Is there a Demo version of DVD Producer?
Im looking at upgrading from Reel DVD to DVD Producer, but i can't seem to find any demo links to DVD Producer.
Does anybody know of one, and maybe point me in the right direction.
I don't know of a demo of Producer, but I have used DVD Producer for about a year. The new Sonic DVDit 6 Pro is a lot like Producer. It just has a more refined interface, but it is basically the same thing accept for the property area. In Producer, F3 will bring up a bar that you can use to setup links, overlay colors, etc. In DVDit 6 Pro a property inspector, somewhat like that of Apple's DVD Studio Pro, or Adobe's Encore DVD exists. It's a contextual inspector, and helps refine the items you will work with, such as overlays, and so on.
I also have used ReelDVD as of lately, and I think you'd like Producer over ReelDVD. Adobe Encore DVD is a lot like Producer and DVDit 6 Pro. They are all pretty close to each other. I think DVDIt 6 Pro has the better interface, but Encore DVD has great interaction with Adobe's other applications, which make it a nice choice.
DVDit 6 Pro has a version of eDVD that comes with it, so ROM enhancements are extremely good. There a couple minor bugs to be worked out of DVDit 6 as of right now, but those will be dealt with as a patch, and is soon on the way. So if Producer is of interest, I'd suggest skipping it, and going with DVDit 6 pro. In either application, you have access to all the audio streams, and all the subtitle streams. They both build DVDs with what looks like the same abstraction layer. Both have similiar limitations, except DVDit 6 can use the same kind of menus common to Producer, and it also features the same kind of menu object flexibility found in DVDit version 5.2. It also features a very good on-the-fly menu building feature with text, and button making within its menu tab. A few templates are also provided, which Producer lacks, but are common in DVDit past versions.
I'd almost say, forget Producer, and ReelDVD and move over to DVDit 6.
Here are a few screen shots of it in action.
Im not too familiar with DVDit...and iwould say that was my own fault as i was looking at more expensive software with more capablilities.
I have Encore and use it quite ofter, however i used it on a very large dual layered project and it was a nightmare. Linking to buttons using the Propeties window (specifiy other command) proved to be its biggest down fall, as it would link to incorrect buttons. The job took longer than expected to complete, and made me look silly.
Anyway.....im looking to get away from encore and had looked at DVD Lab. It looks the goods (however i have not downloaded a demo yet), but its user interface looks complicated.
I had heard producer was on par with it, and having reel DVD already thought that a more expensive product would be more reliable and in the end, easier to get jobs with, rather than software that is around a few hundres dollars.
I will look into what you have said though and look for a demo.
First, whom ever said DVDLab Pro is simply on par with Sonic Producer didn't know what he or she is talking about. DVDLab Pro is FAR ahead of Producer. DVDLab Pro is closer to Sonic's Scenarist, than anything else on the market today. It can be complicated, because many of the functions for formatting various kinds of media are not included directly into DVDLab Pro.
As an example, DVDLab Pro cannot write to DLT tape at all. Adobe Encore, and Sonic DVDit, as well as Producer can. DVDLab Pro doesn't do a good job formatting a DVD-R either. Instead, people use CopyToDVD in conjunction with DVDLab Pro to write to DVD-R for DVD-5 projects, and commonly use Gear Pro Mastering Edition to write to Double Layer DVD+R or DLT tape.
So why use DVDLab Pro if it needs all this help? Simply put, DVDLab Pro is simply the most OUTSTANDING DVD authoring application there is even at 5 times the price. It's by far the best value I have ever seen. DVDLab Pro is worth you buying Gear for $399, and CopyToDVD for $29, as well as either the TMPGEnc encoder and the CinemaCraft basic encoder. Why buy two encoders? Simply put, the TMPGEnc encoder snaps right into DVDLab, allowing you to take any PCM audio, and convert it to AC3 right in DVDlab Pro. CinemaCraft basic, and the TMPGEnc encoder are in the $59 and $79 range, and worth every penny. They also work with Avid or Premiere Pro, giving you excellent encoding for a low price.
DVDit 6 Pro, Encore DVD, and Producer do not give you ANY scripting capabilities. DVDLab Pro gives you access to the pre- and post commands of the PGCs. Nothing, not even DVD Studio Pro does that. Though DVD Studio Pro does have it's own scripting language, DVDLab Pro's capabilities are far and away more powerful, and feature rich.
DVDLab Pro takes much more understanding to master, because you will need not only to master DVDLab, but the other applications as well, such as Gear, if you plan to create DVD-9s and write to DLT tape.
If you really don't like Encore, I don't think you'll find what you are looking for in Producer. It's much the same with a different interface. Menus in Encore DVD are easier to work with once you have the strange process down, where as Producer uses a more standard method of building menus, which I happen to like better.
Apple's DVD Studio Pro is a good step up if you have a Mac, and a good step up from DVD Studio Pro is DVDLab Pro on the PC. You give up ease, but gain control. Lots of control.
