View Full Version : DVD authoring software

03-13-2003, 07:53 AM
Any recommendations for DVD authoring software? I've looked at Sonic Foundry's Vegas DVD, Ulead's DVD Workshop and Sonic's ReelDVD.

Naturally, I like ReelDVD for pure power alone, but really can't justify the cost.

I'd like to design my own menus, place buttons anywhere I want, create my own buttons of any shape, create motion transitions between menus and AC-3 sound.

It would be great to have the capability of creating "Hollywood style" DVDs, too, with subtitles, multiple audio tracks and angles, etc., but that's probably too expensive.

Any thoughts?



03-14-2003, 01:19 PM
Have you looked at Pinnacle's Impression DVD? I've used it for 3 years or so now and it works pretty well. It will allow you to do pretty much all of the things you mentioned. The one thing is that the version I am using doesn't have, ttbomk, AC-3 support. But if you check pinnacle's website (www.pinnaclesys.com) I believe an upcoming version does. Other than that and direct scripting it seems to have all of the advanced features that other packages have.

Good luck!

03-14-2003, 01:38 PM

Thanks for the suggestion. People have said some unkind things about Pinnacle software, but nothing too specific. Have you had good luck with it?

I'll visit their site to see about a trial version.

03-14-2003, 01:49 PM
Yeah, I would be very hesitant to buy any pinnacle hardware given their track record but software is software. If it works then it works.
By and large I have been pleased with Impression. The one thing that I don't like is that it can be a PITA to place chapter marks at time. Also, Impression doesn't allow you to burn your DVD from within the program itself. You'll need something like Prassi DVD Rep to do that (it may come bundled with Impression).

Scott Bates
03-14-2003, 03:33 PM
I use DVD Workshop for authoring and have it create and save a .iso disc image on the hard drive. I then use DVD Decrypter (shareware at www.dvddecrypter.com) to do the actual burning using that image file. I also use Decrypter heavily when I'm doing quick 'n dirty home video and film DVD 'dubs' with my stand-alone Pioneer DVD recorder. Put the original disc in my Sony drive, have Decrypter read the DVD and create a .iso image and then use Decrypter to burn whatever number of copies the customer wants.

03-17-2003, 08:05 PM

Will DVD Workshop allow you to overlay a background of moving video with a menu that has clickable active buttons? That is to say... the motion transition between menus continues to play underneath the menu when it has changed...!?!!

03-18-2003, 02:08 AM
Originally posted by sbrandt

Will DVD Workshop allow you to overlay a background of moving video with a menu that has clickable active buttons? That is to say... the motion transition between menus continues to play underneath the menu when it has changed...!?!!

I also use DVD Workshop for all my authoring needs.

It does what you ask. I have done DVDs with Digital Juice Jumpbacks as moving backgrounds under menus. When I go page to page in the menus they will play. Of course, there is a pause when you select any active button, but I believe this is just the way DVDs are.

03-18-2003, 06:04 AM
It does look like DVD Workshop is the favored package here. I installed (and promptly UNinstalled) DVD Architect after realizing it doesn't work well with transparencies in .TGA or .PSD formats.

I'm crossing my fingers Ulead enhances their software to allow for additional audio and video tracks and, some day, scripting.

Thanks for the help!


04-08-2003, 01:46 PM
DVD Architect is very basic (only one track of audio, no multi-angle, no subtitles, ect.) .
Pinnacles Impression IS NOT adequate if you want to do subtitles. They allow you to import them in text files with the time code typed in, but the results look TERRIBLE!
Sonics REEL DVD just got rid of their limit on audio track and subtitle tracks in the latest version (now you can do the full 8 tracks of audio and 32 of subtitles) and their subtitles look decent and are WAY easier to do than subtitles in Impression. But, REEL DVD DOES NOT handle complex menus as well as Impression. In fact, it is quite limiting on what it allows for menus.
Most of the authoring software packages either have no encoding, or have encoding that is not acceptable.
In my opinion all reasonably priced DVD authoring software still STINKS! I can't believe no one has made a decent product yet (unless you want to but Scenarist for 100K or whatever it costs!)
I am holding my breath for Adobe's new DVD authoring software expected this summer! It claims to have everything I need and the other don't have!
Maybe NewTek will add DVD authoring right from T[3] timeline!! :)

04-11-2003, 04:03 AM
Adobe Encore at US$549 in Q3,2003 seems to be a sweet spot. No 5.1 encoding. MPEG-2 appears to use MainConcept encoder by default, which is likely to be single pass but isn't known for being poor by any stretch of the imagination.

DVDA is too limited. Good for Vegas4 people who want the AC3 2.0 or 5.1 features. It is early in its life so has matched itself otherwise with many of the 4Q 2002 features of its competitors.

If subtitling, multiple audio, angles and direct export to DLT isn't important to you. Then DVD-Lab*, at US$80-us$100 is amazing power for the price:
Download the demo-shareware here:
http://www.mediachance.com/files/dvdlab10.exe (15.5MB, now you still need a separate MPEG/AC3/DTS encoder, this is purely a fancy authoring tool for existing DVD compatible assets)

More info about its current features and some future goals, here:

You can build your buttons and static hotspots and transitional extras within it. However to do motion menus it works like the big apps and expects you to composite them outside. You can put the construct into the clipboard to make sure the motion stuff lines up with the DVD titling graphics, hotspots and buttons. Mediachance DVD-Lab is to DVD the same as TMPGEnc or Procoder are to MPEG encoding. As opposed to something like MediaCleaner or Vidget for MPEG encoding.

Check it out. Otherwise - I'd look at ReelDVD now or more probably DVD Encore.

Makes you think that DVD authoring is due for some fair shakeup.

04-11-2003, 09:15 AM
The problem with new technology is sifting through the 1.x software releases, trying to find the one that does what you want/need now and holds a promise for the future.

I recently bought Ulead's DVDW and although it's fairly easy to use, has some basic necessities (transparency import on button images), it's a little clumsy and lacks what I think should be basic features such as multiple audio tracks, subtitles, etc. Maybe I'm expecting too much.

Now, Adobe announces Encore. Sure it's a bit pricey, but perhaps that's the tradeoff for the features I'm looking for. That's fine; I believe it's okay to pay more to get more. Still, $550 isn't outrageous. The $1000 Sonic is asking for ReelDVD seems more out of the question.

Let's hope Adobe's app is the end-all for mid-range ware. I fear 1.0 releases in general and the bugs they contain. Certainly, Adobe's products seem better tested than, say, Microsoft, but new technologies are still new.