What is the most widely used professional DVD authoring sofware?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Bob Movies, Feb 21, 2003.

  1. Bob Movies

    Bob Movies Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi Everyone,

    I'm researching some high-end DVD hardware and software solutions for a post-production facility. The eventual goal is to professionally encode feature films onto discs for mass distribution, so DVD Studio Pro and similar solutions aren't powerful enough.

    Can anyone tell me the software that the top hollywood DVDs are produced with? Is it Sonic Scenarist? I've read a few things about scenarist, and it seems to offer the most flexibility in terms of producing discs. Something that allows full access to the DVD specs. I've got experience with the old Spruce system, but even that was limiting in terms of limiting access to the GPRM registers.

    What about hardware encoding technology? In terms of encoding feature films for mass distribution, is the sonic SD-2000 card the top SDI hardware-based MPEG-2 encoding board, or are there superior models available from competing companies? Is the SD-2000 old news now?

    I'd appreciate knowing what the pros out there use and recommend.

    Thanks!

    Bob
     
  2. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    Wow those questions are out of my league. [​IMG]

    All I know, from rumor and hearsay, is that Sonic Scenarist seems to be the most popular in production environments. The feature set is certainly daunting.
     
  3. Wayne Bundrick

    Wayne Bundrick Cinematographer

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  4. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    I just don't know why they can't make things simpler, and give things more logical names. It's like they go out of their way to be cryptic

    There should be something in the manual that says "If you want to make a button play a video file this is how you do it", but noooooo [​IMG]
     
  5. gregstaten

    gregstaten Supporting Actor

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    From the research I've done the following seem to be the most popular: Sonic Scenarist on the PC and Sonic Creator on the Mac. Note: Columbia uses their own proprietary authoring/encoding workstation. Panasonic also produces a propreietary system.

    For heavy duty DVDs that push the format to the wall, either Sonic Scenarist, Sony's or Panasonic's proprietary system are used.

    -greg
     
  6. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    Here's some general questions

    No matter how many times I use a video element, it's still only stored on the disc once correct?

    I've created my Root Menu under the "English" folder, and then I guess I set up navigation under any title set, and those basically just act as pointers?

    And how do I set the menu key to go back to a certain menu? I'm doing a music video disc, and I want it to go back to the individual rather than the title
     
  7. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    I don't know Jeff, but if you're particularly brave, you can search google for a utility called IFOEdit (I'd provide a link, but it may be against the forum rules). It allows you to edit .ifo files, which are basically the configuration/scripting file used to describe the contents of a DVD. You can use this tool to compare the .ifo file of a DVD that does what you want, and you can change your new .ifo file to match.

    I'd imagine that Scenarist doesn't deviate much from the cryptic low-level stuff, based on what I've read here (it will still use terms like PGC, cels, subpictures, etc.).

    There are quite a few guides out there that might be helpful. Of course, most of them assume you're using a low-level tool like ifoedit. I believe the ifoedit home page has a link to a base specification of the ifo file format with a description for each field/table (including the bits you need to set to enable menu navigation, plus descriptions of pre/post commands, so that if a given video stream ends, you can be taken to a specific menu, for example).

    Yes, it is complicated. At this point in time, you may need to hit the low-level stuff. It sounds like Scenarist doesn't provide any documentation! Uh, assuming you are using that of course. If not, that's ok...quite a few free tools edit .ifo files directly. I just can't provide a link to them because they have all this "other" stuff that breaks forum rules. [​IMG]

    Oh, and it is true that you can reuse a video element as many times as you want. I just don't know the commands to do that yet. [​IMG]
     
  8. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    Scenarist actually has a close to 250 page manual [​IMG] It's just so poorly written it takes 50x longer than it should to figure out how to do anything with it

    I wouldn't think that IFOEdit would be against forum rules, since it has nothing to do with copying discs. In this case I'm just learning the software [​IMG]
     
  9. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    Wow it has a manual? [​IMG]

    Man, it must be written pretty bad.

    Anyhow, the IFOEdit official page has lots of links to um...questionable material. Shouldn't be hard to find though. The hard part is finding the IFO file documentation (a separate site). I'll see what i can dig up.
     
