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noob dvd authoring

Discussion in 'Video to DVD' started by missing30, Feb 8, 2007.

  1. missing30

    missing30 Member

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    Hi all,
    Apologies if this is the wrong forum.
    I've created a movie in Magix Movie Edit pro, and am going to burn it to dvd along with another yet to be created movie (that one will be created in Vegas I believe) along with a menu to select between the two movies. I'm wondering about DVD authoring software. Since i'm creating the movies in two different apps, am i correct in assuming that i need to export each one to AVI format and then import them into DVD authoring software to create the menus? And if this is correct what type of export settings should i use? Codec, FPS and resolution. I expect the dvd will be played on standard resolution televisions with 4:3 aspect ratio.
    Also any recommendations on DVD authoring software would be appreciated.
     
  2. wilkes

    wilkes Regular member

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    Welcome to the wonderful world of DVD Authoring - it's a lot of fun.
    Let's try & deal with the software first.
    What to get depends on several things, such as your budget & your actual needs as well as your level of ability.
    You also don't mention what platform you're on, so I will assume we are talking an XP box here.
    IMHO, you have 3 options open to you.
    1 - DVD-Lab Pro
    2 - Adobe EncoreDVD 2
    3 - Sony DVD Architect.
    These all have their various pros & cons, and I believe that the first one on the list is probably the second-best authoring application you can get (The absolute top-of-the-range being Sonic's Scenarist at a whopping $30,000 sheets for a fully licensed brand-new copy. Okay, that also includes the machine, and Sonic will do deals so in all honesty, nobody pays the full retail price)
    DVD-Lab Pro (See http://www.mediachance.com/dvdlab/dvdlabpro.html) has a fully functional 30 day trial version and is incredibly cheap for what you get ($250) but is missing some things that could be considered as critical, but it does give you full access to the entire DVD-Video specification in a manner that allows you to grow in skills as you get more experienced. There is also a superb support forum, with some extremely knowledgeable people who will help when you get into trouble.
    The big downside of DLP is that it will expect you to feed it with DVD Compliant assets. There is no built-in transcoding to speak of. (In fact there are primitive MPEG-2 encoders, but that is about it). Using this, you will need a standalone MPEG-2 encoder. More on this later.

    Adobe's EncoreDVD has some great advantages - it's integration with Photoshop (for menu design), Premiere Pro (for video editing), Audition (for Audio) and After Effects (for special compositing tricks) plus it also has a fully functional preview engine for full simulation of your projects. There is also a comprehensive library of pre-made menus, buttons, background clips etc to make life easier. If this is the preferred way to go, then I recommend the Production Bundle, or Video bundle as it is now called. Downsides? It is buggy, and it can also get very precious about it's environment. However I can recommend it as it has some great tools for new users, such as automatic transcoding of Video & audio files to the DVD standard. All you need to do is feed it with your AVI/MOV files, and get into the creative process.

    Sony's DVD-Architect is not an application I am familiar with, but there are a lot of people who say it is awesome. Personally, I have issues with Sony - but they are very good at Video without any question of doubt.

    Asset Preparation.
    If you have access to Vegas, then you already have access to the necessary encoders for producing DVD compliant files. Vegas uses the same MPEG-2 encoders that Adobe do - the MainConcept engine - and this is a very good encoder indeed. It also has a full Dolby Digital encoder - and best of all the Dolby Digital encoder that is included is also fully Logo compliant (which means it is licensed & approved by Dolby Labs, and you can be certain it will always produce a properly compliant AC3 file, unlike all the free hacks & reverse engineered botch jobs like BeSweet & FFMPEG. These latter two are to be avoided as they cannot produce a guaranteed compliant stream on demand.

    Resolutions & menus.
    If you are in NTSC land, you will need to produce all video files at a resolution of 720 x 480, with the PAR dependant on screen size. For a 4:3 set, the PAR is 0.9, and for Widescreen it is 1.2 - Photoshop CS/CS2 has templates for the menus built in, using the correct aspect ratio.
    Video frame rate in NTSC is usually 29.97 Drop Frame, and 25 in PAL.
    The resolution for PAL is 720 x 576 though.
    Exports from Vegas should be as MPEG-2 if using DVD-Lab Pro, or AVI if using Encore (allowing Encore to automatically set the best transcoding rate to fit the content onto your final disc)

    Given you have full access to a Vegas system, I would definitely recommend DVD-Lab Pro, although if creating titles for commercial release you may need additional software to get the content onto DLT tape for replication with Copy Protection. EncoreDVD supports writing to DLT directly.

