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Old March 14th, 2005, 02:21 AM   #1
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using dvd recorder to output component signal

Hi does anybody here use a dvd hard disk recorder's firewire device to capture their footage to its hard drive and then transfer this footage back out via firewire back to their computer? The dvd recorder would free up your computer for other uses and it would be capturing with hardware which may mean less drop frames etc as capturing is so labour intensive for the computer.

It would also allow you to burn it to dvds which would be a way of archiving or transfering files.

Finally it would also allow you to use the component outputs on the dvd recorder to give you the cleanest signal for your tv. You would go via firewire to the recorder which would be digital and hence no degradation of your image. To get a monitor with firewire input and component output would cost more than most camera's that prosumer's own but dvd recorders are dropping in price all the time.

Anyone tried this?
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Old March 14th, 2005, 04:34 AM   #2
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Well I do something like this, but I might not understand exactly what you're saying. I have a Sony RDR-GX7 DVD recorder. This model doesn't have an internal hard drive, but it does have component output. Unless I'm capturing video I plug a firewire cable from my Mac into the DVD recorder, which is connected to a Samsung 22" 16:9 LCD screen. Yes, this does give a very clean image and is well suited to the native 16:9 which I shoot with a PDX-10.

However, when I was shopping for DVD recorders (over a year ago) there weren't any consumer models that supported firewire OUT, they only do firewire IN. So in other words, you can send a firewire signal to the recorder which it can burn to disk and transcode to component output but you CAN'T send firewire data OUT from the DVD recorder to capture it on your computer or camcorder. Furthermore, the DVD recorder has component video OUTPUT but not input. Input is only s-video, composite or firewire.

This may have changed since I was shopping, but read the specs very carefully. I'm guessing that any model with firewire output might be expensive. Also consider that even if you did find a recorder with firewire output, any video you sent back out to your computer would be MPEG2 compressed. Now when I set my DVD recorder to the highest quality (HQ mode, 1 hour per disk) it looks pretty good, and in many cases there are no immediately obvious differences from the original. But if you look very closely you will see some artifacts, and certain types of things (especially any noise in the DV original) can really stand out. So capturing footage in this form is definitely going to degrade your image.

Let us know if you find a recorder that can do this, and how much it costs though.
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Old March 15th, 2005, 05:34 AM   #3
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Interesting. So the dvd recorder only encodes to mpeg2. Thats disappointing. I was hoping it would record an avi file into the hard drive.

The main use i would have for the dvd recorder is to get a component output and progressive scan picture. To get a monitor that does the same thing would be very expensive. I'm just curious how much cleaner a component output is compared to a S video output.

I'm not sure if there is a model with firewire output though.
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Old March 15th, 2005, 07:25 AM   #4
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Yep, the whole idea of DVD recorders is MPEG2, in order to get a reasonable amount of storage. On my LCD monitor I see a noticeable difference between component and s-video. There's an old thread here somewhere discussing whether the image is subjected to MPEG compression when transcoding from firewire to component. It doesn't appear to be, because it looks very clean.

There are pro models of DVD recorders with firewire in and out, but last time I checked they were very expensive. But things are changing fast in this area, so do a little research and see what you find.

Actually there is a machine that will do what you want... it's called a "computer" ;-)
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