Newsletter #128 - Dec 9, 2006
Vista's DVD Maker - Focus on
Starting with this issue, I'll open the newsletter
with a summary of the main content... to make it easier
for those who would rather stop just before the weekly notes or
And for those who want the rest of the story, it'll continue
after the notes.
DVD Maker's Styles
I did some more testing of Vista's
new DVD Maker app this week. I love the 20
animated menu styles, to the extent I'm focusing the issue on them. There's
lots more to DVD Maker for future issues, such as including a slide
show with your movies.
I wanted to show more than static pictures of animated styles.
To do it, I made a set of 20 DVDs, one for each of the styles. I ripped
the opening scenes from them and embedded a YouTube playlist to show
Click this link or image to go to my website
page and view the various styles. They run from 16 to 23 seconds,
showing just the opening animation.
Another neat animation happens when you select 'Scenes' and
the disc moves from the main menu to the scenes menu... but
that's for the future.
from Tape to DVD... not yet for me
When I first connected my camcorder, Vista offered
to go directly from camcorder tape to DVD, using DVD Maker behind the
scenes. I opted for each camcorder scene being imported as an individual wmv
file, but the disc burning didn't succeed.
An hour of video on a tape divided by 99 scenes is an average
of 36 seconds per scene.
Newsletter #115 checked the pace of
TV Ads and content... and found an average of 1-1/4 seconds for ads
and 7-1/3 seconds for content. Camcorder scenes should be much longer,
but 36 seconds seems like a lot.
The critical issue was the disc drive drawer opening when
the burning was about 10% done, with a generic error message. I knew
from beta testing my system doesn't successfully burn discs at
fast speed, but the tape to disc process didn't offer an option to change
the burn speed.
In another attempt to use the folder of
individual scenes, I opened DVD Maker and added the folder.
It had the same limit of 99, but now I could choose to do a slow
burn. It got further this time, to about 25% of the disc... but anything
short of 100% isn't enough.
Maybe a medium speed burn?? Nope, it got exactly as far as
the slow one, to about 1/4 done. I'm gauging how far it got by looking at
the disc to see how much is physically etched.
Maybe it can't make a DVD with 99 video files even
though it accepts that many. That'll be OK for me, as a dozen or so videos
is my usual maximum.
... before getting into more details, here
are some notes...
Vista Corner... this newsletter is it
for this week.
...this link provides a
special 50% off the usual annual service price... for
newsletter readers... good to Dec 31.... I'll keep it as a sticky note
The orientation class
at the Kalamazoo Community Access
... was interesting. I got to hear about its mission to help
anyone who has something to say to actually record and broadcast it on TV... and
its 25 year history.
Their output is 24/7 of
content to one radio channel and 5 cable TV ones.
One room has the
equipment that constantly pumps out the content
Some rooms are studios with TV
cameras, sound equipment, lighting, blue screens, etc... all the stuff
needed to make your own show
Computers in the office area use
software to schedule all the slots to keep the 24/7 content flowing
there are several editing rooms with
analog and digital equipment where you can start with your tapes and do the
editing. The whole place is pretty Apple-based, so editing is on
iMovie and Final Cut Pro
lots of equipment to borrow if you
need a camcorder, sound recording equipment, a laptop with iMovie on it, a
tripod, etc... lots of stuff but no High-Def camcorders yet
to borrow or use
the equipment, you need to have taken classes about how to use
it... the classes are all taught there and the basic fee is $15 for
a 3 hour session
if you want to meet with your
producers, performers, agents, and others, there's a nice big conference room
you can schedule
... it's a great community
service, just a step away and except for the modest training
fees, free for the asking.
The only criteria
for content is that you're fully responsible for copyright
issues. Productions can be news events, shows, entertainment... pretty much
anything you want to produce.
.... back to the main
Making the Online Playlist of DVD
Here are the steps I took...
