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Old November 9th, 2005, 02:46 PM   #1
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iDVD to DVD Studio Pro?

I apologize if there are already topics covering this, but the forum search function is not working with my browser for some reason.

Anyways, I currently use iDVD to create DVD's (mostly for wedding videos), and I've considered moving to DVD Studio Pro. I would like to know from any of you have made this switch (or from those who just know) if there is a significant quality difference available by switching apps.

Thanks!
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Old November 21st, 2005, 12:54 AM   #2
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I was using iDVD and switched to DVD Studio Pro. It wasn't worth the hassle. I switched back to iDVD. Now I use both, depending on the demands of the customer. I have a standard package which I use iDVD. For more demanding custom weddings I'll use DVD Studio Pro.
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Old November 22nd, 2005, 07:03 PM   #3
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It depends on what you need to do. If you have clients with exceptionally low demands then it might not matter. I care about the quality of my MPEG-2 encodes, and most of the projects I do either contain main features that are 2 hours long or require a bunch of simple scripting, both of which are impossible in iDVD. If you switch to DVD Studio Pro then you will actually have a bit of control over your project, but you will have to invest a bit of time learning not just about DVDSP but about DVDs in general. iDVD protects you from having to think about anything except getting a product out quick (which is a nice benefit). I think DVD Studio Pro is worthwhile even for simple DVDs, mostly because I can control the encodes, use AC-3 for sound to conserve space on the disc and get good if not great control over the structure of my project. I have also landed a few freelance jobs because I knew DVDSP. I don't get any offers from knowing iDVD.
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Old November 22nd, 2005, 11:22 PM   #4
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I just switched from iDVD to DVD Studio Pro. I watched the included 'tutorial' DVD and was up and running in minutes; I churned out a simple DVD later that day!

I choose to switch because iDVD wouldn't properly do anamorphic 16:9 DVDs from Final Cut Express footage. Yes, iDVD does 16:9, but only with iMovie files...at least, not without jumping through a bazillion 3rd party hoops and hacks. At a certain point, the frustration just wasn't worth it! LOL!

Now that I've switched, I can believe I was ever dealing with iDVD in the first place. Yeesh, I've got SO much more control in DVD Studio Pro, and I've got so many options now. Heck Compressor is almost worth the price of DVD SP by itself. :-)
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Old November 23rd, 2005, 01:57 PM   #5
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I was dealing with an older version of DVD Sudio Pro. I don't know if it was my computer, but, it had a ton of glitches. Hopefully the newer versions have worked them out.
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Old November 23rd, 2005, 04:29 PM   #6
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The newer versions are definitely stable. The only time I've seen anything approaching a glitch is when I've seen people have trouble letting DVDSP do encoding. If you use a separate MPEG-2 encoder, Compressor or otherwise, it appears glitch free to me, and you can always trash the preference files like everything else in OS X. Every frustration I've had has been from my own mistakes or from built-in limitations in DVDSP or DVDs themselves.
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Old November 28th, 2005, 10:07 PM   #7
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Zach, Can you give me an example of your DVD Studio Work Flow?
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Old November 29th, 2005, 01:46 AM   #8
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Of course: on a typical project I edit in Final Cut Pro, output a QuickTime reference with chapter and sometimes compression markers for each of my planned tracks and transcode those to MPEG-2 and AC-3 with Compressor/A-Pack. Depending on my needs for the menus, I make them either directly in DVD Studio Pro (for simple stuff), Photoshop (for complicated or precise overlays) or After Effects (for motion menus). I assemble my menus and tracks in DVDSP and write pathetically simple scripts to control navigation. Normally I spend quite a bit of time in the Connections dialog. I check out as much as I can stand in the simulator then I build a VIDEO_TS folder, check it in DVD Player, burn a disc, check it in a set-top player, rebuild with CSS formatting, write to DLT then send it to the replicator.
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Old November 29th, 2005, 08:08 PM   #9
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Thanks for all of the responses. I borrowed SP from a friend once to try it out to see if I would like it, but for the life of me I couldn't figure it out. I'm pretty technically proficient, too. Maybe it was just an older version with some glitches.

I'm mostly interested in just getting a better looking compression, which is something I have no control over in iDVD. It just pains me to see my project quality drop so much in iDVD. I guess I'll start saving for SP.
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Old November 30th, 2005, 11:29 AM   #10
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DVD SP has three 'modes' you can work in: Basic, Extended, or Advanced. If you sit down in front of it and feel 'overwhelmed' and can't figure it out, then put it in 'Basic' mode, which is supposed to make the transition easier for iDVD users.

Personally, I only used 'Basic' mode for about 5 minutes before I jumped to 'Advanced' mode, and I haven't looked back since. But then again, the included tutorial DVD helped explain a LOT.

:-)
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Old November 30th, 2005, 03:13 PM   #11
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Yeah, I only had it on my computer for a few hours; probably not long enough to figure out what I was doing. I didn't have the tutorial DVD either. Sounds like everyone thinks that is pretty useful.
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Old November 30th, 2005, 05:07 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Travis Cossel
I'm mostly interested in just getting a better looking compression, which is something I have no control over in iDVD. It just pains me to see my project quality drop so much in iDVD. I guess I'll start saving for SP.
spending big $$ for sp to make just wedding videos may not be the most productive use of your money, especially if you are on a budget... you might be able to justify it if you are going to use sp for creating dvd's for distribution use in the future, or something similar... or maybe if your wedding clients are paying top dollar for your dvd's.

you have made it pretty clear that the quality of your mpeg2 encoding is the issue, so why not fix that problem? what i did for my neighbor is to have him encode his edited videos on a dvd burner, right off the editing timeline, via the y/c port of his camcorder, then rip the encoded footage back to the computer, and plug it into a dvd authoring application... its a great solution for long-form productions like you get with wedding videos, and the quality could be good enuf to surprise you.

he uses an early sony dvd burner, i believe that it has a tbc'd input and everything... do you know anyone with a dvd burner that you could use for testing purposes?
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Old December 1st, 2005, 01:35 AM   #13
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Thanks for the idea but I don't think it will work for me. I would have to buy a DVD burner AND another DVD authoring program AND go through a few hoops. If I'm going to spend more money, I think I might as well invest it in a professional DVD software suite.

Thanks for the idea, though!
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Old December 1st, 2005, 11:14 AM   #14
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you already have idvd for the authoring app... doesn't it accept mpeg2 files, without re-encoding?

real-time dvd burners can be had for less than $100, and it's a heck of a lot quicker than waiting for a 2-hour, two-pass, vbr mpeg2 encoding job... do you have computer hardware that can handle serious encoding?

there are freeware mac apps that will rip the burned dvd back to your computer hard drive in it's native mpeg2 format; it's ready to drop right into the authoring app.

so it's an expenditure of under $100, vs. sp for ~$450... i do see your point, i personally would take the chance on sp if i had the computer hardware for it, because i do this full-time for a living... just add it to my overwhelming credit card debt, lol, but ymmv... if you are shooting weddings for $700 on a part-time basis, sp is way overkill.
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Old December 1st, 2005, 01:50 PM   #15
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Actually, I do only high-end, all-inclusive weddings, which is why I'm really searching for better quality on the DVD side. I also own and operate an advertising and marketing agency (primary business), and I'm thinking that SP might be more handy down the road for that as well.

Thanks for all your help and ideas, though!
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