View Full Version : Burning DVDs

08-06-2002, 08:35 PM
I have a Dual G4 450 with an internal DVD-ROM drive but what I want to do is burn DVD movies. I have a bunch of home movies, the longest of which is 55 minutes. Do you have any recommendations on what software and hardware I need to burn home DVDs? I would prefer and external burner if possible.

08-13-2002, 06:10 PM

I was considering a set-up like you are describing, but for further down the road. I'm no video expert by any means, as you can tell from my current subject post in this Forum, but, I may can help some, or raise questions you need to get answered.

I decided on an EZQuest 120G FW hard drive eventually.....from recommendations mostly, and I also was impressed by their warranty....2 years parts and labor. When looking on their site, I noticed their FireWire "Boa" DVD-RW/CD "SuperDrive" burner. You may want to consider that. It comes with Toast for CD and DVD burning. However, there was this caveat at the end of their product description which may be of interest to you:

* An MPEG-2 decoding software (DVD player software) is required to play back DVD-Video-discs. Currently Apple's DVD Player does not support external DVD Drives. Specifications and appearance are given as guidelines and may change without notice."

That may not be an issue as far as burning the DVDs, but, since you want to put home movies on DVDs ostensibly for playback, that would be an issue as far as your G4 is concerned. I'm not at all sure whether Toast has "player software" included or not. Also, I don't know how much creative control you have over the burn process. The Toast promo says you can "create" DVD content, but does that offer any editing control?....I don't know....I doubt it. It appears to me that the main offering for DVD editing for Mac is, iDVD for $20, and DVD Studio Pro for $1000. I don't see much, if anything, in between.

I do know a little about some of the space issues you might face. First, you say you have home movies.......what format? If you have a miniDV camera, you're in pretty good shape. If they're from some other source, or, a variety of sources, it gets more complicated since you have to digitize the content first to deal with it on your G4.

If you have some old stuff on VHS you might try to find a friend who has a miniDV camera with composite inputs, and record your VHS, High-8, or whatever, onto a miniDV tape. If you find a miniDV camera with this input capability, the recording process will automatically take care of the compression issue, and also, will probably help your original look better because DV will clean up some noise on analog tapes. Anyway, you have to digitize your originals, somehow, (maybe even take it in to a video/camera store that can dub your stuff onto miniDV) and have the ability to play those back into a FireWire source for capture, to put on a hard drive. You will need some capture software....I don't know if iMovie2 has enough wherewithal to capture a file the size of a 55minute movie or not....don't know if it has file-size limits.....that's another issue.There are some other ways with cheaper solutions, but they are not full-screen capable, and/or, involve installing more expensive PCI cards with analog inputs. (BTW...mini DV implies FireWire functionality..that's why it is what it is.)

A figure for you to remember is that 5 minutes of DV require 1G of hard drive storage, so your 55-minute home movie would take up about 11 G's on a drive.

Maybe this will help, and, hopefully was not too simple for your problem, Anyway, I'm probably so wrong about SOMETHING, someone will take offense and jump in on the topic to set matters straight.

08-14-2002, 12:56 AM
I have a mini-DV Canon Elura 2. Right now I have three tapes that I use as my scratch tapes where I record all the original video from the camera and then import it into iMovie2. Once I have the finished product I then put it on a "virgin" tape for long term storage. Right now I don't have any problem with the import/editing side of the equation. My longest movie is an hour and I haven't run into drive space issues yet.

My concern is the long term storage of the tapes which is why I was looking at burning DVDs that you could play in a set top DVD player or a computer DVD-ROM. I thought iDVD could only be had when you bought a system with a superdrive. I have read in some places that it will work on non-superdrive systems but I was wondering if it will also work with external FW systems and if so which ones. Have you heard anything?

I was also in the apple store the other day and they claimed that Toast will take days to do a DVD while iDVD will only take hours. Any truth to that?

08-15-2002, 04:04 AM
I thought you might be archiving since you mentioned home movies, but, that conjured up images of saving VHS transfers of 8mm film. I assumed some sort of editing scheme, whether done in-camera, or insert-editing on dubs.The Elura has the inputs and outputs you need, and if everything you're trying to archive was shot with that, that's a great start.

I'm sure iDVD is meant solely for SuperDrives and 10.1, and claims burn compatability with certain players, but no other burners. Maybe because it's so proprietary it can burn DVD's faster than Toast on it's own drive, but, if you still want external, Toast is the only reasonable option I'm aware of.

I'll try to get some info from people who I havn't been able to talk to yet, but, should know, if you don't find out before me.

[This message has been edited by jmikey (edited 15 August 2002).]

Dick Brillo
08-28-2002, 01:30 AM
If you want to use iDVD you need an internal superdrive. Apple at this time will not support third party DVD burners for iDVD. If want to use an external burner you need DVD Studio Pro.

casa, storing on miniDV is the way to go. If a movie you create is important, then put it on two tapes. Forget DVD for archiving--distribution only. It is compressed video--not original quality like the miniDV. Big myth: DVD=original, highest quality, archival. It is none of these things.

Also, use a tape only once. Log them all. Store in cool dark space. Always use same brand. You'll be fine--last longer than you.


Dick Brillo
08-28-2002, 10:09 AM
Hey jmikey, you ever get that EZQuest drive going?

I've been offline for a while...

