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Old June 9th, 2005, 04:56 PM   #1
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Making nice (& simple) DVDs

Hi there everybody!

I'm about to build/buy a new system to edit using Avid Xpress DV, and once I've made my movies, I want to be able to make them into DVDs which can be viewed on any domestic player. I don't think the Avid software i'm getting comes with any DVD authoring software, so could anybody out there reccomend any?

All i want is to be able to make fairly simple DVDs, with basic menus, chapter stops, and hopefully an image for the menu background (or even video!?). The DVDs will be of clients weddings and so will be about 1 hour in main program duration. Any suggestions?

I'm also interested in getting a lightscribe DVD burner so i can make classy looking discs. Does anybody know anything about Lightscribe or ever used it? Or do you know of any alternatives? (lightscribe drives laser-etch a design onto the blank top-surface of the disc, which should look pretty classy)

I thank you for your time and help with this,
regards,
Alan
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What I'm using: Panasonic AG-DVC60 Camcorder, Avid Xpress DV on custom built PC: Intel P4 3.20 GHz Processor, Asus P4C800-E Motherboard, GeForce 6800 128MB DDR Graphics/Video Card, 2GB DDR RAM, WD 80GB System Drive, WD 250GB SATA Media Drive, Pyro PCI 64 OHCI Firewire Card, Lite-On 16X DVD Burner, Epson R200 Printer
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Old June 9th, 2005, 05:18 PM   #2
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Hi, I've never used lightscribe discs, but they look quite expensive compared to normal printable discs. I think they also only come as DVD+R, not -R, which are less compatible with standalone DVD players. I would recommend getting a TDK thermal disc printer (~40), as thermal printable discs are very cheap and look professional. If you want colour discs then get inkjet printble discs and an Epson R200 (~80).

As for software, I would recommend Sony DVD Architect 2 or 3, or DVDit. They are both fairly easy to use, but do support advanced features too.

Good luck with your DVDs!

-Harry
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Old June 9th, 2005, 06:42 PM   #3
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Lightscribe is only shades of brown and takes about 15 minutes per disc. The detail is supposed to be good though.

I use an Epson R200 for disc (Ritek Ridata G05 Hub Printable discs) and DVD jacket inserts (Meritline Photo Glossy - also available at Fry's). Meritline.com has a free application for printing with their jackets.

For DVD mastering, I use Mediachance DVD-Lab, which has a 30-day free trial.
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Old June 9th, 2005, 06:54 PM   #4
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Alan,

Avid Xpress DV comes with Sonic DVDit SE for authoring DVDs.
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Old June 9th, 2005, 06:57 PM   #5
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When it comes to DVD Authoring, there are very simple programs, and then there are powerfull ones. Nero buring software comes bundled with a basic authoring application that would handle what you describe. That's pretty cheap.

The thing about DVD authoring, is that you start just wanting to make simple menus, but then you see the possibility for much more. What if I want background music? Moving video? More design options? Personally, I don't think any authoring programs are that difficult to learn (except maybe the $20,000 Scenarist packages). So my advice would be to get a powerful one, and just start simple with your designs. The interfaces are pretty intuitive in all programs. Build Menu, import movie, create chapters, link buttons, etc.

I use Adobe Encore and I love it. Of course, I'm one of the lucky ones who never had a single bug since 1.0. It seems everyone else but me had problems. Before you buy anything, check its user forum and see what kind of problems people are experiencing with the latest version.

As for Lightscribe, I doubt I'll ever buy into it. First of all, it only does B&W (or black and gold). It probably has its uses, i.e. labelling burned media for use in a professional workplace or something. But it just doesn't look too attractive to me.
My wedding clients dig the full color print job. I get the "oohs" & Ahhs" from the bride before she even views the content, just from the DVD packaging. A lot of us like the Epson R200, 300, or 800 for inkjet printing. (I'm a satisfied R800 user and its chugged out hundreds of beautiful discs and jackets for me). You can get hub printable Taiyo Yuden or Ritek discs that come out looking fantastic (just don't scratch them). Or if you want to make the investment, a thermal transfer system is the way to go. Now that's a professional disc finish. The Everest series is nice.

