DVD Authoring Services

What is DVD authoring?

  DVD authoring is the name given to the process of preparing, assembling, linking and recording video, audio and photography onto optical discs, in a format compliant with the DVD specification. The DVD specification is a set of rigorous standards and guidelines created to help ensure compatibility and unity with all DVD players and DVD content. Although the specification has clear guidelines, there are still authoring programs, DVD players (and authors for that matter), that may not follow all of the specifications to the letter. This can result in DVDs that may not play or play in ways the author never intended.

  Videotapes and QuickTime/AVI files are not ready as is to use in DVDs. Their file sizes are very large, (101GB for an hour of uncompressed video or 11GB for DV), and cannot fit on a 4.6GB DVD-5 or 8.5GB DVD-9 disc. To make these large files small enough to fit on a DVD, they must be encoded or compressed. The proper compression format for DVD is the MPEG2 format – the required standard for SD (Standard Definition) DVDs. Ardenwood Sound & DVD does not use the commonly available PC desktop solutions for our encoding but utilizes specifically optimized hardware and software to achieve much higher quality results.

  The DVD is the same format now used by all major Hollywood studios to distribute their movies and has also become the medium of choice for corporate sales training, education and presentations for those who have traditionally used multimedia CD-ROM or videotape. If there were only one reason to distribute video on DVD, it would be quality! But there’s more to DVD than just high resolution digital video and better than CD quality digital audio. It’s various elements (assets) can be formatted (authored) into user interactive menus, random access chapters with mutltiple angles & subtitles, slide shows and foreign langauge localization... what makes watching a DVD so much more interesting and engaging than the disappearing linear access videotape.

  For our corporate customer, Ardenwood Sound & DVD now offers DVD planning services including project conception, video production from pre-production to post-production, DVD-Video title development and replication for any use including training, communications, education, kiosk, museum and point of sale. When thinking of how DVD can benefit your company, here is a list of DVD's options and some topics we will discuss with you:
  1. Which of your products or services would best be marketed with DVDs
  2. Where would these DVDs be optimally distributed. They could be:
    • shown at retail stores or trade shows
    • presented by sales reps on laptops
    • given to customers at retail stores
    • mailed to potential customers from your website
    • included with products that have been sold
    • international localization using multiple languages and/or subtitles
  3. What you want to convey, including image, message, content or story
  4. To whom you want to convey the above
  5. What content could be used in more than one DVD by re-purposing blocks of video
  6. What content would remain constant as core material and what content could change over time (for example, seasonally)
  7. Ideas for specific content, such as:
    • an interview with the President of the company
    • a pitch from your best sales person
    • video of your location
    • how to use your product
  8. Your budget and how to get the most DVD for your money

  We consider all these possible elements and then design a DVD plan for your whole business, or for a range of products or services. Your DVDs will be higher quality and better integrated because we do all the phases of planning and production in-house, instead of farming out work to various subcontractors who do not have the overall picture of your project in mind.

  You spend a lot of time and money producing your video programs. Don’t throw away your quality with a VHS copy! Only DVD can show all the detail, color, and sound you put into the master tape. Now wouldn’t you like to distribute your hot new sales video to your sales team on DVD so they can play it on their laptops? Talk about convenience for your company...

  With just a little pre-planning you can have an interactive presentation that gives your viewers more than is possible with a typical linear video. Include important details that you would otherwise omit because of time limitations. Let the viewer explore the disc. Engage your audience and encourage discovery of new aspects of your subject material. A 15-minute video can lead to an hour of involvement, and each minute your audience spends surfing the disc means more opportunity for your message to sink in. It may be that some of your finished programs are already appropriately organized to become interactive. Bring them to Ardenwood Sound & DVD and we can advise the best way to transform your video into DVD.

  Moving your completed video project to a DVD requires an experienced authoring professional as well as the appropriate hardware and software, as there are several different levels of authoring software. We use the most advanced DVD-Video mastering tools to give you a professional, world-class product.

  Ardenwood Sound & DVD’s Artwork Design Services can also create the viewer interface menus using both still and video material, along with any other imagery required for any project.

What’s in a name?

  The DVD format (Digital Versatile Disc) allows for the storage of 4.3GB of video data (just over two hours of high resolution digital video on a single layer and much more on dual-layer and double-sided discs), with up to eight separate audio streams for multiple languages and alternate sound or surround sound tracks. See comparison chart below.

