Fun but Fickle!
by KJ Newby
Many new computers are coming with DVD Burners already installed and ready to use. In addition, the cost of buying a DVD burner to put in your computer, is dropping. So, more and more people are now starting to experiment with the world of DVD burning. This is a fun and intriguing adventure, but at the same time, can pose a little frustration. With different types of hardware, software, and media, it can quickly overwhelm you. Don't let this stop you, however. Just be patient and do some research before you begin. Below are a few tips and resources to help you:
An Intro to DVD Movie Making...Fun but Challenging
You've just created a movie masterpiece and you're itching to show your friends the fruits of your efforts! So what better way would there be than creating a DVD? With the price of DVD burners tumbling and a wealth of DVD authoring software available (often bundled with the DVD writer), DVD home movies are fast becoming the preferred method of final production. Jump on the band wagon, follow the guides and start creating your first DVD movie!
The DVD Writer/Burner
Don't even think about popping down to your local PC shop without first taking a moment to research the available recorders on the market. Armed with a few bits of information, you'll easily avoid the confusion you'll face when buying a DVD writer. Unlike CD writable media, there isn't one uniform standard for DVD discs. The competing DVD writable standards are: The first two are compatible with the majority of DVD drives and stand-alone DVD players. The third can only be played on DVD-RAM compatible drives. Each type has its merrits, and to be honest, they all pretty much achieve the same objective - writing Data to a disc. The first two, however, can be played on almost any DVD drive/player. To maximize your writing options, I would recommend you use a multi-format DVD writer. That way you can burn to whatever variety of disc you believe will be the most compatible.
Gone are the days of simply pressing the red button and recording to tape. Creating a DVD movie is more than simply a case of burning your movie to a DVD disc:
the movie itself should be an MPEG2 encoded VOB file meeting the DVD white book standards in frame size, bitrate... To ease the task of making a Digital Video Disc, there's a growing number of "DVD authoring packages" that make recording as simple as (you guessed it) pressing the little red button. But that's not all they do. All the entry level DVD authoring packages will guide you through the complete process, from capturing to editing to converting to burning your DVD.
Chances are you'll be using the DVD authoring package to merely create a DVD from the material you have captured and edited using your chosen video editing software. At the bottom end of the market, programs such as Sonic MyDVD and Ulead Movie Factory offer simple interfaces and "off the shelf" menus. They don't offer much flexibility or individuality, but they perform reasonably well. Whatever package you choose, bear in mind that, like everything in the video editing world, all DVD authoring softwares aren't the same!
Here are a few resources that provide a wealth of knowledge about DVDs. Good luck and enjoy!
Video Help A collection of tools, tutorials, discussions and more covering DVDs, VCDs and more.
This site contains a useful FAQ's page about DVD technology; also has information about the book DVD Demystified by Jim Taylor. The book discusses every imaginable aspect of DVD technology and should be read by anyone who wants to learn more about DVD technology.
Doom9 This is a useful site with guides, downloads, and a glossary.
One of the popular Digital Media Net (DMN) forums that focuses on DVD authoring. Registration (free) required.