Need to convert MiniDV tape to DVD

noonin

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I hope this hasn't been discussed to death, and if so, I apologize for not doing a better job of searching.

I need to convert a couple movies to a format that's playable on most home DVD players. I transferred the movies from my Sony camcorder and edited them with Windows Live Movie Maker to add transitions etc, and saved them (as .WMV files, I believe). I burned a test DVD, and of course the WMV format won't play in either of my home players. When I looked at the output format in Windows Movie Maker, the only choice was WMV.

There is definitely a drop in quality from the original AVI files I imported from the camcorder, but it's liveable. I just hate to waste the time again to edit captions and re-convert the raw AVI files.

So many video converters out there have a lot of complaints I am hesitant on what to try next. This is an end-of-year project for my son's 3rd grade class, and I promised to make copies for the other parents by the end of the week...yikes!

Any recommendations on a converter that will convert the finished files (two 15 min. or so movies) and burn DVDs to one home players recognize? Do I need to start over with the original .AVI files, or can I convert existing WMV without killing the PQ? BTW, I'm using Imation DVD+R discs if that makes a difference.
Thanks!
 

kenrivers

Splendid
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What version of MovieMaker are you using? This would help me find the correct instructions you need. If you still have the project in MovieMaker you shouldn't have to start over again. You are right in that a .WMV file will not play on most DVD players (there are exceptions). Normally, when a DVD is created the file is automatically converted into a format compatible with DVD players. Instead of choosing an export format (such as .WMV) do you have the option to burn the project to a DVD? If yes, then it should convert and burn the DVD in such a way that it will be playable. The export format to use if you are going to burn it to a DVD (using another program) is MPEG-2.
When a DVD is created it creates two folders on the DVD, VIDEO_TS and AUDIO_TS, the AUDIO_TS folder may not appear on all DVDs or may be empty.
 

noonin

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Using Windows Live Movie Maker build 15.4.355...every time I load the two video clips and click Save Movie/Burn DVD, the only format choice is WMV, it does not seem to have an option to burn in a different format that I can tell.
 

noonin

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Hi Ken,
That may be the ticket;-). For some reason, the Windows DVD Maker didn't pop up last time when I clicked Burn after saving them. I'll pop the new DVD in my players when I get home and let you know if they played.
 

kenrivers

Splendid
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I hope it plays. BTW I like the Caddy Shack reference.

 

noonin

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Hi Ken,
CS is one of my all time favs ;-). Na-na-na-na-na.....
Tried WDVDM and it worked...yeay! However, I was slightly disappointed at the amount of compression/noise reduction in the final, at least on my 50" Plasma ;-)....boo! Are there any bitrate quality settings? I found Windows Media Encoder references, but apparently it's not compatible with Win7 x64. I burned a DVD with a trial version of ConvertVtoDVD that "te100" suggested, and while it had more video noise, there was more detail and the picture looked less processed and smoothed out. I liked the simplicity and compatibility of WDVDM, but is there a way to adjust the encoding/burning quality, or do it through Windows Live Movie Maker? I realize my source is not HD, but even more reason to not lose detail in conversion. The original .AVI files are noticeably better :-(.
 

kenrivers

Splendid
Moderator
I am looking into it. I have build 16.4.3505.0912 of Movie Maker and have a bunch of options for exporting but I know that doesn't help you. If you haven't updated in a while then you might want to download the latest version. The problem is when Movie Maker is saving the file and saving it as a .wmv file. There is some heavy compression going on there. The best bet may be, if you have the option that is, to save it as a computer file and choose MPEG-4/H.264 which should give you a higher quality video and then bring it into DVD Maker. In the build I have of Movie Maker there is an option to create a custom setting which includes Height, Width, Bit rate, Frame rate (29.97 for DV) and Audio format.
 

noonin

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Thanks Ken,
I was making copies of my son's 3rd grade class play for the 22 parents by the end of today, so I had to go with what I had. It wasn't perfect, kind of like old Super Eight film, but it was certainly viewable. I do, however, have a lot of other MiniDV tapes to convert, but I will have the luxury of time as there is no rush on it.

I really thank you for your help though...I saved $45+ I was going to spend on software that didn't output that much better video quality, and it should play on everyone's home player.
 

kenrivers

Splendid
Moderator


You're welcome, glad I could help. With the other tapes you could try something like Corel VideoStudio Pro, Adobe Premiere Elements or Sony Movie Studio Platinum (each around $100). You'll get more features and most include DVD burning software.
 

noonin

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Thanks Ken,
I take it each has better output PQ? I don't need a ton of fancy editing tools. WLMM + WDVDM selections worked fine, just of course the compression or digital NR that was employed. I first need to get a new desktop for home so I don't spend my work time messing around with it. The computer I'm using here at home is waaaaaaaaaaaaaay to slow! Plus I think I'll look into a DR burner to hold as many tapes as I have.
 
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