DVD authoring software

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Mark Hamilton, Dec 26, 2003.

  1. Mark Hamilton

    Mark Hamilton Stunt Coordinator

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    Hello all,

    Well I dropped some cash today and picked up a nice DVD+R/DVD-R writer and plan to compile some footage from my DV camera to make some nice DVDs. I have some questions before I start.

    I'v typically used Windows Movie Maker 2.0 for my editing purposes. Should I continue to use it now that my final output it going to be MPEG-2? Does anybody reccomend any particular affordable editing suites? Also, does anybody know of any particularly good DVD authoring software programs? Interactive menus with music would be nice.

    Most importantly... is it possible to create anamorphic (16x9 enhanced menus) and video footage? Obviously, I'm shooting in 4:3 but is it possible to matte the image and encode it as an anamorphic file? I'm not terribly worried about a loss in image quality in do so, but I'd like something that is properly framed for my 16:9 TV.

    THANKS ALL. ^_^
     
  2. John_Berger

    John_Berger Cinematographer

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    For 16:9 video creation, you have to use a video editor that allows the creation of 16:9 MPEG-2 files. I use Ulead Media Studio Pro for that since it's handled MPEG-2 files natively for several years, as in *without the need for a plug-in* like another highly-touted editor requires.

    You must use a DVD authoring program that supports the creation of anamorphic DVDs; otherwise, you're stuck with an anamorphic image that can only be properly viewed on 16:9 TVs. 4:3 won't be able to letterbox the image.

    I use Ulead DVD Workshop 1.3 for my DVD authoring, which allows motion menus, music, etc. For a rather hefty fee, you can also get an AC-3 (Dolby Digital) add-on for it; however, even natively it supports MPEG audio to let you put more to the video quality. Not all players support MPEG audio, though.
     
  3. Ken Chan

    Ken Chan Producer

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    What's funny is that the add-on for older versions is $199, but a brand new version of the program is only $299. And from the website, it doesn't look like they're selling a non-AC-3 version any more. It doesn't make sense that the AC-3 is two-thirds the cost of the whole program; it's more like people that bought the earlier versions just got screwed on the pricing. (Just checked, and the AC-3 add-on is only $149, still half of the new boxed version....)

    //Ken
     
  4. Rob Gillespie

    Rob Gillespie Producer

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  5. Fred Seger

    Fred Seger Stunt Coordinator

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    I second dvdlab for authoring - very good and affordable
     
  6. Dave F

    Dave F Cinematographer

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    I love DVD Lab, but now that there is a DVD Lab Pro, I'm a little miffed.

    -Dave
     
  7. Rob Gillespie

    Rob Gillespie Producer

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    They've decided to split the development lines into the standard and Pro versions. The Pro versions will obviously cost a bit more (I think about $160 compared to $99) but has a lot more features which they couldn't justify at the lower price point.

    Pro version is still in Beta and is free to use for all registered users of the standard one for the moment:

    http://www.mediachance.com/dvdlab/history.html
     
  8. Gary_E

    Gary_E Second Unit

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    I've created many PCM DVDs with ULead MovieFactory2 but have gotten bored with it's simple menu layouts, etc.

    I just bought ULead DVD Workshop AC-3 version and I'm looking forward to putting it through it's paces and to finally be able to create AC-3 DVDs without conflicts between the audio files created by Be Sweet or AC3 Machine and the DVD authoring software.

    I've tried DVD Lab and found it very confusing. I was most disappointed because I have heard so many good things about it and read Rob's multiple posts singing it's praises but I just could not follow the tutorials and get anywhere with menu creation. The 'connect the arrow' thing made me dizzy, must be my old age!
    [​IMG]

    Regards,
    -Gary
     
  9. John_Berger

    John_Berger Cinematographer

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    You should have waited a few months. The new version is coming out and has a number of additional features, such as multiple audio channels. I know I'm having trouble keeping my patience in check!
     
  10. Rob Gillespie

    Rob Gillespie Producer

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    Well, I can only speak from personal experience here. I've had zero experience with any of these kind of packages before, or video editing etc and I found Lab to be pretty logical in the way things work.
     
  11. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    TMPGEnc DVD Author isn't too bad for simple menu creation and chapter stops creation (actually, that's my favorite part of package, being about to pinpoint the frame for each chapter stop location, rather a bit of guess work via frame numbers or running time). Also, it sort of works like I expect it to work (intuitive for me), vs. DVD Lab, which is a little more confusing at the start, but I did get the gist of it, the learning curve was a little more steep at the beginning.
     
  12. Will_B

    Will_B Producer

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    If you're rich get either Adobe Encore ($400), or Sonic DVDIt ($300).

    Sometimes, if you register a bundled version of Sonic's cheaper MyDVD program (which has very limited features), you may (sometimes) get an email solicitation to upgrade to DVDIt for only $100 - which I suspect was a direct response to DVDLab's popularity among those looking for a good deal.
     
  13. Mark Hamilton

    Mark Hamilton Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for all the input guys~

    In the meantime I decided to give the freebie program neoDVD a try. It was easy and basically got my toes wet. The results, when played back on my HDTV, were extremely impressive! The sounds and menu/video quality was great. But I just played it back in PowerDVD on my notebook PC and the quality was utter crap in both terms of audio and video.... despite high bitrates... which of the reccomended programs does the best job of retaining image quality, especially?
     
  14. Brian Perry

    Brian Perry Cinematographer

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    I'm in the same boat with Mark as far as just buying a DVD burner to make DVDs from my DV camcorder. The problem I'm having is figuring out which discs to use that will be compatible with standalone DVD players.

    I bought a pack of DVD-R discs and unfortunately they are not recognized by my Sony DVP-S7000 (though they look okay on my computer using Power DVD).

    Any recommendations for blank discs?
     
  15. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Brian, that DVD player model seems problematic. Check here for more comments on using DVD-Rs/DVD-RWs in that model.
     
  16. Ken Chan

    Ken Chan Producer

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    The audio should be the same, as long as you're playing the same digital sound through the same recevier/amp and speakers. If you're using the $4 speakers on the notebook, sure that'll probably sound like crap.

    As for the video, there are many differences. You don't mention what kind of HDTV (tube, plasma, LCD, DLP) you have, or how you played it (regular DVD player, progressive, S-video, component, DVI). Odds are, a regular home theater setup will mask deficiencies, while a computer will magnify them.

    //Ken
     
  17. Will_B

    Will_B Producer

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    Just a wild guess here, but one possible idea regarding why the video looked bad when on your computer, compared to how it looked on your HDTV, may be that your HDTV setup was able to detect and correct any incorrect flagging of whether the video was interlaced or not, the whole 3:2 pulldown scene, etc., which frankly I do not quite understand myself but which evidently are important parts of the DVD authoring process.

    So I am guessing that perhaps that free authoring suite maybe didn't flag the content correctly, and then you experienced two outcomes: Your HDTV was smart enough to figure out what was wrong and played it back correctly, whereas on your computer, your DVD playing software maybe wasn't as smart and played it back on the wrong settings.

    However the above is purely a wild guess.
     

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