Sorry state of authoring tools
I have been searching for better DVD authoring tools for quite a while now. I am a PC user, and am actually thinking of switching to a Mac :-(
It looks like Apple's DVD Studio Pro is a full-featured, stable authoring program at a reasonable price.
The PC landscape is not so good:
Many, many low-end products that let you try to create a DVD from a template. Not even in the ballpark.
I used to use Spruce-Up, a simple program but solid and reliable. I would have liked to try some of their more advanced programs (like Maestro), but alas, Apple bought them, and will probably kill the line of PC software.
Sonic DVDit, my current software. More bugs than the state of Florida, but once you learn how to deal with them, you can create fairly decent DVD's.
Sonic ReelDVD, looks like great software, but $1500 and no DVD-9?
Ulead DVD Workshop, another low/mid package, about like DVDit plus or minus a few features.
Pinnacle Impressions, looks a lot like DVDit again, plus or minus a few features.
Looking for DVDMotion Pro, but it has disappeared from SmartDisk's web site. Anybody know anything about it?
I don't think I am asking for much, decent control over menu features, solid multiplexing of VOB's for DVD or DLT creation, scripting support like DVD Studio Pro, and support for DVD-9.
Anybody have any ideas?
What is the intended purpose of your dvd's. ReelDVD, IMO, is a great choice. You can find it for under a $1000 at several sites, its rock solid stable, fast disc compiler, relatively speedy AC3 encoder, motion menus, highly interactive menu creation is possible, templates can be created to improve/speed up work flow, etc. DVD-9 although a nice feature, I personally find little use for. It's rare that I have so much material that I find it worth the extra cost involved in creating such a title. If I have more than 2 hours of content, then I would create 2 DVD-5 discs to take care of it, and use the two-disc black containers to house the discs. DVD-9 discs are dual layer, and can only be created at a replication house via a glass master. Unless you are mass producing a disc, that can be quite expensive. DVD Studio Pro supports DVD-9, but people have had troubles with that. I would like to see more scripting abilities in ReelDVD, and hopefully down the road that will come true.
If you are doing this for personal, small business, wedding video conversion, corporate--ReelDVD would work great. If you are looking to create Hollywood titles, you need a top notch mpeg encoder and a high end dvd authoring application like Scenarist for the PC, or Fusion for the Mac. DVD Studio Pro fits somewhere in between, but of course you'd have to buy a reasonably good Mac if you don't own one along with the software. You also will need to invest in a good mpeg encoder, because the options on the Mac side of things aren't very good unless you opt for one of the expensive hardware encoders or encode on a PC a transfer the files over to the Mac.
Thanks for the reply,
My needs are fairly high-end, I have a few pretty serious workstations with various editing and encoding tools, so I don't really want to change platforms to a Mac. The type of material that I work with is primarily corporate and event work. It is not uncommon for me to have a three hour production. Although 2 DVD-5 is the option that I currently use, I would prefer to deliver on a single DVD-9. It would look better, and in the quantities that I replicate (generally 1000 plus) it would be a bit cheaper to have a DVD-9 made.
I guess my beef is that Apple's product has a MSRP of 999.00 (I must admit that I haven't actually used it, but the specs look good on paper), and seems to have more features than products like ReelDVD which lists for 1500.00
I am just hoping that some developers out there will take notice and catch up.
That's $999 plus the Mac equals ???