If you, like me, have a Panasonic DMR-EZ48V VHS and DVD writer combo device, you will have had experience in copying from VHS tapes to DVDs, or vice versa. It’s a great way to dispose of old, grainy home videos that were saved on VHS tape. Such devices were hard to find some years ago, so if you find one on eBay or elsewhere, then get one.
What do you do if you have an external video playing device with content that you wish to burn onto a DVD? Let me save you some frustration, if you have tried and failed.
You might want to guess your way to copying to DVD, assuming you have a suitable cable for the purpose. I did and failed. I won’t confuse you with the methods that failed, but they all involved filling up the DVD before the content had finished playing, or the recording stopped after a couple of minutes for reasons I will never know.
If you cannot find the original manual, you’ll search for one online – big mistake! Panasonic uses the same model number for different countries and can offer different features. For example, the manual I found online showed front panel slots for a USB drive and an SD card. My unit has no such slots. Not surprisingly, the instructions for copying from an external device did not work for me.
Longer recording time on a fixed recording surface comes at the expense of quality, i.e. sharpness, so you want to set the upper time limit to something just longer than your source video. So let’s come to the solution, assuming your device is identical to mine (bought in Australia).
Connect the external device to the front panel AV input – I used the Red-Yellow-White cable method, which is not as sharp as an S-Video cable’s capability. I used the front panel to avoid rummaging at the back of the recorder.
On the Function menu, choose the last option, “To Others”. Next, select “Flexible Rec”.
The Flexible Recording menu enables you to set the maximum recording time. In this example four hours was slightly longer than the 3+ hour source video.
Click “Start” and simultaneously start playing the external video source. That’s it. When the copying is done, use the “To Others” menu to reach “DVD Management” and then finalise the DVD so that it can play on other DVD players such as your computer or a DVD player.