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Old February 12th, 2003, 11:01 PM   #1
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Why is there such a lack of good DVD programs and reviews?

I have been looking for a good DVD authoring program and have found nothing. There wasn't much on this site, wasn't much when I searched Google, and certainly wasn't much on any manufactures' sites. All I want is some good DVD authoring software that gives me control over what I am doing. I was looking at Pinnacle Impression DVD-Pro (http://www.pinnaclesys.com/ProductPa...64&Langue_ID=7) but couldn't find a single review or user account of the software. It looks good but I can't just put out the money to buy it and then decide it isn't what I want. Anyone got any reviews/good programs/suggestions? I am not asking for a 2 page review, just a couple sentences saying what you liked/disliked. Hope you can help.

PS - price limit is about 400 to 500 dollas

Thanks!
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Old February 13th, 2003, 01:32 AM   #2
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You're asking a very good question. I was in a similar situation just a couple of weeks ago. I hold the same concerns with regards to a lack of a clear cut review by a reputable DV organization. There probably are great reviews out there on the internet . . . I just haven't found them yet. (Wish there was a Consumers Report for DV software and hardware.)

Actually, I've learned the most about the different DVD authoring programs by reading lots of threads on the subject matter. Just did a search on these site and came up with at least a few threads that were helpful.

Suggested sites to visit:

This one, of course.

www.sonicfoudry.com (visit their Vegas forum bulletin board)

Plus. . . visit the forums on the product(s) you're considering purchasing. As evidenced at these forums sponsored by the companies, it seems like all DVD authoring programs have a bug or two or three or four. . . .

I finally purchased the Vegas 4.0 + DVD Architect upgrade. Unfortunately, the DVD Architect programs will not burn VCD's or SVCD's. So . . . I purchased Ulead's DVD Workshop for those tasks.

As always. . . the choice is probably just personal preference. All DVD authoring programs seems to have their pluses and minuses. Just can't get a clear answer as to which program is the best. Although. . . the best programs seem to cost the most $$$$! :(

Good luck!

Ted

P. S. Ulead's DVD Workshop seems to author great SVCD's. I haven't turned out "coaster". . . . yet! To be honest with you, though, I haven't used the DVD Architect program yet. I will be learning and using this program within the next couple of days. Will keep you posted if interested.

Ted
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Old February 13th, 2003, 01:39 AM   #3
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I've also been wondering about Impression DVD Pro myself. It seems to have so many features (8 audio streams, 32 subtitles etc.) compared to other authoring software in the same price range that it should be a lot more favoured product than it really is.

But somehow not as many people use it as you should think. There has to be some mystical reason for this, but what is it?
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Old February 13th, 2003, 01:56 AM   #4
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Here's a web page that's worth reading on this subject matter.

Just found this on the web. Found this link at www.creativecow.com

Hope it's helpful.

http://user850490.wx8.registeredsite...res/dvdfaq.asp

Ted
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Old February 13th, 2003, 02:30 AM   #5
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Ed,
Thanks for the info. I will read through that stuff you posted.

Korpijäärä,
I was thinking that same thing you were: Pinnacle Impression sounds so great, yet almost no one uses it...I wonder why..? Leads me to suspicion.

Thanks!
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Old February 13th, 2003, 04:22 AM   #6
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It could be possible that all of us have been drawn to these suspicious thoughts about Pinnacle's Impression DVD pro for no actual reason.

Maybe we all just think that this product cannot be great because nobody uses it. And because of this nobody will. But what's the truth?

I would really like to hear from someone who has _actually used_ this software for serious work.

There isn't even a trial version available, is there?
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Old February 13th, 2003, 11:48 AM   #7
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I have been playing with DVD Impression for about a 3 days now. Since I work in the technical support field for one of their distributors, Pinnacle gave me a copy (They also gave me copies of Studio 8, Commotion, and Edition--I love my job sometimes...).

As soon as I get a good feel for the software, I'll post my "impressions" *sorry! had to do it!* for everyone.

My initial feelings are that it's not very intuitive--It looks like I'll be doing some light reading of the manual this weekend.

-Phil
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Old February 13th, 2003, 01:41 PM   #8
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I'm currently using Impression Pro 2.2 but have been using Impression in various incarnations for about 2 years now.

Its a great piece of software that I would recommend to anyone who needs those extra features some of the less expensive (and more expensive thinking about it) lack (e.g motion menus, multiple angles and soundtracks. Etc.)

However its not perfect(but neither is the competition) and there are a few thinks to note:

1)It not the most straight forward piece of kit to use and although then end results look great creating DVD's with it can be quite a time consuming and labour intensive process (compared to say Ulead DVD Workshop). For example you need to use third party graphics software to create menus (I've found Photoshop, Paintshop Pro and Fireworks 4 all work). And Sub-titles are an absolute nightmare and for a big project you may find them more trouble than they are worth.

2)It is still a tiny bit buggy in my view, and once refused to burn a project i had spent hours creating for no apparent reason.