I will say this. Producer is reliable. It's a great engine by Sonic, and its been around for a long time. Most of the applications in the $500 dollar range are in some way, based on Producer. That is why they are all so similar in feature and price. What Sonic needs to do, and I am sure they are sick to death of me saying this, is create a more advanced authoring application. Sonic licensed out the DVDit engine and so many applications are based on it, that it almost doesn't matter whos you buy. Same thing, different package, and so as much as I love the Sonic guys because they do outstanding work, I also have to tell you, that this switching around is not going to get you anywhere.
It really looks like this:
- Encore DVD, DVDit, and Producer = same app different package.
- DVD Studio Pro is closer to a serious pro application, but lacks control over where things go in the DVD, and the abstraction layer is so massive, it can bog down the DVD. However, DVD Studio Pro is an outstanding application. It is both easy to use, and you can do most anything you can dream up in it.
- DVDLab Pro is abstraction layer based, but the lightest abstraction layer you'll ever see. It also gives you full access to the real spec commands that will allow you to edit the pre- and post commands, giving you outstanding control. You can also place menus in the VMG, and in one or more VTSs. You simply have more control in DVDLab, than you do in Apple's DVD Studio Pro. The drawback is, you need third party applications to make it a whole package.
What many do is buy a Macintosh, and run DVD Studio Pro on it. It's that good of an application. It has a large user-base, offers an abstraction layer based scripting language, which is pretty simple to master, and quite powerful. It makes it a very good, all around application. It's tough to beat, but I actually like DVDLab Pro better.
If you'd like to see some of the interactive things you can accomplish with scripting inside DVD Studio Pro, click on my image in the forum index, and read some of the DVD Studio Pro tutorials I have posted here on Cow. You will immediately realize how much more powerful it is than Encore DVD.
Hope that helps you.
Thank you so much for your advice. It has saved me alot of time.
I currently run a small business producing DVDs and have done for over 4 yrs now. I am and my business is ready to move into a higher end auhtoring package to keep up with the advanced requests that are coming through, and hope to migrate to Scenarist one day. Furthermore, i want something that is rock solid.
I enjoy the interface of Encore and how it interacts with other apps, but Im just fed up, and i have read many others are two, of little bugs in it, that can make my life hell, and damage my businesses reputation. We have just won a contract with a company to produce their DVD every town months (which was the dual layer project i mentioned in the above post) and i looked pretty silly. We went into damage control to keep the contract, and i have 1 month to learn a new app.
Unfortunately, im not a Mac person and wouldn't want to learn a new OS aswell as an app.
DVDLab looks the goods then, unless there are others on the market that i am not aware of. However, being a fairly new app, wonder how many bugs are in it. I will need DLT support aswell, and will have to look into Gear's software.
Honestly, I don't know if a month will be enough time to get up to speed. Especially if you are used to Encore DVD, and not the standard way of building menus, adjusting highlights, and using the overlay concept.
The spec scripting language can easily trip someone up for a month as well. Maybe longer. You can download a demo of DVDLab Pro, and a Demo of Gear. I don't mean to scare you, but it is a lot to learn in a short amount of time, and I myself like to take baby steps when I switch into things. I played around with DVDLab Pro for over a year before I started to really use it. And I already knew most of the spec commands by heart before I got started on it.
Buying Apple's DVD Studio Pro is not as hard as it sounds. Learning a new OS, isn't really that much needed either. Sure you need to know a few basics, but I have to say that if learning a new OS, basically, scares you, then learning the spec language of DVD authoring ought to be terrifying. I wouldn't be so afraid to have more than one platform in your business. I regularly use a PC and a Mac to do work. It's just the way things go in this world.
At least take my advice. Download Gear, and DVD Lab Pro. Try them out, and build a typical DVD you would for a client. Start with DVD-5s, and learn the interface. Learn how to use Photoshop, overlays, and highlight zones. Make a motion menu with DVDLab Pro. Learn to use Gear for simple things. There is a 60 day trial of it. When you can speak the DVD Lab Pro language, and the Gear language, then try a DVD-9 to double layer DVD+R. Join the forum for DVDLab Pro, and get caught up with the issues surrounding DVD-9s. Run a test, side by side with your current authoring application, and when you are confident, then switch.
In short, be careful not to rush into things. Otherwise, you find yourself in a bad situation, and have no comfort or knowledge to get yourself out of it. Then you look bad in front of your client. Learn first, and then switch. DVDLab Pro is a world different from Encore DVD. You will have almost nothing that is familiar to you in that application. I mean, do you know what a VTS is? Where to place a menu; what happens when the user presses menu, or top menu? Where you need to have an asset waiting, and what kind of programming needs to be waiting there? If that doesn't make perfect sense to you, you're not ready for this immediate switch and need time.
Here is the DVDLab Pro forum:
Start reading it daily.
How many of DVD Producer's authoring features are in DVDit 6 Pro?
Sonic never ceases to amaze me as of late with their lower end
I thought pigs could fly when it was revealed that DVDit costs
more now than ReelDVD (my staple authoring app)
Hearing somebody recommend DVDit! over Producer is/was shocking imo.