    Please - if I have forgotten anything - post bback & kick me up the **** to give more info.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2007
  3. attar

    attar Senior member

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    I use Tsunami DVD Author Pro to author dvd's to disk.

    http://www.afterdawn.com/guides/archive/tsunami_mpeg_dvd_author_pro_guide.cfm

    The VOB files from the first DVD folder are added to the first track.
    (when importing VOB files you must select 'all files', as DVD Author only wants to import mpeg, etc.)
    A second track is added and vob files from the second dvd are added to it.
    Each track is given a name which corresponds to the your dvd title.
    Chapters are optionally added as each file is imported, then a menu is created which will reflect the title names.
    A simulation screen allows you to verify that the menu functions ok and that you imported the files in the correct order ;)
    The output is then saved to a folder and optionally burned to disk.
    I opt to let dvd shrink and dvd decrypter handle that aspect.
     
  4. missing30

    missing30 Member

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    Thank You for the ton of information.
    I agree with you on the issue of Sony, let's just hope the rootkit issue is a thing of the past. But when i look at the price of the software and the reviews that it gets I believe thats the way i'm leaning.
    Yes i am on an XP box, but getting ready to do a migration to linux, just looking for the correct distro to install.
    You say to use mpeg-2 for export from Vegas or AVI from Encore, is one of these formats closer to generating the actual DVD structure you see on a disk? or are they both one step away? I can't seem to find any info on PAR, is that set automatically when choosing either 4:3 or 16:9?
    I am in NTSC land and no-one who'll be watching my dvd has a widescreen television.
    Thanks again for your help.
     
  5. wilkes

    wilkes Regular member

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    The reason I suggested using MPEG-2 from Vegas is because it has a great MPEG-2 encoder built in. You can equally use AVI from Vegas, and let Encore handle the encoding to MPEG-2 automatically.
    MPEG-2 would be necessary for use with apps like DVD-Lab Pro. It only accepts DVD compliant files.

    MPEG-2 has a subset for DVD, and it is actually quite easy to encode a file to MPEG-2 that is not suitable for DVD, but there will be settings in Vegas to assist this process.
    With DVD, the video files will always be MPEG-2.
    The Audio MUST be either Dolby Digital or LPCM for the first stream, other streams can be whatever you like as long as all streams in each VTS are the same. Using different combinations means you need a multi-VTS capable application. Both Encore & DVD-Lab Pro will handle this.
    The Tsunami application is okay, but not even close to being as good as Encore, DVD-Lab Pro or DVD Architect are. It is strictly bush league, and you will find it to be restrictive quite quickly.

    Personally, I would avoid Linux. Windows XP Pro is a splendid OS.
     
  6. missing30

    missing30 Member

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    Great, just to make sure i understand...
    Use mpeg-2 with dvd compliant settings whenever available, otherwise use an avi export then transcode to mpeg-2 or straight to dvd (or does that depend on which authoring software i'm using?)
     
  7. wilkes

    wilkes Regular member

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    Sorry about the delay - I didn't see the reply until now.
    It does depend on your software. If your authoring software has an MPEG-2 encoder built in, use this as it will probably have an "Automatic" option that should give you the highest quality for your project. This is how EncoreDVD works, but I cannot say for sure on My DVD or DVDit or DVD Architect. I would be surprised if they did not have something built in.
    If the application requires DVD Compliant assets (DVD-Lab Pro, Scenarist) then you need to work out a bit budget, and encode to MPEG-2 before importing into your authoring software.
     
  8. missing30

    missing30 Member

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    Thank you for your help.
    I purchased the sony package with dvd architect 4 and vegas 7 (i think it's 7). and so far I believe it's exactly what i was looking for. it seems to be a seamless integration between editing/creating movies and authoring DVD's, Which was where i was having my issue.
     
  9. wilkes

    wilkes Regular member

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    Sony are very good at Video applications.
    I don't own either Vegas or DVD Architect, but they are supposed to be very good, and certainly come with all the necessary encoders you need.
     

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