Burning DVDs, ffmpegx, iDVD Questions

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by ~Shard~, Nov 29, 2004.

  1. ~Shard~ macrumors P6


    Jun 4, 2003
    As a follow up to an earlier post of mine, I wanted to clarify a couple point regarding burning video files, ffmpegx, iDVD, etc. etc.

    First of all, I want to convert AVIs and MPEGs into files which I can burn onto DVDs and play on standard DVD players. I currently have 2 options the way I see it:

    1) Just burn the files onto DVDs, let the menus, etc. sort themselves out.
    2) Convert the files into an iDVD-compatible format to make my own setup, menus, etc.

    Option 1:

    a) Using ffmpegx I can convert files no problem - my question is, which is the best codec/format to use to maintain as much quality as possible. Is the "DVD preset" adequate enough? Do I require any extra codecs?

    b) I have Toast Titanium which appears to be able to burn DVDs no problem by just dragging in AVI or MPEG files. Will this do the job, because then I will not have to mess around with ffmpegx. How do menus work via Toast? Will this burn a DVD which is able to play on conventional DVD players as well as PCs/Macs?

    Option 2:

    a) If I want to use iDVD to create my own DVD, what do I need to do with ffmpegx to accomplish this? Just convert it to a .MOV? If so, which one, as there are a couple different formats which result in .MOV?

    b) I tried using DivX Doctor II too, to convert AVI ->MOV, but the resulting clip had poor quality in comparison. I do not have QT Pro and am not sure what my other options are. I have also heard that iMovie will not accept AVIs greater than 10 minutes. Can I simply convert the file, drag it into iDVD and go from there?

    Lastly, in general, will I need to compress my video clips further in order to fit 2 hours of footage on a DVD? Or will 4 half-hour programs, for instance fit no problem (or perhaps more?)

    Well, lots of questions! Any help at all would be appreciated.

    Thanks in advance,
  2. tutubibi macrumors 6502a


    Sep 18, 2003
    You are right about iMovie clip length limit. Also, iMovie and iDVD will work only with DV straems. MOV is just extensions and wraps number of codecs, you can have DV, MPEG4 and other formats wrapped in a MOV file.
    In my opionion option 2 is too time consuming and you will suffer visible degradation of video quality. Every time you decompress and compress in non-looseless formats, some piece of information is lost.
    Regarding option 1, Toast will do the job and convert files to MPEG2 (DVD format) as well as create simple menus.
    ffmpegx will do a nice job converting and default settings for DVD are OK. Just be carefull not to convert it again in Toast.
    I don't know if you will be able to fit 4 hours on one DVD. You would have to use a really low bit rate and maybe even half-size resolution.

    Another option you may want to consider is creating DivX CDs instead of DVDs. A lot of new DVD players also supports DivX. I have seen Phillips one in Wal-Mart for 89 CAD.

    Lastly, you may want to check http://www.videohelp.com/ for more information.

    Hope this helps.
  3. Counterfit macrumors G3


    Aug 20, 2003
    sitting on your shoulder
    There's another option. It does require Toast, either version 5 or 6, but I know 6 works fine. Install the stuff found here. Then open Toast, and click the Video tab and drag the videos to the window (or you can just drag them onto Toast's icon). Select your disc format, and burn. They should work in your DVD player. I can't confirm as I haven't tested it fully yet, but I've gotten further with that than with ffmpegX.
  4. daveL macrumors 68020


    Jun 18, 2003

    Why does everyone keep talking about Divx? The poster said he wants to play the DVD on a standalone DVD player. There are only 2 DVD players, currently, that will play a Divx DVD (www.divx.com) and these are new to the market. I don't think this solves his problem, although it's fine for use on a Mac. Of course, if he wanted to watch them on his Mac he doesn't have to do *anything*, does he?

    Ultimately, the video has to be in mpeg2 and authored as a DVD to play it on a common, standalone DVD player.
  5. ~Shard~ thread starter macrumors P6


    Jun 4, 2003
    Thanks for the help guys. It sounds like from an ease and quality perspective, it's best for me to just use Toast to burn the DVD outright and not mess around with encoding it, etc., porting it to iDVD, etc., just to create my own menus.

    How many minutes of footage would I be able to fit on a DVD though? I have seen DVDs (Family Guy, Sex and the City, etc.) which pack on 6-7 episodes per disc, but I assume they are compressed. They still look really good though, so is there some way I could compress my footage in the same way, to allow more to fit on the DVD without sacrificing quality too much? Something in ffmpegx I could use?

    And yes, I'm not too concerned with divx right now, just DVD, but thanks. ;)

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