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Helpful Info


Recommendations for long-term use and archiving of your valued project.

DVDs are convenient for viewing, but should not be relied upon as the archive master for your important video project. It is advisable that you request a master copy of your project on DV or DVCAM or Digital Master tape at the same time that your DVD is made. Bring the tape master to your professional video production company for any future copies or edits of your project. The tape masters cannot be played on home equipment (such as VCRs), (Some home users might own a pro-sumer DV camcorder that would allow them the convenience of playing back such tapes.)

Unlike DV and DVCAM tape (or other pro digital tapes), DVDs make poor sources for re-editing of content because they use the highly compressed MPEG-2 format. Any attempt to extract video from a DVD for the purpose of re-editing would result in noticeable loss of quality. While DVDs offer a high quality image and convenient viewing, the disc can suffer some physical deterioration over time, and it is vulnerable to scratches, etc. which can interfere with playability. For more details see DVD under Glossary.

Buyer Beware when you see ads for transferring/archiving your film or video direct to DVD. The proper procedure is to make the archive master on DV or other professional digital tape. The DV tape should not be made from the DVD, but should be made directly from the computer editing system's hard drive.

Factors effecting DVD playability and image quality.



Some brands of DVD-R blank media have been found to have greater longevity and greater compatibility than other brands when played on most DVD players on the market. A limited number of DVD players manufactured prior to 1999 had compatibility problems with even the best quality DVD-Rs, because, at that time, there was not yet a consistent industry standard for manufacturers.

 

DVDs require video to undergo compression using the MPEG-2 format in order to accommodate video's large file size. A knowledgeable technician using professional level equipment chooses compression settings based on the video length and image complexity in order to produce a DVD with good image quality and playability.

At Skylight Video Productions, we use the highest quality DVD-R media available, and customize compression settings to obtain the best result for each project.

Basic vs. Advanced DVD


Basic DVD
- Suitable for short simple programs. The DVD plays automatically from start to finish when inserted in your player. You can pause, stop, fast forward, and rewind using your remote control.

Advanced (Professionally Authored) DVD - Suitable for longer programs or any program where the viewer can benefit from the ability to directly navigate to a designated part of the program. When the DVD is inserted in your player, it opens to a "main menu page with a list of selectable chapters. The chapter headings include descriptive text, with an optional still or motion thumbnail video image of important subject areas. Use your remote to move through the menu, selecting the chapter you wish to play, or select "play all to play the DVD from start to finish.

 


Glossary


Digital Master


Sony brand of an extra high quality digital videotape for professional use. According to Sony, it uses "dual layer for 60% fewer dropouts and 95% fewer errors than DV tape. It was designed to provide a degree of added protection which some have found helpful working in extreme climates, and for added assurance (for a higher price) against errors from any tape damage that might develop with long term storage. Sony recommends it use when shooting in the hdv format, which is vulnerable to a greater loss of image or sound data in the event of any tape defects. Some videographers feel that it is worthwhile to use this higher priced tape, while others feel that DV and DVcam tape is sufficient. As with many things, only time and experience will tell the real story.
 

DV (Digital Video)


A standard definition digital videotape format used for a wide range of video acquisition from event and industrial video to documentary and broadcast. DV tape has a long shelf life, some say more the 50 years when stored properly. In addition to its use in acquisition, it is widely used in professional video production for archival storage of edited video projects. It is a preferred choice over DVD for an Edit Master because of its longevity and the added benefit of being a digital format that can be to captured into an editing system via fire wire for re-editing or duplication without loss of image quality. These tapes cannot be played in a home VCR. They are played back in a professional DV video deck or a DV camcorder.
 

DVCAM Format


A high quality recording method that can record onto DV or DVcam tape (digital videotape). Simply stated, it uses more tape to record the information. The manufacturers of the equipment capable of recording the DVcam format state that it results in more reliable recording because there is less chance that any tape defects would compromise or cause "drop outs in the recorded image. It does not, however, provide any greater resolution manufacturers of Dvcam recording media report that it offers greater reliability and durability because the recording method uses more tape to store the information, thus being less prone to suffering "dropout" or loss of image because of tape imperfections. The term DVCAM also refers to a quality of digital videotape claimed by the manufacturer to be made with more layers of lubricant and better lubricant technology that promises durability and reliability.
 

