Guide – Can I edit my own DVD?

How to edit your videos after we’ve converted your old tapes to disc

This article is about editing from a DVD-R Video disc. The links and general information regarding video editing software may also be useful to you if you are looking to edit your own home videos from a tape, hard drive or memory card based video recorder.

Title - Guide to editing DVDs

DVD Video was designed as a playback format to replace pre-recorded VHS movies. It was never intended to be either a recordable or editable format. When General Use DVD-R video discs first became available it just wasn’t possible to edit directly from the discs themselves. The good news is that most commercial video editing software can now edit your home videos from a DVD-R Video disc.

Video editing software requires a certain degree of patience to learn how it works. Fortunately you don’t necessarily have to learn all of the features in order to get started.

Home users

The first thing you need to know is that iMovie on the Apple Mac and Windows Movie Maker (free from Microsoft) will NOT always edit directly from DVDs. Some versions of iMovie will import the video but not the audio. Windows Movie Maker Live starts off promising but then completely fails to let you do anything useful (Tested August 2011). Handbrake is a free software tool for both Windows and Mac OS (see link below). It’s a good DVD converter application which will copy your videos from DVD to MP4 video files which will then work fine in iMovie and Windows Movie Maker.

Good quality commercial video editing software is widely available but there are also lots of free tools if you are prepared to browse around the various help sites and read a few tutorials. Scroll down this page for useful links.

Professional & semi-pro editors

Modern editing software will import VOB sets (the files found on a DVD Video disc) but not necessarily do it properly. DVDVOB2MPEG (Windows) or Handbrake (Mac) will “demultiplex” VOB files and convert them into standard MPEG video files. Most editing software will import the MPEG files and in some cases allow you to edit from those directly.

Commercial video editing software

These non-linear editing programs (NLE) are made by world class software companies who also make professional versions of each product.

Video Editing software lets you:-

  • Edit out or fix poor audio or video
  • Add titles and music
  • Make DVDs & Blu-ray discs (provided you have a suitable writer)
  • Prepare web video – some can upload your video directly to YouTube and facebook

30 day free trials are sometimes available so you can download the software and have a go before spending anything.

Adobe Premiere Elements 14 (PC/Mac) is a good home video editing package (Windows and Mac).

Sony Movie Studio HD: Platinum Suite 12 is another well known home video editing package (Windows)

Editshare Lightworks is a full on professional video editing solution but it’s unusual in that FREE and paid versions are available. The learning curve is steep but support comes in the form of a strong online community and plenty of tutorials. It’s currently available for Windows with the mac version in development and due for release in the near future. If you are serious about getting into video editing then Lightworks is a great way to learn.

Useful tool to extract and convert video from DVDs

You’ll need to a do a little further reading to use some of the features of these applications. They are incredibly useful.

Handbrake will convert DVD footage to other useful formats.

DVD VOB2MPG extracts video from DVDs and DVD-RAM discs. It’s from the developer of the excellent ISOBuster Pro. We tested it in Windows 7 and Windows 10 – it’s small fuss free and efficient application.

MPEG Streamclip converts footage from DVDs to various other formats.

Mac users may need to buy Apple’s MPEG2 add-on for QuickTime which needs a little workaround for later versions of OSX. I recommend reading Tom Wolsky’s helpful article on Ripping VOB and DVD Files.

More help and advice

Video Help is a great resource with links, reviews and free guides to just about any video editing question. Most of the content is safe but do be careful when downloading software from any website.

Our plain English guide to video frame rates and sizes.

And finally

We’ve tried to keep this guide concise and hope that you find it informative. Do feel free to reply, ask questions or provide feedback. For more information about our video to DVD transfer service please click here.

2 thoughts on “Guide – Can I edit my own DVD?

  1. Gail

    I transferred VHS tapes to DVD using Sony RDR-VX525 in 2007. I now want to edit these 100 DVD’s. I bought a 2015 MacPro and took lessons. Apple has no suggestions; Mac just sees the DVD as an EXEC file. I’ve tried Handbrake, but when I edit I get poor quality. Is there any solution with either Mac or PC?
    The Sony site had no suggestions and live technical support just wanted me to look at their site.
    I really want to edit these DVD’s for my children.
    Thank you!

  2. Gavin Gration Post author

    Standard definition files, especially old VHS>DVD footage can look quite poor on a computer screen – this is mainly because we are used to seeing HD video. If you pause the footage it can look even worse with all sorts of nasty dots and noise visible. Take a step back from the screen and look at the video as it’s playing. You may find it’s actually OK.

    Your Sony DVD recorder is actually a Pioneer made unit and capable of good quality recordings. However, if you originally recorded more than 2 hours onto a DVD then the quality will be compromised. Put simply the more video you record onto a disc the lower the quality will be. DVD players and TVs do a good job of hiding the mush but in general if you’ve set the recorder to anything other than XP or SP mode (1hr or 2hrs) then you will struggle in terms of picture quality.

    You should use MPEGStreamclip to convert the files to Apple ProRes422.

    Note – in the video they use MJPEG which is fine but ProRes422 is our preference and recommended. Just select that in the dropdown menu.

    If the files are going back to DVDs then don’t de-interlace them. If the videos are staying digital then you can de-interlace them.


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