Jon
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Old February 13th, 2003, 10:05 PM   #9
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<<<-- Originally posted by TMSpindle :
2)It is still a tiny bit buggy in my view, and once refused to burn a project i had spent hours creating for no apparent reason. -->>>

Jon,
I have noticed this exact same problem in many different DVD authoring programs. Sonic DVDit PE and Ulead DVD Workshop both did that to me. I created a project, and then everytime I tried to actually burn it it gave me some error message. I don't know what is going on with these programs.

As far as labor intensive goes and if there is a learning curve, thats fine with me. I learn software pretty easy and am willing to work for a good end result. I just want to be able to customize my menus, buttons, features, etc. It seems to be hard to find.
Thanks!
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Old February 14th, 2003, 03:48 AM   #10
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<<<-- Originally posted by TMSpindle :
And Sub-titles are an absolute nightmare and for a big project you may find them more trouble than they are worth.
Jon -->>>

I know that Impresssion doesn't have an internal subtitle editor. Instead you have to make the subtitles with an external graphics program, one by one. And I guess you then have to add the in and out time points to each subtitle separately.

Is this how it works? Or is there something else that you have to do? Do the subtitles actually work on a set top player?

What about title/menu end actions? Do you have an option to select what happens after a title has been played? I mean, can you freely define which title or menu is displayed next?
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Old February 14th, 2003, 05:13 AM   #11
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<<<-- Originally posted by Korpijäärä :
I know that Impresssion doesn't have an internal subtitle editor. Instead you have to make the subtitles with an external graphics program, one by one. And I guess you then have to add the in and out time points to each subtitle separately.

Is this how it works? Or is there something else that you have to do? Do the subtitles actually work on a set top player? -->>>

I have not had much call to use sub-titles and the complex process involved in creating them has put me off using them when I don't really need to. I have not personally tried sub-titles on a set top box but according to all the information I have Impression sub-titles do display on Set-top boxes.

To create sub-titles you need to create each subtitle as an individual .bmp image with an external graphics application (MS Paint will even do this). You then need to create a log with a text editor (Notepad etc.) which tells the disk when to display each sub-title.

You can download a PDF version of the Impressions manual from the Pinnacle Website ( www.pinnaclesys.com ) support section, this will explain this process in more detail if you need it. In fact I'd recommend having a look at the manual before parting with any cash.

<<<-- Originally posted by Korpijäärä :
What about title/menu end actions? Do you have an option to select what happens after a title has been played? I mean, can you freely define which title or menu is displayed next? -->>>

At the end of each titles you have the option to display the next item or menu in the time-line, loop back to start of that title or to jump to any other menu or title of your choice.

Impression is not perfect, but in my view is the best of a bad bunch. It is not however suitable for anyone who wants to create simple DVD's very quickly, even a simple project taking quite a bit of work and time.

Hope this helps.

Jon
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Old February 14th, 2003, 05:48 AM   #12
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<<<-- Originally posted by TMSpindle :
Hope this helps.
Jon -->>>

Thanks, it really does. I now have almost all the most important things answered considering Impression and my needs.

I don't mind the heavy work process, because the next considerable program with multiple subtitles and audio streams is ReelDVD, which lies totally in another price range. I could work a while for the price difference...

I've heard rumors that DVD titles authored with Impression DVD Pro have quite often some incompatibility problems on set-eop players. I wonder if this is true?
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Old February 14th, 2003, 05:53 AM   #13
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<<<-- Originally posted by TMSpindle :
You then need to create a log with a text editor (Notepad etc.) which tells the disk when to display each sub-title.
Jon -->>>

I recall seeing a freeware program that can be used to make this txt file. You can preview the video clip and define in and out points quite easily with a constant delay (eg. 3 seconds each).

I wish I' d just remember the name of the program...
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Old February 14th, 2003, 07:39 AM   #14
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<<<-- Originally posted by Korpijäärä :

I've heard rumors that DVD titles authored with Impression DVD Pro have quite often some incompatibility problems on set-top players. I wonder if this is true? -->>>

I have had no problems but to be honest the stuff i produce is only really played on a small number of set top boxes.

I have always been curious why Impression is not more popular and one reason for this may be that it has problems I have fortunatly not encountered.

If you want to play it safe I know www.planetdv.net are selling Impression SE (cut down version that does not do subtitles or motion menus) for £30 (Uk ponds) + VAT. Might be worth buying this from them to check out any compatability isssues you many have before you get the full version.

And...

If you remember the name of that Software please let me know

Jon
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Old February 17th, 2003, 12:32 AM   #15
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Here's a freeware tool for creating DVD subtitles.

It seems to handle e.g. Sonic subititle format which (by the Pinnacle manual) can be imported to the Impression DVD Pro.

I don't know if you still have to make the subitles in an external graphics application, and just use this tool to adjust the timing.

Someone with Impression DVD Pro could give it a try and inform us all.

http://www.freedownloadscenter.com/Reviews/r468.html
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