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Old December 22nd, 2004, 04:33 PM   #1
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DVD authoring for PC

Does anybody have a good recommendation for a DVD authoring program for PC? I'm currently using Adobe Encore DVD, but it's a little buggy and doesn't let me do everything I want to do. I've used DVD Studio Pro and it's great, but last I checked it was only available for Mac. Anybody have any suggestions?
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Old December 23rd, 2004, 04:48 AM   #2
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Well, there are tons and tons of program from low-end to the
middle market and all the way to the high-end. You say:

" and doesn't let me do everything I want to do "

Why not tell us what you want an authoring application to do?
This can greatly narrow down the list of applications you can
consider. Also give us your budget (like the top-end Sonic Scenarist
does everything but costs as much as well).
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Old December 23rd, 2004, 10:31 AM   #3
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There have been just a few things that Adobe Encore DVD hasn't let me do very effectively. I suppose they aren't major, but if there is something out there that lets me do them, it may be worth the extra cash.

One of the main things I don't like about Encore is that transitioning between menu items is extremely rough. Unless you just have straight cuts between each menu, it tends to look crappy. There's no way to carry music over from a video prior to the appearance of the first menu. There's no realy effective way to create video effects to transition between sub menus.

The biggest problem I guess I have with Encore is all the bugs. I'm constantly getting Mac-like (sorry Mac lovers) errors. Things like "An abnormal condition has been detected" or "Unknown DVD error". It's really quite obnoxious when you've spent several days working on a really great menu system, and then encore throws some delicious little bug at you and it's impossible to burn a hard copy DVD or recover from whatever the bug is.

I guess I'm just looking for a program that has more customizable features than Encore, and isn't nearly as buggy. Don't worry about price range, it's more or less a non-issue.
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Old December 24th, 2004, 12:58 PM   #4
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I've been using DVDLab since it's very first version and really like it. It gives you a lot of control. They have a regular version and a pro version, which can't be matched in that price range.

www.mediachance.com

Also Sonic's DVDit is pretty user friendly and easy to use.
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Old December 24th, 2004, 01:04 PM   #5
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I second David's recommendation and I have tried most all of them.

Regards,

Mark
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Old December 24th, 2004, 06:00 PM   #6
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It may not make a difference to you in the end, but Adobe has posted an update to Encore 1.5. The current version is 1.5.1 and it added dual layer support and several specific bug fixes.

Merry Christmas!
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Old December 24th, 2004, 09:32 PM   #7
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Re: DVD authoring for PC

<<<-- Originally posted by Brent Ray : Does anybody have a good recommendation for a DVD authoring program for PC? I'm currently using Adobe Encore DVD, but it's a little buggy and doesn't let me do everything I want to do. I've used DVD Studio Pro and it's great, but last I checked it was only available for Mac. Anybody have any suggestions? -->>>

I'm a beginner at this so I can't answer all your questions, but...

Both TMPGEnc Author DVD 1.6 and Sony DVD Architect Studio 2.0 have both worked well for me.

I've had no problems at all with crashes, etc. And I had a memory stick crap out on me and I've been running on 256meg of RAM. Still no problems.

I'm currently only doing simple menus in DVDA, with motion backgrounds, no submenus. No problems. The Themes are okay and modifying the supplied menu themes with your own graphics, etc. is very easy.

Not sure if this is what you're talking about but in DVDA you can use 'introduction media' that plays prior to the main menu. You set that in the 'properties' section when starting a new project.

TMPGEnc Author is also very good though somewhat limited on the menu side...at least as best as I could figure out during the demo period. Using TMPGEnc to encode and Author to author and then burn the DVDs produced very good results for me. I had already paid for the Sony software, so I'm using that for now.
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Old December 26th, 2004, 10:25 AM   #8
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Hi,

I've tested a bunch of DVD Auth programs.

1. Ulead DVD Workshop 2
2. Encore 1.5
3. DVDA 2
4. DVD Lab Pro 1.0
5. Cyberlink Powerproducer 3

An in my opionion none is perfect. Most of my projects I make have very few demands on the Authoring program. I generate the MPEG2 files in external software for best quality ( I'm the tweaking kind :-)

The main problems I find in all Auth-software are:

1. They want/demand to re-encode the MPEG2. Sometimes you can force it to accept your files ( DVDA / Encore )

2. Flimsy interface with lots of options in non-logical places - worst being ENCORE, king of confusion, followed by DVD Lab Pro.

3. Many of the packages let you choose target ( as 4.7gb DVD ) - but when you add media they don't stop you when you pass the 4.7gb limit so you want get the error/warning until you make an ISO or burn the DVD.

I still haven't decided wich package to learn...maybe encore - now with the 1.51 patch maybe the program won't die every 10th minute...

// Lazze \\

Merry X-mas ..... and a happy new year!
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Old December 28th, 2004, 11:38 AM   #9
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I've heard that there isn't really a proper alternative to DVD Studio on the PC platform at any reasonable price, but Ulead DVD Workshop is one that seems to be popular. I use an older version of that program for all of my DVDs and it's adequate for my purposes, plus the current version reportedly adds a lot of new features. The interface is a bit crude but not hard to follow once you get used to it, and it does allow you to keep your source files intact (as discussed in Lars' post).
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Old December 29th, 2004, 08:02 AM   #10
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Brent: to the best of my knowledge the features you are looking
for cannot be done with a DVD (thus with any authoring application)
since the specification does not allow for it.

This would include:

- having music play while switching menu's (I've never seen this done on a commercial disc)
- menu transitions (haven't seen that either)

The best you can do is to match everything up as good as
possible. I have seen lots of menu transition movies on commercial
DVD's where there is a movie for each transition you can make,
but it still has a hard "cut" in it. They just try to line everything
up from the menu you are going away from to the item you are
going to (which can be another menu or a movie for example).

So you can't get it 100% perfect, but you should be able to get
it close with a good enough authoring package (I haven't tried
most of them) and good transitions (which still need to be broken
up).
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Old December 29th, 2004, 08:52 AM   #11
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I've never done it yet, but DVDLab does offer menu transitions. I'm not sure about the audio, I have put audio under menus but not with transitions. The nice thing about it is DVDlab is a free, and fully functional download for 30 days. Try it and if you don't like it, uninstall it. No spyware or any of that stuff. Also no icons or watermarks during the try out period.

www.mediachance.com
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Old January 16th, 2005, 08:28 PM   #12
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I second the recommendation for Ulead DVD Workshop.

Not that it's bug free mind you, just that it's the best of the lot. And you can make pretty complex effects and motion bg's and menus with very little effort.

The interface sucks though. Try a demo first and see if you like it.

My DVD production combo of Premiere/Edius, Canopus Procoder, DVD Workshop, Nero and Pioneer A07 is awesome and flawless.



MB
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