Editing DVD Material in an Avid

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I recently had to re-edit some source material that lived only on a DVD. And I had to do it at home on a software-only Media Composer system. Many friends told me not to attempt this–too many settings, too many ways to screw yourself up. Better to use a good DVD player, using component or SDI outputs, and digitize via hardware: Adrenaline, Mojo or Nitris. But I didn’t have the hardware, so I persisted.

There are indeed, many, many ways to convert DVD material to Avid media, and by now, it seems like I’ve tried them all. I’ll describe the workflow I came up with below. It seems to work well and once you figure it out, it’s not all that hard to do. Quality is quite good.

The process begins with software to get the video off the DVD. On a Mac, you can use Handbrake, Cinematize, and MPEG Streamclip, among other applications. MPEG Streamclip has two advantages: it’s free, and it’ll digitize directly into Quicktime formats, including the Avid QT formats. Handbrake will only transcode into different MPEG flavors or AVI, so to get into a Media Composer you have to transcode twice. Video captured that way looked okay, and if you’ve got Handbrake I wouldn’t be afraid to use it, but I wanted to skip the extra step. I ended up with MPEG Streamclip. read more...

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