Transatlantic mini DV : LUSENET : Editing DV Films : One Thread

Hello maxie, a big thanks for providing this opportunity

I am working on the specs to purchase both a mini DV camera and a PC to use with it for editing and archive of the footage. The primary function is to shoot mini DV footage of my family in North America and burn it onto discs to be viewed by Grandma, etc. in England. The questions concern whether I should try to burn DVDs to be played on Grandma's TV OR on her PC.

I have a good technical understanding of film still cameras and worked in the laser diode industry, so am OK on electronic/optical technology generally but am starting from zero knowledge of how these mini DV cameras work and am trying to figure out what to do by reading various Web articles. Therefore every statement I make below is worth questioning, as I may be mistaken in some cases. Here are some of my assumptions:

The PC video signal format in England is the same as the PC video signal format in North America. The TV signal format in England is PAL, in North America it is NTSC. PC monitors have higher resolution than TV screens. Videos recorded on CDs are in MPEG-1 format to be played on a PC. Videos recorded on DVDs are in MPEG-2 format to be played on a PC or a DVD player for a TV. Mini DV sound is a Pulse Code Modulation digital signal. MPEG-1 sound is an analog signal similar to VHS. MPEG-2 sound is a Dolby digital signal. The DVD players for TVs are 'dumb', they can't convert between TV signal formats. This means that the MPEG-2 on a DVD disc is recorded for the PAL/VHS/SECAM signal format of the intended user's TV. DVDs that are sold in a store to be played on a DVD player for a TV are further coded for certain world 'regions'. North America is in Region 1, England is in Region 2.

Grandma has access to a PC so we could send the files on DVD in MPEG-1 format. This approach will work but has a few drawbacks: Grandma is not techno-mided, so someone else will have to set up the PC to view the videos every time. The image on the monitor may not look that great?

Both of these drawbacks can be overcome if I could burn the right MPEG-2 file onto a DVD disc that Grandma can pop into her DVD player for her TV, but there seem to be several obstacles: I would need a hardware or software solution to convert the NTSC video signal to PAL? I would need an MPEG-2 encoder and AC-3 audio encoder in hardware as well as a DVD authoring package in software to convert the mini DV PCM sound signal to Dolby? I would need some additional solution to encode a Region 2 identity code onto the disc or else most of Grandma's DVD control functions won't work or the disc may not play at all?

A friend of mine claims that it's possible to buy a DVD player for a TV that will play ANY kind of DVD format, and that if Grandma bought one of these for her TV it would not matter what kind of MPEG/NTSC/PCM I burned onto the disc, she would still get a good TV picture and stereo sound but I have my doubts about this.

Can anyone throw some light on these issues for me?

Many thanks

John Wade

-- John Wade (, September 15, 2003

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