  10. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    Ok, this site has all sorts of links to DVD technical info (virtual machine instruction sets, data structures, and the like):

    http://www.mpucoder.com/dvd/

    The above link is also found on the ifoedit official site too, called "DVD Technical Info".
     
  11. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    Ahh, that will be amazingly useful

    I figured out how to make my menu loop, turns out I really needed to RTFM as it even has its own section, which once decrypted was a fairly easy operation

    I just have to wait till lunch to go try it out
     
  12. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    So, how'd it go Jeff?
     
  13. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    I'm still struggling with these 2 things

    1- If I let Simulation mode render my subs for preview, I can't make a DVD-Video image. Since I want yellow on black subs, and not red on blue, this is an issue because I have 104 subtitles that need changing [​IMG] Supposedly I can use a script for this, but any insight would be helpful

    2- How do I make it so that when menu is pressed it goes back to the video's menu and not the main (root) menu? I was given some clue to this, set up some kind of dummy PGC but not quite clear on it.

    Slowly but surely I'm getting it. I have most of the basic basics down now [​IMG]
     
  14. Wayne Bundrick

    Wayne Bundrick Cinematographer

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    You can change sub colors in the simulation window, and you can also set defaults but it may be too late if you've already put all 104 subs onto the track. Back up and do it again, yup, this is why it takes a studio six months to master a DVD. [​IMG]

    Are you putting all of your video into one title set? I think the Menu button always goes to the designated root menu and you can have only one root menu per title set. I just finished my first project and I had two title sets with a root menu for each one. I put a title menu in the Video Manager to select each title set. The terminology is bass-ackwards. The menu at the root is the title menu and the submenu for each title is the root menu.
     
  15. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    Yeah, I set defaults, but it didn't want to listen [​IMG]

    So basically I put the root menu in the "English" folder, and then use a "jump to title" command, and make each thing have its own root, so the video will go back to the title menu?
     
  16. Wayne Bundrick

    Wayne Bundrick Cinematographer

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    Try a "Jump to PGC in System Space" instead of "Jump to Title". It can jump to the Title Menu.
     
  17. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    But each menu should be a root within its own title?

    So structure looks like this

    ENGLISH- Root Menu (JUMP TO PGC IN SS)

    TITLE 1
    Menu set as "root"
    Video

    TITLE 2
    Menu set as "root"
    Video

    etc etc
     
  18. Wayne Bundrick

    Wayne Bundrick Cinematographer

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    Yeah, that's it.

    The scenario editor screen of the project I just finished looked like this (indentation shows depth):

    Video Manager
    --English
    ----Title Menu PGC
    ------Title Menu's buttons (links to the root menu of each title set)
    --FBI warning PGC

    In the Title Menu you can have the buttons either jump to the PGC of each title set's root menu, or start playback immediately by jumping to the PGC of the video. I suppose you could have additional buttons to do both options.

    First PGC has its Pre linked to the FBI warning PGC. FBI warning PGC has its Post linked to the Title Menu PGC.

    Title Set 1
    --English (I think using a language at the title set level is optional)
    ----Root Menu 1 PGC
    ------Root Menu 1 buttons (links to each chapter)
    --Video 1 PGC
    ----(chapters)

    Video 1 PGC has its Post linked to the Title Menu PGC. Or I think I could have linked it to the video PGC of the next title set to play both title sets back to back. Somehow there's a way to do "play one" and "play all" without duplicating the video.

    Title Set 2
    --English
    ----Root Menu 2 PGC
    ------Root Menu 2 buttons (links to each chapter)
    --Video 2 PGC
    ----(chapters)

    Video 2 PGC is Post linked to the Title Menu.
     
  19. Wayne Bundrick

    Wayne Bundrick Cinematographer

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    Hey Jeff, I'm trying to figure out how to do a menu that is essentially the same as the deleted scenes menu on the Austin Powers DVDs. You can pick each deleted scene individually, or you can choose "play all" to watch all of them back to back. Any ideas on how the pros work this magic?
     
  20. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    Wayne, I want a play All too [​IMG] You need to write a script, I know this much

    OR you can do just double up the video on the disc and make a title set that jumps to the next PGC after each one [​IMG]
     

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