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DVD Authoring! What is best?

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Bob KarsnerDVD Authoring! What is best?
by on Sep 13, 2007 at 3:02:34 pm

I am currently using Media100 HDe suite and have been using iDVD for basic creation of some DVDs. I am wanting to improve the quality of my DVDs and need to know what is the standard DVD authoring software for Macs using the Media100. I have very briefly researched DVD studio pro and that seems to be hard to find unless I purchase FCP.

I am also running into issues with some clients when they play my DVDs. The audio becomes unsynced from the video and the signal sometimes jumps or stutters... any suggestions as to why this might be happening? My guess is they are using players that are not compatible with DVD-R or they are running the audio through an external sound system that is delaying the audio signal.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks
Bob



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AjmetzRe: DVD Authoring! What is best?
by on Sep 13, 2007 at 4:54:50 pm

Hi, no first hand experience at DVD authoring myself, but from reading around, I'm guessing the following, which isn't as good as first hand knowledge, but may tide you over till someone else replies:


For simple client approvals, just get a VCR that can record DVD-Rs from the outputs on your break out box.

For small scale runs, use BitVice to encode, and DVD Studio Pro to make the menus. Ask Keiran about that - he knows all the right settings, etc, for M100 files.

For uber professional authoring, track down ye olde copies of Spruce DVD Maestro, or use a company that has Sonic Scenarist.

Adobe Encore has been the PC equivalent to DVD Studio Pro for a few years, and is now available for Mac. I'm not sure how it compares.



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Kieran MatthewRe: DVD Authoring! What is best?
by on Sep 13, 2007 at 6:48:46 pm

Hi Bob,

There are many factors that influence DVD compatibility. The DVD player itself, as you mention, can have problems with DVD-R, but the main problems are down to the make of media you use, and the bitrates you encode at.

Most DVD authors will swear by a pparticular brand of DVD-R. I settled on one and have made DVDs for years with no issues - I recently was forced to use a different brand, and hey presto I had an issue with a disc. It is all probably superstition, but you tend to get a bit that way when computers are involved!

The Bitrate issue is a big one. I haven't used it for a while but iDVD used to set its encoder to the highest rates it could. Bit rates need to be managed or they can exceed what the machine you are playing on can handle resulting in stutters and other issues.

Audio is also a problem as you should encode to AC3 to avoid the bitrate overheads of PCM sound. When I used it iDVD didn't encode the audio, though that may have changed.

In my opinion DVD Studio Pro is a must for DVD creation on a Mac. FCS2 is a bargain for what you get in the box and remember, FCP can also run on your Media 100 HDe hardware, so it is a good investment. Once you use DVDSP you won't want to go back to iDVD.

As you are using a HDe you can utilise the multi-codec support to create files that get around the old Media 100 colourspace/gamma problems and go straight into Compressor without issue. When I was using my v8s I used Bitvice (with its Media 100i friendly "studio RGB" button) exclusively, but I'm now on a Mac Pro and Bitvice isn't universal.

Beware of older versions of compressor as they used to have real problems with variable bitrates etc and Bitvice won hands down. Now though Compressor is very fast and works fine.

Hope some of that helps!



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Bob KarsnerRe: DVD Authoring! What is best?
by on Sep 13, 2007 at 7:12:04 pm

Thanks for the input. The process I have been using is exporting my completed Media100 prpgrams out as a dv/dvcpro-NTSC file with no compression on the audio from within Media100. iDVD encodes automatically once that file is brought into the iDVD project. It does do an encoding on the audio as well.

Where can I find Compressor? Is it another program I will need if I purchase FCP?

My frustration with this process is that Media100 has not addressed the issue of DVD authoring specifically with their software. FCP has made it very user friendly to buy their product but Media100 doesn't give us all the tools to create the modern day video tape!... we still have to buy another editing suite on top of the Media100!

Thanks for the advise.

Bob





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Kieran MatthewRe: DVD Authoring! What is best?
by on Sep 13, 2007 at 7:40:51 pm

Hi Bob,

[Bob Karsner] "Where can I find Compressor? Is it another program I will need if I purchase FCP?
"


Unfortunately, yes, Compressor comes with FCS/DVDSP, but there are many other applications on the market that can encode your video from Quicktime Pro married with FFmpegX or Streamclip, through Cleaner, Episode etc etc. Also there are other DVD packages out there, even a few freeware ones.

