Q. Burning (CD) Question
I have a music video I created using MGI VideoWave III editing software. I want to get it onto disk to send to my friends and family. How do I do this? I have DVD-ROM and CD-RW drives. Is it true that CD-RW drives only write audio and data? Do I have to buy a $3,000 DVD-burner?
A. The answer is no, David. You don’t have to break the bank to burn video onto disc. You have three options to consider.
1) Specify the output of your final movie in MGI VideoWave III’s "Produce Output To" dialog to create a file with the .mpg extension to play in Windows Media Player or RealPlayer, or .mov for Apple’s QuickTime Player. You’ll have to experiment with slowing the frame rate and shrinking window size until you get the best performance to size ratio. This is an option you have with your current configuration. That’s the good news. The bad news is that if you want to put full-screen full-motion video onto disc, you might have to raid the coffers.
2) A second option is to create a VideoCD. It will be a moderate investment, with several components, but getting there could be half the fun. First, convert your digital media to MPEG-1. VideoCD is a format widely used overseas. It has near VHS quality, and a 650MB disk holds about 60 minutes of 352×240 (not 640×480 NTSC) full screen MPEG-1 video and audio. For playback a standalone DVD player that supports VideoCD is needed (the Web site www.vcdhelper.com lists many to choose from). Authoring software is the next step. You can use programs like Adobe Premiere, Xing Encoder, QuickTime 4.0 Pro and others to premaster to VideoCD 2.0 format. Burning to CD-RW, you’ll use software that supports VideoCD: CeQuardrat, WinOnCD, Nero, are a few.
3) The best looking but most costly option is DVD rewriteable. We’re all anxious for an affordable full-motion, full-screen DVD rewriteable drive to burn video on our home PCs. And it wasn’t so very long ago that we were dying for CD-RW to write data & audio files. Professionals paid thousands for audio CD burners a few years ago and they’re paying thousands now for DVD burners. I paid $150 for my internal CD-RW. I guess the moral is "good things come to those who wait," and with the accelerated rate at which all these wonderful tools come to us the wait shouldn’t be long. If you bought the real thing now you’d need an MPEG-2 encoder and authoring software solution, and a DVD recorder which would look and sound gorgeous but cost well–and I stress well–into the thousands. But for the moment the recordable DVD format wars are still being waged. The major electronics companies support different recording schemes: Sony/Phillips (DVD+RW), Pioneer (DVD-RW), Panasonic, Hitachi, Toshiba (DVD-RAM). Someday we’ll all look back on this and laugh, well, except for the guy with the $6,500 DVD burner he bought in back in ’99.
Q. My Friend Flicker
I’d like to record the images from my Mac’s screen onto video. I’ve tried taking video outputs from the back of my computer with poor results. I’ve also tried videotaping the screen directly but always have raster scan lines from the monitor. I’ve tried different frequency rates on the monitor with varying results. How do I record my computer screen clearer?
A. Billy, the only way you’ll get the results that you’re looking for is with a direct signal coming out, so consider the following:
1) If you’ve tried the video out on an older Mac, like one of the Quadra AV models, the results can be poor. It depends on the video card and its resolution support. If you have an older Mac a new card might be easily obtained and not too costly.
2) You can also look into a peripheral unit with anti-flickering filters and on-screen control of picture, for about $200. This will also provide Composite (RCA) or possibly S-video outputs and take the signal directly to your VCR. For example, ADS Technologies (www.adstech.com) offers the TV Elite XGA that supports both PC and Macintosh hardware platforms.
3) If you end up shooting the screen with a camcorder, use the best possible camera and tape you can. Try to match shutter speed settings with the refresh rate of the monitor to achieve the best result, although this approach is doomed to only moderate success.