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Old 22 Apr 2011, 11:12 AM   #1
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Default looking for something similar but better than Nero Vision

Hi, I've been using Nero Vision to build DVDs for years now, and i am finally completely fed up. Too many 'failure to burn errors', and now the last straw.
I had several DVD project files created in Nero Vision, which i managed to get to burn to my hard disk at one point, with the resulting Video_TS folder -- this is what I want, That can then be used to burn more than one DVD with Nero Burning Rom. But, simply loading the project file and subtracting a couple videos and adding a couple, i got the burn error. The added files had been successfully burned before. Last straw was when tech support told me to update my version of Nero 10 Multimedia suite. After i did that, i loaded previous Nero Vision 10 project files. The Custom menus I had created and successfully burned were now STRIPPED from the project file, which reverted to it's default Orbit menus. I had spent hours creating a custom menu with background image, using Nero's alternate frames for the menu items, font and color choices, etc. I have several projects like this.

Long and short of it is -- i refuse to redo menus every time Nero decides to update! If i have no choice but to redo these DVDs, then I want to purchase new software which will do at least as much, and as conveniently, as Nero Vision, but not be as buggy and ill-conceived.

I like how Nero Vision works, other than the bugs, difficult burn issues, and absurd oversights in their 'upgrade' releases. I've had it. I need a decent authoring program which will do the same things as Nero Vision, but without the stupidity. Basically, I want to drag in separate video files like .flv, .vob, .mov, .mpg, .mp4, etc. I want to make menu buttons for them, so that you can select which you want to to play, preferably ones that animate a short portion of that video like Nero Vision does. I make compilations of music performance clips, videos, etc, of our favorite artists, because our family enjoys watching these. The clips come with video and audio, but often each clip needs to be (non-destructively) trimmed at the beginning and end -- without affesting the original file of course. And the encoding needs to be top-notch -- preferably not re-encoded when that is unnecessary.

Can anyone recommend the appropriate software for my use? I am willing to pay for something with the features i need, and which is useable, burns reliably (with a burn Video_TS folder to hard disc option).

Please, anyone experienced with this kind of DVD authoring/editing use, I would appreciate your recommendations.
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Old 23 Apr 2011, 12:05 AM   #2
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I have never used Nero since Nero 5, so I don't know how exactly Nero Vision works, and I'm not sure my recommendations will suit your needs, but since they are free, you can try them anyway.

DVD Flick is well known, but its menu is very basic, and it has some Audio/Video sync problems with some file types recorded in VBR mode.

WinX DVD Author is now free, but I have used it only on one test project. It worked flawlessly.
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Old 23 Apr 2011, 05:46 PM   #3
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AVStoDVD is another freeware that has some menu making features. I'm not much into menus myself as I generally have a single title DVD for output. I find myself using FitCD to create an AviSynth Script, then using a free video encoder such as HC Encode or QuEnc depending on the size of the output and if the audio is usable as is.

I use DVDAuthorGui for simple authoring. It has some menu making ability. If the audio is ok as is then basically you just need to convert the video to .m2v and mux it together with the audio. The muxer or authoring program should then set the navpacks while writing a VIDEO_TS folder.

If you want fancy motion menus that's usually where it gets easier with paid programs. Depends on the input you want to handle but as far as DVD video quality conversion you can get very high quality with free encoders.

I mention FitCD because even though it hasn't been updated in awhile it's still a very good resize calculator. Set the output as 16x9 anamorphic(if that's what the output should be) and just load in a video file. Even if it gets an error it still generates the AviSynth script lines for resize and adding borders. Paste the script lines into any encoder that can use AviSynth, such as HC Encode or QuEnc.

Generally I try to stay away from those one click $50 converters that make you stick the DVD in the drive before they will do anything. The output looks good in some cases but more often than not they're a waste of time. Better to use a tool that does most of the stuff for you but lets you adjust the AviSynth script(.avs file that's used as input instead of the video file.) AviSynth you can take as much control as you want. Has tons of free filters to clean up, unblock, get rid of jaggies, resize, add subtitles, and on and on.

AviSynth also has the ability to do some stuff with audio. But I'm still a beginner. I just use it to help me encode the video. As I gain experience maybe I'll mess with all those braces and variables and assigning streams and whatever. Right now my scripts are elementary.

Worth a look as most tools use it even if they hide the fact.

Last edited by MilesAhead; 23 Apr 2011 at 05:53 PM
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Old 24 Apr 2011, 02:19 AM   #4
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Thanks for all the information, but I'm not looking for freeware, which tends to involve a lot more technical effort than I want to put into it. I'm also not looking for those simple wizard type programs, which allow no control.

I very much DO need menus -- I need to bring in background pics, have thumbnails for my videos (which animate, showing a portion of the video), i need to be able to resize and place those thumbnails on the screen, and I need to be able to drop in a variety of formats, such as flv, mov, mp4, mpg, vob.
I want the software to re-encode for DVD where necessary, and leave it alone when it's not.*

I also need to non-destructively edit (meaning cut off the beginning and end of .vob files especially, leaving just the section I want to use.) All within the program.*

I don't want to use different programs to edit, reencode and then bring them into another program to make menus and burn a Video-ts folder. All this is not only tedious for compilation DVDs with a lot of videos, but also degrades the quality. Also, my videos contain the audio, as they are music performances, so I certainly don't want to deal with the audio separately, and the audio quality needs to be preserved.

Nero Vision does all these things, now if only it worked... Its always been iffy, but now it seems they've broken it altogether -- I can't get anything to burn. It goes throughout the whole process and craps out at the last minute.

Is anyone familiar with Sony DVD Architect, or Corel DVD Movie Factory 7? Do these programs do the kind of things I describe, straightforwardly, with intelligent transcoding? It's very hard to tell from their websites. Is there anything else which would fit my needs?

Thank for any information!
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Old 24 Apr 2011, 06:28 AM   #5
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I can remember awhile back a lot of people swore by DVD Lab. I've never tried it myself but I'm sure there's a free trial period. For DVD authoring it may be what you need.
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Old 24 Apr 2011, 01:24 PM   #6
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The direct commercial competitor to Nero Vision is TMPGEnc DVD Author (now called TMPGEnc DVD Authoring Works), and there's also Cyberlink PowerProducer. But most of these are consumer level solutions, and so it's pretty inflexible as to what you can and cannot do (for example, if you really want a button on the main menu to take you to chapter 23, then that might not be possible unless you're on the chapters menu page).

DVD-Lab, on the other hand, is for semi-professionals that want a bit more control over what they can produce, but as it's not aimed at home users, it's a bit quirky and you have to get the sources prepared first. Here's a roundup of the commercial and free DVD authoring tools, it hasn't been updated recently, but most of it is still accurate:
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