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Thread: What DVD Authoring program do you use and why?

  1. #1
    Toaster Oven
    Join Date
    Feb 2003

    What DVD Authoring program do you use and why?

    I/We primarly use DVD-Lab Pro.
    Started using it because DVD Workshop (bundled w/ VT4) could only do 20 chapters and Lab offered so much more than the full workshop. Most of our DVDs are simple, standard ones but we have a few that have close to 50 mpg files. Also love being able to import Bob's chapter list.
    Wish Lab had more in the template area, but we create these and you can buy them too.

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Tyler, Texas

    We Use...

    DVD-lab most of the time. The majority of our business is either medical or legal,
    time is usually short and spiffs are not appropriate. When we do need bling, we send the project over to Premier and do the whole thing there.

    Stephen Self
    Fuddy Duddy

  3. #3
    Registered User rbartlett's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    West Midlands, England
    I bought Sonic Foundry Vegas4+DVD Architect (at the time when DVDA was an optional component). It gave AC3 2.0 and 5.1 functions that were well worth the price alone and this engine was fully endorsed by Dolby Labs, fwiw.

    Sony's Vegas7+DVDA3 gives a pretty good DVD Authoring tool for quick and complex jobs. I usually burn from Nero though. It gives me more control and I trust it more than expecting DVDA to be a swiss army knife in the DVD production stakes.

    Using VT[4]'s project/AVI wrapper I am able to use markers as chapter points. Hopefully something like this will appear in a patch update for SpeedEDIT (given that the AVI LABL approach used for markers in AVI isn't too proprietary, Sony's use of markers in MPG2 files may be proprietary - not sure).

    What does DVDA do well? I like the markup, preview (onscreen and via firewire) and the layout.

    I've the non-Pro version of MediaChance's DVDLab also. In fact DVDLab looks like VegasVideo3 in how it's window elements are constructed. So I felt quite at home. DVDLab was always rather keen on elementary file based MPEG2 and doesn't have an AC3 encoder. So that may have been partly why some of my early batch of widescreen DVD-Videos didn't play too well on some Sony set top DVD players. If DVDA4 didn't have the level of scripting it has got, then I'd have done a lot more in DVDLab by now. I'm not sure that DVDLab Pro is cost competitive against even the full Vegas+DVDA package but it makes for a very powerful development environement. I'm predominantly needing WYSIWYG/WIMP based DVD authoring and DVDA suits that better, IMHO.

    Animated menus, fancy masking and how the selection focus is navigated from the DVD controller seem to be quite straightforward. Where DVDA let's itself down is when you work for a long time on the same project making alterations. Figuring out how much disc space you really have left and whether you'll end up recompressing MPEG-2 as MPEG-2 perhaps unnecessarily,..... This is one of it's downfalls.

    DVDLab would be necessary if you were absolutely needing DTS encoded audio. Although it's presence in there at all might consititute evidence of how the tool has been used for bad things by some of it's licensees. No reflection on the author who has only been proving what he can do inside both what his customer's demand and inside patent/IPR law.

    Layered images are nicely supported by DVDA. Although I usually use a simply backdrop (sometimes with a jumpback type of imagery) and construct elements using motion buttons and highlighting.

    Adobe's Encore and Sonic solutions products also have a good following in the mid-priced authoring tools. However I feel that Apple's DVDSP is really where the attention has been - but this is only what I've read. I can't afford to swap about and as I can't "try OSX", I'm not too likely to follow down that route anytime soon.

    If you can already encode DVD profile MPEG-2 and can encode AC3 or would accept MPEG1-layer2 audio, then DVDStyler from sourceforge is an interesting free mark-up tool. Microsoft were supposed to be bundling a DVD authoring tool (Windows DVD Maker) with Vista. Although whenever that becomes viable, I'm not sure if I want to create media in an application made by a company who spends so much time preventing you from playing video at the same quality as it was intended to be played.

    I do use Vegas a lot for editing too, so my perspective is skewed. I don't personally think that NewTek should provide or endorse DVD-Video or BD/HD-DVD authoring tools. Rendering compliant footage would be where they could better invest their time, IMHO. Each app that a customer might select might have different constraints on this, but allowing flexibility or proven render profiles for each instance is surely easier than attempting to achieve what the competition does already. The integration with cameras, formats, decks and heading towards fat-pixel formats like HDR would be where I'd spend my next few months and years.

  4. #4
    Registered User KiloWatkins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    New MexKilo
    Richard B. has been following Tom's R&D, wishing as I we had Tom's wallet! LOL

    Thought I would repost here for some of you interested, in what Tom has to share.


    Tom Wheeler <[email protected]> to VTNT
    show details 2:19 pm (3 hours ago)

    I have recently detailed my results in burning Blu-ray high
    definition media using Roxio's DVDitPro HD. The results are
    excellent, but considering the higher cost of Blu-ray stand alone
    players, burners, and media versus equally good HD-DVD players (no
    external HD-DVD burners are yet available), I have continued to
    explore other high definition delivery methods. I am pleased to say
    that I have found what appears to me to be an excellent low cost
    solution to delivering high definition media as HD-DVD image disks
    burned to ordinary DVD's. Others have reported this on forums, and I
    certainly don't claim to be the first to have discovered this. I am
    simply reporting what I have been able to confirm with my own
    equipment and my own hands.

