How do I turn a dozen DVD-Rs' worth of home movies into files I can edit on a Mac?
September 21, 2007 11:06 AM   Subscribe

Help me make my daughter's grandparents' year. I've got a pile of home movies shot with an obscure Panasonic DVD video camera and no Mac-friendly software. Help! [more inside]

The camera is a Panasonic VDR-M70, and it records onto 2.5" DVD-Rs that can't be read by (indeed don't fit into) a contemporary Mac's DVD drive.

If you connect the camera to the computer by USB, the discs contain a handful of files labelled "VIDEO_TS.BUP," "VIDEO_TS.IFO," VIDEO_TS.VOB," or else "VTS_01_0.BUP," "VTS_01_0.IFO," VTS_01_0.VOB," etc. Plus there's one file called "DVDCAM.IFO."

The camera came with a CD full of what appears to be PC-only software (drivers plus DVD-MovieAlbumSE 3 and MyDVD 4.0). I've got an iBook and my wife's got a more advanced MacBook.

The recorded discs contain lovely moments from the first two years of my daughter's life, and if I can turn them into a single DVD by Xmas, I'll be Son of the Year. I can figure out most end-user-friendly software apps, but my programming/professional-app-fu skills are nil.

What do I do?
posted by gompa to Technology (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The 2.5 DVD looks like its a finished DVD. .IFO and .VOB files are DVD files. I dont know what DVD editing and creating software you are using but you should be able to copy each disc (via usb) onto a new folder for each disc and import them into your DVD editing software (imovie?)
posted by damn dirty ape at 11:13 AM on September 21, 2007

Download the free MPEG Streamclip. It can capture from .vob files and save clips as quicktime files, which you can them import, edit, and put together in iMovie.
posted by pmbuko at 11:19 AM on September 21, 2007

Although I have not used it, I would also try DiVa, which can supposedly convert those .vob files into DV video files, whcih are the best format for video editing use.
posted by pmbuko at 11:24 AM on September 21, 2007

Best answer: I like Handbrake (free) and Visualhub (cheap).
posted by GS1977 at 11:43 AM on September 21, 2007 [1 favorite]

I'm not exactly sure, but I think VirtualDubMod is Mac friendly. It will allow you to edit and save the files, but I don't think it saves in MPEG2. It will save in AVI though, and it's free.
posted by sanka at 7:11 PM on September 21, 2007

You have a DVD camera - it creates working DVDs.

DVD's are MPEG-2s that have be formatted correctly to play in a DVD player.

For you to edit one of these DVDs, you have to turn them into an editable format. MPEG2 files are heavily compressed. Not every frame has all the data.

If you use MPEG Streamclip (mentioned above), you can convert the files to Quicktime DV files which iMovie (and almost all other editing software can handle.)

It'll be a two step process: Rip the DVD to QT dv format. Import into iMovie. Edit.
posted by filmgeek at 11:29 AM on September 22, 2007

Response by poster: Just noticed a recent favouriting of this thread, figured I should post a final thought: Handbrake did it for me. No idea why, but MPEG Streamclip kept kind of seizing up mid-conversion. Handbrake was a breeze, and I'm in the early stages of converting the whole pile into MPEGs, after which I'll edit on iMovie and sail away to the ecstatic shores of Happy Grandparent Island.

Thanks, AskMe!
posted by gompa at 3:01 PM on December 18, 2007

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