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Using DVDAuthor to make a movie DVD


What's DVDAuthor (& DVDAuthorGUI) ?

DVDAuthor is an Open Source 'command line' package that runs from a CMD Window (aka 'Dos Box' ). DVDAuthorGUI is the Windows 'front end' that makes it usable :-). For the full manual, see here

What are the main limitations ?

A1. DVDAuthor accepts MPEG 'Titles' (clips) only, as either separate ('elementary stream', .m2v, .m1v , .mpv) or combined audio/video ('mpeg with NAV packets', .vob, .mpg, .mpeg).

If you choose to import 'elementary' video data, it will ask you for the Audio BUT it only supports .mp2 (NOT .mp3 !) and .ac3 (Dolby, 2 / 5 channel).

So here's the first 'got you' .. whilst AC-3 may be what you will find on a movie DVD, any audio you have will most likely be .wav (and if not that, then .mp3) !

Since Audacity will only generate .wav (or .mp3) - and .wav is what Photo Story requires - in order to use DVDAuthor, you will have to perform an intermediate audio conversion using SUPER (or some other package) into AC-3.

A2. DVDAuthor uses a .m2v 'clip' for use as the Menu background. You can import a JPEG image and use that as a "still" for the Menu (DVDAuthor will convert it into 'static' .m2v). The Menu Editor function allows you to link 'buttons' (as a 'positions' in the Menu or as a BMP button) to 'Titles' but that's all.

In this respect it's a lot simpler, but slightly more tricky to get right, than the nonsense you get with DVDFlick and it's pointless 'Select Audio' menu (which offers a choice of 'English' only) or a 'Select Chapters' menu (with the legend 'There are no Chapters' :-) )

How do you create DVDAuthor compatible files ?

First convert your Photo Story .wmv(i) (or other wmv) into aspect ratio distorted 720x576 .avi using Windows Movie Maker.

In Windows Movie Maker (XP), make sure to set PAL 4:3 (or 16:9) as required in the Tools, Options, Advanced menu, then select** DV-AVI output to get .avi file.

**Note = the DV-AVI setting is hidden in the Save Movie file / My computer output wizard. After selecting the destination, click 'Show More Choices' and then the 'Other Settings ' radio button. From the pull-down menu select DV-AVI (PAL) EVERY OTHER OPTION will generate WMV format - this is the ONLY option that generates anything else.

Once you have the .avi, convert that into .mpg (mpg/mp2 or mpg/ac3) using 'SUPER' or similar (see my 'Converting video to DVD mpg' page)

For a guide to using DVDFlick, click 'Next >>' (left)

Next page :- Using DVDStyler