No more coasters…now I need software
Well, the conversion of my Sony DRU-120A to use the Ricoh MP2125 firmware has been an incredible success. Been great to burn DVDs without creating coasters and artifacts. Not sure whether it was the firmware burn or the use of SiS IDE drivers.
But now MyDVD bundled with the Sony has given up the ghost with an obscure could not complete, error due to end of file (DVDErr, -16072) so I need a good authoring tool.
The search is on again for good DVD software. It is a little maddening how hard it is to find a good review site for this. Certainly, C|Net and PC Magazine are not. I'm surprised that there isn't a personal web site that ranks higher with google. The workflow for these applications is actually pretty terrible. Here is how I do it now:
# Novasoft Video Explosion (nee SonicFoundry). this is a very nice video capture and editing tool. Let's you suck via Firewire and is very good at doing transitions, fixing sound and music. Pretty intuitive. Where it falls down is that it doesn't do DVD authoring and its actually output scheme just pushes out a constant bit rate DVD, so it is not that efficient on disk. So, I normally just have it produce an uncompressed AVI file for further processing.
# Tmplenc. This is a AVI to MPEG2 encoder. It has super detailed control over the compression actually used. Haven't gotten it to work quite yet, but you use it to take the AVI that Video Explosion generates and turn it into a good tight MPEG2 audio and video
# DVD-Labs. Use this to actually create the menus, transitions, etc. Use it to generate the actual DVD layout on your hard disk.
# Ahead Nero. This generates the actual DVD with the right compatibility bits set. If you don't need that, then DVD Labs does a good job.
Wow...that's complicated. Nice to have one package that bundles all of this. So, I have the most hope for Nero Ultra. Downloading that now. In the mean time, here are some reviews to look at:
* 267 results for Video editors - CNET Reviews. Sorting this list by most recent reviews seems to be the right way to look at this list.
* "Nero 6.0 Ultra Edition":http://reviews.cnet.com/Nero_6_0_Ultra_Edition/4505-3514_7-30422553.html?tag=pdtl-list. Prerelease review, but they seemed to really like it. Will need to givel this a try.
* "Ulead MediaStudio Pro 7.0":http://reviews.cnet.com/Ulead_MediaStudio_Pro_7_0/4505-3514_7-21002895.html?tag=pdtl-list. This ones also is just released. No user reviews yet though. I tried the previous Ulead VideoStudio and it is much harder than the SonicFoundry (aka NovaLogic Video Explosion) that I use now. It uses DVD MovieFactory which I've used and found way too simple. There is no way to really format the DVD menu.
* "DVDLab":http://www.mediachance.com/dvdlab/ which they are raving about as the best burning solution by some of the techies. Interesting to try rather than the various shovelware that seems to exist. Wow, this is a nice program for creating menus (at last). Also a nice interface overall. It is super picky about audio formats though. It won't automatically suck in a MPEG3 file at least that I've found. Also, it doesn't know how to set the DVD-ROM compatibility bit, so you need to use Nero to actually burn
Here are some forums that seem to come up that might be helpful:
* "DVDRHelp":http://www.dvdrhelp.com/. Seems like quite a few folks who understand how to burn live here.
* "MMBForums.com":http://mmbforums.com. Seems like the geeks live here.