Make a DVD? Yeah, sure…

Nottingham Castle entrance

Hooley dooley! I’ve finally finished making my first DVD. What a saga it’s been. I started around New Year, and allowing for the slight handicap that I’ve never actually edited video before, it took a bit longer than I expected … about 6 months to produce 36 mins worth.

Of course, there’s nothing like jumping into the deep end and starting with high definition video. Premiere Elements? Sure, it’s cheap, but it says it can take AVCHD, so it must be able to do the job, right?

Well, up to a point. A point about 30 minutes in, actually. Then it starts saying, er, computer says no. Constant crashes, constant out of memory errors, constant lockups. It got so that I knew I could do about 10 minutes worth of work and I might as well shut down and reboot, because it would crash soon anyway. Another 10 minutes, restart, dum de dum. Boring.

Then I discovered Canopus Edius Neo as a demo and although it wasn’t as friendly, at least it stayed up and running. But how to get the material I’d already edited across? There was no direct method, so I just had to export from Premiere in the highest quality mode and bring that into Edius. Trouble was, Premiere could only export about 10 minutes worth at a time before it crashed again. It took 8 attempts to get usable segments (each segment taking about 4-6 hours to export) and then I discovered that the audio dropped out about 80% of the way through each segment.

That meant I had to go back and re-export several segments to get enough overlap to recover the lost audio. More 6 hour export sessions!

OK, now I could bring them into Edius. Everything looked fine at first, then I discovered the audio was out of sync with the video. Not just a little bit, it was out by a full minute in every 5 minute segment!

Eventually, by trial and error, I found that I had to separate the vision and audio and slow the vision down by 83.42%. Then it dawned on me that this is the ratio of 25/29.97, which is the difference between PAL and American NTSC frame rates. Crazy! It seems to be a bug in the Edius conversion, but I’ll have to follow that up later. At least now I had a workable timeline in Edius.

But that meant I was stuck with the work I’d done in Premiere and all I could do in Edius was cover sections with new material if I wanted to change anything. Luckily I was able to do most things I wanted.

Then it was time to burn it to DVD. But Edius seemed to only allow export to BluRay discs! Crazy. I thought it must be a limitation of the demo version, so I started to work out a way to bring it back into Premiere to burn to DVD since that seemed to work well enough.

To cut a long story short, I eventually discovered that Edius will burn to DVD, it’s just not that obvious.

OK, let’s do it. I’m now up to Sunday 21st June, mid winter’s day. It burnt the first disc OK and I could see the finish line. I discovered a couple of small editing errors and fixed them, then tried to burn a second DVD. Error! It wouldn’t work! (You only find this out after about 20 mins, of course.)

It took until this afternoon, Monday, to finally get a good DVD that I could send to Sue Haig in the post. Every time I tried to do something, I ran into some new snag. It still won’t burn a DVD unless there’s a Z in the month and it feels like it. I tried to print a DVD case sleeve. The printer scrunched the paper. I tried to print the DVD label on the disc. The printer has decided it won’t follow the usual procedure and I had to struggle for about an hour to get something decent. Every time I try to do something, some new hurdle arises!

However, I’ve now got one good DVD that I can copy, so that’s all I need. I can now offer a DVD of The Road to Dornie, A Week in Scotland, if you’d like a copy.

All I ask is a letter from you with return address, and three $1 stamps to cover $1 for the mailing sleeve, $1 for the postage and $1 to cover the cost of the disc, inner sleeve and the ink etc.

I can now think about moving on to a second DVD, and I have enough material to keep me going for the next 12 months. I have in mind to do Venice and Milan next, followed by a disc covering Cambridge, Nottingham, and York, including the Duxford Air Museum, which is a story in itself. Concorde, B-52, SR-71, F-111, all within touching range.

Cheers, Pete