Corrections or additions?
This article by Kathleen McGinn Spring was prepared for the November 20, 2002 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Desktop DVD Authoring
Doug Dixon’s new book, Desktop DVD Authoring, speaks
to both the neophyte and the pro. It covers the basics of buying and
installing a home DVD player — complete with helpful diagrams
— and provides an update on the newest technology available for
recording and storing television programs, and for saving them permanently
to disc. Desktop DVD Authoring contains all the information movie
and TV fans could want on viewing and exerting some degree of control
over these media, but Dixon’s book goes far beyond a discussion of
watching movies and recording TV shows on DVD, whether at home or
on the road.
Dixon leads readers — step by step — through the whole range
of possibilities DVDs provide. There are sections on importing, organizing,
editing, and creating books from photos — and on creating titles,
menus, and even background music for personal or professional slideshows.
There is also extensive information on shooting and editing movies,
including detailed advice on working on both the Windows and the Apple
platform. Here is an excerpt:
The future of DVD seems to look bright and shiny. As
a consumer product, DVD player sales continue to set new records.
As a computer peripheral, DVD-ROM readers are becoming standard on
new computers — and even DVD burners are becoming more common
options. The history of consumer electronics and the computer industry
tell us that prices will continue to decline, as they have with CD-based
On the compatibility front, newer players are designed to read a wider
range of formats, and to do so more reliably. You should be confident
that your investment in making permanent recording on Recordable (R)
discs will not be obsolete, but for the immediate future you will
still need to check the compatibility of specific burners, players,
and disc media just in case.
The situation with the competing ReWritable (RW, RAM) formats is less
clear. You can certainly use this type of media for specific applications,
such as daily data backups, video check discs, and set-top video recorders.
However, you need to be more aware of compatibility issues if you
want to use these discs in other systems and at other sites.
Meanwhile, technology continues to improve, and the 4.7GB capacity
of a DVD begins to seem smaller, just as floppy disks and now CD discs
seem to no longer be big enough for our needs.
Several new technical approaches are being pursued to increase DVD
capacity for the future, especially for recording and storing material
in high-definition (HD) video format.
In early 2002, the DVD Forum decided to pursue the use of more aggressive,
low bit-rate compression for storing high-definition material. The
intent is to stay within the existing DVD technology by using a newer
compression format, such as MPEG-4.
At the same time a second consortium of nine companies, who are also
members of the DVD Forum, announced a new large-capacity optical disc
video-recording format called Blu-Ray Disc. Blu-Ray can store up to
up to 27GB per single-sided disc, or up two hours of high-definition
video, or more than 13 hours of standard definition video (at 3.8Mbps).
The Blu-Ray format replaces the red laser used for DVD with a shorter
wavelength blue laser, squeezing the tracking pitch in half and permitting
higher-density recording. With the increased capacity, Blu-Ray can
continue to use the same MPEG-2 format used in DVD and HD television.
This group also aims to develop even larger capacity formats, such
as over 30GB on a single-sided disc and over 50GB on a single-sided
The desire for these new formats is being driven by the development
of high-definition television around the world. The DVD Forum approach
provides the capability to use more advanced compression to squeeze
HD programs onto red-laser DVDs — at least for premastered videos.
The Blu-Ray approach sticks with MPEG2 to provide the possibility
of real-time home recording of HD material, but this requires new
technology and increased costs for new equipment.
The pace of new technology development, and the corresponding threat
of quick obsolescence, can make buying into a new technology a sometimes
uncomfortable prospect. But the tremendous success of DVD says that
it is here to stay, with its widespread adoption within the consumer
electronics and computers industries, and across the consumer and
Although set-top DVD players have already become a blowout success
as a consumer electronics product, 2001 was a watershed year for DVD
on the desktop, with the convergence of lower hardware prices and
consumer-friendly DVD authoring tools. DVD became accessible as the
final link for desktop digital video processing.
These days, on a standard desktop machine, you can now process full-quality
video end to end: capture from DV camcorder, process with video editors
and DVD authoring tools, and then burned to DVD disc, to play not
only on other computers, but also on set-top DVD players.
As the result of the tremendous activity and competition in DVD software,
you can get started with DVD authoring for under $150. Some of these
all-in-one tools can work fine for both simple editing and automated
DVD authoring, and the basic DVD tools are great for quickly banging
out a collection of clips or a copy of a videotape onto DVD. But as
you get familiar with these tools, you will probably want to step
up to some of the more professional dedicated DVD authoring tools,
to give you more flexibility and control to make a more polished and
Corrections or additions?
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