VCR to DVD – Video Digitisation and Compression Codecs

The transfer of a video cassette recording to DVD involves the capture and digitisation of the analogue video, editing the digitised video as necessary and compressing this prior to burning it to DVD. There are various methods of accomplishing this, varying in ease of operation, speed, quality and cost. A typical video capture card is a system of hardware and software which together allow a user to convert video into a computer-readable format by digitising video sequences to uncompressed or, more normally, compressed data files. Uncompressed video is an unwieldy beast, so some kind of compression has to be employed to make it more manageable. The compression formulae and techniques used to compress video during capture and decompress it again for playback are known as codecs. Codecs can be employed in software or hardware, but even in the age of GHz-speed CPUs a hardware codec is necessary to achieve anything near broadcast quality video. Though DVD quality video is defined with the MPEG-2 codec, DVD players typically support the MPEG-4 codec. Defined by the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG), the working group within the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), the MPEG-4 specification was finalised in 1998 and became an international standard in 2000. It is designed to deliver quality video at lower data rates and smaller file sizes. The standard incorporates the Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) codec. Developed by the same people who created the popular .mp3 file format, AAC provides much more efficient compression than MP3 with a quality rivalling that of uncompressed CD audio. Refer to the PCTechGuide pages on video compression for more information on codecs...

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