Videotapes and digital video files are not ready – as is – to use as masters for DVD Authoring. Video in its native format is too large to fit on a 4.7GB DVD. An hour of uncompressed standard video can be as large as 101 GB and DV can be as large as 11GB per hour. To make video files small enough to fit on a DVD, they must be encoded or compressed. The Codec (compression/decompression) used for DVD encoding is Mpeg2 – required for Standard Definition (SD) DVDs. DVD encoding or compression can be accomplished utilizing either hardware or software based encoding.
Hardware DVD encoding is performed by a DVD encoding card installed in a computer or by a standalone DVD recorder. Software DVD encoding is performed by a computer application such as Apple Compressor™. The type and brand of DVD encoder and settings selected can greatly effect the quality of your encode. The DVD encoding engineers at the Authoring House are experienced and can help you attain the highest quality encode for your project with either software DVD encoding or hardware DVD encoding. As always, the quality of your video master will have the greatest impact on the quality of your final DVD. Whenever possible make sure the master you send the Authoring House for DVD encoding is a high quality uncompressed video source.
So which method of DVD encoding does the Authoring House use? That depends on the master you send us. If your videotape master is one of the acceptable formats*, hardware DVD encoding will be used. If your master is a QuickTime or AVI file (Windows media codec only), software DVD encoding will be used. The DVD encoding methods used by the Authoring House (hardware or software) yield excellent results and make no difference which DVD encoding type is used. If your project requires post-production editing, videotape masters will be digitized for editing and then software DVD encoding will be used. If you wish for hardware based DVD encoding and have supplied a digital file or your project requires post-production, then your project can be exported to tape at a rate of $150 per hour of program and then hardware encoded.
*Masters not conforming to the Authoring House acceptable formats list will encur additional conversion charges. For a list of acceptable formats and tape setup instructions, visit the Authoring House FAQ.