BurnWorld's Guide to Creating Your Own DVDs
Most of us have been exposed to DVD burning already. Probably most of us already have a DVD burner in our PC's or Mac's. But do most of us have a clue on how to get the most benefit from it? It should be as simple as buying DVD media and popping it in the burner and burn the disc right? No so fast, there are a few different DVD formats that you should be aware of. DVD+, DVD-, and DVD-RAM. Which is better? Well that's a tossup. Personally I use all 3 formats. As long as your DVD player can support playback of all formats then you will be fine. The most common formats are DVD+ and DVD-. DVD-RAM is mainly used for data backup and for DVR's with burners built in.
Quick Note: DVD+R, DVD-R are write once formats. This
can not be erased.
Selecting The DVD Media (Blank Discs)
Don't just go out and buy the cheapest brand of DVD media. There are quality differences. We have a guide on some tests done using DVD Burners and many brands of DVD Media to test the quality in each. It's a bit technical but interesting read if your into that. But overall it was found that Verbatim was the best brand to use, either DVD+R/RW or DVD-R/RW.
If you are Burning DVD Videos it is best to stick to DVD+R or DVD-R since they will be the most reliable for DVD playback on standalone DVD Players.
If you are Burning to DVD for data backup or for Video Editing it is recommended to use DVD+RW, DVD-RW, or DVD-RAM because these formats are rewriteable. For more security for backup you can use DVD+R or DVD-R. This way the backed up files can not be overwritten.
Ok, what is the X Rating on the Burners and Media?
To sum up quickly: X = Speed. The higher the X the higher the write speed. So if you have a 16x rated DVD Burner it would be best to use 16X rated DVD media for the fastest burn speeds. However you can use 12x, 8x, 4x, or 2x speed media, just note that the burner will only burn at those speeds. Also note that if you have a 4x rated DVD burner and you try using 16X media, a firmware update may be required which can be download from the manufacutes websites, before the disc will be recgonized by the drive.
Importing Audio and Video
Importing audio and video is a relatively easy process with the right equipment. You can accomplish this by using an audio visual input box connected to your PC's USB 2.0 port. Alternatively, you can use a TV tuner card or graphics card that has A/V inputs. We recommend that you work with S-Video to attain the best visual clarity. And FireWire will enable you to make a digital connection between a DV camcorder and your PC. We have another guide just on VHS capture, but most of the hardware mentnioned can capture from and source.
Ok probably the most popular task of your DVD burner. We have a review chart of the top DVD Copying software here. We like 1Click DVD Copy for this task. The main reasons is for the softwares ability to copy 99% of DVD titles and because it really only takes 1 click to make the software work. You can easily backup a library of 10 movies in under 3 hours.
Ok now the fun begins. You have a camcorder and want to make your own home DVD movies with it. This is where a DVD Authoring app comes in. We have reviewed a few here. If this is new for you then we like AutoProducer from Muvee. It's easy of use and many features makes it a must have. However if you want more control and want to make more professional movies then we like DVDit from Roxio.
Maximizing Performance While Burning
Most PC's and Mac's today are powerful enough to handle burning and continuing to work with other apps at the same time. Also all DVD burners have a buffer underrun cache built in to keep the data stream flowing smoothly during the burning process. However for best results and for slower machines, it would be best to let the burn finish before working on anything else.
Making your own DVD whether it's for backup, movies, copies, etc... can be fun. If you have the right tools (software, hardware) it can be an easy experience. We hope that this guide will point you in the right direction for your DVD and video projects.