Morris’ Burning Adventure: Part I
Mike mentioned to me that Morris has taken the plunge into transferring his VHS & S-VHS
tapes over to DVD. Success, too! Good on yuh, Morris!
I don’t wanna appear to be either patronizing nor a "know-all" on the subject, but just
pass on how amazed I was with my transfers to DVD. Image quality can be better than the source material - hard to believe
for us old-timers brought up on "generation loss."
As you know, Old Dave works on his Prestige, but I don’t doubt that other editors feature
similar or better attributes for enhancing transfers from analogue. I use S from Hi-8 or S-VHS or VHS, along with the stereo
A DVD with current technology can accommodate max. of about 90 minutes . Enough room for plenty
of "memories" and you can buy blank disks in a 100-stack for fewer than 60 cents each. Share the 100-stack, 25 disks each?
In my humble opinion, just using a current model DVD burner for "re-doing" your store of video
titles is a step ahead. Double-sided DVD’s and "Blue-lasers" are around the corner. Ye olde "waiting game " -nothing
Side-Bar: I have a shelf of Hi-8 originals. A few months ago, after my faithful Sony 7000 Hi-8
VCR croaked, Sony Service Center wanted $700 + to fix old Betsy. For a few weeks I searched for a new model camera that’d
play Hi-8, via an S-connection . S has gone out of fashion! Only Composite and DV now on Sony’s!
I got lucky. A used Hi-8 camera, two batteries, steadishot, remote control, on-camera light,
TBC in the playback circuit, and a nice camera bag. $150 plus taxes. Plays like a charm. Like new.
Your scribe, Dave. Now over to Mike…
Morris’ Burning Adventure: Part II
Many of you will remember the Salt Spring Island Women's "Preserve and Protect" nude charity
calendar…what's that you say, good way for the club to raise funds..? Well I'd suggest starting with a bake sale first,
myself. But I just wanted to follow up on what Dave has mentioned—Morris moving to "Preserve and Protect" the family
movies that are currently on S-VHS tapes.
Went over to Morris's house on the weekend and, about halfway down the steps to the basement,
I realized that I was hearing, well not quite hearing, more like feeling, the residual energy of hundreds or maybe thousands
of hours of shared joy and achievements in film and video making. The immersion was complete when I stepped into the cramped
quarters of the "Dark Room." Cool room.
But rather than looking at reels of 16mm film, although they were clearly in view, we were concentrating
our efforts on coaxing a Panasonic DVD stand-alone recorder to yield up its secrets of operation. I had zero experience with
stand-alone recorders (although I feel quite comfortable with my PC-based DVD recording system, as Dave does with his Prestige)
so both Morris and I approached this device with a fair amount of caution.
I bravely tackled the "user manual" while Morris went about plugging various cables between
a videocassette recorder, a Zenith DVD player, a TV monitor, and the Panasonic DVD recorder. Some cables snaked their way
into connectors in the wall, and Morris casually mentioned the miles of cable tucked into the walls. Frankly, when the earth
quack hits I'd like to be in the "Dark Room"—all those cables have got to give the house a huge advantage of 'hanging
Anyway, the Zenith DVD player was the first item we looked at…but when it 'locked up'
twice in a row, trying to play two different DVDs, we decided to give it a back seat to the main show (update: a few days
later Morris reported that the DVD player was working fine…so gremlins must have been loose that Sunday morning).
Next we turned our attention to the Panasonic recorder. Morris inserted a DVD disk into the
Panasonic unit and we got an error message. Turns out he had been sold the wrong type of DVD disks for his recorder. He had
DVD+R disks, but needed DVD-R (called DVD "dash" R) disks. A quick trip home and I returned with a spindle of DVD-R disks.
Morris popped in the DVD-R disk, a VHS tape, hit play and "Rec" and we recorded five or so minutes at the "best quality" setting
on the DVD recorder.
We replayed the footage from the new DVD and it looked pretty good. But then we wanted to view
the DVD on a DVD player upstairs in the family room. To do this we needed to "Finalize" the DVD disk…needed for most
DVD-R disks apparently, but not for DVD+R disks.
It took about five minutes to "finalize" the DVD disk (but about 10 minutes to find the instructions
in the manual) and then we headed up stairs for the big test.
I'm happy to report that it loaded without a hitch, there was a nice menu and the picture quality
was great. Got a question about transferring VHS to DVD using a stand-alone DVD recorder? Ask Morris or I.
Morris is experimenting with using the DVD recorder to replace his current VHS setup for TV
broadcasts…so you might want to ask him about his experiences with that also.