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feldon30

Interface Quirks

Question

I will start by saying I have tried these DVD programs: DVDMaestro, Roxio DVDIt HD Pro 6, and Easy Media Creator 10 (MyDVD 9).

 

I have been doing graphic design for 15 years now and working with products like Adobe Photoshop, Freehand, Director, etc. since the early 90's.

 

MyDVD 9 has potential, but a lot of room to grow to fit my needs. Here are some interface quirks I have found that triple or quadruple my work:

 

-Performing a Copy-Paste auto-arranges all the buttons. Fortunately an Undo reverts this back.

 

-Adding a Movie auto-arranges all the buttons. I have found no Undo for this bizarre and homocidal-thought-inducing behavior. I have to go back and reposition all my buttons.

 

-No Bring to Front/Send to Back. If I create a text object and then paste a video, if I want the text object on top of the video, I have to select the text object, cut, and paste it (and then Undo the Auto-Arrange).

 

-No Replace with New Movie. This would save a lot of my effort. If I could open an existing project which I am happy with and simply replace the movies without having to rebuild the menus, that would be fantastic. Let me right-click and select "Replace with New Movie" and make no other changes.

 

-Fix Save As Menu Style... This would seem to solve a lot of my problems, but it ignores the positions of my buttons and uses the default of the pre-built style.

 

-Bizarre behavior when shift-dragging. When dragging something in a straight line, it seems about 2/3rds of the mouse movement is discarded. It requires a LOT of dragging to move a button or text object in a straight line as a result.

 

-When editing text under a button/thumbnail, if you press the RIGHT arrow key at the end of the text or the LEFT arrow key at the beginning of the text, it nudges the entire button over one pixel in the direction you pressed.

 

-Very little ability to set Defaults. Every time I create a Text object, it is 72 point, Arial Black, centered, white, with very strange spacing. I wish I had a nickel for the number of times I've had to change this to 24 point, Simple Black (which removes the auto-spacing), Impact, Left Aligned. And I'd just copy and paste but if I forget to Undo the auto-arranges even once, then I have even more work ahead of me.

 

-I would love to be able to change the default spacing between thumbnails and the text below them. Every single thumbnail I have to change the spacing to something else (in this case -23.81,-23.81).

 

(deleted part about multi-selecting objects -- this can be done by Ctrl-clicking)

 

-After replacing the Menu Background in a project with a bitmap, if I create a new submenu, it still uses the default theme menu background.

 

-No pixel accuracy in repositioning buttons. It is very easy, in the course of snapping to grid, or copying and pasting graphics, for two buttons which are physically identical to have different fractional positions. For instance, I might have a NEXT button on two different menu pages. It seems no matter what I do, I cannot get both buttons in the EXACT same place on each menu page. They are slightly off.

 

It is very disconcerting for video thumbnails and menu buttons to all shift slightly when flipping between menu pages.

 

A nice workaround would be text entry for the exact width and height of a widget. Then I could just click each one and type the width/height I want that object to have.

 

 

Some other issues which are not technically interface issues but affect me nonetheless:

 

-Sometimes when Burning a project, the Encoding Preview shows a placeholder image with white circles and the text "Encoding...". Other times it shows the video being encoded. There seems to be no rhyme or reason and the same video it will preview once will be hidden the next.

 

-The encoding math is too conservative. I placed 160 minutes of video into my project and set it to dual layer DVD (8.5GB). The resulting output is less than 7.5GB. When I have done other MyDVD projects, the output is typically 10% smaller than necessary. I realize that too small is better than too big, but I'd like to see this margin shrunk a bit. I know I can manually set encoding quality and I may try that in the future. It would be helpful if the encoding quality MyDVD has auto-calculated for itself were displayed as something like "7029kbps (Best Fit)" so I can do my own math.

 

 

I am quite happy with the encoding quality (although the lack of VBR is a bummer) and automation of MyDVD. The ability to quickly merge movies together to produce a single video using the built-in movie editor is quite nice. Setting the thumbnail segment for each video couldn't be easier. But there is a lot of room for improvement. It takes me about an hour to build a project that would take me 10 minutes if it weren't for all these interface quirks.

Edited by feldon30

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P.S. I can write one of these about DVDIt Pro. I wrestled with the menus for a couple of hours. No matter what I did, the menu button highlights never lined up with the backgrounds. DVDItPro seems to have this internal argument over whether it wants to handle 720 x 480 as 4:3 square pixels or 4:3 NTSC pixels and never gets it right.

 

If it would let me handle the 720 x 480 (4:3) issue or let me import a 720 x 540 menu, there would be no problem but it would not let me do either. I hate it when software tries to outthink me.

 

P.P.S. It took several hours to render the DVD and at the end, none of it had any sound. And the files were too big (I told it to conform to 4.7GB DVD and it produced a 6.5GB folder). I'm talking straight DV video files.