I looking into using DVDLab but on thier website they state the it shouldn't be used and has not been tested for professional use?!? Makes me a little nervous but for the money its worth a shot.
[eric] "looking into using DVDLab but on thier website they state the it shouldn't be used and has not been tested for professional use?!?"
I think they are referring to their beta versions. I've been using DVD-Lab and DVD-Lab Pro professionally for years and they are solid. Alex's post above is right on.
Oscar, of DVDLab, wrote that on his web site a long time ago. You will run into people here in this forum, and elsewhere, whom have been using DVDLab Pro for quite some time. I was introduced to by a little more than 2 years ago while it was still in beta. In its current version, 1.5.3, it is a solid application.
What it is missing, as I said, is a sense of completeness. It cannot write a DLT on its own, or even a DVD-R for that matter. It does have a built in DVD-R burning function, but it is not recommended. It that sense, it is a bit odd of an application.
In reality, anyone using DVDLab in my opinion, should expect to spend a few bucks on the extras you will need. I use Gear Pro Mastering Edition, DVDLab Pro, CopyToDVD, the TMPGEnc encoder, and the CinemaCraft basic encoder all together as a sort of package to make DVDLab complete. If you add that all up, DVDLab is slightly over $800 in total. But for $800, I get a pretty serious application. DVDLab does not have a lot of the nice features something like DVD Studio Pro has. In DVD Studio Pro for example, there is a great simulator application that really helps the authoring process along. No such simulator in DVDLab. What I do is I build a VIDEO_TS folder, and test it in Sonic CinePlayer.
That's why I say it is more complicated to learn. It's for people who want a lot of control over the DVD, but don't have the money for a more expensive authoring application.
When it comes to being a complete package, DVDLab Pro isn't going to win against DVDit, Encore DVD, ReelDVD, DVD Studio Pro, or pretty much any DVD authoring application. It's missing a lot of the simple tools we have come to expect are built in. Really, what DVDLab Pro does, is make a great VIDEO_TS folder. Pretty much everything else beyond that is up to you to figure out.
Now, it's not stone-age either. It has a pretty good menu editor. Setting up the navigation of buttons for example in DVDLab Pro far exceeds DVD Studio Pro. You can see the up, down, left or right nav markers one at time, and draw the navigation quite easily. I wish DVD Studio Pro had such ease of use for navigation. In that regard it's like ReelDVD. In fact, someone who is used to ReelDVD might feel pretty much at home with DVDLab Pro. The difference is, in ReelDVD, you are always working in a single VTS. In DVDLab Pro, you have up to 99 VTSs. You can add a menu to any of them, and add a menu and/or a start movie to the VMG. You can add all your menus to the VMG, or place them pretty much where ever. You can make a motion menu with a delayed overlay by splitting the menu into two cells. In ReelDVD, if you wanted to do this, you'd have to place one movie after another, and you'd see a slight pause. Not in DVDLab Pro. It's seamless, because it is a single PGC divided into two cells.
Perhaps the best way to really see what it offers is just to start using it. Built a test DVD, and see what you think. No doubt you will feel a little lost for a while. You wont find a lot of support beyond their forums. No books on the digital shelves of Amazon. It's pretty much a home grown application. If that scares you, and I certainly can understand why it would, then I would move on over to Producer or DVDit if you really want to get away from Encore DVD. Both will make a pretty solid DVD for you.
I'd like to see Sonic add more advanced functions into DVDit 6 Pro though. I like the concepts they are building into it. It's got a lot of hope going for it. I'd be willing to work with them to build a register-based flagging system to give it a little interactivity. That is to say, a way to mark a track or menu, as having been there, so you can program a little beyond what the interface offers. There are lots of simple things that could be done to really set DVDit above the current crop of $499 authoring applications. They nailed the interface, but now they need to nail the engine as well. It's darn close, but needs a little more work. If you are building DVDs for events, such as weddings, etc, DVDit is already more than enough. If you were to build a DVD with say seven language tracks, they'd I say you need something else. Even though it supports all the audio streams, and subtitle streams, it doesn't yet have a robust enough ability to setup audio and subtitle streams via the use of a setup menu the way I can in DVDLab or Apple's DVD Studio Pro. It's functions like these that set DVDLab and DVD Studio Pro above so many of the other applications on the market.
In either DVD Studio Pro or DVDLab Pro, I can easily build a DVD that functions exactly like those you see from a typical Hollywood production. DVDLab Pro however, will have the better abstraction layer, and I will have the control I want to place items where they should be, where as DVD Studio Pro I will have limited choices.
It's all there and then some for the new DVDit. You can use exactly the same kind of menus, made from background and overlays, or you can use the same methods used in prior versions of DVDit. They have a built in menu editor for a new menu tab, which allows you to add and create menus on the fly.
Like producer, you have all the audio and subtitle streams. You also have a subtitle editor. You have a playlist function as well. It is pretty much producer. You can add DVD-ROM, and it comes with eDVD, so in that respect, it goes beyond what Producer does out of the box.