VHS / DVD & my MM2 experiences



If you are working with long movies that need to
eventually go to VHS or DVD, you may want to read this.
Just posting this for the benefit of the group, not
really responding to any particular post here.

I worked with MM2 EXTENSIVELY (800 hours worth) over a 7
month period last year and created four hours worth of
REALLY COOL music videos made out of my home digital
video movies and digi pics. I made 45 music videos out of
the massive material I had of my family. They came out
beyond my wildest dreams.

I was giving these out for christmas (2003) so I needed
to make multiple DVDs and get 20+ copies on vhs for the
older generation. So I went out and bought a DVD burner
and thought it would be simple to make dvds out of them.
Ha! More on that later.

I had much difficulty with MM2 over the course of the
project - lockups, etc. None of the fixes I found in the
groups helped me. I suspect my collections were WAY to
large for the program to handle, I had probably over
1,500 pictures in it and 5 hours worth of 15 second video
clips. Sometimes my computer would lock up every two
minutes and with my collection so large, MM2 took 4
ON. Also, originally I wanted to export my videos to AVI
but found that there is something wrong with MM2 when
creating AVIs. I was getting sound pops and sound drops
on them that are not there when creating wmvs, so I ended
up having to make my 45 videos into single wmv files, it
was the only option I had. The wmv format when put on dvd
or vhs does show some signs of compression but after
testing, I found them to not be a showstopper and used
wmv's for my final product.

So my videos were all ready and I needed to get them on
media, so that people could play them in their living
rooms on dvd or vhs. I didn't like the options for
outputting directly from my computer, so I bought a dvd
burner and started tinkering with authoring my own dvds.
The idea here was to get them on dvds and then be able to
make vhs tapes out of the dvds.

What I found was that most dvd authoring software is
pretty lousy for large projects, especially the junk
that's bundled with dvd burners - like Sonic. I finally
found one that I liked - DVD Architect (by Soundforge?).
However my first attempts at creating my dvds didn't turn
out so well. I was able to create the dvds ok and the
sound and video were fine - but when authoring many four
minute videos on a dvd (about 12 of them), they wouldn't
playback properly - they always returned to the menu
after each video played. There was no option to 'string
them all together' within the software. I got around this
by going back into MM2 and stringing the twelve movies
together and I created four large, one hour long videos.
Then back in DVD Architect, I imported each hour long
file, and told the software where each video started and
ended in the file by setting up chapter points. After
doing that, they DID play sequentially and/or the user
could use the dvd's menu to choose which video they
wanted to watch.

I don't know if this was the BEST way of handling the
problems I had but after getting over the techno dvd
issues and bashing my head against the wall for a few
days, I was able to author (4) perfect DVDs, which I was
able to rip to ISO's and make copies of, and also use
them as masters to make my vhs tapes.

Like I said, I spent 800+ hours making these collections
of movies and dvds but my 4 year old daughter now has a
keepsake made by her daddy that can never be matched. She
and the family raved about them. I had a LOT of material
to work with - since she was born, we've had taken 36
hours of digital video of her and 6,000 digital pics. I
only used the best pics and video clips that I had taken
but if you have that much material, you're bound to have
some great scenes. For scene transitions, I only used
fade ins and outs and a few of the Spice FX Pixelan
filters. I found that all others transitions cheapen the
movies. I got quite proficient in making them. It was an
incredible experience to take on something of that size
and have it come out as well as it did.

I did some pretty crazy stuff with it too! For example,
the Queen song "Somebody to Love". I have the mp3, and
also a couple of video clips from the actual Queen
concert (george michael singing) AND home videos with
ROOM SOUND of the song playing in the background while my
kid was a baby and my wife dancing with her, then later
her older and dancing to it in the room sound. I went
back and forth seamlessly between all of them and the
final product was unbelievable! I wish I could share it
with you all. Well, that's about all I have to say today.
If someone reads this and it helps or inspires them, then
I'm glad I wrote this!

Dean Rowe [MS]

Sorry to hear you had the problems you did but I'm glad you perserved. It
sounds really cool. We're always interesting in seeing the kinds of things
people do with MovieMaker so I'd love to see some of the stuff you've done.
Feel free to send me a direct email (just remove the "online." from my email
address) if you're interested in sending something to us (we can work out a
way of getting things sent)
Dean Rowe
This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights.

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