DVD Authoring

You really want to try this??  Despite the warning on the Intro page ??  OK then - you're in for a long, tough struggle, but you will definitely learn a lot in the process, and it is a fascinating venture !!

Right off the bat, you're going to need some dough . . . a couple hundred for a DVD burner, and a couple hundred for the DVD authoring software.  I selected the Pinoneer DVR-A05 DVD-R drive, and Ulead's DVD Workshop with the add-on $200 AC3 option  (ouch !! ).  Then there is the media itself, which can run anywhere from $2 to $10 per disc (beware the $1 DVD discs) - see the recommendations for discs further down.

Strategies

As a beginner, you need to start with a good strategy, so that you can come up with a good method of creating DVD's.  Be prepared for a lot of trial and error.  When you first begin - use a DVD-RW disc, so you can erase and start over.  You will have many problems, questions, etc - and there is no need to make a bunch of coasters out of ruined DVD-R discs.

Write down all your steps, what parameters you have used, etc.  When you finally get it right, you will want to have all the details written down.

Try your creations on your own DVD HT player, on your PC DVD drive, and on a couple of your friend's systems.  You want to find the magic method that will result in widely compatible discs, so testing them out first is a must !!!

DVD Authoring Software

Amateur Authoring Software

Professional Authoring Software

 

DVD Workshop  (DVDWS, or DWS)

http://www.ulead.com/dws/runme.htm 

This is the only package I will discuss, since I own it.  While I think the software overall is excellent, it has had great difficulties with conversion of my existing MPEG1 and AVI files to MPEG2.  It converts them, but then they often fail to play when I test the DVD.  In addition, I have not been able to get any DVD-RW discs, burned with my Pioneer DVR-A05 drive, to play properly on my Pioneer DV-C3-2D HT Player.  Isn't that odd - using my Pioneer burner - none of the DVD's will play on my Pioneer Player !!!

DWS Patches (not all of these are on their website, but also there is no description of these !! )

ftp://ftp.ulead.com/pub/Updates/DVDWorkShop/

DWS Forums:

http://www.creativecow.net/index.php?forumid=130

http://www.dmnforums.com/htm/homeset.htm

DWS Tips

Make sure the Do not convert compliant file is unchecked

DWS will convert video files to MPEG2, but you may get better quality if you use a high-quality converter or plugin to Premiere, and that way DVD-WS will be using standard MPEG-2 input files.  I use the default encoder that comes with Adobe Premiere, called "Main Concept".  It creates elemental streams (one video file and one audio file).  This is a tad annoying though, since I then have to use TMPGENC to encode them into a single MPEG-2 file, which I then import into DWS.  It adds an extra step, so Ligos may be worth looking into.

MPEG2 export plugins for Adobe Premiere

As mentioned, DWS has trouble converting some video files to MPEG2.  Therefore, it helps if you add already compliant MPEG-2 files to your DWS projects.  The following will create these for you from Premiere:

Main Concept encoder v1.2 (comes with Premiere 6.5  -  make sure to upgrade the plugin to v1.3 !!)
NOTE1: when you open a clip in Premiere - click File/Export Timeline. DO NOT USE "Export Clip" !!! 
NOTE2: this plugin only exports "elemental streams" - it creates 2 files:  one m2v (Mpeg-2 Video) file for the video, and one wav file for the audio.  Although DWS has an option to accept elemental streams, I have not tested this (afraid that synch problems may occur).  You can either import the elemental streams into DWS or use TMPGENC to combine the two streams into one MPEG2 file.

Ligos

Canopus Storm – but expensive and you need to buy the whole product

CinemaCraft (supposed to be very good)

 

AVI-to-MPEG2 Converters

TMPGenc  (http://www.tmpgenc.com/ )

Apparently, once you go to the authoring section of DVD Workshop, and then go to the Burning section, the project must first be “transcoded” (prepared) and then the actual burn takes place. 

Burning the DVD with 3rd Party Software

Numerous people on the DWS forum have said they use “Prassi Primo 2.0” to burn the DVD – even though DVD Workshop burns it for you – no idea why.  Here is their site:  http://www.prassieurope.com/  - but oddly the software is not on the site !!!  It used to be (maybe still is) bundles with Pioneer A04 burner.  NOTE -  it cannot be use with Sony DVD+-R burner...