Burn to VCD or DVD? Large Project

I will be creating a video that will be mailed to several people in our area. I have a CD burner, and I could use it to make a VCD to be played in their DVD player. Or, I could purchase a DVD burner and send the project out on a DVD.

Which method is best? What about compatability? If I burn a VCD, which software is best to create a professional project? If I burn to DVD, which software is best and which media do you recommend?

If you think of any other tips, please send them along as well! The total length of the project will be less than 20 minutes and will probably have 3-4 menu items.

I want to make it as easy as possible for techies and non-techies to actually view the video. Don’t want it to end up in the trash!

Oh yeah, which DVD burner do you recommend? I noticed TDK has just released a new model that is like the multi-format Sony. I may check that one out.

If you are only creating 20-30 mins of audio and video, I would stick to VCD quality which can be burned onto std CD-R media which is very cost effective and can be played in most DVD players.

Recording onto DVD discs can produce excellent quality results, (depending on your source), far better than VCD, but the media is expensive.

Part of my work, is creating ‘show reels’ for people within the media industry. We just stick to VCD (Mpeg1) on CD-R for use via home/commercial DVD players and ‘raw’ HighDef (Mpeg1) on CD-R for use via PC’s (and PC’s connected to large external screens such as plasmas).

Nero Express has a quick and easy interface for creating VCD discs.

It’s a shame but I would stay clear of SVCD. It’s a great idea in theory but in practice many DVD players struggle with the format.

After some research, I was also leaning toward VCD, but I had some problems. I created a VCD (a test one) using Nero. It burned just fine, but when I popped the finished CD back into a computer, it wouldn’t play. I tried to play it on a few different DVD software players, but nothing happened. The CD had four folders, and one of the folders had a .DAT file that I tried to access. No player would access that file and I couldn’t get it to play at all.
I was hoping that a finished VCD would easily play both in a DVD player and in a computer. Is this not the case? Would DVD be more user friendly?

Getting a VCD to play on a PC can be difficult if you don’t know what your doing.

The .dat file you saw, does contain the video and audio data you created.

If you have a media player such as PowerDVD you might be able to get your CD-R to play upon insertion or via the players ‘Select Source’ option.

If you want play the .dat file with the WinMedia player you will have to force the player to read the file.

To do this, find the file on the CD. Right click on it. Go down to ‘open with’. ‘Choose Program’ and then select the ‘Windows Media Player’.

If you are currently using Nero’s CD Burning ROM software, you might find it easier to create your VCD’s using Nero’s Vision Express instead. As the interface is a fair bit simpler to use.

There’s no easy solution to your situation.

As, if you decide to go for DVD. You’ll most probably find that not everybody who doesn’t have a DVD player but who has a PC, has a DVD rom drive in it - I hope that makes sense!

You could however, create 2 CD versions of your creation. One CD using the VCD format for use in DVD players. And another CD (data format) for use in PC’s. And, it’s still a more cost effective option than DVD.

That’s not to say you can’t create a CD that will run on both a DVD player and a PC because you can. One way of doing so is to burn the data on it twice (as a .dat files etc and as raw .mpg files). I do, do it commercially but I don’t know of any public software that is available and at what cost.

Ok, you’re answering most of my questions very well. If I did decide to bite the bullet and go with DVD (TDK just released a multi-format recorder for about $320)
, would it be fairly idiot proof in regard to people being able to play it in a DVD player, and also, what is some good, cheap authoring software?
I’ll probably have an intro video, some testimonials and maybe a few others that could be navigated via the menu.

By the way, one reason I’m a bit frustrated is that I did create a VCD, and did get it to appear on my computer via the DVD player software… but, the menu page was not interactive. It was a static page that had the thumbnails of the various video clips you could navigate to… but, you couldn’t click them!

I’m just trying to make this as easy as possible for folks before I set out and do hours of editing and such.

Thanks again!!

I’m sure the TDK unit would be good as is the Sony version.

You’ll probably find that most DVD burners come with some sort of DVD authoring software with menu creation tools.

My DVD+R/RW (NEC 1000A) came with Nero Express (not to be confused Nero Vision Express). And very good it is too, when you burn onto decent blank media.

You are correct about the ‘non’ interactive menu capablity of VCD (when you finally get your PC to see a VCD). It’s just one of those things at the moment as all the emphasis is orientated toward DVD (Mpeg2) and not VCD (Mpeg1).

It’s a shame because Mpeg1 can be made to look every bit as good as Mpeg2, if you up the pixel size and bitrate speed to match Mpeg2. And it’s more compatible. This can be done using applications such as TMPGEnc.

I the meantime, I am trying to find out if there’s an easy way of making VCD more PC friendly.

One way is to burn a ‘VCD player.exe’ file along with your .dat files. This means that when somebody inserts a VCD disc into their PC they are greated with an option to load the player. Which self deletes after use. I think some Roxio (Easy CDCreator) products have this.

I’ll keep checking for you.

Ok, I went ahead and found a great deal on Adobe Premiere 6.5 and Pinnacle DV500DVD…
I am going to burn to VCD using the software bundle that came with the Pinnacle.

Since the menu doesn’t appear to be interactive, should it be left out? Or, will it be interactive in a DVD player?

My target now, as I’ve widdled through the questions and answers, is folks with stand alone DVD players. Will they be able to use the menu on a VCD?

I may just send 2 CD’s… one for a stand alone DVD player and another with the video files on them for playback on a PC.

Thanks again!

I am happy to report that the VCD menu will be interactive on a stand alone DVD player and will work in much the same fashion as a DVD menu does.

I created a menued (is that a word) VCD last night, with 12no files on it, using the most up to date version of NeroExpress and it worked fine.

This, latest version of NeroExpress seems to work much better than the previous version.

If it’s your intension to put video files on a second CD-R for PC users. Then I would definately create the Mpeg1 file at full frame (720x480 in the USA).

If you set the video bitrate to around 4000kbps VBR (and keep the audio at default settings) you’ll end up encoding at approx 24MB per minute. Nearly 30mins per 700MB (80min CD-R).

Good luck with Premiere. I’m a Ulead MediaPro 7 user myself. Which, if I remember correctly, you can download, as a free ‘full working’ trial from the Ulead website!