MiniDV to what for viewing and long term storage

I have a lot of video on MiniDV and would like to store the video on another medium such as DVD or high quality Video CD. My goal is to have a copy of the video in digital form that can be viewed by others that don't have a computer or MiniDV camcorder/vcr. The easiest thing to do is put it on VHS, but that sort of defeats the purpose of having a high quality video, and VHS tapes tend to degrade over time. I have played with sending my MiniDV videos to Video CD and had various results. DVD recorders are still too expensive. Fortunately my DVD player plays Video CDs so it seemed like a good option. I have firewire connectivity, Adobe Premier 5.1 and Digital Origins EditDV. What is everyone else doing with their MiniDV tapes for copies and long term storage? Does anyone have a good solution for getting MiniDV video to VideoCD without a lot of conversions and hassle? Any advice would be greatly appreciated, I have a lot of MiniDV tapes piling up and the only way to view them is hooking my camcorder to the TV and using the original source tape or copying them to VHS!

Dave Kone
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  1. I have been wondering the same thing. What I have found is that MPEG seems to give the best compression, but the quality can be kind of low. If you play with settings a lot by changing bit rate and all that fun stuff you can get some good results. Ouicktime and AVI files are great quality but not that great for compression. Does any one have a suggestion for setting MPEG compression that gives decent quality and compression??
  2. I have been converting some videotapes to AVI-files with a Marvel G400. The bitrate used for Mpeg4(DivX) is 1000 Kbit/s. Resolution is 352x288. Audio is converted to MP3 with 56 Kbit/s. With these settings i get a 90-minutes video to consume close to 700 MB, which happens to be the size of a CD. Maybe you should use a little higher bitrate when converting your MiniDV. Just make a few tests with a couple of bitrates. People have VERY different views on video-quality, so you will have to view the results yourself to se if you are satisfied.
  3. Hi.

    Yep -- planning the same thing soon. I have a Sony Digital 8, not as nice a yours but it does the job. I also have some video8 and hi8 tapes that will have to be transfered.
    I will be putting everthing on CD. Probably 650 MB becuase very cheap now 40$ for 100.
    I was plannig to converting everthing to MPEG4. But I might have a look at SuperVCD for the video8 and hi8 tapes. Their quality may not dictate MPEG4. I will have to expirement. Once I get my new system.

    Take Care.
    Yes, I am immature!
  4. I did have the same problem and here is how I solved it:
    I use TMPGEnc to encode my avis to MPEG-1. I use the standard NTSC template so that I don't have to mess with the settings. Once the conversion is done, I burn A CD with nero (or CDRECORD using linux/free).

    VCDs are ideal because they can be played on low pentium IIs and higher and most recent DVD players. The quality of the MPEG-1 outputed by TMPGEnc is outstanding (and is free software, BTW).
    Try it out and compare.

    Drawbacks are:
    - loss of quality due to the VCD format (the footage still looks great)
    - A vcd can only store 74/80 minutes (on 650MB/700MB CDs respectively), not as much as divx (I think).

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