SoThink Movie DVD Maker

Free DVD authoring software is hard to come by. Many of the free apps I’ve found are buggy. SoThink Movie DVD Maker is among the best of the free solutions available for DVD authoring. The app converts most formats, including AVI, MPEG, WMV, MP4, RMVB, MOV, and 3GP to DVD. Basic video editing features like trimming clips and combining smaller clips into a larger movie are also supported. When your video is ready for DVD you can burn straight to disk. The default video format is PAL, so if you are authoring home movies created in the US, you’ll need to change the defaults for NTSC support. This is especially useful in combination with something like Windows Movie Maker for Windows XP, which includes no DVD burning support. While the app will work with Vista, the Vista DVD Maker application has a better burning engine and far more features for authoring DVDs. [Windows 2k/XP/Vista $0.00]

HD-DVD Authoring for Home Movies

How to make an HD-DVD using standard 4.7GB DVD media or 8.5GB dual layer disks.
After shooting numerous hours of high definition video footage, I’ve been itching for a way to create some HD-DVDs. There are no HD-DVD burners on the market at the moment. And media seems to be in scarce supply. Sure, I could shell out $700 for a Blu-ray burner, but then I’d need to spend another $600 for a player that conveniently connects to my television (like a PS3, for instance). At least I can use the Xbox 360 HD-DVD player with Windows Vista or my 360, and there’s now an HP HD-DVD player in the wild as well. When I found out Pinnacle added support for HD-DVD burning to Pinnacle Studio Plus, I was thrilled. Better yet, they do it by burning to standard 4.7GB DVDs or to 8.5GB dual layer disks.

Convert PAL DVD for PC Playback

Sam asks, “How do I convert a PAL DVD made in Europe to NTSC?”
I’ve experimented with a handful of ways to convert PAL format video to NTSC, with none of them yielding perfect results. If you have a friend in Europe who sends you a DVD created in the PAL format, you might have problems playing it back if you don’t either have a DVD player with PAL support or a computer that knows how to playback PAL format content. One way around this is to convert the PAL DVD to either a digital file on your PC or converting the file to an NTSC compatible DVD.

Making DVDs from Digital Camera Videos

Erin writes, “How do I get video from my digital camera to play on a DVD. I am using Kodak EasyShare software to burn the videos to a DVD-R. It seems they are burned but I cannot play them unless I click on each mov file in my computer HELP?”
Kodak EasyShare burns movie files to DVD as a data disk. This is great for creating a backup of your movies to store on DVD, but doesn’t create a DVD playable in your set top DVD player. To create a DVD for playback in something like a set top DVD player, you need to use DVD authoring software when making the disk.

DIKO

With plenty of DivX and XviD video content available for download, there’s also a common need for converting those video files to DVD. DIKO is one of the easiest solutions I’ve found for converting DivX video to DVD. You essentially point DIKO at an AVI and the app sets up the video for authoring. Choose from an authored DVD with no menu, or menus generated from one of two bundled menu generation apps. The app supports approximately 2 hours of video on an SVCD and 10 hours of video on a DVD, although, I recommend against this because the author’s idea of good quality and mine are apparently quite different. It installs a few free apps, like AVISynth and VirtualDubMod, providing an efficient polish to these otherwise complex tools, making DIKO a solid solution for turning your digital video collection into DVDs. [Windows 9x/2k/XP $0.00]