Viewing the contents of a DVD-Video from a PC, there are two folders: VIDEO_TS and AUDIO_TS. You can forget the AUDIO_TS folder as it isn’t used.
The VIDEO_TS folder has .IFO (information), .BUP (backup of the IFO file), and .VOB (Video OBject) files. The IFO file is effectively a massive script that contains all the instructions needed to play the movie. The actual movie content is in the VOB files, but split up into about 1 GB chunks for compatibility reasons.
Some programs can read the IFO file and reveal how the DVD is organised. Basically what you want are the VTS (video title set) that represent the single movie; or perhaps several VTS that are episodes of a TV series; or your individual recordings. It’s important to realise that you need to read the IFO file to get this information; the PC file system can’t tell you which recording is which from just the VIDEO_TS folder and its content of .VOB files.
For DVD recorders, it is basically the same structure except the folders might have a different title (e.g. VIDEO_RM instead of VIDEO_TS). Also the .VOB files will be of equal size; rather than several at 1024 MB and the last one being less.
If you are just starting out then I suggest you use DVD Decrypter (download from [U]here[/U]) to extract the individual recordings off the discs. Set it to IFO mode to reveal the VTSs, and in the ‘Tools’ -> ‘Settings’ -> ‘IFO mode’ tab’, set ‘File splitting’ to “None”. Then, although you have to choose the VTS by its running time, it should be a simple matter to extract the recording as a single .VOB file. It’s actually an MPEG2 file so you can change the file extension to .MPG.
This is the best starting point for editing, so see how you get on with that.