Just my experience.

[edit: Dang! two posts while I was typing, stole my thunder!]
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Old June 9th, 2005, 08:39 PM   #6
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I am a new (about two weeks) owner of Epson's low-end R200 printer. At around $95, it costs only a little more than the inks it comes with. I bought it solely for DVD printing, and I've been impressed at how good the output is. If you are any good at Photoshop, you can make very impressive and "classy looking" DVDs. I use Ritek printable DVDs.

I recommend the printer with the caveat that you have to let the printed DVDs dry a long time -- I find them still a little tacky after the recommended 24 hour drying time, but fully dry after about 72 hours. Also, they aren't waterproof (perhaps they are from the R800). In any case, they look good.

As for DVD authoring, I agree you'll start simple and want to do more. Even my "home movie" DVDs might have captions, alternate "directors commentary" audio, etc. if I really get into it. ;-) I use Sony DVD Architect, but I think it only comes with Vegas, and is quite expensive. There are several less inexpensive authoring programs that should do the trick for you. DVDit seems popular.
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Old June 10th, 2005, 12:04 PM   #7
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We've used an Epson Photo 960 for a while, and the quality of the prints was nice. The problems we ran into were long print times (about 3 minutes each), the drying time issue, and to make them more smudgeproof you have to shoot them with a layer of acrylic, and then let that dry. It's not bad if your a wedding videographer and doing three discs at a time, but in June we expect to produce about 750 DVDs. Having a couple hundred DVD cases strategically lying around the house with drying discs wasn't appealing, so we're looking at a thermal retransfer printer--the Teac P-55. I've seen the same graphics side by side with an Everest II and I like the saturation and detail of the Teac better.

Of course the P-55 is about $5,700.
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Old June 15th, 2005, 02:51 PM   #8
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Thanks so much for the many helpful responses! I really appreciate all of your help!

I don't think i will go down the lightscribe path, and will instead look to disc printing instead.
I take it that if i get say a R200, i'll then need to get plain white or silver discs to print onto with the R200?
Does anybody have any good reccomendations for these discs (if they're what i'll need), which brands to avoid, which ones are good?
Does anybody have any other good suggestions for a printer? From what i've heard the R200 is in my price range, so it looks appealing. If there are any better, similar priced printers please tell me your thoughts.
What are the major differences between the different printers (like between brands, or the R100, R200 & R800?)

Finally, as someone new to making DVDs, can anybody tell me what format discs i should be buying and burning, and making my finished AVID projects into? I haven't done it before, and i know there are different formats out there, and as i'm making wedding DVDs, i want my discs to playback on everybody's home players.

Thanks again to all the replies so far, i really appreciate it, and i look forward to getting more good advice! (These forums rock!)

Many regards,
Alan
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What I'm using: Panasonic AG-DVC60 Camcorder, Avid Xpress DV on custom built PC: Intel P4 3.20 GHz Processor, Asus P4C800-E Motherboard, GeForce 6800 128MB DDR Graphics/Video Card, 2GB DDR RAM, WD 80GB System Drive, WD 250GB SATA Media Drive, Pyro PCI 64 OHCI Firewire Card, Lite-On 16X DVD Burner, Epson R200 Printer
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Old June 15th, 2005, 03:44 PM   #9
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The difference between Inkjet printer brands is that Epson currently has the best photo-quality printers with CD/DVD printing capability. At least that's the general consensus.

I don't know the difference between the 200 & 300. I had a 300, now I have an R800. The differences between the 300 & 800 are
-about $200
-The 300 uses 6 ink cartrdges: Black, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Photo Magenta, Photo Cyan.
-The 800 Uses 8: Black, Photo black, Magena, Cyan, Yellow, Red, Blue, Gloss Optimizer(protective coating for glossy photos).
-The 300 shoots out 2.0 picoliter droplets, the 800 prints with 1.5 picoliter droplets. This means finer printing.
-From personal experience, the color depth (due to the dedicated Red & blue), and image clarity from the 800 blow the 300 to smithereens. I could hardly believe my eyes the first time I printed a full-color glossy DVD jacket with the 800.

