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Using DVDStyler to make a movie DVD

Below relates to DVDStyler version 2.7 (released 21 Feb 2014), making standard definition (SD) PAL (720x576 25fps) DVDs.

WARNING. The DVDStyler installer makes multiple attempts to get you to agree to 'adware' and other unwanted 3rd party garbage ('free trials' etc). Be especially careful, after ticking 'no', when an 'are you sure'?' type of pop-up asks 'Will you change your choice ?' (click 'continue' without thinking and you will be 'spammed' - instead you need to hit 'cancel'). It's reported that one way to avoid the 'added spam-ware' is to choose the 'portable' install package

What is DVDStyler ?

Open Source DVD 'author' software capable of building movie DVDs with a decent Menu structure. It also supports basic 'slide show'.

Note that slide-shows consist of 'static' photo's with selectable transitions but no 'pan and zoom'

What are it's main advantages and limitations ?

-'Project' based

On starting a new 'project' (DVD) you are asked to set some basic parameters. On real DVD's many of these values can vary by 'Title' (movie clip), especially the audio bit-rates** (which can vary 'per language' for the same video), whilst DVDStyler forces you to set a single value

**You can change the Audio 'Destination Format' on a 'per audio track' basis, but only to Copy/None, MP2, AC3, PCM (all at 48kHz). There seems to be no way to set lower bit-rates for mp2 (stereo) or higher bit rates for ac3 (5.1)


By default (auto), DVDStyler will encode Video at 8mbs. If you leave it on 'auto', DVDStyler will drop the bit rate as necessary to fit your movie onto the DVD (the bit rate is shown in the bottom right-hand-corner of the main window)

Note the two 'Minute' figures in the bottom right hand side of the main window (eg '4/80 Minutes'). These are the 'movie used time' (eg 4 minutes) and 'movie time left' (eg 80 minutes) at the current bit-rate (MB/s)

Maximum bit-rate

Most broadcast TV movies will have bit rates from 3 mbs to 5 mbs. Commercial DVD movies are typically 5mbs to 7.5mbs (checking a typical Movie at random showed 4.5mbs Video + 5 languages for an overall total of approx 6.4mbs). 'Web TV' is typically (way) less than 2.5mbs

The maximum selectable Video bit-rate (in DVD, Properties window) is 8mbs. Choosing 'Custom' allows you to enter whatever bit rate you like, however when you close the Properties window anything over 9 mbs is reduced to 9 mbs.

Tests at total bit-rates over 9 mbs result in multiple 'buffer under-runs' during DVD generation, and, although 'Generation successful' is reported, on play-back the audio 'jumps' during high complexity parts of the movieNote that the Audio bit-rate is 'in addition' to the Video (so 8 mbs Video plus 1x PCM Audio track at 1.411 mbs means the DVD overall bit-rate will be 9.411 mbs and you will get buffer under-runs)

To avoid audio 'jumps', keep the total bit rate (Video + Audio) under 9 mbs


You can delete the sound track that was 'imported' with your video clip (set 'Destination Format' = 'none') and add a replacement track (.mpa, .mp2, .mp3, .m4a, .ac3, .dts, .pcm, .lpcm, .wav).

You have to select one of the supported DVD Audio standard 'Destination Formats'. Unless you choose 'Copy' the Audio will be converted into one of MP2, AC3** or PCM at 48kHz (DVDStyler only allows 48kHz***)

**If you select AC3 as the 'Destination Format', you have the option of setting this to 5.1***Adding 44.1kHz PCM in a .wav 'container' using 'Copy' results in a DVD with a silent sound track

+Multi-audio track support

It is possible to add additional 'language' sound tracks in different 'Formats' to a Title (the additional tracks are correctly added to the video on the DVD)

During playback, selection of Audio track can be made via a dedicated Menu button (see Menu 'button' Properties). Note that the easiest way to create a new button is to 'Copy' and 'Paste' an existing one (and then change it's properties). By default, 3 audio tracks are supported

Dolby Pro Logic II

There is no easy way to add a 44.1kHz PCM DPLII track without risking it being trashed by the '48kHz conversion'