    Here is how it works. I use Ulead's DVD Movie Factory 6 Plus program
    ($79 download and a free trial is available). Movie Factory will not
    import .m2t files so those have to be transcoded to .m2v files that
    meet the HD-DVD specs (1920 X 1080, certain maximum bit rates, etc.)
    I have used both Vegas and Canopus' Procoder Express to do the
    transcoding to HD-DVD compliant .m2v files with excellent results. I
    then drag the transcoded video clips into Movie Factory 6 Plus which
    can burn both HD-DVD disk images and create HD-DVD disks if one had
    an installed HD-DVD burner. I use a .ac3 5.1 Dolby Digital sound
    track created in Vegas. I set up Movie Factory to save an HD-DVD
    image to my hard disk. Movie Factory comes with some of the nicest
    menu templates (with full motion, etc.) that I have yet seen --
    really quite amazing for a product at this price level. After I have
    created the desired Main and submenus (with Scene Selection menus
    generated from chapter points set within Movie Factory), I instruct
    Movie Factory to burn the HD-DVD image to my hard disk. If I am
    working with single layer ordinary DVD's to create the final product,
    I allow Movie Factory to go ahead and create the DVD from the HD-DVD
    image. I can get about 20-25 minutes of HD-DVD video complete with
    menus on a single layer 4.7 GB DVD+R disk. This is from an .m2v that
    was created with a VBR of 20,000-28,000. Lower bit rates would allow
    more video to be stored. If I am burning a DVD+R DL (dual layer)
    disk, then I do not create the final DVD+R DL in Movie Factory
    because I have discovered a bug in Movie Factory that does not allow
    such disks to play back smoothly through the layer change -- at least
    on my Toshiba HD-A2 HD-DVD player. Instead, I burn the HD-DVD disk
    image to the DVD+R DL disk using Nero Ultimate 7 Extended Edition
    within the Nero Burning ROM program. Nero not only creates perfect
    DVD+R DL disks, but playing these disks back on my Toshiba HD-A2 is a
    great experience. There is not even a trace of hesitation at the
    layer change. In fact, if you did not know you had prepared a dual
    layer HD-DVD you would never be able to detect it from the playback.

    As a test of quality, the project I chose for this work consists of
    images taken with a Hasselblad some years ago in Bryce Canyon
    National Park. I have scanned in thee images at 1200 dpi using a
    Nikon ED 9000 Multiformat scanner, and individually animated motions
    over the images using Canopus' Imaginate 2 program -- a great program
    for doing Ken Burn's image motion effects. At this resolution the 2
    1/4 in. Hasselblad images are razor sharp even on very large screen
    displays and allow a great deal of zooming and panning of the images,
    if desired, without loss of the visual quality of the image. After
    executing the image motion for each image in the project, I have
    Imaginate render out the project as a .m2t file for archival
    purposes. It is this .m2t file that forms the basis for my HD-DVD
    disks. Results are really remarkable! At a 16:9 screen size of 96
    in. diagonal, these images appear incredibly sharp, with beautiful
    colors and not a trace of edge twitter as the still image undergoes
    motion. The final quality of these HD-DVD's is truly fantastic. A
    dual layer DVD+R easily allows for 45 minute projects with menus to
    be recorded at the highest bit rates. My Bryce Canyon Project was 30
    minutes in length, had 3 animated menus with music, a 5.1 Dolby
    Digital sound track, and required 6.3 GB of disk space at a
    20,000-28,000 bit rate.

    I share this because some of you are event photographers and may have
    been considering how to deliver you product in high definition.
    Delivering it as an HD-DVD prepared on a single or dual layer
    ordinary DVD would seem to be an economical and highly effective
    means of giving your clients quality HD work. Of course, your client
    must have an HD-DVD player, but these players are now quite
    inexpensive. The player which I purchased in December for $500 (the
    Toshiba HD-A2) is now available at my local BestBuy for $300. At the
    very least, this technique allows you to deliver to your clients both
    standard definition DVD's and HD-DVD's on the same medium and with
    little extra work or expense for you. And I can tell you from first-
    hand experience that once they see your work on an HD-DVD and compare
    it to the standard definition DVD, they are not going to want to
    watch the standard definition DVD!

    GoodLuck KiloVideo

    Digitizing video since 1984
    HyMPG Designer since 1997
    Avatar says, 89.3 MPG Avg.
    [email protected]

  5. #5
    DVD Lab Pro here!
    I used to use Scenarist and nearly stopped using computers all together after that experience. Then found DVD Lab Pro and that was it.
    Happy camper. For 200 bucks it can't be beat.
    DJ Lithium | KAT! =^..^=

    Black Tiger Recordings
    Founder and Citizen of

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Keeping Austin weird
    DVD Workshop SE,

    Because it came 'free' with my upgrade to VT4.6 which also included a comprehensive manual for DVD WS SE. Unlike the $400 version of DVD WS that I'd bought earlier, which came with a ten page pamphlet for a manual. So I figure it all averaged out.

    It does what I need, as long as Eugene is around to point out the really obscure odd settings that make all this actually work.



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