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Old 20 Feb 2004, 08:07 AM   #1
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Exclamation-2 CASH for Answering DVD Video Masteing Question

We are tying to author/produce a professional training DVD.

Where we are now: we have a have edited a final version AVI file that is about 35 gig (uncompressed) and runs close to 3 hours (about 2:45).

The Mission: We want to get it on either one or two DVDs, for the lowest cost, but with a 80-90% compatibility rate with most consumer DVD players and respectable image quality (for a training film).

The Problem? Another newbie tells me that commercial DVD movies are burned on special media, by special burners that and burn 2 layers per disk side (8gigs per side). Says my equipment won't work and that we’d need to go to a high-priced production house.

The Questions: I have a DVD-RAM burner that will burn fine to DVD-R, and I can make flawless "back-ups" of commercial movies with DVDXCopy. Shouldn't my equipment be able to do the job if it can pump out a perfect copy of Lord of the Rings on one standard DVD-R blank?

If the answer is yes, what software package would you recommend to render/compress/burn it into a final product? I’m looking for easy to use, not too expensive yet professional looking output. I don’t need tons of menus, stereo sound or any other bells & whistle.

A small cash prize will be given to the kind soul who can guide me the quickest, and farthest to my goal.

P.S. We’re using a WindowXP with more than enough muscle.
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Old 21 Feb 2004, 06:20 AM   #2
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Hi.
I don't want your cash - give it to a charity instead.

Sounds like you have the resources to afford a decent authoring tool. I use Pinnacle Studio 8 - latest patch 8.12.xx. After finally getting it to install correctly it works rather well and it is simple to use. Only catch is that it seems to only like AVIs that it creates. Other AVIs seem to have A/V sync problems. You should probably compress the AVI - I use HuffyUV which should compress it 2:1. Then pull the Studio 8 generated AVI into Studio 8 and add menus, transitions, etc. For about $99 you can generate a decent DVD. It will burn a > 2 hour dvd but the quality will suffer slightly.

Your DVD burner should work fine. For best compatibility
use DVD-R discs. Ritek seems to be the best although I've had luck with Memorex and CompUSA brand discs - so far.

As for other products I don't know how good or easy they are - still a newbie myself. But having found a solution that works it is the only one that I can recommend. Would love to hear other replies.

Hope this helps and good luck
Jim
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Old 21 Feb 2004, 06:51 AM   #3
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Thanks! I do use Ritek DVD-Rs and have bunch on hand, so that helps.

You the DVDs you burn function fine in most non-PC DVD players?

Sounds a lot simpler than I was lead to believe.
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Old 21 Feb 2004, 07:53 AM   #4
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In the dirt cheap dvd players - around $30 - the Riteks work. The more expensive DVD players seem to handle any media. The Memorex and CompUSA discs had problems. A lot of it is trial and error. Not all discs will work due to flaws in the ink. The Riteks I have burned worked well - no coasters.
You can download a trial version of Studio 8 and also if you want a full blown authoring package, Adobe Premiere - which runs about $600. Plus Ulead VideoStudio has a 30 day trial version. Also highly recommended is DVD-Lab - about $99, and it has a trial version.
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Old 28 Feb 2004, 07:16 PM   #5
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@jim - what is accomplished by compressing the .avi's? It seems like that would cut half the resolution out of the avi which still needs to be compressed to mpeg2 - which will be ~ identical in size to an mpeg2 made from an uncompressed avi ??? Am I missing something?

@kcbjordan - you probably have all your dvd's burnt by now anyway, but --- did your DVD burner come with any authoring software? (SonicMyDVD comes bundled with alot of them) you can either use that to encode your avi's to mpeg2, or use another mpeg encoder like Tempgenc to tailor the mpeg2's bitrate to your needs - and import it to the authoring software to burn to disk. If you need a better authoring program, ask around... but most programs will let you pick a background for the menu - that sounds like all you are looking for.
Anyway.. good luck. NOW WHERE'S MY MONEY?????? (just kidding)
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Old 11 Mar 2004, 05:21 AM   #6
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AfterLife,
I compress the AVI to save disk space. Some of the videos I capture get pretty big and after an hour the hard disk will get pretty full. I'll compress the captured video then remove the original uncompressed AVI freeing up a lot of space. Ideally I would prefer to capture compressed but my pc is too slow and i drop a lot of frames.
When converting to MPEG during the make movie process it will have to decompress the AVI for each frame then compress it using the MPEG decoding. Yes there's overhead but I don't care - I'm not around when it does this since it takes hours to render in Studio. I never lose resolution since HuffyUV is lossless.
Jim
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Old 13 Mar 2004, 01:02 AM   #7
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The best system I have found for authoring DVD's is to using DVD Studio Pro running on a MacG4 or even a G5.

I'm not a Mac person, but a true PC fan, but I have to say out of all the systems i've used, it is logical, comprehensive and reliable. It will always burn a DVD compliant disc, and these discs seem to work in the majority of players and computers.

We now do all our editing on PC, but make a DV or DVCAM copy which we then play into Final Cut Pro on the Mac to make the DVD's.

The next question is, how many copies do you anticipate needing? For the best quality and compatibility, you should have then final disc glass mastered and commercially pressed, just as a DVD film you buy in the shops are.

This means you are not limited to 4.7Gb but could go to 9Gb at least which means your video quality can be higher. Then use DVD Studio Pro to build your DVD onto a DLT tape, and send the DLT tape off to a replication plant.

Glass mastering can be expensive, but if you want quite a few copies, then they often glass master for free. The stamped out DVD's would each then be just as cheap if not cheaper than buying your own recordable media.

Do a search on the web for replication houses to get some idea of cost. I don't know where you are based, but USA is cheaper than UK and you can get some very good deals by sending them to the eastern european countries.

Hope this helps.
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Old 24 Mar 2004, 01:51 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by jimbucc
In the dirt cheap dvd players - around $30 - the Riteks work. The more expensive DVD players seem to handle any media.
Seems to me to be just the opposite, the cheap players seem to play anything you throw at them , while the big name players are way more picky.
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Old 24 Mar 2004, 02:07 AM   #9
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I agree totally. I wish I hadn't spend £550 on my SOny DVD player. It is very limited in what it can do. I should have just nipped down to my local supermarket and spent £80 on one. It would have played CD-Rs and prob mp3's etc.
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Old 24 Mar 2004, 03:14 AM   #10
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.. and Sony continues to fall out of favour ..
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This isn't a learning curve ... this is b****y mountaineering!
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