'.pcm' and '.lpcm' are not containers supported by Audacity (or FFmpeg) and adding 44.1kHz DPLII as PCM in a .wav container (and setting the 'copy' option) just results in silence

To add DPLII, it must be generated at 48kHz (16bit signed big endian, 1,536kbs, PCM) in a .wav container. You then import it and allow DVDStyler to 'convert' that it to Destination Format = 'PCM (48kHz)' - this should result in the PCM being extracted from the .wav container without any changes


Subtitles can be added to a movie Title (.sub, .srt, .ssa, .smi, .rt, .txt, .aqt, .jss, .js, .asi).

No doubt these can be selected as 'on' or 'off' via the Menu button properties

+Menu options

The 'function' of each button is defined by it's properties. This can be almost anything, including 'jump to (defined) menu page', 'play title', 'play with alternate audio' etc etc.

By default, the 'Main' menu offers 'Play all' and 'Select Title' (= go to Title menu page) buttons. It's quite possible to 'copy' and 'paste' buttons and drag them to where you want them. For example, the 'Play All' button could be copied and rename to 'Play all with Audio Track 2' (with a suitable change in it's Properties to select Audio track 2)The 'Select Title' button links to the default 'Title' page, where between 3 and 9 'Titles' are shown as 'thumbnails' (you can select the 'thumbnail' to within .001s), clicking on the thumbnail will start playing that Title

Various 'templates' are offered for the Menu. Since it's very easy to replace the Menu 'background' image with you own photo or a mini-video clip, I suggest you choose a Menu 'template' on the basis of the number of 'Title' buttons you need (rather than pay any attention to the background image 'category' :-) )

If you stick to a static photo, you can add an Audio clip to be played when that Menu page is shown (there is no way to add additional 'language' audio tracks for a menu page).

You can add a 'Chapter' Menu page to a Title (making a 'Titleset').


Support for Chapters' is first rate. You have total flexibility of where to place the Chapter 'marks' to within .001s (i.e. to within 'frame accuracy')

-Photo slide-show

Slide show support is basic, but better than nothing (and simpler to use than Windows Movie Maker). You get static photos (no pan / zoom) with identical display times (although individual transitions are supported). A set of photos is treated like a 'Title' menu.

After importing your photo's, you click the Title 'properties' to open a window showing thumbnails, and can set :-a single display 'Duration' that applies to all photos in that 'Title'a 'default' transition that applies to all the photos that are set to 'default' (double click on a photo, or use the 'tool' icon, to set an individual photo's non-default transition)Note. The transition 'time' is set (for the entire DVD) in the Configuration pull down menu, Settings option, Interface tab. By default, this is 1s.In the same properties window you can add a (single) Audio file to accompany that 'Title' slide-show, however there is no obvious way to add additional 'Language' audio tracks.Also 'missing' is any way to add subtitles to your slide-show (of course there is nothing to stop you using a photo edit package to 'burn in' sub-titles before adding your photos to the DVDStyler)

When selecting multiple photos, they are imported (and will be 'played') in file name order. It is not possible to change the order after importing, however you can delete individual photos.

When you add a photo (using the '+' icon) it will always be added to the end of the current 'set' (and not inserted before or after the currently highlighted photo thumbnail as you might expect)

Unless you like adding photos one at a time, you need to pre-set photo names to the required display order :-)

Photos will be 'converted' into video frames. Because mpeg2 is reasonably efficient at encoding 'no change', 100 photos at 6 seconds each does not 'use up' 600 seconds (10 minutes) of DVD 'space' = instead it will use approx 2.5 minutes (100 photos at 60 seconds each (100 mins) will 'use up' about 24 mins of DVD space)

No doubt the time 'used up' could be cut down by changing the 'key frame' interval of the DVD mpeg encoding, however there is no obvious way to do this

Note that the slide-show time is taken off the 'movie time remaining' (second 'Minutes' figure, bottom right of the main window) and not added to the 'movie used time' (first figure)

Clicking 'Next >>' will take you to my 'HD Video issues' page.

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