I blew up my main video machine. Too much crud on it. So here is the fresh installation:
# Sony Vegas Platinum. I only have v6, but it is up to v8. While Adobe Premier might work for the real afictionados it is too complicated for me. The tricky part is making anamorphic standard definition come out. You have to set it to DV NTSC Widescreen and then *uncheck* do not letter box. You then use it to produce DV format in AVI containers. These are very large. 1 hour of video is 14GB!
# "VLC":http://videolan.org. This is the best player out there that I can find. Nice thing is that include automatic codec installation and also with the Wizard, it will automatically transcode from say any format it can read to MP4 as an example. So you get media player and transcoder.
# "TMPGEnc":http://www.mediachance.com/dvdlab/dvdsc.html. Still probably the best MPEG-2 encoder out there. DVD Labs has a $12 deal with them. Main thing is that it allows variable bit rate encoding. 4Mbps for MPEG-2 is very high quality. For one hour of video, you'll need 2GB.
# "DVD-Labs":http://mediachance/dvdlab. This is the DVD titler that I use. Mainly because so much is automatic. Take the MPEG-2 from TMPGEnc and make a DVD with DVD Labs.
# Handbrake. I've used this on the Mac too, but it is the easiest way to encode DVDs or MPEG-2 into MPEG-4 (aka H.264) for playback on computers, iPhones and iPods.
# "Videora iPod Converter":http://www.videora.com/. Actually it converts any AVI file into iPhone or iPod formats that is h.264 that is correctly encoded. Typically an iPhone h.264 is about 400KB for 1 hour running at 768Kbps. If you want movie quality, 1536Kbps is what you need which you can also get with it. One confusing thing is that Videora is a completely different product that does bittorrent downloads. And there are zillion Videora Converters, but they are all the same software. One will do iPod Video up to iPhone, but they name them differently.
# "PSPVideo9":http://pspvideo9.com. The way to encode for Sony PSP and you need this because Sony has some strange naming requirements. It doesn't work just to drag an MP4 over into a MemoryStick.