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VIDEO TO DVD CONVERSION

 

What is the turnaround time?
Turnaround time depends on the file format used by the camcorder and how many files and finished DVDs are involved. Much variation exists between different manufacturers' camcorders and file formats. In general, turnaround ranges from 1–2 weeks for a simple Mini DVD conversion to a few weeks or longer for a project to 100 video files on a Flash memory card. See our Video Service page for more, including details on rush services.

How much does it cost?
We charge $15 for a straight duplication of one single-sided Mini DVD to a full-size DVD. Double-sided Mini DVDs cost $30, since duplicating them equals duplicating two separate DVDs (and separate menu systems). Combining multiple Mini DVDs requires an estimate and the final charge is $30 per full-size DVD needed. Flash video and hard drive camcorder projects require a $50 setup fee, and each finished DVD required is $30. For additional information, see the DVD Conversion – Prices page.

How do I place an order and get my materials to you?
Visit our Video Conversion to DVD page for detailed ordering instructions. Our Order Form is available as a PDF at the top of the page. Then simply pack up your materials and send the package to us. We'll let you know as soon as your order arrives. For detailed packaging and shipping options, visit our Shipping and Order Production page.

What kinds of camcorders can Timeless DVD handle as part of this service?
All standard-definition (SD) digital camcorders, whether they use Flash memory, Mini DVD discs, or hard drives. (We handle Mini DV camcorders in our DVD transfer tape-based service.) We do not, however, handle any HD (high-definition) camcorders. See updates about this service on our Convert to Blu-Ray page.

How do I know if my camcorder is SD or HD?
Standard-definition camcorders record at a maximum of 720x480 pixels, while high-definition camcorders record at 1920x1080 pixels. Also, check out your camcorder itself. If it is HD, it likely has that emblazoned on the side or with the model number. (Just don't confuse HD with "HDD," which means "hard drive.")

What types of Flash memory cards do you accept?
All standard formats, including SD (Secure Digital), SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity), Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, Memory Stick Pro Duo, MicroSD, MicroSDHC, MiniSD, MiniSDHC, MMC (MultiMediaCard), MMCPlus, Compact Flash, and xD.

Do I have to give you my camcorder?
You only have to provide your camcorder if it has internal, unremoveable memory. A hard drive camcorder or a camcorder with internal Flash memory are two examples. Also, if you have not finalized your Mini DVD discs, we will need the camera as well so we can read them. Otherwise, just send your Flash card or Mini DVD discs, and you can keep your camera.

How much video fits on a DVD disc?
A DVD holds 4.3 GB of data. If your camcorder writes MPEG-2 video, we will compile as many of your videos as possible until we reach that 4.3 limit. The size of your videos depends upon the quality settings on your camcorder. If the highest-quality setting was used, we may only be able to fit 90 minutes of video files on a DVD. If you used an economy setting, we can fit much more, but the playback quality will be visibly poorer.

Why do I need to pay a setup fee for copying video to DVD?
The setup fee (only required for Flash memory card and hard drive camcorder conversions) enables us to examine your camcorder and project thoroughly prior to providing the estimate. Digital camcorders vary greatly in how they operate, and it is common for us to have to research a camcorder to ensure that we are transferring its files correctly. The setup fee also covers our time noting the aspect ratio and pixel dimensions of your files, which are essential for setting up its DVD transfer. And finally, it takes time to organize your files into 4.3 GB chronological chunks to assess how many finished DVDs are needed. The setup fee covers all of this work and ensures that we are processing your video correctly.

I shot my video in widescreen. Will it be widescreen on the DVD?
Yes. As part of the setup fee, we check every file to see if it is widescreen or full screen, and set the DVD "flags" appropriately. We also ask on the order form to let us know what aspect ratio your video has (if you know it).

Can you work with PAL camcorders when you transfer movie to DVD?
No. We do not handle PAL or SECAM video.

Mini DVD converted to DVD

Can I combine more than one Mini DVD onto a full-size DVD?
Yes. We handle this as part of the "Mini DVD – Option B" choice. No matter what settings were used on your camera, the capacity of two full Mini DVDs equals the size of one large DVD. If the discs are not full, we may even be able to combine more than one Mini DVD on the same DVD!

