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How Long Does it Take to Burn a DVD?

Burning a disc

Have you ever looked at a package of recordable DVDs and wondered what the numbers "8X" or "16X" are all about? Those figures indicate the maximum write speed of the discs. This information also provides a clue as to how long it will take to burn the disc.

Factors Affecting Burn Time

The amount of time it takes to burn a disc depends on two things: the amount of data to be written and the maximum speed at which the information is burned. We've examined the storage capacity of a DVD disc and how long it takes to burn a Blu-ray disc in the past, but we have yet to look at how long it takes to burn a DVD.

Editing and Exporting

For many people, creating a master DVD disc means editing a video on their personal computer. Whether you use a PC or a Mac, the process is the same: edit the video, export to MPEG-2 DVD format, and burn to a disc. The editing and rendering processes can add quite a bit of time to a project such as a wedding video or highlight reel - in some cases, up to several hours or more. It's important to consider this time when quoting a project or estimating a deadline.

Now, let's talk about the actual burn time. As with CD-R discs and Blu-ray discs, recordable DVDs carry speed ratings usually designated by a number and then the letter "X," which represents "times" or "speed." An 8X disc is twice as fast as a 4X disc, and a 16X disc is twice as fast as an 8X disc. Of course, these are theoretical maximum speed ratings.

Single-Layer DVD-R Discs

In general, a regular single-layer 4.7GB DVD-R disc with a 16X speed rating will take about 4 to 6 minutes to copy in a machine such as an Accutower DVD duplicator. These machines are equipped with drives that can write discs at up to 22X, if DVDs with such a speed rating were even available.

Reducing the write speed by half to 8X surprisingly does not double the time needed to record the disc. Indeed, it only adds about 2 minutes for a total recording time of around 8 minutes. This is because DVD writers are not recording at maximum speed during the entire burn.

One theory is that lowering the burn speed gives the laser more time to make a good impression on the organic dye layer of the disc, resulting in a burn with fewer errors compared to a disc written at a higher speed. This does not affect the visible picture and sound quality of a DVD disc, but it reduces the amount of error correction the player has to do when playing the disc back.

Dual-Layer DVD Discs

When burning dual-layer DVDs, write speed makes a huge difference in burn time. Recording DVD-R DL or DVD+R DL discs at 2.4X will take about 30-40 minutes, depending on the amount of information to be burned. When the burn speed is increased to 8X, the recording time drops to just 15-20 minutes.

I hope this article has been informative in answering your questions about how long it takes to burn a DVD. For more information about DVDs and how they work, I would encourage you to subscribe to our blog using your RSS feed reader. This will allow you to stay up to date on the latest articles and information about the optical media industry.