Which is a Good Authoring Software?

Have Nero 6 Deluxe Suite, but authoring capabilities rather poor. Have tried TMPG DVD Author, but it is no better. Is there a good one that is not expensive? I’m just looking at DVDLab, which I think expensive ($100 US = $140 CDN). It is more capable than the other two, but still some features I would like which it does not have (or perhaps I haven’t discovered them yet). I.e. placing on my burned DVDs a background image, which the player will display on the TV all the while the DVD is in the player but stopped (not the menu background).

Software recommendations? ADVthanksANCE

i have been looking for a good dvd authoring program too and i have been reconmended dvdlab because it is noob friendly, can do several things, less expensive and more stable then other programs. I think the feature that u want is impossible to make (to my very little knowladge).

i don’t know what you want from the dvd author software, but i tried nero and it seems nice.

i got a trial version of Ulead DVD Workshop 2, it is an easy interface, has many feature, but also blocked twice…

Ok, I’ll try to explain. I want to like Nero, since I paid for it and it is my prefered general purpose burning software. However, the quality I’ve obtained so far on DVD-Videos (from VHS captures) leaves something to be desired. Hard to describe, but is seems almost as though the video is jerky, but in very, very fine increments, so there aren’t any obvious jerks :confused: .

As to authoring features, NeroVision Express is simple for a beginner, but limited. For example, there is a provided set of menu templates, and that is all the menuing it can do. You can’t design your own buttons, or even the positioning of buttons. So you can’t prevent the buttons from overlaying the background image’s text. You can’t have any other type of menu except the main menu and scene selection menu. No extra features menu, etc. And, you can’t choose to have no menu. From what I’ve tried with DVDLab so far, it does seem to allow all of the above, but not some other features, such as the background image I mentioned in my first post.

Ulead: isn’t DVD Workshop their very expensive professional package? They have a less expensive consumer program (MovieFactory?). Has anyone any comments on it?

You can do you want with DVD Maestro, but if you think DVDLab is expensive, then Maestro is a no-go for you. Sonic Scenarist will also be able do it all, but again very expensive and a high learning curve even to do the basic stuff. DVDLab is simply the best of the home authoring software, check out their Pro version as well.

i agree with chicken man, dvdlab pro is the best, even better if u use DVD Menu Studio from the same company.

Okay, thanks for the recommendations. And, yes, I’m sure Maestro and Senarist would do everything that I want, and more–they are professional products and way, way beyond my budget :eek: !

I’ll play with DVD-Lab some more. I really didn’t want to spend that much money, but perhaps the trial will convince me :bigsmile: . ChickenMan, do you know whether DVD-Lab can do the background-image-while-stopped thing? Perhaps not all players support it, so I don’t know if you’ve seen it. I think it must be part of the DVD-Video specification, though.

Are you sure its not just the screen saver/image of your DVD Player kicking in ?

Hi ChickenMan. No, it’s not the player. When there is no DVD in the player, the player displays a background image that says “Sony DVD player, blah blah blah” for fifteen minutes, then the screensaver kicks in. The background image, colour, screensaver are all settable in the menus.

But, when a DVD is in the player (and stopped), it displays a background image from the movie… a different one for each DVD… until the screensaver kicks in. Some DVDs don’t have any such background image, so the player’s default image is displayed. But many DVDs do have. I just checked one, ‘Russia House’, which does–a picture of Sean Connery against a Russian backdrop, which is displayed when the DVD is stopped (not the menu).

This must be part of the DVD-Video specification. I’d sure like to know how to put it on DVDs I burn.

Hmm… so if your watching a movie, then hit the Pause or Stop button (movie now stopped) the image is shown ?

Some dvd’s have another folder other than VIDEO_TS & AUDIO_TS, they store pictures in these. I’ve never really found out what or when they are shown, my DVD Player has NEVER shown any background image other than the opening screen & screen saver, but then its just a cheap made in China unit. Does ‘Russia House’ have any other folders on the DVD ?

i’ve been messing with trial versions of dvd lab and dvd lab pro. they are nice, they have many many things that can be done, but also complicated…

for now, nero is good for me, when i become in need for professional dvd menu’s i’ll take a look on dvd lab.

Adobe Encore is very good.

ChickenMan: yes, that’s correct. And yes, that’s an approach I was thinking of too, and finally got around to bringing a DVD to my computer. Here is what I found:

In addition to the standard VIDEO_TS and AUDIO_TS folders, there is a JACKET_P folder. Sounds promising. On this particular DVD, the JACKET_P folder contains three files:
J00___5L.MP2 120,832
J00___5M.MP2 22,528
J00___5S.MP2 10,240

Large, Medium, Small?? What is an .mp2 file?? I tried several viewers, most of which had problems with these files. Windows Media Player, and one other viewer I tried, could not show the M and S files, but did show the L file. It was indeed the background picture.

So, what are .mp2 files, and how do I create them?