  Additionally, there are thirty-two (32) sub-picture tracks for language subtitles, moving menu backgrounds and interaction. Other features of DVD-Video include seamless multi-angle and seamless branching offering limitless possibilities for DVD as an instructional tool as well as entertainment. DVD-ROM may be used for any application currently on CD-ROM, but a single-sided DVD-ROM disc has the capacity of more than seven (7) CD-ROMs. A single DVD disc may have both video and ROM elements on the same disc. For example, a DVD may contain a corporate video presentation along with supporting documents and diagrams in Adobe Acrobat portable document format (.pdf). Additionally, DVD-ROM can be integrated with the world wide web opening new possibilities for distance learning and retail applications.

What features does DVD support?

  Here is a list of ways to empower your audience with DVD’s capabilities:
  1. Interactivity:
    • User-defined navigation: We can program your DVD to have a customized navigation scheme.
    • Hot buttons allow a viewer to jump to particularly exciting or climactic scenes.
    • Menus: We bring an artistic touch to still or timed-motion menus with optional audio.
    • Multiple camera views allow different views of a scene to be selected during playback.
    • Multiple audio tracks: You can have up to (8) audio tracks for each video track.
    • Multiple endings: Use multi-story branching (not always seamless) for a director’s cut or special edition version.
    • Subtitles can be added as simple text or imported as a scripted video stream up to a maximum of (32) subtitles streams.
    • A parental lock management feature restricts playback using on-screen settings when multiple versions of a movie or game are included on a single disc.
  2. Content:
    • Post-production/editing refers to our ability to literally "cut" & "paste" pieces of audio & video and assemble them according to your instructions and make them play seamlessly by adding transitions, effects, etc.
    • Slide shows: We can scan photos & 35mm slides or simply take your graphic images and link them into a slide show using cool transitions, time delays, or "previous" and "next" buttons (audio optional.)
    • Slide show is also used to illustrate an actor’s, director’s or producer’s work history and upcoming projects.
    • Contact Info: You can displays the contact information for people involved in the DVD production (audio and motion optional.)
    • Trailers: A preview of upcoming films.
    • Bloopers: Include funny out-takes.
    • Web Enabled DVD: Internet hyperlinks that can be accessed directly from a DVD provided you have an active Internet connection.
    • CSS Encryption and Macrovision Copy Protection can be included to protect your DVD from copying to VHS.

How we make your DVD

  1. You make the plan and we ask questions.
    • Why do you want a DVD? Would another format work?
    • Who will see it?
    • Where will they play it?
    • How will they play it? Consumer or industrial player?
    • Do you need branching to different segments/chapters or is it a straight linear play?
    • Special features? Multiple audio tracks? Subtitles? External control?
    • Who does the artwork for the menus (you or we)?
    • How many copies do you want: 1, 50, 1000, 100,000?
  2. Next, send us your assets.
    The video and any artwork. Most important is your flowchart or some diagram describing how the menus act.
  3. Production begins.
    We encode your video into high-quality MPEG-2 and multiplex the VOBs (Video OBject files) including subpictures. If required, we create your menus, stills, and slide shows. At last we get to the actual authoring. This is the part where we asssemble all of the video, soundtracks, additional subpictures & menus. Then we compile and test and compile and test and...
  4. The Image is everything.
    When we’re finally satisfied, we then burn directly to a DVD-R from the various assembled components.
  5. You have to be happy!
    It’s good that we test and retest, but your satisfaction is more important than ours. We will send you a reference disc image on DVD-R to play in your DVD-ROM computer drive to check everything out. If it’s a larger project, it may require a couple of discs. If it’s really large or if you just want to double check the actual product (which we highly recommend when getting a large number of discs replicated), we can order a test pressing proof disc for an additional charge.
  6. Upon your approval...
    We make your final DLT tape image master for the replicator. We can get good deals and fast turnarounds from the replicators we work with.

How much does it cost?

  That’s not a fair question! The only sensible answer is that it depends on the project. To be a little less evasive, a basic 20-30 minute linear play DVD-R disc with no menus or branching costs about $160.00.

  The best way to determine real costs is to tell us about your project. We’ll talk with you about it and prepare an estimate. Compare us with other services and you’ll choose Ardenwood Sound & DVD!

  Click here to email your project plans to us:

What’s wrong with keeping my videotapes?

  Did you know your videotapes have an expiration date? With the convenience and popularity of videotapes, most of us assume our special video recordings are permanent. But in fact they begin to lose information immediately after being recorded.

  Imagine this... You pop the tape of your wedding or your child’s first steps into the VCR. At best, the colors and images have faded and the picture is a little snowy. Or worse, the picture is unwatchable and the sound garbled. It’s not a matter of if your tape will fail but when.

