Events: Small Steps

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It is always interesting to me how one thing leads to another. My first real experience with this was many years ago when my wife asked me to replace a single tile on the door sill of the shower stall that ended up with a complete renovation of the bathroom. Last year I reported how selling his house lead to my brother’s marriage.

More recently, I had a simple objective: transfer my video recordings to DVD.

Over the years I have accumulated a number of tapes from my camcorder, dating back to 1989. On this medium, viewing is quite a chore involving finding the right tape, finding the right spot on the tape, connecting the various components to be able to watch the recordings, etc. So, the reality is we never look at tapes after they have been recorded. This odd situation made me wonder why I even went through the process of recording things in the first place. All the vacations and events, while physically there, seen only as a second-hand image displayed through a one-inch view finder. However, the despair that this thought could have evoked was unable to gain a foothold as excitement quickly took root when I realized that there was a technical solution to this problem. And while the technology may not alleviate the “view-finder” problem, it would go a long way to satisfying other urges, so in the balance the result would be a “win.”

The technical solution seemed to be a DVD writer; I didn’t have one, therefore that in itself must be a problem!

It turns out DVD’s are a bit more complicated than I thought, quite bewildering in fact.

The disk medium can be:

  • DVD-ROM (read only, manufactured by a press)
  • DVD-R/RW (R = Recordable once, RW = Rewritable)
  • DVD-RAM (random access rewritable)
  • DVD+R/RW (R = Recordable once, RW = Rewritable)
  • DVD-R DL (dual layer record once)
  • DVD+R DL (double layer record once)

The disc may have one or two sides, and one or two layers of data per side; the number of sides and layers determines the disc capacity.

  • DVD-5: single sided, single layer, 4.7 gigabytes (GB), or 4.38 gibabytes (GiB)
  • DVD-9: single sided, double layer, 8.5 GB (7.92 GiB)
  • DVD-10: double sided, single layer on both sides, 9.4 GB (8.75 GiB)
  • DVD-14: double sided, double layer on one side, single layer on other, 13.3 GB (12.3 GiB)
  • DVD-18: double sided, double layer on both sides, 17.1 GB (15.9 GiB) [1]

Given the nature of my task at hand I selected a drive that had the following properties: DVD+R DL/DVD±RW. This seemed to cover most of the bases.

In thinking through the actual use, I realized that I might face another challenge. Disk space: the 60 gigabytes of my PC probably wouldn’t be enough. 250 seemed a better number at least as a minimum. Then there were the software issues, especially an integrated solution.

In the end I was lead to a package solution, one that included the above as well as some additional features and components. While costing a little more than originally intended, I took into consideration the number of tapes that I have, and the work involved (which I currently estimate at about 400-500 hours) and decided that having the right tools for the task was the appropriate and responsible approach and reflected due consideration.

I executed the purchase on Boxing Day and have been working on my project since. It is quite something to go back and see the images from those years.

For some reason I started with 1995. I’ve posted the pictures I cut from the tape on my album.


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