I recently bought a digital 8 camcorder and now I'm transferring the video that I am shooting on to my pc for editing. My concern is that to make the higest quality video for a dvd, should I capture the DV format(.avi)? This seems to be the biggest of the files, but when I say big, I mean a 4 min video is 800MB! Is this normal? So an hour of high quality video before converting it to a .vob file would be over 10 gigs? Thats no big deal, I have 100 gigs of hard drive space but I converted this 4 min video to a .vob file which took about 45 min. Yeah, it shrunk it down to about 219 MB but Is there any other way around this without losing qaulity? I'm using windows movie maker to capture this video through the firewire and Instant CD/DVD to make my dvd.
Before I answer your questions, keep in mind that DVD video is in MPEG2 format which is a compressed format. Furthermore both digital8 and DV formats are also compressed. Digital8 uses DV compression. DV format is better than DVD in terms of picture quality as the former is carried at a rate of 36 Mbit/s while the latter is at most 9.8 Mbit/s. So DV is compressed less than that of DVD.
So it's perfectly normal in your case that a 4 min .avi video has a file size of 800MB. If you're going to do some video editing before you burn it to a DVD, then you should capture your footage in the highest quality, ie. DV format (.avi). And when you convert the .avi file to MPEG2 format to be put on a DVD, the result would be a slight quality loss.
So there is no way you can avoid the problem unless you can shoot your video in MPEG2 format in the first place. However, I don't think your camcorder allows you to do that.