Can I transfer my Mini DVDs to separate full-size DVDs?
Yes, absolutely. Just select "Option A" on your form.

Why would I want to convert Mini DVD to a large DVD when they work fine?
Actually, Mini DVDs are not playable in every DVD player. DVD players that do not have that central mini "dish" for Mini DVDs will not play a mini disc. Also, any DVD drive that is slot-loading (such as on many laptop computers and car DVD players) cannot accept a Mini DVD; in fact, sticking on inside is a good way to ruin your player! Transferring your Mini DVDs to full-size DVDs ensures that your videos will be watchable for a long period of time, and is akin to transferring aging video tapes for preservation.

What is Mini DVD finalization?
Finalization is a digital process whereby a DVD disc is "closed" to further writing. This process enables the disc to be read by other DVD players or drives. Usually, Mini DVD discs are only readable by the camcorder that recorded them unless they are finalized, which is why we require your discs to be finalized. If you don't know how to do it, we can take your camcorder and finalize the discs at a $5 per disc fee.

Can you recover damaged Mini DVD data?
We offer Mini DVD recovery for $20 per single-sided disc. Mini DVDs are notorious for becoming unplayable – even by the camcorder that originally recorded them! The failure is normally associated with the start of the 1.4GB DVD disk not being written correctly or becoming unreadable over time. However, we are often able to recover part or even all of the video on the Mini DVD disc – even ones that have not been finalized. Keep in mind that we will recover as much video as we can for the $20 fee, and that it is not guaranteed that we will be able to recover everything. (If we can't recover anything, there is no charge.)

Transfer Movie to DVD

I don't want all my videos transferred. How do I exclude them from the DVD?
Just make a notation on a separate paper and include it with your order. The best way is to describe the video by running time and date, so we will know which one it is.

Will the video to DVD conversion change the quality of my video?
If your camcorder shoots in MPEG-2 video, the quality will be identical with the same video on DVD. Keep in mind that when we transfer video from your files, we are not re-encoding the files. We are simply compiling your camera's file formats into longer video segments and preparing them for DVD authoring. The same quality that you used on the camcorder will be present in your DVD discs, whether it's HQ/fine or LP/economy.

When we convert H.264/MPEG-4 video, the process is a little different. With camcorders that write to the H.264 codec, we do need to encode the video to make it DVD-compatible. However, we use the highest-quality video encoders, Cinema Craft and MainConcept, for this work, and you should see virtually no difference between your original files and the DVD version.

See our DVD Video Conversion page for a detailed explanation of video codecs and our process.

Do you edit out shaky or poorly shot sections of my video?
No, we do not edit your video in any way. The only sections of video we edit out are "black screens," which can appear briefly between segments of taping. These screens, however, are not recorded video. If there are specific sections of video you do not want on your DVD, you must provide specific instructions.

How will my various videos be accessible on the DVD?
First, all the videos will be viewable via the PLAY button the main menu. This will play all the videos on the disc in chronological order from beginning to end. Each Flash memory– or hard drive camcorder–based disc also contains a Scenes menu, which lists your videos by unique date (i.e., October 5, 2009).

I know exactly how I want my scenes menu to look. Can I have this done?
Sure. We can customize your DVD(s) in any way you need. However, additional charges apply to scenes menus that deviate from our "scenes by date" default setup.

Will you erase my video files when you're finished?
No. We do not erase anything. Your camcorder, Flash memory card, or Mini DVDs will be returned to you exactly as they left. At that point, you are welcome to use your camcorder to erase or reformat as needed.

Can I make changes to my DVD later?
Yes. However, we charge a $20 reauthor fee for any changes to a DVD that were not included in the original order, plus the cost of any additional work needed.

I want to edit my video. What kind of camcorder should I get?
Stick with Mini DV. DV is still the easiest video format to edit because all compression on DV is performed between frames. That means every video frame can stand alone, rather than being interpolated (like MPEG-2 video, the standard in most Flash, hard drive, and Mini DVD camcorders). Unfortunately, there are fewer and fewer Mini DV camcorders available every year.

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