  Your personal videotapes will not be playable within 10-15 years. But if you wait that long to preserve your videos, they won’t be worth saving anyhow, because of the significant loss of video quality. Consumer videotape was never meant to be a long term storage medium. Due primarily to the weakening of the binder, (that material which holds (binds) the magnetized video data particles to the polyester tape backing), videotapes continually release their magnetic information particles over time until eventually rendering the tape unplayable. “Ideal” environmental storage conditions can slow the process, but nothing is going to stop it.

  Equally as bad, simply playing a videotape causes wear. The older the tape is, the more deterioration will take place each time it is played, because the older binder material is weaker and therefore more susceptible to the “tape shed” caused by each pass of the rotating VCR heads.

  Magnetic media’s sensitivity to static shock or common electric fields further confirms it's inadequacy as a storage medium. All or some of the analog information stored on videotape can be damaged by a simple static shock or electric/magnetic field from common household devices such as the speakers attached to your stereo or the TV itself.

So how can I best preserve my most treasured moments?

  Video tape is the past... DVD video data is the format of the future and is not in jeopardy of becoming a lost format. The Library of Congress and National Archives Service use DVD and CD for long term storage. So should you.

  Does your company have a presentation that could benefit from the power that random access multimedia integration allows? How about hours of video that you would like to share with your friends and family in the future? Ardenwood Sound & DVD can digitally edit and transfer your video to DVD for safe storage.

  For the occasional and personal videographer, we offer a simple video to DVD-R transfer service. Video editing is also available for a slight additional cost. Basic editing services include super-imposition of titles, page turn dissolves between segments, color correction/restoration and more.

Why are DVDs so superior?

  DVDs have ideal characteristics for long haul preservation and storage. They will last a minimum of 100 years, though some tests even suggest longer lifetimes. With correct handling and since there is no physical media contact when played, DVDs will never wear out. They can therefore be played an unlimited number of times without deterioration. The data surface is protected by a layer of polycarbonate, the same material used in bullet proof glass. DVD data is digital, so copies are the same exact quality as the original.

  Ardenwood Sound & DVD has been providing families and businesses with the highest possible quality videotape conversion services since 1998. Our experience, combined with the best professional equipment, result in the highest quality DVD product available. We also have a money back guarantee that says “No other service can provide better quality or your money back.” Service you can trust, quality that can’t be matched.

What media types do you accept?

  Currently, we can accept various forms of music, video and data on disc, tape and cartridge formats. To see the complete list of media types and audio/video formats we accept, [click here].

More about the DVD format

  Table 1 lists the four DVD options from single-sided, single layer to double-sided, double-layered in comparison with other data formats. One side of a digital versatile disc holds about six times the storage capacity of a standard compact disc.

TABLE 1:
F O R M A T SIDES / LAYERS TIME / CAPACITY MBytes/min bits/sec
Modems 28.8k->56k
ISDN 128k
CD 1 / 1 73 min / 771 MB 10.575 1.41M
DVD Audio (88.2 kHz) 1 / 1 146 min / 1.54 GB 21.15 2.82M
4 Channel (88.2 kHz) 1 / 1 146 min / 3.08 GB 42.3 5.64M
DVD-5 1 / 1 133 min / 4.7 GB 35.17 4.69M
DVD-9 1 / 2 133 min / 8.5 GB 63.9 8.52M
DVD-10 2 / 1 133 min / 9.4 GB 70.67 9.42M
DVD-14* 2 / 1 & 2 133 min / 13.2 GB 99.07 13.24M
DVD-18 2 / 2 133 min / 17 GB 127.8 17.08M
Uncompressed
Composite Video
133 min/598.5 GB 450 120M
*DVD-14 consists of a DVD-5 disc side and a DVD-9 disc side glued back to back.

  Please note that the “average” throughput for DVD - 4.69 Mbits/sec - will allow 133 minutes on a single-sided disc. Using VBR technology and MPEG-2 compression, it is possible to raise the bit rate to accommodate detail (fast moving images) and lower it for nearly still images. At this rate, (133 minutes of video with three channels of audio and four subtitle channels) will fit in less than 4 GB of space.

  DVD discs are similar to compact discs in their appearance, yet that’s where the similarity ends. The capabilities of DVD dramatically increase the storage options available to industries requiring ever increasing storage capacity, as well as some industries that aren’t even aware of DVD’s awesome potential. Pit lengths and track spacing for DVD are reduced allowing four times as many pits as a compact disc in the same area.

DVD/CD Microscopic View

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