Bits & P.C.s

Bits & P.C.s

By Richard Heller

Movies to CD & DVD

Over the past year, the price of digital cameras and camcorders has dropped while the features have increased. While a digital camera still does not have the resolution of film the speed at which a picture can be taken and printed or sent over the Internet has made them one of the hottest selling items. Newspapers and television have discovered that they can have “up-to-the-minute” photos and videos as long as their reporters have a telephone line available.

As a family, you have probably taken many videos of the kids or vacations and weddings. While the price of the VCR and videotape has also decreased, the tapes are still the size of a paperback book. In this age of DVD players and computers, the ideal way to keep your collection is to transfer it to disc.

In order to accomplish this, you will require a video capture device such as a video card with a video-input jack to replace the video card in the computer. There are also external devices available that plug into the USB or Firewire ports on the computer that add video capture capabilities without the need to open the box to install anything. Most digital camcorders are equipped with a 1394/Firewire port that will plug into a Firewire port on a PC or a Mac.

Of course, you will need either a CD Writer or DVD Writer in order to create a disc. The price for the capture device and a CD Writer could be as low as $150 while a DVD Writer and top-of-the-line capture device could bring the bill to $500+.

Once you connect your camcorder or VCR to the computer, you will need software to enable you to produce a CD or DVD. One of the easiest to use and least expensive programs is “Movies to CD & DVD” from Magix. With a retail price of less than $50 you can create a video CD or DVD in just three steps.

The first step is to capture and import either your movies from your VCR or from the Internet. The program can identify different scenes and are saved as chapters, that is, if you have a tape that has a birthday party and then a wedding, the program will “sense” that there are two different recordings. You can also add commentaries or background music in sync with the picture.

The second step is to restore and edit the video. You can remove TV commercials or embarrassing scenes from your home movies. There are tools that let you do scene transitions and restoration such as color and sound correction.

The last step allows you to add menus, credits, and to produce a disc that will be playable on most home DVD players. If your video card has a video-out jack, you can save your completed work to a VHS tape.

The program supports most popular video formats such as MPEG1&2, MOV and AVI, pictures such as BMP and JPEG, and sound formats such as MP3 and WAV.

Richard Heller is an independent computer specialist who specializes in repairs, installation, upgrades, technical support, Internet sharing, data recovery and diagnostics. If you have any computer or service-related questions, please send them to The Rock River Times or e-mail

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