It's a little unfair to suggest it is Media 100's fault that Apple make us buy FCS to get DVD SP, but I do agree that Media 100 could be a kick-ass end to end DVD solution, with Media 100 sorting the video, audio and subtitle assets, RED doing the menus, and a bought in third party encoder (Bitvice springs to mind!) to do the MPEG bit.

That said, Media 100 (the company and the package) has come such a long way in such a short time, from near extinction to a new product that is snapping at the heals of the majors, that who knows what the future may bring?

K


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Michael SloweRe: DVD Authoring! What is best?
by on Sep 13, 2007 at 7:53:54 pm

Bob, for what it is worth my experience has been to follow Floh's advice (and a tutor I had visit) and encode with BitVice. I export the production from the edit suite (by reference) and use BitVice to transform the .Mov file to an m2v. I use a variable bit rate and using a double pass take care not to set the average bit rate too high to avoid (as someone else pointed out) playing problems on various players.

I then use Compressor to prepare the AC3 audio file, DVD Studio Pro to build and format and finally Titanium Toast to burn the disc (Verbatim minus R 16x 4.7GB).
Never ever had a play problem on any machine with this production route and all these applications sit quite happily with my Media 100 HD version 11. The picture quality as DVD goes is pretty good but not of course, as good as tape (yet!).


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gregRe: DVD Authoring! MIchael
by on Sep 15, 2007 at 1:32:35 pm

Just a quick question Michael. I follow all the same steps as you, but I burn my DVD in DVDSP. Why do you use toast as opposed to just keeping everything in DVDSP? And how to you get your final DVDsp file into toast to burn? Thanks.


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Michael SloweRe: DVD Authoring! MIchael
by on Sep 15, 2007 at 6:25:08 pm

Greg, I was tought by a great tutor (who reads this forum!) and follow instructions slavishly. I have Toast installed with Media 100 and when I have the .img file prepared I open Toast and drag the file over and after choosing a burn speed go ahead. I don't know what the advantage is to use Toast but I use it anyway for copying DVD's as well. Since I was being taught it never occurred to me to burn in Studio Pro. Others may be able to comment on this production route.


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Kieran MatthewRe: DVD Authoring! MIchael
by on Sep 15, 2007 at 7:04:07 pm

Hi Michael & Greg,

I always create a disc image through DVDSP and use Disc Utility to burn the resulting image to disc. I use this route for a variety of reasons,

Firstly it allows me to test the image before comitting to a possible coaster. Using DVD player to test the image feels more real-world than Simulator (though I use that as well) and I find it useful to see how it looks/sounds being played as if it was a disc.

Secondly it means I can burn a copy, or more usually multiple copies without having to re-build/format through DVDSP. Indeed I often burn the discs on a different machine anyway.

Thirdly there's no chance of the master copy being a coaster due to a bad disc or a failed burn.

Perhaps these aren't really so much advantages as a workflow that just feels right to me. Perhaps I just had one too many bad experiences back in the days of iDVD and variable quality media!

K


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Michael SloweRe: DVD Authoring! MIchael
by on Sep 16, 2007 at 9:17:22 am

Yes but Keiron Toast can be used to burn multiple copies, whether direct from the .img file or from a disc already burnt. If you want a reliable original then keep the .img file somewhere in the system. We hopefully will get far better quality on DVD's when HD has been sorted out.


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Kieran MatthewRe: DVD Authoring! MIchael
by on Sep 16, 2007 at 11:08:34 am

Hi Michael,

Sorry, but I was trying to agree with you! My post was meant to reinforce that as with you, I feel that building an image and then using a third party app to burn the disc has advantages over burning in DVDSP.That's all. I apologise if my comments didn't come across that way.

I only use Disc Utility because it is built in to the OS and I don't own a copy of Toast. Though the Blu-Ray features of the new version are very tempting!

K


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Michael SloweRe: DVD Authoring! MIchael
by on Sep 16, 2007 at 6:41:04 pm

Sorry Keiran, I read your post too quickly first time!


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tankboyRe: DVD Authoring! MIchael
by on Sep 16, 2007 at 10:25:48 am

Hi Greg

I do this because toast runs a verification that I was once told was a good thing. What you do is drag the VIDEO_TS and AUDIO_TS folders from your DVDSP build into toast in data mode with DVD-ROM (UDF) selected in the advanced menu. Obviously check you've got DVD selected and the disc named and then burn.

Cheers
Tankboy


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