08-31-2002, 07:31 AM
Hey Dick

Glad you put a stamp on this topic. I was thinking archiving tape would be the way to go. I talked to kaye on this, and he said pretty much what you said, only he calls the SuperDrives, "Snail Drives," so I think he believes there is plenty of room for improvement.There needs to be some serious furniture design for storing and cataloging DV tapes, though, because they multiply in a hurry.

The DVD thing seems to be pretty seminal right now, so I'm holding off....I would put it at about the level of 4X CD players whenever they came out. The tape will always be there for better DVD products down the road, and situation may be more clear for casa and everybody else. I really didn't see a lot when I was researching this topic and DVD Pro is awfully high and everything else seemed too cheapish. I think I would rather put DVD money in DV tape deck for now.

I got EZQ going...I sent first one back for exchange but, there was nothing wrong with it as I found out. Some kind of hidden software kernal was preventing a message pane from "sticking." A conflicting HD control panel, which I continuously disabled, kept appearing in EM although when I would try to find it in Sherlock ,it was invisible and I couldn't delete it. I finally had to go through the hard drive folder by folder until I found it in some part of Netscape..it had been a download from a while back. I knew 2 drives couldn't be bad...they had same symptoms. Once I got rid of that control panel fragment, the Speed Tools loaded, and it flashed the message I couldn't see before which was "This drive appears to have been under control of another driver. Are you sure you want initialize drive?

If I had seen that...but I couldn't brecause it flashed subliminally fast...I would have known how to troubleshoot it. I'mgoing to write InTech and see if they can patch that message so it will stay. Now I'm trying to load OSX and 9.2, wipe an external 9 G HD for some more space, and get to work learning FCP seriously. I told a guy in Chicago about your film, and wanted him to take a look. When I get something down--even prematurely--I'll send a clip for your judgment.

[This message has been edited by jmikey (edited 31 August 2002).]

09-02-2002, 02:45 PM

If you still want to go with DVD...I just installed a Pioneer DVR-104 in my 500 MHz G4 and it works just fine. Since this is the same brand that Apple installs under the "SuperDrive" name, it works with any Mac that will run OS 9.2 or OS 10.1 (works great with iDVD and Toast 5 too).

I know you said you wanted an external burner, but this way is so much cheaper, and it only takes about 20 minutes to install. The Pioneers are selling for less than $300 right now. You can get an Apple dealer to install it if you're squeemish about messing with your Mac's guts.

As for getting the video into the computer. I installed 2 Maxtor 80GB ATA133's with a SIIG ATA133 RAID controller. This set-up is way fast enough for DV. You might even be able to get away with using 1 ATA133 drive and a ATA133 drive controller (for about half the money)

As far as I know, Maxtor is the only company making 133 MBps ATA Hard Drives. SIIG and Sonnet make the controller cards (SIIG is a bit cheaper and has a longer warranty).

Hope that helps.

09-04-2002, 04:36 AM
bat 21

Your machine is an Apple G4 and not a carded clone, correct?

09-04-2002, 06:22 AM
My G4 is an OEM dual processor model. Right now I'm tending towards following the store it on tape advice from Dick and then wait for the DVD standards to settle out along with burning options. I already have been saving my finished versions of the movies to fresh tapes and storing them carefully.

Haven't had any problem with the importing the video or manipulating it. It's just my export options right now are back to tape or QT if I want to stay digital.


Dick Brillo
09-04-2002, 09:28 PM

I know your concern about media. Last month my camera went crazy and ate a tape. I bought an extended warrenty which covered the cost of fixing the camera, but it still happened. It wasn't an important one, but it could of been. I think the only way to deal with miniDV tapes is record on it once, and play back/capture it once. Then never touch it again if you can help it. If your really concerned about media deterioration you could always buy a safe. Sentry Safe makes a nice one (http://www.sentrysafe.com/Catalog_PDFs/1710.PDF) for about $185 (you can get at CDW). It is made especially for media which burns at a lower temperature than paper. Bummer is it only holds about 17 tapes--you could use it only for masters. It would cost a fortune for me to get a safe for all my tapes. Personally I think it is a little overkill. The chance of all your tapes going up in flames is pretty low. When you think about it DV is still better than traditional film as far as shelf life. I wouldn't sweat it.


I think the point is if you make a tape with the camera then that is the master. To put an hour on DVD you have to compress it. That ain't a master. DVD is just like a VHS copy. It is only distribution. Now you could store the DV files on a data DVD but that would be just like saving an another hard drive. This is all overkill anyway...

Bummer about your drive. How is the project going? Thanks for the tip.

09-12-2002, 04:31 PM
casa, et. al

Been away from the topic too long for some reason.

As for bat21 suggestions about the ATA 133 RAID AND single ATA133 drive being sufficient, he is correct...they are to the point of overkill in DV editing. Look in the topic "Video Editing Array" I started in this Forum, and read Dick's and kayes solutions to my questions, and especially note Dick's base system, and, more importantly, what he produced from this system.

The following link is a good catchall article for NLE sytems. You can scroll down quickly to segment, "ATA 133" , but , I would read entire article..informative, and quick read.

Dick...am really just getting ready to start project. Have been installing X on a PTP and clearing disk space. In fact, tonite I'm planning to install FCP and see how old graphics card does with playback to see if its capable. If not, I'll need to spring for Radeon 7000 I assume. I watched "9-11" video made by the 2 French brothers (Gaunet???) last nite on CBS taking mental notes about how they mixed ambient audio, ambient with background music tracks, and pure music tracks over video...it's a good study.