- 4 movies and 2 PS3 stories went into a widescreen DVD project
- I selected a different style for each of 20 discs... no burning
issues were encountered
- The animated menus are the first of the larger sized VOB files on the
discs... Movie Maker in Vista can use a VOB file on a disc as a
source file. No need to copy the file to the hard drive or rename it to .mpg
- Movie Maker in Vista saved each to a widescreen DV-AVI file
- I moved the DV-AVI files from Vista to my XP laptop... my main
- On my laptop, I checked the DV-AVI files... some had audio but
most didn't (curious!!!). The DVDs all play with audio, so it's just
that some have audio in the VOB files and some don't...or Movie Maker in
Vista missed a beat and didn't include the audio when converting the VOBs to
- I ran the DV-AVI files through MM2.1 on my laptop to
add the same music to each, saving them as new DV-AVI files.
- I used the Riva
FLV Encoder to make flash files from the DV-AVI files.... using
properties of 720x480 (you can type the numbers in if they don't appear in the
drop down list), 29.97 fps, and a bitrate of 768 kbps. As the videos were
made in widescreen in DVD Maker and Movie Maker, I might have been better off
making the flash files at 864x480... it's something to check later.
- Uploaded the flash files to YouTube and copied them to a new playlist of
Vista DVD Maker Styles
- Copied the html code for the embedded player from YouTube and pasted it
into my website page
Here are some notes about 3 failed
attempts to make a DVD from tape and a set of scene
Attempt 1 - a 'Behind the Scenes'
Which didn't work...
When I plugged my mini-DV camcorder into the computer
before opening Movie Maker or DVD Maker,
I noticed this interesting option... Vista will take my tape and
make a DVD from it with no more input from me than giving the DVD menu a
I tried it, but ended up at a dead end.
See the big temporary file at the bottom of the list at the
left... data flowed into it, and then from there into individual
temporary wmv files, one for each scene.
I took the snapshot of the file list when it was up to 30
imported scenes. It kept going until it reached a DVD Maker limit
of 99 files.
I told it to use the 99 files, even though it was only
3/4 through the tape.
At more than two hours into this process, the disc
drive door opened and I got the error message about it not being able to
finish. I looked at the disc and saw that about 10% of the burning had been
At least it left the batch of 105 imported source
files, so I didn't have to start with the tape again.
Attempts 2 and 3 - Open
DVD Maker and Try Again
For the next attempt to make a DVD, I opened DVD
Maker and dragged and dropped the full set of 105 files to it. The same note
about it being limited to 99 files appeared, and again I settled for the
I lowered the burn rate to slow and it got further,
to about 25% of the disc before the door opened and the error message
My disc burns with the early beta versions of Vista were
perfect, but the last few versions, including the RFM wouldn't burn
successfully at fast speed. This was my first time running into a failure at
Attempt 4 - Combine the Imported Source Files in
Movie Maker and Try Again
After the unsuccessful attempts to make a disc from the 99
individual scene files, I opened Vista's Movie Maker to see if it would work if
I put the scenes together. They were from 4 camcorder sessions, so they made 4 movie
I put the 4 movies in DVD Maker and had room left
over. I used some of it by adding a pack of 100 7 megapixel
still pix with some MP3 music files for a slide show.
I set the burn speed to slow and this time, with more overall
material to package on the disc, the burn was perfect.
I wasn't trying to make anything worth viewing, and
had mixed standard and widescreen clips kind of randomly. Movie Maker
surprised me by handling each of the clips appropriately. Standard or
widescreen settings resulted in each clip looking like it should, with
appropriate black borders as needed.
Conclusion and Closing... and What's Next?
The styles are so great that I hope it motivates users to
elevate the quality of their videos. It reminds me of Power Point presentations
and comments about the presentation style being better than the content.
With wizz-bang effects, transitions and overlays... and these DVD styles, who
Each DVD style has its own folder of png
images and wmv video files... at
c:\Program Files\Movie Maker\DVDStyles
We'll probably be able to download or create additional styles,
as we do transitions and effects in MM2.1 today. I started down that path but
haven't gotten far enough to conclude it's possible.
DVD Temp files are stored in a folder of your
choice... use the option settings in DVD Maker to select the folder. Yes, but I
don't see the correlation between the temp files and those on the burned
disc... if you're looking to make an iso image from a set of files you might be
best off doing it from the files on the disk rather than those on the hard
Maybe using 99 video clips won't work, regardless of the speed
of the burn. That's a left-over issue to test another day.
Have a great week...