Elle was kind enough to provide the first question to “Ask a tech guy”. She’s having a little trouble burning DVD’s from her Sony Handycam:
I cannot get Nero 12 to make a DVD from my Sony Handycam video camera. I know it can be done because I was successful about a year ago. Now each time I connect and pull up the video and try to burn it tells me it cannot write to a DVD disk and instead asks for a CD. I cannot find an option to change it to DVD. My only option has been to create it on windows media which will only play on a computer. When I Google the problem I get everything but an answer! If you can’t help me with this at least I vented. ;)Thanks!
After some digging and a little more feedback from Elle, we found out that her camera creates MPEG (.mpg) files. While I have neither Nero 12, nor a Sony Camcorder, I have a decent amount of experience creating DVD’s from all sorts of video files.
Today I’ll cover how to make a DVD from any video file, and more importantly, how to burn it to a DVD.
For today we’ll need a couple of (free) third-party tools:
- DVD Flick – An editor for creating DVD videos.
- InfraRecorder – An open-source DVD/CD burner program.
We’ll be creating a DVD working directory from her video files, and then cover how to burn these to a DVD that will play on most DVD players.
Creating a DVD
1) Open DVD Flick and click Add Title. Browse to your video file on your computer and click Open. (I recommend copying the file off the camera to somewhere on your computer for ease of generation). You can add multiple videos by repeating the Add Title step.
2) You’ll see your title in the main editor view.
The indicator on the left-hand side shows how much of a standard DVD the final video will fill. Typically I recommend burning between 90 minutes to three hours on a single DVD (the quality will automatically adjust in DVD Flick). My example video is almost two-hours, the latest live special from This American Life.
3) Click Edit Title. You’ll see this screen pop-up:
From here you can change the title of your video file (Name) and choose a thumbnail from the video that will show up on any menus we create. You can adjust the time index by using the arrows, or by typing in a time (takes a moment to refresh the picture).
4) Click Chapters on the left of this dialog. From here we can create some chapters for easy navigation in a long video.
For the moment I just went with uniform 10 minute chapters.
5) Click Accept to save Title changes.
6) Click Project Settings to adjust the overall title of your DVD. For the moment the default settings should be fine.
I’m using kind of a long name here (as you’ll see when you create the menus). You’ll probably want to keep the title to 20 characters or less. Click Accept to save changes.
7) Click Menu Settings. This allows you to create a basic menu for your DVD based on a couple of pre-selected templates.
8) You can preview how your menu will look and operate by clicking the Preview button.
As you can see, my project title was a little long.
9) The preview will also show you any titles you’ve added by clicking the Select Title option.
Click the X at the top-right to close the preview. Click Accept to save menu changes.
10) Save your project by clicking Save Project. A saved project will work as long as the video file is kept in the same place (so it’s a good idea to copy this file to your computer).
11) You’re now ready to create your DVD files. Click Create DVD to create your DVD.
12) Running this will take a number of hours so DVD Flick has some built in ways to entertain you. Click Entertain me if you’re really bored.
Actually this program runs pretty much in the background, so you can use your computer normally while it’s working. You can speed it up (a little) by adjusting the Process Priority up.
13) When the program is finished running it will create a DVD folder that looks something like this:
The sub-folder dvd contains the two folders AUDIO_TS and VIDEO_TS required for all DVD videos. It’s these folders we’ll be burning to a DVD. Here’s what the inside of the VIDEO_TS folder will look like:
The number of VOB files will vary based on your project.
Now we’re ready to burn our movie.
Burning a DVD movie
1) Put a blank DVD in the tray and Open InfraRecorder. Select Video Disc from the front menu.
2) This will bring up the basic project window. Browse to your DVD folder and add the AUDIO_TS and VIDEO_TS folders as shown:
3) Click Actions–>Burn Compilation–>To a Compact Disc (works for both DVD’s and CD’s).
4) Burning options are pretty simple (defaults are probably fine). Click OK to burn your disc.
And you’re done. It might take a little longer than the Nero process did, but it offers a lot more flexibility with the kind of DVD’s you can make. Nero may have a DVD video burning function like the one shown in InfraRecorder, so you may want to try that, but that will typically require the AUDIO_TS and VIDEO_TS folders we generated with DVD Flick.
Let me know if you have any questions, and for those of you with tech problems of your own, feel free to submit them in the comments, or by using the Contact menu option. If you do, you’ll get a personalized response like this one.