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One of the most common questions we receive at Timeless DVD is:
"Can I edit my video from my DVDs?"

First: Yes, editing any type of video file is technically possible. But more importantly: No, editing video from a DVD disc is not advised. Here's why it's better to convert to MOV files or AVI files if you want to edit your video.

Video to hard drive - the better option

The two main reasons why it's not advisable to edit the video from a DVD:
1) your video quality will significantly diminish, because MPEG-2 video is a compressed format
2) extracting and converting video from a DVD is not an easy process.

If you look at the actual files that are on a DVD in your computer, you will see a folder called "VIDEO_TS", which contains files that have the extensions VOB, IFO, and BUP. The video on a DVD resides in those "VOB" files. A VOB is simply a container file that holds MPEG-2 video.

MPEG-2 is the format that is used on every DVD disc. MPEG-2 is a 720 pixel wide by 480 pixel high video that is heavily compressed, like online videos. When a video is compressed, quality is sacrificed for the sake of a smaller file.

Video to hard drive
 

Frame structure of a DV file.
All frames are complete (i frames).

Video to hard drive
 

Frame structure of an MPEG-2 file.
Complete i frames are interspersed with
incomplete b and p frames.

For example, a digital video (DV) video file contains complete data for every single frame of video. This is why DV files are 13 GB for one hour of footage..

But when a DV file is encoded to MPEG-2, the picture data for some of the frames is altered. An MPEG-2 file only contains full data for a few frames (i frames), while the others are saved with partial information (b and p frames). This encoding makes it possible to fit a 2-hour video on a DVD disc. The "bp" sequence occurs 7 times before another compelete "i" frame occurs (see right).

Therefore, this is the first reason you shouldn't edit from MPEG-2 files: Not all the picture data for every frame exists, due to the compression inherent to the MPEG-2 file format..

Furthermore, in order to access the MPEG-2 video on your DVD, you would need to extract the video from the VOB files. While you can technically just copy and edit a VOB (with an MPEG-friendly program), this is not the best thing because VOBs are not just video files, but container files that carry other data as well.

Once you managed to extract the MPEG-2 video to computer, you would need to convert it to AVI or MOV, since few video editing programs can interpret MPEG-2 files. Since you are dealing with compressed video, this results in a DV AVI or MOV that can be poor quality. And if you edit it and recompress it for use on a new DVD, the quality diminishes even further.

Convert to MOV files or AVI

This is why we advise ordering our Convert Video service if you plan to edit. The MOV and AVI files on either data DVDs or an external hard drive allow for exact frame-by-frame editing on your computer, and will be compatible with virtually any video editing program you might choose (if you chose a professional video conversion, of course!). It's far better to transfer video to digital via straight capture than DVD.

So convert to MOV or AVI if you want to edit; order a video DVD transfer if you want to watch your footage. Period!

Video to computer: the best choice

Transfer your video to hard drive files and edit correctly!

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