by Bruce Bartlett 2003

Whether you're interested in creating professional video productions on DVD, or simply copying your home videos to DVD, you can author your own DVDs for very little money. Here's a sampling of currently available DVD authoring tools. (Some company names and software titles below are trademarks or registered trademarks).


Ulead DVD MovieFactory 2 provides an easy way to burn home movies onto DVDs or CDs. You can transfer video from your camcorder to DVD or CD, and create menus that select scenes. RW-type DVDs can be edited over and over again. Current cost (Nov. 2003) is $49.95, or upgrade for $39.95. www.ulead.com/dmf.

Sonic Solutions introduced MyDVD 5, a DVD recording and editing application for personal computers. MyDVD 5 $49, Deluxe $69, Studio Deluxe $99. www.mydvd.com, www.sonic.com.

Apple Computer has iDVD 3, which creates professional-looking DVDs in a few steps. It lets you create DVD menus from iMovie markers. iLife suite $49, upgrade $19.95. www.apple.com/idvd.

Topics Entertainment has produced Instant DVD Maker, a digital video editing suite that allows the user to capture, edit, and share in a few steps. Instant DVD Maker, $59.99. Instant Video CD Maker, $49.99 . Provides digital (not analog) capture, CD, VCD, SVCD (but not DVD). www.topics-ent.com

MedioStream offers NeoDVD 4 for home use, providing real-time direct-to-disc DVD and VCD recording. neoDVDstandard from $29, neoDVDplus from $49. www.mediostream.com.

Pinnacle Systems'Expression software gives you a way to transfer digital photos and videos to CD and DVD. $49. www.pinnaclesys.com.

Adaptec's MyDVD Studio lets you record your videos on DVD or CD. MyDVD Studio Deluxe $99, Video Edition $69. www.adaptec.com.


The following software titles provide more DVD-Video features than home applications: Dolby audio, menu and button graphics, subtitles, multiple video and audio streams, navigational links, and scripts. Except for the most expensive programs, this software has some limits on the number of multitracks, ability to program, multiple titles, and so on.

For example, Ulead® DVD Workshop AC-3™ is DVD authoring software for video professionals. It lets you import video from digital or analog sources with tools for capturing and converting MPEG files. You can put together pro-quality still or motion menus with several types of design tools, import 5.1 Surround Sound files, or create Stereo AC-3 files. Then use the latest DVD and CD recorders to produce high-quality DVD, VCD or SVCD programs. Current cost (Nov. 2003) is $299, or $249 as an upgrade.

Sonic Solutions' DVDit! 2.5 publishes video productions on DVD.$299, DVDit! Professional Edition $599. www.dvdit.com, www.sonic.com.

Sonic Solutions' ReelDVD 3 is a pro DVD authoring software for corporate video projects. $699 to $1500. www.sonic.com/products/reeldvd.

Sonic Solutions. Sonic Scenarist is the industry-standard professional DVD authoring software for feature film and commercial DVD production. $4,999 to $35,000.

Pinnacle Systems has Impression DVD-Pro 2.2, pro software for creating interactive DVD titles.

Impression DVD-Pro $399, Impression DVD SE $199. www.pinnaclesys.com.

Apple Computer's DVD Studio Pro 2 is for creative professionals. $499. Apple DVD Studio Pro 1.5 for Mac OS X $499. www.apple.com/dvdstudiopro.

Adobe Systems offers Encore DVD, which provides authorizing for pro DVD production. $549. www.adobe.com/products/encore.

Bruce Bartlett is the author of "Practical Recording Techniques 
3rd Ed." published by Focal Press.

Copyrighted 2003 by Tape.com. May not be reproduced in whole or part without permission.