Which Authoring Program?

neumannu47

New member
The age-old question is back. Which DVD authoring program are you using that you like? I have tried Ulead (missing some essential features; requires another program to create custom templates that are not based on existing templates), NTI DVD Maker (what the heck does this program do?), Nero 6.6 (heard bad things about it, haven't spent a lot of time), DVDAuthor (too expensive plus some other problems I don't remember), and Nero 7 (reports of too many bugs, scared to install.) I've tried a couple of others. The freebies have so far been too complicated for my simple mind.

Please post recommendations for authoring programs Keep it simple. You lose me after two or three routines with two or three different programs just to author a DVD. I want something as simple as VRD.
 

wwjd

New member
If DVDAuthor is too expensive for you then you might as well stop looking right now.

One suggestion would be DVD Lab Pro, it is an authoring app that has lots of menu creation features. I do not personally use it but I have seen many posts about it and it is well liked. An excellent site for getting lots of information on software is videohelp.com. Go to the 'tools' section and search away. The software apps are rated and have all of the reviews.

I personally use TMPGenc DVD Author and Ulead Video Studio 8. It just depends on what I am working on. I use menus but basic is just fine for me. I have done so many that now all I want is functional. Ulead VS8 is an all in one that is one of the cheaper and better ones.

Stay away from bloatware like Nero Vision Express.

If you want simple, rock solid can't go wrong with decent menu creation then TMPGenc DVD Author is the way to go.
 

Lester Burnham

New member
wwjd said:
If DVDAuthor is too expensive for you then you might as well stop looking right now.
Rubbish.

There's plenty of completely acceptable, usable, and even comprehensive freeware authoring tools (most normally front the FREEWARE dvdauthor (command-line tool).

I've never yet paid for a DVD authoring package, and I do plenty of DVD authoring, and it doesn't require the technical expertise of a steely-eyed-missile-man.

wwjd said:
Stay away from bloatware like Nero Vision Express.
Thing is, though, many DVD burner owners may well have the nero suite, gratis with product.

And whilst it's not perfect, it's perfectly acceptable for authoring disks.
 

wwjd

New member
Lester,

I did not say that there were not good and acceptable software apps(authoring) that are free and or fairly cheap. Please read the post more carefully. I was responding to neumannu47's comment "I have tried Ulead (missing some essential features; requires another program to create custom templates that are not based on existing templates)," Ulead has a pretty good assortment of templates, if he is not happy with that software app, then theres a reasonably good chance he will not be happy with apps that are free or cheap.

I use and have used lots of freeware apps. but many freeware apps are incomplete or require a skill level that some do not possess, such as command line apps. neumannu47 was looking for simple.

As far as Nero Vision Express I stand by what I said, I would not use it even if it were free. It has a poor to nearly worthless mpeg encoder. I will and do on occasion use Nero Express to burn but that is about it.

Free is a nice goal but it just depends on what your willing to put up with. VRD is a good example, there are freeware apps around that do frame accurate mpeg cutting but they either have poor GUI's or lock up ect... so $50 for VRD is worth it.
 

Lester Burnham

New member
wwjd said:
Lester,

I did not say that there were not good and acceptable software apps(authoring) that are free and or fairly cheap. Please read the post more carefully.
Eh?

I did, I was specifically (and quoted, I might add) responding to your comment:-

wwjd said:
If DVDAuthor is too expensive for you then you might as well stop looking right now.
wwjd said:
I was responding to neumannu47's comment "I have tried Ulead (missing some essential features; requires another program to create custom templates that are not based on existing templates)," Ulead has a pretty good assortment of templates, if he is not happy with that software app, then theres a reasonably good chance he will not be happy with apps that are free or cheap.
Hang on a minute - your posting had no context - I specifically mentioned which comment of yours I was replying to - see above - which quite patently is rubbish. Specifically, just because DVDAuthor (presumably TDA) is too expensive, there's no reason for the OP to stop looking, now.

wwjd said:
I use and have used lots of freeware apps. but many freeware apps are incomplete or require a skill level that some do not possess, such as command line apps. neumannu47 was looking for simple.
The merit and suitability and skill level required by freeware apps aside, a minute - I specifically gave context as to what my comments referred to. And suggesting that if TDA is too expensive, then all is lost, is just plain bunk.

wwjd said:
As far as Nero Vision Express I stand by what I said, I would not use it even if it were free. It has a poor to nearly worthless mpeg encoder.
Why would it even be NECESSARY to rely on it's mpeg encoder, if authoring? I don't re-encode anything I author - that would be an entirely wasteful process, unless your input is not compliant - and in many cases you could use DVDpatcher prior to authoring to work around that if required.

wwjd said:
Free is a nice goal but it just depends on what your willing to put up with. VRD is a good example, there are freeware apps around that do frame accurate mpeg cutting but they either have poor GUI's or lock up ect... so $50 for VRD is worth it.
Actually, I struggled to find an freeware editor that did frame accurate cutting. I found many good ones that did gop level editing, most, tend to require demuxed input.

