Recently, a friend asked me if I could copy her home videos from a miniDV tape onto a DVD. I said sure, OK, and if she lent me her camcorder I’d be able to get it done.
I’ve never actually used miniDV before, and I’ve only ever tried to process video on Linux a handful of times – and it’s usually been a disaster. Fedora seems to be a rock-steady platform for many tasks, although I would say it can be a bit lacking in high-quality media tools. I decided to give it a go on Fedora, but I was also prepared to fail over to Windows Movie Maker if necessary. Yuck.
So I searched the Fedora repos for the term DV, and came across a tool called Kino.
Kino is a non-linear DV editor for GNU/Linux. It features excellent integration with IEEE-1394 for capture, VTR control, and recording back to the camera. It captures video to disk in Raw DV and AVI format, in both type-1 DV and type-2 DV (separate audio stream) encodings.
Great – sounds like it will do the job. I plugged in the camcorder (a Sharp VL-NZ50) and fired up Kino. It immediately recognised the camera, no intervention necessary. Kino has full control of the tape – I was able to start, stop, rewind, and fast-forward the video. There was a single button to capture the entire tape to disk.
I found it made a new file for each time recording had been restarted on the camcorder. This might be ideal if you wanted to later burn a DVD with scene selection, but I wanted to create a single video.
After capture was complete, approximately one hour of video took up just over 12 GB – luckily I have crazy disks in my PC!
Kino also has features to export video in various formats. I simply exported as a single DV file (no re-encoding required).
Then I used DeVeDe to wrap the raw video file in a nice DVD format with a basic menu, and create an ISO image that I could simply burn to DVD.
I was very pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to get great results copying a miniDV tape to a DVD using Fedora.