Burning DVDs

Say I had 4 .avi files that equal 2.8 GB and a little over 4 hours of video.

When I convert them to DVD will the size change a lot or a little or not at all?
Will a 4.7 GB blank dvd play as much video as long as its under 4.7 GB or is there a limit to playing time?


It depends on the audio and video codecs used in the AVI, and their resolutions, frame rates, sampling rates, and number of channels. If your AVI files use the same codecs permitted by the DVD-Video spec, and are at one of the permitted resolutions/frame rates/sampling rates/number of channels, then the size won’t significantly change. Otherwise you will have to convert the data to a format suitable for DVD, and may end up with vastly different file sizes. You may also end up losing information or quality.

I have used DVD-Shrink to copy dual layer down to single layer. Typically I have not found more than 3 hours on a commercial DVD. However, using this logic, you should be able to fit almost 6 hours on a dual-layer disc then. OTOH I see discs that seem to have 4 movies - even allowing for double-sided, that means you can fit 4 hours on a DVD.

If the OP is asking will 4 hours fit on a DVD, easily. But there will be a quality hit, which may or may be not be acceptable.

Literally how long can a DVD play? A 100 hour video of a white dot wouldn’t take up much room, but there might be limits to the DVD spec. if the playing time overflows the space given to store it, it might fall over.

Obviously I would like to keep my 4 .avi files the same quality as they are on my computer.

How would I find out if they use the same codecs? The files are not DVD rips if that makes the difference. I have Nero Burning Rom, ConvertX2Dvd, and Roxio creator, do any of these give the information I need to know.

I used ConvertX2Dvd to convert some files(1.10gb) to dvd without burning. It tacked on 900mb. Is this considered a vast difference or normal? It’s a lot more than I expected.

Play around with it. After some experimentation, I had some ratios of various format conversions, but I forget what they are now.

But, you might want to try a straight copy and play and see what happens. My dvd player, for example, will play anything: vcd, cd, burns, region free, etc.

I found some information on that, it appears your dvd player is DivX compatible (capable?), therefore you can play avi burned directly to disc as long as they meet these requirements. Which is totally awesome… I am going to invest in one of these but I don’t think they are too common amongst people so burning to DVD is still preferred. I can throw out another question though.

Is the standard DVD player capable of playing other file types or must they be converted to .VOB & .BUP files first?

I used to burn everything to DVD-compliant format for playing on a DVD player. Nowadays, that’s not really necessary and I don’t bother with that anymore. Most likely your DVD or Blu-Ray player can play your avi files. If not, those types of DVD players are pretty inexpensive. Look for some indication of the kinds of video formats that the player will support, e.g., DivX, MPEG-4, WMV, H.264, etc. Another option is to just buy a media player to store and watch the videos on your TV. The only reason to burn the videos to standard DVD format (which may force you to sacrifice some video quality) is if you want to make copies for someone else to watch the videos on their TV using an older DVD player.

The file command will tell you:

$ file frettchen.avi
frettchen.avi: RIFF (little-endian) data, AVI, 624 x 352, 23.98 fps, video: XviD, audio: MPEG-1 Layer 3 (stereo, 48000 Hz)

You can then compare this data against the permitted video codecs, video resolutions, video frame rates, audio codec, audio sampling rate, and number of audio channels for the DVD-Video specification. The Wikipedia article on DVD-Video has a handy list of these.

The original source media and format of the files is irrelevant; what’s important is how they were encoded.

Maybe; I don’t use those myself. See if any of them spit out the same sort of information as file does in my example above. Or just use file if you have it, or can download a copy for your system.

There is a little bit of overthinking going on here. Burn the files as data to see if your DVD will play them. If not, use the already mentioned ConvertXToDVD to make a normal DVD. That’s all that needs to done.

My dvd recorder has a mode where it can record for 8 hours on a single layer DVD and it appears to be compatible with standard DVD players. It is about VHS quality.

Thanks psyhconaut, I have windows and I the only download I found for the File Command was source code and I don’t know how to make that into an executable.

There is no harm in more information and understanding. I would also like to save my blank dvds as cheap as they may be because my dvd player is old and will not play dvd data discs. Plus, I don’t have a problem with sharing dvds.


This intrigues me. What’s your DVD model? Do the instructions maybe specify the coding parameters? If I can get VCR level video with that much on one DVD, I can archive my VHSs that don’t have DVD equivalents onto one DVD.

I’m a big enough geek that that would be cool.

The codecs in the original AVI do not matter, UNLESS they happen to be a DVD NTSC properly formatted MPEG 2 Stream + a PCM or MPGII audio or Dolby Digital track.

I doubt it is.

What matters is the length of the video because you will almost certainly have to transcode to the proper DVD format. The length of the video and size of your DVD will determine the quality of the final video. It will always be slightly worse than your original though. That’s the only option when dealing with lossy codecs, but with a sufficient bit rate, the difference should be not be noticeable.

If this is something you do a lot, I would recommend some dedicated software like TMPEG Enc’s Video Mastering Works 5. It’s $99, or maybe their specific DVD authoring software package, DVD Authoring Works.

Right, because everyone knows that DVD doesn’t support PAL. :rolleyes:

I meant to type NTSC/PAL.

That isn’t region based? I thought it was.

No, the DVD-Video specification is the same for the whole world, and includes support for both NTSC and PAL. Whether any individual DVD player and output device is capable of playing one or the other is a different matter.

It is a Toshiba d-kr10, which isn’t made anymore, but there are probably other models with an 8-hour mode. I personally have only used the 8-hour mode a couple of times. When I’m copying a VHS tape, if it’s worth copying, then it is worth using the 2 hour or even the 1 hour mode.

It did come in handy, when a friend with sleep apnea wanted to record his sleeping habits. I hooked an old Sony Hi-8 camcorder with a night vision mode to dvd recorder and used the 8 hour mode to get a full night’s sleep.