My MAIN reason for selecting VideoReDo was frame accurate, and reliable.
 
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wwjd

New member
We are really off on the wrong foot here.

First off, DVDAuthor IS freeware, DVDAuthor is NOT TDA. They are different apps. Maybe neumannu47 meant TDA but I took it to mean literally DVDAuthor.

I will say it again, hopefully more clearly, I have no issue with free or cheap authoring software, none at all! I was just responding to neumannu47's comment regarding Ulead not having many templates. I was trying to help based on what he stated/asked for. Suggesting software with even fewer templates did not seem like the right thing to do.

What do you mean no context???? What do you think is in quotes?????? Sorry, but I do not know how to cut and paste as well as you, that is not a slam it is a statement of fact, but I DID include neumannu47's quote for the purpose of context.

I mentioned the mpeg encoder in NVE just in case neumannu47 was going to use it for mpeg encoding and or that his definition of authoring may not be the same as mine or yours.

My hope is that this, my last post for this thread, makes things a bit clearer for all. My desire was to help.
 

Lester Burnham

New member
wwjd said:
We are really off on the wrong foot here.

First off, DVDAuthor IS freeware, DVDAuthor is NOT TDA. They are different apps. Maybe neumannu47 meant TDA but I took it to mean literally DVDAuthor.
DVDauthor, with DVD capitalised, refers to TDA. Another BIG tell would be the reference to the cost.

dvdauthor, all lower case, refers to the freeware, command-line dvdauthor. This is because it is a Windows compiled version of a UNIX command-line utility, and UNIX is case sensitive about filesystem paths and filenames.

wwjd said:
I will say it again, hopefully more clearly, I have no issue with free or cheap authoring software, none at all! I was just responding to neumannu47's comment regarding Ulead not having many templates.
And my comments that you were responding to, were specifically regarding your comments about all hope being lost if TDA is too expensive. And I quoted what I was responding to, to give context.

wwjd said:
I was trying to help based on what he stated/asked for. Suggesting software with even fewer templates did not seem like the right thing to do.
I wasn't necessarily suggesting any products, per se - I was merely correcting your mistake about there being no hope if TDA was too expensive.

wwjd said:
What do you mean no context???? What do you think is in quotes?????? Sorry, but I do not know how to cut and paste as well as you, that is not a slam it is a statement of fact, but I DID include neumannu47's quote for the purpose of context.
Which you may have done, but that had little bearing on YOUR comments that I was responding to.

wwjd said:
I mentioned the mpeg encoder in NVE just in case neumannu47 was going to use it for mpeg encoding and or that his definition of authoring may not be the same as mine or yours.
Well if neumannu47 has got to re-encode, they're likely gonna have to with whatever DVD authoring package they use.

And as to the quality of encoding, well if you're going to have to re-encode, then clearly quality is NOT of highest priority.

wwjd said:
My hope is that this, my last post for this thread, makes things a bit clearer for all. My desire was to help.
As was mine. I wouldn't want inexperienced people to have the belief that if TDA is too expensive, or more than they want to pay, then all hope is lost for DVDauthoring.

Many authoring packages that get distributed with DVD burners are *adequate*. And there's many freeware packages that are more than adequate.

Whether such software will fully meet individual requirements, is clearly subjective, but DVD authoring is the one thing I haven't had to pay for software for.

In fact, and bearing in mind I do a fair amount of video processing, the only package I've had to buy has been VideoReDo - and I don't use any pirated software.
 

Anole

Moderator
too long an answer :)

neumannu47 -

All bickering aside, this question has been asked and answered on this forum a number of times.
Set your control panel to allow you to see all older posts, and take a look, or do a search.

I don't mean to be rude - it's a good question.
It's just that you'll get a lot of personal answers , all based on personal preferences.

When I first tried to do serious authoring, around a year ago, I wondered the same.
After reading around all the comments from everyone, I set a list of requirements, and tried a few products.
In the end, I settled on DVD Labs.
It seemed about the most full-featured, semi-professional product, at the time (for the money).
The user interface seemed odd.
The learning curve just to make my first disc was steep.
However, it had a very good help library, with examples, which I used to build my modest skills.

Now that I know what 5% of its feature-set I need/use, I'm sure I could go find a freebie app that does just that.
Sounds like you need to get some experience and see what sorts of things you want to put into your DVDs, too.

