Panasonic DMR-E20 DVD-R/RAM Deck Page 3

The DMR-E20's other major features are pretty much the same as I found in the DMR-E10. On-disc editing, possible only with DVD-RAM discs, consists of placing selected segments of already recorded programs into playlists, which are essentially sequences of rapid cue ing instructions that the recorder reads during playback. The editing facilities are limited by the deck's inability to reliably cue segments down to an individual frame, the occasional slight stutter as the player jumps from one edit segment to the next, the minimum reliably obtainable "shot" length of 3 seconds, and the inability to replace or otherwise edit the audio independent of the video cuts.

You could, of course, take a recorded DVD-RAM you made in the DMR-E20 and further edit the material in a computer equipped with one of Panasonic's new DVD-RAM drives and appropriate software. And you could edit digital camcorder footage on such a computer and write it to DVD-RAM or DVD-R. If you need editing facilities beyond those supplied by the DMR-E20, you might consider using a computer-based recorder from the start to avoid repeated conversions between the DVD and MiniDV video-encoding systems. (The recorder lacks an IEEE 1394, a.k.a. FireWire or i.Link, connector for digitally importing MiniDV or Digital8 footage.) It would be more versatile than the DMR-E20 and might even cost less!

You could run into similar repeated encode/decode cycles in your quest to make that DVD-R for grandma. When you record on DVD-Rs, you get none of the simultaneous recording/playback features mentioned earlier, nor - more important - any of the playlist-editing features. You can't even change the intended playback order of the program segments. At most, you can delete programs from the disc menu that's generated when you "finalize" the DVD-R for playback on other machines (similar to the process of finalizing a CD-R/RW disc in a CD recorder, it prevents further recording on the DVD-R). In short, you have to be extremely vigilant when using DVD-Rs to make sure you're recording precisely what you want.