DVD (Digital Versatile Disc)


It is the same physical size as a CD, but uses higher density storage methods, making it suitable for video's large file size. This is superior to VHS as far as reproducing sound and visual images, and is ideal for space saving storage.
 

Edit Master


Also called the master tape. After your video has been edited, the footage is, in most cases, recorded on master videotape, preferably quality digital videotape, in addition to the DVD. Mini DV tape and the longer DVCAM tape are widely used for the "edit master. When ordering a DVD or your video project, or film transfer, it's recommended that you also purchase the "edit master for archiving and future re-edits or copies. DVDs should not be used as archive or edit masters. The Mpeg-2 compressed format used for DVDs would suffer considerable loss in any attempt to re-capture or re-edit the material. Additionally, some reports have been made that DVD-R media has shown signs of not having the longevity initially expected by those in the industry, concluding that an archival master on quality digital videotape is a wise choice.
 

Hi-8 and 8mm Videotape


A consumer analog video format used in camcorders. This tape was error prone and easily damaged during use.
 

Mini DV


A DV tape in a small sized cassette (approx. 2.5 x 2 x 1.5) that can hold up to 60 minutes of video in the DV format or 40 minutes of video in DVCAM format. A slightly thinner tape version is available which can hold up to 80 minutes of DV format and approximately 60 minutes in DVCAM format.
 

Standard DVCAM


A larger cassette size than mini DV. Standard DVCAM tape cassettes are available in lengths up to three hours. DVCAM tapes are not playable on home consumer VCRs, but are used by most professional video production and duplication companies. They are useful for edit masters for long continuous programs greater than one hour in length (greater than 40 minutes for Dvcam format). They are sometimes necessary because mini DV cassettes hold a maximum of one hour of DV formatted footage, or 40 minutes of Dvcam formatted footage.
 

Raw Footage


The original unedited footage as it was recorded with the video camera.
 

Replicated DVDs


Used for mass produced Hollywood movies, or other video programs made in large quantities. Replication is a DVD mass production method involving a very costly initial "glass master". This method is affordable only when very large quantities exceeding 500 or 1000 copies are sold. The "replication" method results in a DVD with greater longevity than DVD-R type of DVDs made by the "duplication method. For lower volume sales the more affordable "duplication" method is used. It is critically important to use the best quality blank media and proper production methods when using the DVD-R or "duplication process in order to enhance the life of the DVD. It's also important to properly store DVDs away from excess heat, humidity, and magnetic devices, and handle with them care to avoid scratches and smudges that can interfere with playability.
 

Resolution


A measurement of the sharpness of the video image, sometimes referred to as "lines of resolution. To obtain good quality resolution for viewing, it's important to start with a camcorder capable of capturing a high-resolution image, along with a professional skilled in the techniques to get the best result from the camcorder. Next, it's important that the video is captured, edited, and output with methods and equipment capable of maintaining the best possible image quality. Your player, type of connection, and T.V. or other viewing screen, ultimately determines the final result.
 

Streaming Video


This is a way to watch video on the Internet. It's a slow process on a dial-up modem, but in most cases, can easily viewed with a cable, DSL or other high-speed connection.  However, several factors determine how smoothly the video plays and the quality of the image.  High Definition (HD) videos can look significantly better than Standard Definition (SD) videos, but require faster computer processor speeds to play smoothly.
 

SVHS (Super VHS)


Many years ago it was the standard for acquisition and editing in the event video industry. It was replaced by the superior DV format in the 1990's.
 

VHS (Video Home System)


The standard analog videotape format playable in a home VCR. Prior to DVDs, it was the most common method used in homes for viewing videos. Video properly recorded on quality VHS tape and stored appropriately can last up to 25 years. In many cases, however, the quality can begin a significant decline in as little as 6 - 7 years. VHS is a low-resolution format that will show loss of quality when duplicated and should be avoided as an editing source. VHS is now becoming obsolete as DVDs capable of displaying an image quality superior to VHS, while requiring less shelf space, replace it.

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