Tuesday, 7 October 2008

How to make a DVD 101

For those of you who are worried about my (abnormal) radio silence, don't fret. It's simply that I'm making a new DVD. The new Video Guide to British Birds (270 species edition) to be exact. And that's amongst preparing the 2009 catalogue, doing articles and generally making sure everything's running smoothly at BirdGuides. (Pass me a broom someone...)

DVD authoring is terribly involved. I liken it to 3D knitting. I've currently got one computer (with only slightly less processing power than a Kray) beavering away compressing video files. DVDs take about 5GB (or 9GB if dual-layer) of data. Video is terribly data-heavy stuff - so it needs to be carefully squashed before I can usefully play with it. The most tedious part of this is (i) it takes *ages* and (ii) between every video I need to press enter twice. Which means having to babysit the whole process rather than leaving the computer to it. I'd rather be out filming frankly.

I won't bore you with the details of the next part, but I have to take these 270 videos and insert them onto 4 dual-layer DVDs with enough menus, buttons, icons, chapters, tracks and scripts to make it all work. Horrid. I know it will all be worth it though. I've been sneakily watching the videos between times and the footage is totally stunning.

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