3rd to last and last paragraph responses...

by boya84 - 2/20/13 11:12 AM

In Reply to: A little more info by Rhorr77

Your wanting to "keep the iMac relatively empty of info" is sound - especially when it comes to video project files.

When you start up the computer (Mac or Windows), available space on the start-up drive also supplies "virtual memory" to the computer. You can see this if you are interested... In the Mac, launch "Activity Monitor" (Applications: Utilities) - "Real memory" vs "Virtual Memory". In Windows, CTRL-ALT-DEL and launch the Task Manager, select the "Performance" tab - Physical memory vs Kernel memory...

Anyway, when editing video, the portion of video data being worked is pulled in from the hard drive to the application and into memory (RAM - whether physical or virtual). If the system is using lots of virtual memory, then there can be "resource contention" with the video files when the system and video files are on the same physical drive. If the video files are on a drive different from the start-up drive (hence not on the same drive as the virtual memory), then there is no resource contention. With small files liek spreasheets, word processors and the like, this is not big deal - with large video files, this can be a big deal.

Also, in an emergency, it is WAY easier to grab a small drive and evacuate than the computer...

Small discs. Ugh.
I presume you are dealing with the small 8cm DVDs that were used by DVD based camcorders and recorded standard definition video into VOB files... We assume that all the discs have been finalized in the camcorder... With any luck, you still have the camcorder, just in case.

Most Macs (including your iMac) use a slot loading SuperDrive. Never, ever, put a small or odd shaped disc into a slot loader. They can get stuck, damage the disc and damage the drive. Use of an external drawer loader is appropriate. I use one from LaCie. It has a firewire connection - but I don't think that is really required.

First, lets get the video into the computer... In this case, retaining the "original video quality" in the original VOB file format can be done by using "Disk Utility" (Applications: Utilities) in your Mac. Making a "Disk Image" basically creates a softcopy version of the DVD that can be treated like the original disc (use DVD Player in the Mac for playback) and even ripped for editing - more on this in a moment... everything, but no physical disc. This disk image becomes the original version "archive" that is backed up by TimeCapsule.

You will also need a DVD ripper. I use HandBrake from www.handbrake.fr - there are others...

Put the finalized disc into the drawer loading drive - or point HandBrake (Source) at the disc image that was just made. If DVD player automatically launches, quit that application. Launch HandBrake. Identify the source (the mounted mini DVD or the disc image), all chapters and select a destination (make a folder, name it, etc). For output settings, click on "Toggle Presets" and select the Regular drop-down and Normal. Click Start. This will rip the video form the disc. When it is done, the application will tell you. The resulting MP4 files can be dragged to the iMovie Library, then to the timeline for editing.

The video compressed into the VOB files on DVDs is extremely compressed. These camcorders and the resulting discs were never designed to have their video edited. Please remember our earlier discussion regarding video compression and reduced video quality. On top of this compression, this video is in standard definition. The minidiscs could record up to 20 minutes of standard definition video at highest quality during capture. Many people wanted longer record times and reduced the video quality (higher compression, smaller files, more record time - sound familiar?) for single sided discs and while the double sided discs were available, manually turning the disc over to get to the other side for recording video was just problematic. And if you used double sided discs, then after side 1 is ripped, you'll need to take it out of the drive, turn it over and rip the other side separately - or create the second disc image...

Because it is standard definition video, the file size (uncompressed, ready to edit) is not even close to high definition video. I mention this only to set the potential video quality expectation.