer studio can not guarantee your DVDs will work on 100% of players then they are doing something wrong, (Domestic restricted equipment). Ours will work on all DVD players. If for some reason they do not, we send another DVD free of charge.
2. Do you utilise camcorders?
If they give you a model number do an internet search. If you get results for just a video camera then they are not a professional studio.They should be using video players and not cameras when converting video to DVD. Don't be fobbed of with 'our camera's are broadcast quality, 3 chip etc etc' it's a camcorder at the end of the day and not a professional playback video machine.
3. How much video can you get on my DVD?
90 minutes is the maximum for the optimal quality. If they offer any more than this then they will be compressing your footage too much. When converting you should use the minimum of compression for maximum video quality.
4. What will the end quality be?
If they offer a better quality than before then they are being ridiculous. How can you improve the quality of video? Other popular phrases include Hollywood movie quality and Broadcast quality.
5. Do you use a video edit suite?
If they are converting on an edit suite and boast about using Firewire to this suite with software to correct the colour and sound, then they are not a professional transfer studio. All of this needs to be done BEFORE the video footage has been captured. Once it has been captured you loose the definition. All they are doing is using whizzo software to try and tart up your video footage.
6. Can you do free movie titles or menus?
If they answer yes then they are definitely using amateur equipment. This equipment has a few buttons that that give you low resolution gimmicks. We provide basic automated chapter points on your DVD for use with your DVD player's skip button and that is it unless you pay for authoring.
7. Do you convert my footage directly to MPEG-2?
If they do then your quality is out of the window. All video footage needs to be converted to either AVI or Digital Video before encoding to MPEG 2 (the DVD format). The loss of resolution will become more noticeable as TV and electronics technology improves. This can be compared to listening to music on a cassette and then listening to the same music on a CD. Converting video to DVD is a multiple stage process.
8. Ask them a few questions that will test their knowledgeable.
Highlight a few abbreviations on our website, such as MPEG, AVI or VBR and ask them what it stands for. Every company should know DVD stands for Digital Versatile Disc.
9. Can you label my discs Eg. Jones Family Video Archives?
Labels are bad. What you really want is printing directly onto your DVDs like us. Labels will curl up as the heat from the electronics in your DVD player quickly melts the adhesive backing.
Not only does this render your DVD undistinguishable but it also damages your DVD player. Printable discs like ours are also more robust and professional.
10. Will my discs play throughout the world?
If no, then why not? Ours will play in any PAL country because we format our discs to PAL "region zero". We don't encode any restrictions on the discs.
In summary you want the optimal picture, zero compatibility complications, your deadlines met. You want all of this without losing your original videos.
Tricks of the Trade
More expensive isn't usually better. Many video companies on the internet are converting video to DVD as a sideline and simply send your job to a studio like us. With their mark up you end up paying more for no better quality.
The Top 7 'Gripes' are listed below.
Avoid Extra Transfer Charges
1. DVD Copy Protection:
Some companies prevent you from making copies of your DVD at home using a special anti-piracy code on your finished DVDs. This is your video material, you can make as many as you want or we can do your copies.
2. Video Compression:
Do they compress your video footage? This will mean reduced quality.
3. Complicated Pricing:
If they ask you to send in your video films for a quote you will probably be charged a playing fee. How much will it cost to send your videos back? Our prices are upfront and honest! If you can not figure out your exact cost online, then give us a call. You will receive your quote in minutes.
4. Video Colour Correction Fees:
Will they call you saying there is this fee or that fee for correcting colour or levels? Direct to MPEG-2 can not be corrected
5. Set Up Fees:
Will they charge you if all your videos are mixed formats eg VHS, hi-8, Mini-DV? Do they even allow this?
6. Tape Repair or Cleaning Fees:
You may get a call stating that your video cassettes need cleaning or repairing. We perform general minor repairs and spooling for free.
7. Video Format Charges:
Some companies will receive your videos and then tell you the price has gone up because it is a different format. E.g. they quote for DVCam and tell you the price is different because your videos are Mini DVCam.
We do not utilise domestic video camcorders that are out of date which will reduce the quality of your footage. Our video transfer process will capture every little detail, nothing is left out.