Windows Movie Maker Slideshow DVD Authoring

Dimmi writes, “I know how to use the Windows Movie Maker to create a slideshow with titles, credits, music, transitions, and title overlays which I like very much. What I am having problems with is the recording of the project to a DVD+RW. I can record to a CD for playback on a computer but I want to record to a DVD+RW in order to play back on my television. Is there something I have to do to accomplish this? My DVD player plays back computer generated slideshows but WMM is super with the overlay titles. Thanks for you help”
Currently, Windows Movie Maker does not have built in support for burning DVDs. I’m crossing my fingers for DVD burning in Windows Vista, but so far there’s no indication whether we will see this feature in a future version. If you use Windows Movie Maker for creating your slideshow, you need an additional software application to burn a standard DVD. It’s also important to prep the video file output from Windows Movie Maker to be sure you end up with a compatible file. There are several ways to create a DVD from a video file created in Windows Movie Maker.

Processing Your Slideshow

Since you created a slideshow, I’m assuming your project is entirely based on still images. Make sure you output the video from Windows Movie Maker as a High quality video (NTSC). If you are working with footage from a DV camera, choose the DV-AVI option. Save your movie somewhere on your hard drive and proceed to using DVD authoring software to create a compatible DVD.

DVD Authoring

For most of my slideshow creation I’m currently using Sonic MyDVD because it includes slideshow generation for up to 1000 images, with the ability to make each image it’s own chapter. MyDVD also supports importing WMV and DV-AVI files created in Windows Movie Maker for burning to DVD. After importing, you can either leave the movie as one big video or add chapter markers at key points in your slideshow. Depending on which version of MyDVD you purchase, the price ranges from $49.99 bundled with the burning plug-in for Photo Story 3 up to $149.00 for the most comprehensive burning options. The key differences between the basic version and the $149.00 deluxe version are support for hard drive backups and audio ripping and burning in the more expensive version. All versions of MyDVD Studio 6 include support for 1000 image slide shows and burning Tivo files, which aren’t available in any other program at the moment.
Nero Ultra Edition and the accompanying NeroVision Express offers DVD authoring as part of the package. The slideshow options are inferior to both the free offerings in Windows Movie Maker and Photo Story, as well as the slideshow feature of MyDVD. As a burner, Nero is still among the best.
Easy Media Creator 7 from Roxio is another solid option. Version 6, which was still labeled DVD Creator had a number of frustrating bugs, so an upgrade may be required. I suggest this as an alternative primarily because a version is frequently bundled with OEM hardware from the big PC manufacturers, so you might already have it on your system. Roxio is now part of Sonic with features gradually merging between Media Creator and MyDVD so we may see a unified product sometime in the near future.
A whole host of other DVD authoring software options will burn your slideshow for playback in most consumer DVD players.