If one source file, no chapters, no menus, and no frills are your game, IFOedit will get you off for free.
It'll be confusing to use for the first time, and get easier with use.
Your 2nd and 3rd discs will be a breeze. ;)

You've implied you want fancy.
There will be a learning curve for that.
There is nothing that'll author your disc, as easily as VideoReDo will edit it.
(though the blokes at VRD do seem to want to make one)

I author several DVDs a week.
Some are single movies. Some are two-movie, double features.
Some are two (1 hour) TV episodes.
A few may consist of five, hour-long TV episodes, or nine half-hour shows.
Most have a simple menu with various sizes/colors of text on a graphic background.
Sometimes there are clips from the shows used to dress up the menu.
I could have moving graphics/scenes and/or music on the menu, but never felt the urge to go that far.
After all, I don't dedicate my life to each DVD.
Finally, each DVD gets printed in an Epson R200 printer.

Think about what you want and need.
If you're making home movie from your camcorder, the answer is different from recording TV shows and killing commercials.
We'll try to help.
;)
 

Lester Burnham

New member
Anole said:
You've implied you want fancy.
There will be a learning curve for that.
There is nothing that'll author your disc, as easily as VideoReDo will edit it.
(though the blokes at VRD do seem to want to make one)
Thing is, I don't buy that.

When I first tried authoring, I initially used Moviefactory - it came free with my hardware mpeg2 capture box.

It was OK, not hugely complex - I suspect (thinking about the runtimes) it probably re-encoded (v2.12).

I then tried Nerovision which I thought had some nicer features (no motion menus or animation with my version of Moviefactory). But the chapter creation was truly a pain to use (and scene detection seemed to take forever - I never did let that complete for one of my disks).

In general, I didn't really like the template format of authoring disks - but that's just me.

I tried numerous freeware apps. I eventually stuck with GUI_for_dvdauthor.

Why? Because it's very simple to use, provides some advanced and nice features (truly slick chapter creation, with animated clips for buttons, motion menus, etc...).

How difficult is it for me to author? Well once I've edited whatever I want to author, I save it as the file-type GUI_for_dvdauthor wants (ie mpg file saved as a VOB-type file from VideoReDo).

If I want any screen captures or audio / video sequences for menu backgrounds I save them during editing, and save them as elementary streams (I make sure I know the run-time of the clip).

Then I open GUI_for_dvdauthor. I then set any background or animations I want for the main menu (ie right click the background, add a bmp or jpeg, then any clips (and also set the runtime of the clip for the menu animation length)). Then I open my source file(s), and drag and drop the file(s) onto the main menu screen - during the drag and drop, I get prompted for chapter creation (ie fixed number or interval based, and whether I want clips or images).

If I want to tweak any gifmasks or image border I do it here - but in the main, I don't bother, unless it's a particular theme of DVD.

After that I decide whether I want a chapter menu - if so, I just go to that page, and drag and drop the clips on where I want (it assists you in aligning them). And any other text or buttons - ie home, or additional chapter menu pages. Obviously, repeat for any other titles.

After that, I click create DVD (and if you've got Nero installed, and GUI_for_dvdauthor configured to use it, it will do the whole shebang, here).

In reality, though, I tend to simply have it create DVD folders on my hard drive. If they are slightly oversize, I may use DVDshrink to reduce the final size and create an ISO image. Otherwise, I use Imgtool Classic (basically fronts mkisofs) that takes the folders and creates an ISO image.

Then I burn with DVDdecrypter. Although I've installed it, I've not yet burnt with IMG BURN yet.

Anole said:
I author several DVDs a week.
Some are single movies. Some are two-movie, double features.
Some are two (1 hour) TV episodes.
A few may consist of five, hour-long TV episodes, or nine half-hour shows.
Same for me - sometimes it's captured films (from digital satellite, that I want to keep), sometimes TV programs.

Anole said:
Most have a simple menu with various sizes/colors of text on a graphic background.
Sometimes there are clips from the shows used to dress up the menu.
I could have moving graphics/scenes and/or music on the menu, but never felt the urge to go that far.
It varies for me, depending on what it is - it depend on whether there's anything clearly obvious I can use as a clip or good animation. Sometimes, it's just a still background. Sometimes a still background with audio. Sometimes an edited clip.

Anole said:
Think about what you want and need.
If you're making home movie from your camcorder, the answer is different from recording TV shows and killing commercials.
We'll try to help.
;)
And I'd agree with that.

I just think there's no explicit reason for a newbie to have to buy something, necessarily. It may be the best all-round choice - given expertise, ability, and willingness to spend some time understanding some apps.

For all my video stuff, the only software product I bought was VideoReDo - and I don't regret a penny of that. It was a well-thought out decision, based on the evaluation of numerous tools (both payware and freeware). Everything else I use is freeware - why? Not because I'm in any way simply fixated on using freeware, but merely because for all my other needs (authoring, conversion, patching, fixing) freeware products / apps have fulfilled (and in many cases exceeded) my requirements.

For things like conversion / encoding, as an example, I have two options - I mainly use AutoGK, but on occasion have used avi.NET. There are others, two (like Gordian Knot) - but I have two tools that I regularly use for conversion, both freeware, both more functionality than I need, and both completely serviceable.
 
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