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Ask The Expert: How Can I Include Clips from a DVD Into My Casablanca?

QUESTION: I have an older Casablanca - an AVIO I think - with no dvd drive in my unit. I am wanting to take clips from a DVD I have and build a video in the Casablanca, lay down a song track, record the finished product onto a dvd and play this as part of a Christmas play at my church that I'm directing.

ANSWER The easiest thing to do will be to connect an external DVD player and play that back so that the video and audio is fed into your AVIO.

It would be ideal if your DVD player had firewire (DV) and fed that into your AVIO (assuming your AVIO has the DV capability) - this would yield the highest video quality.

If not, I would recommend taking the video from the DVD player via the S-video cable, and the audio via the RCA/Phono port.This should allow you to record the video segments you desired and edit in your Casablanca.

NOTE:  You may run into the copy-guard technology however - the electronic fix that some DVD distributors affix to commercially sold DVDs to prevent them from being duplicated.

If when recording, the signal does not stabilize in your editor, the color does not lock and/or the picture starts rolling at regular intervals - then that's the problem. If that's the case there is noting easy to fix... there are companies who have sold devices to 'adjust' this copy-guard technology and some computer software allows you to 'rip' commercial DVDs to your computer hard drive but that is something out of my sphere of knowledge.

As far as the 'other end' of the project - exporting to a DVD, since your AVIO does not have the DVD drive, you would need to connect your AVIO video and audio out ports to an external DVD recorder.  There are actually very affordable DVD Recorders with no frills (up to very expensive models that have more professional options & capabilities).  You will find these area available at lots of places - for example a highly rated model from Amazon is the Toshiba DKR40 ( here is my Affiliate Link).  This will not get you fancy menus, interactive buttons like we can produce on the other Casablanca editors with the DVD Arabesk software. 

Tips & Tutorials by the Casablanca Expert, Chet Davis