High Def Camcorder video to VHS or recordable DVD
Thank you, boya84, for your wonderful explanation. It is a lot to digest but I printed it and am re-reading it. First, the easy information - the camcorder is a Sony Digital Video Camcorder, Model DCR-SX85. We purchased it because it was one of the very few that you could transfer video via the A/V system to a VHS system. So not a lot of selection, and honestly, we were glad to at least have that. My computer was custom built 2 years ago because I wanted to keep XP for some of my older programs that would not run on a newer Windows, and there were no replacement programs available. Operating system is XP SP3. The CD burner may be a DVD/CD burner. I am not sure, but I will check with the builder. Definitely not Blu-Ray though. Let me know if there is something else you need to know.
You gave a great explanatiion of how this all works. One thing I do wonder is you say that when the AV-out connection is used it is no longer digital high definition video. Actually, this camera is not HD anyway, just digital. You can see the poor quality picture in the camera screen as you are recording. The first time we used it, it seemed decent enough, and we did dub it and it was better than we thought it would be. However, when recording indoors, it is very "smeary" even on the camera screen and awful watching through the TV, even if you change the TV screen and camcorder to 4:3 resolution. You said that the video, regardless of source, is analog video if the VCR is analog, which at least the VHS side is. It does have recordable digital DVD also, but not HD. I have not tried to record the camcorder to DVD yet as we have only had the camcorder a few days and are just getting familiar with it. Of course, it doesn't operate anything like the old 8mm, but it has been fun learning it. Initially, I really liked it, for what it is, but after that initial dubbing, it seemed to go downhill from there, at least it seemed that way.
The VCR/DVD RECORDER is a Panasonic, probably at least 6 or 7 years old, maybe more. I didn't use it for a couple of years after I got it initially. It is kind of temperamental. You can only play the DVDs you record on it until you "finalize" it, then the disk can no longer be added to and you can plaly it on other DVD players. I am using only R+ or R-, not RW. Sometimes we have more to add, so we don't finalize it until the disk is full. Until that time, you can only watch it on that DVD player. Now as far as importing the recordings to the computer, you give me the steps if watching in HD is not required. Obviously, with this camcorder, HD is not even possible, so that's okay. But the quality of the recording on the camcorder is not good either, so I am not so sure that importing it to a DVD on the computer would help any. But you mention a DVD "authoring tool." Can you give me some recommendations, or tell me what all I would need in order to do this with my computer? Do you think the recording might turn out better doing it this way instead of transfering it straight to a VCR or even a DVD with my VCR/DVD Recorder? I have not yet tried to transfer it to DVD on my recorder, but have dubbed family videos over to DVD and they don't look good either, so I assume it would look just as bad.
One last clarification, if you don't mind. Can I assume then that if I purchased a High Def camcorder, obviously I could not transfer it to VCR because there would be nothing compatible, but could we edit onto a DVD and then get it so that we could play it on a regular DVD player? I realize now that regular DVDs are way lower density than a Blu-Ray, thanks to your information. You did say that you do it all the time, so maybe you can advise me on what software I need to do that for XP. But maybe you are using a more current version of Windows. Sorry for so many questions and the long explanation. It does sound like we are pretty much stuck with the poor quality recordings until we can afford to upgrade everything.
I do still have the problem that I mentioned before with indoor lighting and the color and lighting going in and out. That does show on the screen while we are recording. Very odd to me.
Thank you for all your help on this.