The best I can find is it’s actually a folder for storing special pictures (stored as single frame MPEG-2 elementary streams). There should be 3 files, names and sizes are (both differ if PAL or NTSC)

J00___5L.MP2 720x480 ntsc
J00___5M.MP2 176x112 ntsc
J00___5S.MP2 96x64 ntsc

J00___6L.MP2 720x576 pal
J00___6M.MP2 176x144 pal
J00___6S.MP2 96x80 pal

I just used TMPGenc to “encode” a JPG graphics file to a MPEG2 file. In TMPGEnc, load in the JPG in Video Sourece, then in Load button, select either the NTSC or PAL DVD Template, ste the Stream Type to be ES (Video only), set the output name to be J00___5L.MP2 (or J00___6L.MP2 if PAL) and hit the Start button. To get the 2 other small & medium pictures, do the same as above, but click the Settings button, right click the word Size: and select Unlock. Now you can change the picture size. Save out with the names J00___5M.MP2 & J00___5S.MP2 changing the file size appropriately for each. Put these 3 files in a JACKET_P and drag across and burn out with Nero 6.3.x in DVD-Video form. You could also use ImgTools

I cant test it as my DVD player doesnt suport this feature, but would be most interested if it does work for you I’d then right up a proper Tutorial.

EDIT: Just realized that Maestro has a JACKET Pictures creation feature. Its in the Projects Properties. Load in the pictures as BMP and the JACKET_P folder and the 3 files are created when the project is compiled. I just tried it using a jpg as the movie (to keep it simple), so took less the 1 sec to create the JACKET_P folder and contents when compiled :smiley:

ChickenMan, thanks for the great info! You’ve shown what needs to be done :D.

I don’t have TMPGEnc, but I will try playing around with Nero to see if it can encode JPEG to MPEG2, or failing that, will download the TMPGEnc trial software. Once I get a proper MPEG2 file, I’ll try burning it in the JACKET_P folder, and let you know how it turns out. Is it required to have all three files there, or will it work with just the large size file (which is the only one I seem to be able to display)?

One more question. When burning DVD-Video in Nero 6, there is no multisession tab. I think a DVD-Video has to be closed to be played, but I’ll ask anyway. Is it possible to burn multisession DVD-Video discs? If so, I can try it with just the large MPEG2 file, and if it doesn’t display, can add the other two MPEG2s.

I would put all 3 files into the JACKET_P folder as that appears to be the standard.

You CANNOT make a multisession DVD-Video, there is absolutely no such thing. Even if somehow you did burn one, your player would have a fit trying to work out whats going on :smiley:

Just burn to a DVDRW while do these tests, that way no coasters are made. Just use a very short dummy file as the movie (I just used a simple jpg file) just to do your testing.

Okay, I’ve made a first stab at a jacket picture. I haven’t tried Nero yet, I just used the TMPGEnc trial, since you provided steps for using it :wink: . I created all three files from a JPEG of the movie cover, following your steps exactly, and placed them in the JACKET_P folder of the movie, then burned and played on my Sony standalone. Here’s what happend:

When stopped, the player displays something other than its own logo screen. Good first step, as it shows the player is recognising the JACKET_P folder and its contents. That’s where the good news ends. What it displays, seems to be a strange version of whatever was the last scene playing in the movie when the stop button was pressed, but in weird colours and outlines. Sort of like a colour negative, but not quite.

So, it seems as though the player recognises that there is a jacket picture which it should be playing. But what it actually displays is some distorted version of the last image it was showing before being stopped–as though that image was still in the buffer. I’ve been doing a lot of googling for jacket pictures, and it seems that a lot of people are having this exact problem, but for others it seems to work fine.

I haven’t found the answer yet, but it’s as though the jacket pictures are not in quite the right format or something. As mentioned, I made mine from a JPEG. Would it be better to use an MPEG still? On the other hand, isn’t that what we’re trying to produce in the first place? Any ideas?

EDIT: By the way, when I view the three images I made, in Windows Media Player, it displays all three just fine. But each is displayed at the top of a larger black window, so there is a large black border on the left, right, and bottom of the picture. Does that say anything?

I’ve done a bit of further reading and whats needed is an mpeg2 image, not an encoded video mpeg2 of 1 frame, they appear to be different. I was authoring a TV series today in Maestro so tried its Jacket option. Worked fine (as expected), so I then burnt and tried it on a friends Sony DVD Player, works perfect.

VCDEasy can make a SVCD mpeg2 image from JPG file of 480x480/576 but thats not a required size anyway and it cant make the other 2 sizes either. Other than Maestro (and I think Scenarist), I dont know how to make these images. Maybe some more reading and trialling.

This is the JACKET_P folder and contents I made with Maestro, try it on a DVDRW.

Download Here

Also, if you send me a JPG file, I can always email you back a JACKET_P folder for you, as the files are quite small. Thats if you dont have access to Maestro.

Hi I hope you don’t mind me butting in but earlier Joe Justa said he had jerky video I was wondering if the encoder he was using was changing the field order or making a progressive scan Mpeg2 from an original video that was interlaced,