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Monday, January 23, 2006
Making Professional DVD from Authoring to Replication

7. Medium Priced Commercial Products

3.2 Medium Priced Commercial Products

If you can afford couple of hundred bucks then do yourself a favor by buying some great software products. Commercial software products do save you a lot of time in many ways. First they tend to integrate the functionality of the workflow into a single application and they tend to be more stable then their free counterparts. Although this is debatable, the quality of the DVD created is usually better.

Look for the software pack that comes with your digital camcorder first. There is pretty good chance you already possess some basic software for DVD capturing, editing, and authoring. Sonic MyDVD is the most common DVD authoring software that bundles with digital camcorders.

With over hundreds of software products you can choose, it is very easy to get lost. It is my intention here to clarify the uncertainty and fit them to our workflow. It will be a big mistake to buy an editing software then find it cannot do authoring.

The software products I choose to write about are from the following companies

Premiere 1.5 Pro $699.99 Premiere 1.5 is an XP only software. You can use it for capturing, editing, and encoding. If your DVD does not have interactive menus, you can also use Premiere 1.5 Pro to burn the DVD directly from the timeline. The selling point of Premiere is its editing capability. If you can afford to have After Effect, another piece of Adobe software costs about $ 999, you can create many special effects.
Encore DVD 1.5 $349.99   Encore allows you to import AVI files as assets and then encode them. It also let you create sophisticated interactive menus and then burn the result to DVD-R or transfer it to DLT tapes. Encore can be used to authored DVD-9 -- the dual-layer media. CSS and Macrovision copy protections can be enabled.
TMPGEnc MPEG Editor $48.00   This is an editing tool for Mpeg. The source files have to be in Mpeg format or from an authored DVD. It can be used as a DVD ripping tool or Mpeg touch-up tool.  
TMPGEnc 3.0 XPress $58.00   This tool allows the import of AVI, Mpeg, and DVD vob files. The editing functions are limited to trimming and re-arranging. This is a great tool for preparing Mpeg-2 file for later authoring. The best feature is the crop filter which allows to crop the video to get rid of the un-wanted edges along the four sides of the screen.  
TMPGEnc DVD Author 1.6 $68.00   This tool adds the Authoring and Mastering functions to TMPGEnc MPEG Editor. The editing function is very limited and it lacks the nice filters found in TMPGEnc 3.0 XPress. It does allow the authoring of DVD-9 but it does not have the copy protection enabling capability.
DVD-lab PRO $199.00   This is a great authoring and well-priced tool. It can do almost everything a high-end authoring tool can. It allows the authoring of both DVD-5 and DVD-9 but lacks the copy protection enabling capability.
Video Studio Pro 9 $99.99 Don't let the coverage fool you. Yes, this tool can accomplish all the tasks of our workflow but it's just a very basic tool. The program has a DV-to-DVD Wizard, Movie Wizard, and VideoStudio Editor. This is a very easy to use tool but lacks the ability of making sophisticate interactive menus. Great tool for newbies when just want to have a plain DVD with a single video that plays from the beginning to the end.
Media Studio Pro 8 $399.99

This is a powerful video editing tool that has all the functionality of Adobe Premiere. It allows capturing, editing, and encoding all done in a single suite. There is also an audio editor built-in.

DVD Workshop 2 $395.00 A very simple to use tool that covers all elements of the workflow. The editing capability is limited trimming and re-arranging. It you need transitions and effects you still need to get Media Studio Pro 8. It does support dual-layer DVD-9 authoring and the enabling of CSS and Macrovision copy protection. You can use this tool to add subtitles too.

3.3 Advanced Solutions

If you are rich and decide not to donate some of your wealth to a nice guy such as myself, then go for the top of the line products from Sonic.  When you buy retail DVD movie such Star War chances are the DVD was not authored by free software or the medium priced software.  Sonic claims 80% of the Hollywood movies are authored by their flagship product Scenarist.  There may be some truth in such claim as Scenarist is the most advanced DVD authoring software you can have (most expensive too). Some less expensive competitions include Sony Vegas.

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