As for discs, the compatibility is the first issue. If it doesn't play on a client's set-top, you're screwed.
Check out DVDRhelp.com for a wealth of compatibility information. Tayio Yuden, Maxell, and Ritek (Ridata) are the top 3 most popular brands for compatibility right now.

As for printing, I prefer Ritek's White printing surface. Maxells never seem to dry and Yudens come out looking too "frosty" for lack of a better word. I've burned close to 500 Ritek white hub-printable 8X DVD-R's in the past year or so, and I've made about 4 or 5 coasters to my knowledge.
And yes, my R800 is still purring after all that work
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Old June 15th, 2005, 08:50 PM   #10
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I'll cast my vote for Mediachance dvdLab Pro. I've tried most of the others, have Encore btw; this dvd lab pro for $200 is VERY impressive, intuitive and powerful. I was extremely happy finding it, so stable and robust.
http://www.mediachance.com/dvdlab/dvdlabpro.html
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Old June 16th, 2005, 12:01 AM   #11
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I have the Epson R300 which I use for direct to DVD printing. It has worked really well for me, until recently:

The small black tray you use to feed the disc through is getting "stalled" when it gets pulled in... like it can't get traction on it. I have to manually hit print, wait for it to gear up, then help it get started. This is a *real* pain when you're trying to do a large batch of discs.

Also, the ink on printable DVD's is nice and convenient, but they smudge easily with any moisture. I make backups of my daughters movies (since she has a tenency to destroy them pretty quick) and print the original disc label on the printable surface. Well.. she always seems to have blue or green lips because she'll pull the DVD out of the player and suck on it. Oh well.

I'm considering going back to burning plain DVD's and high-gloss labels separately then applying the labels. It costs more per disc, but you get the high-gloss "quality" look, and it resists moisture MUCH better.

Thoughts?
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Old June 16th, 2005, 07:02 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Webb Pickersgill

I'm considering going back to burning plain DVD's and high-gloss labels separately then applying the labels. It costs more per disc, but you get the high-gloss "quality" look, and it resists moisture MUCH better.

Thoughts?
I've heard countless stories of stick-on labels causing problems. Some say they unbalance the disc, if not right awya then over time, causing playback problems. I've even heard one story of a disc shattering becasue it was wobbly and they spin so fast.
Can't verify any of the stories, but the consensus is stick-on DVD labels are bad.

The best option is still full-color thermal transfer. Just wish it was cheaper.
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Old July 13th, 2005, 01:22 AM   #13
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I am actually about to go the Lighscribe path, found a nice HP external firewire drive.

Why? Well, because I don't want to mess with labeling, this looks like the easiest choice and looks neat. Cons: time to labeling, monochrome, price.
Pros: price is going down, little hassle, looks good.

I'll be selling the DVDs, that's why.

Anyone get a lightscribe recently and have good results? No bugs I hope.
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Old July 13th, 2005, 12:35 PM   #14
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For those who might be interested...

We actually bought the Teac P-55 and have printed over 500 discs with it in June alone. A unit like this was almost necessary due to the nature of our business. We're producing live performances, and in from the shoots in June alone plan to ship about 700 DVDs. We get calls throughout the month for supplemental orders, and longer print times with inkjet coupled with the necessity to dry the discs for a day or so (BEFORE shooting them with acrylic) just made it more pain than it's worth. I got tired of having groups of discs lying around in the "waiting to dry" pile, and these discs are in the "waiting for acrylic" pile, and these are in the "waiting for the acrylic to dry and stop stinking" pile. With the P-55, the discs come out ready to ship in about 90 seconds and the quality is gorgeous. The prints are also very consistent after more than 500.

The printer is built like a tank and is as heavy as one. The cost of the prints was about $0.50 each for the photo quality ribbon, but word from the distributer is that price just "dropped significantly".

So from someone whose been down the inkjet path, the main two reasons for fronting the money for full-color thermal transfer was time and quality. If your business does enough volume, it's more than worth it. Absolutely no buyer's remorse here. It's also a hunch of mine that it might cut down on illegal copying somewhat because people might be more willing to pay for the product if the packaging is nice enough (case and disc). The case entrapment might be able to be copied, but they'll never be able to duplicate the disc graphics.
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