DVD vs. Digital Transfers

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Audio & Video0 comments

Every day I get calls from people with analog formats like VHS, Hi8, Video 8, 3/4”, Beta SP and many others who would like to transfer their tape to DVD and/or file. That’s why I’m writing this blog to explain the differences between DVD and digital files. The first thing to consider is, what is the intended use of the media? For instance, someone has an old family video tape on VHS and they simply want to watch it at home but they no longer have a VHS player. In this case, I would recommend a straight transfer to DVD. On the other hand, if the client wants to be able to edit the footage and cut out certain scenes, add music and some simple text titles, then I recommend a file. Anyone looking to edit their footage is probably better off with a file because the process of creating a DVD involves compressing the video. This means that some quality is lost in the transfer. Exactly how much quality is lost? That’s very difficult to answer. The DVD recorders that we use are top of the line. They determine the compression formula, and the  result is very high quality DVDs. With a file, there are many more options as far as compression is concerned and I won’t bore you with the details but it is easy to give a client a file that has no loss in quality whatsoever. In many cases it’s best for the client to have both forms of media because the file can work as a back up and the DVD can be great for displaying content for friends and family.

Often people don’t understand the difference between a DVD and a file because after all, isn’t a DVD digital? Yes. However, a DVD is made up of many different files that work together to play in your DVD player whereas a file is a single, self-contained unit able to be played in various applications like QuickTime. The file can be easily manipulated without any extra steps. Furthermore, the file is only going to play on a computer and a DVD will play in a DVD player or computer.

Another question arises, “Can I create digital files from the DVD that I can use for editing?” The answer is, yes you can as long as you have an application that can do it and the know how to complete the task. It can be very frustrating if you have neither and it could possibly be very time consuming. At Advanced Media we provide this service for a reasonable rate. The process involves transcoding and creating new files to be used for editing or uploading to the internet. For clients looking to pull clips from a DVD for the purposes of editing, we recommend .mov files, also known as QuickTime files. These are known as cross-platform files, meaning they are accessible by Mac as well as PC computers.  In the case of uploading files, we use the Mpeg-4 file format utilizing the now famous H.264 compression. Your videos will be more compressed but there’s really no getting around it. We do our best to maintain the highest quality while creating files small enough to enable people all over the world to stream your content. This makes sharing easy and fast. It’s just a click away .