Edited by feldon30

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As the old saying goes "you get what you pay for." Most of the 'quirks' are intended to keep less experienced users from themselves. EMC has never been aimed at professional users or even semi-pro user.

 

the method I would use in any other program (Illustrator, Freehand, Microsoft Word, etc.) is to shift-click all of them and drag.
Try Control-Click which is how Windows Explorer works to multi-select files. Works fine for me.

When dragging something in a straight line, it seems about 2/3rds of the mouse movement is discarded. It requires a LOT of dragging to move a button or text object in a straight line as a result.
Must be your mouse. Works fine for me. I fine it a little easier to keep the snap-to grid turned on to align objects. You can also select multiple objects using the Control-Click method and then RIGHT MOUSE. There are many alignment options there.

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Thanks for that! I did not think of Ctrl-click.

 

In Windows, Ctrl-click allows you to select multiple non-contiguous files. Shift-click selects multiple contiguous files. Not all programs implement both and I did not think of this. Thanks! The alignment options when right-clicking multiple objects are very good.

 

I added another glitch above. Pressing the arrow keys when you are already at the top, left, right, or bottom of a text box causes that text box to be nudged one pixel, at least on my system.

 

Not sure why the dragging issue happens on my end but not yours.

 

I love having full control with DVDMaestro but I have forgotten the exact steps I did to get the video encoded in such a way that Maestro will accept it (it must be spot-on, standards compliant video ready to burn to DVD). My IT friend has suggested I use MyDVD to encode the video since that seems to be virtually bulletproof and reasonably fast in encoding and then use another program to doll up the menus.

 

I almost bought a Mac Mini over this but then read up on all the people having trouble with iDVD '08.

 

The fact that there is no one stable DVD authoring software probably traces back to the DVD Specifications which are vague and open-to-interpretation.

Edited by feldon30

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My IT friend has suggested I use MyDVD to encode the video
Not sure why he suggested that. MyDVD is the DVD authoring app. If all you want to do is output a single MPEG 2 file, you should be using Videowave. There are many more options, too.

 

From what I could find on Google about Spruce Technologies, their software has never been available to the consumer.

Edited by ggrussell

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Not sure why he suggested that. MyDVD is the DVD authoring app. If all you want to do is output a single MPEG 2 file, you should be using Videowave. There are many more options, too.

Sorry, I should have been clearer. He has no knowledge of DVD authoring. He simply said "Well, if MyDVD is giving you good video encoding but problematic menus, and you have a program that does the menus you want but you've been unable to get good encoded video into it, why not use MyDVD with the basic templates and then drop the VOB files into DVDMaestro or other Pro DVD menu authoring application?"

 

I have not looked at VideoWave before. The MPEG2 encoder I am familiar with is TMPEGEnc. I think it's a matter of me not knowing what settings to put into it to get a proper file that DVDMaestro will accept. And as you know, DVDMaestro is discontinued and fading into the world of abandonware, despite the fact that many Hollywood DVDs were (and presumably still are) produced with it because of its control freakish ability to set every single button on the DVD remote throughout the entire disc and do full seamless branching, etc.

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to set every single button on the DVD remote throughout the entire disc and do full seamless branching, etc.
Perhaps you should be looking into Sonic's Senarist? Aimed at professional DVD authoring.

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And thus we come full circle. ;)

 

Yes, Scenarist is considered by some to be the gold standard. It also requires programming and scripting abilities to produce the most basic DVD.

 

DVDMaestro was created as a reaction to the insurmountability of Scenarist. Something to bridge the gap. Almost all the same functionality of Scenarist, with little or no programming required. Alas it was killed off during the near simultaneous change in ownership in virtually every DVD authoring app (which I do not think has had a positive effect on the market).

 

Apple brought Spruce (makers of DVDMaestro) and promptly killed the product, folding the IP into the DVD functionality of Final Cut Pro.

 

Roxio acquired Sonic and along with it MyDVD, DVDIt Pro, and Scenarist.

 

I initially tried DVDItPro, since it is also from Sonic and the Pro moniker grabbed my attention. Alas I immediately ran into the show-stoppers I mentioned above.

 

 

There seems to be no "Rosetta Stone" type DVD authoring environment like Adobe Photoshop is to the photo editing world or Ableton Live for live music performers. It just hasn't been written yet.

Edited by feldon30

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Actually it was the other way round - Adaptec went into hardware and the software end became Roxio, Roxio acquired Napster, Roxio was acquired by Sonic and the Roxio side went off and Napstered

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There seems to be no "Rosetta Stone" type DVD authoring environment like Adobe Photoshop is to the photo editing world or Ableton Live for live music performers. It just hasn't been written yet.
Most of us have more modest needs. So far, MyDVD has fulfilled all my needs for my family DVD authoring. I also own DVDit Pro HD, but still prefer MyDVD.

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