Recording Medium

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When you record using a DVD recorder, you must consider the medium you will use.


Many DVD recorders come with a built-in hard drive that you can save stuff on and then burn it to disc later. This is convenient for several reasons:

1. You can record a ton of stuff without worrying about running out of space. Deleting it later takes very little time.
2. You can record a long single-segment run without swapping discs.
3. You can edit your video to cut off beginning and end portions, or even middle portions (which wouldn't apply to speed runs, but if you recorded, say, a movie that was on TV, you could cut out commercials and burn it to disc).
4. You will use a lot less discs because you will probably only burn to disc a fraction of what you record.
5. A hard drive is a lot less likely to fail in the middle of a recording than a disc, something that you don't want happening during a speed run (or during anything else).

DVD recorders with built-in hard drives are more expensive than those without them, but SDA strongly recommends that you cough up the extra dough to get one. You won't regret it.


When recording to disc, the most important thing to worry about is quality of the disc itself. If you pay more, you'll get better discs. This is unfortunate, but DO NOT be cheap and buy crappy discs. A good guide to buying quality discs can be found here. For non-rewritable discs (see descriptions below), SDA recommends certified Taiyo Yuden media. A good place to get it is this online store. Unfortunately, Taiyo Yuden doesn't make rewritable media as of this writing. For rewritable media, Sony is a good bet; you might also try another brand such as Hitachi that is listed as 1st class on this page.

The next thing to worry about is disc format. Check your DVD recorder to see what formats it can record to--it will, in all likelihood, be prominently displayed--and buy accordingly. There are five main DVD formats.


These are discs that can be written to once. After they are full, they're full, and you can't delete their contents. DVD-R's tend to be compatible with most everything, so they're an excellent choice for those who are sending their run to Nate to be processed. They are also perfect for those who want to have a hard copy of a run.


These are discs similar to DVD-R's. The main difference is that you can delete a DVD-RW's contents after putting stuff on it. For this reason, DVD-RW's are great for those recording speed runs because they'll often have many failed attempts that are recorded on a disc and need to be deleted to make room for more attempts. DVD-RW's are generally less compatible than DVD-R's, but more compatible than DVD+RW's.


These are discs comparable to DVD-R's; without going into complicated technical mumbo jumbo, one could say that a DVD+R is identical to a DVD-R except for compatibility purposes. The "+" is merely a trick to make you think these are better than DVD-R's, when in reality the "-" in "DVD-R" is a dash and not a minus sign. DVD+R's are generally less compatible than DVD-R's, so stick with -R's.


Same thing as above, but these are rewritable. DVD+RW's are not the most compatible critters, but they do boast one advantage over DVD-RW's--they needn't be finalized to be read by other devices. This is convenient because you can record a quick video of something and put it right on your computer without having to finalize, and you can record something, put it on your computer, and record something else without clearing the disc. Unfortunately, it's not always easy to find out whether your computer will read this format without actually trying one out, so you might want to use DVD-RW's.


These are discs that are primarily supported by Panasonic. They have dreadful compatibility, but are rewritable. They have some other advantages over the more common formats as well--you can watch a part of the contents of a DVD-RAM disc while it is recording (obviously useless for recording video games), you can edit directly on the disc with basic tools such as frame cutting, and you can rewrite them many more times than a DVD-RW or a DVD+RW. It's best to avoid these, but you might get a free one if you buy a Panasonic DVD recorder.

Which Format Should I Use?

Once you have recorded your run on DVD+/-RW, you'll want to either burn the proper files to DVD-R or DVD+R and send that/those to Nate through mail OR send the files over the Internet. Make sure you keep a backup, either on disc or on your computer. If you cannot burn to DVD-R or DVD+R and you cannot send large files over the Internet, you may have to send the DVD+/-RW(s), but be warned that Nate might not be able to read them because of their relatively low compatibility. For more information, read the following:
Extracting DVD Source Files

As always, don't hesitate to ask for assistance on the Tech Support forum.

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