Let's look at the process
in five parts:
saving the movie
converting (transcoding) it to
burning the disc
playing the DVD on a computer
and stand-alone DVD player
editing or adding to the
burned disc (trying to... my software version doesn't support
These may vary from system to
system as the DVD process is handled on mine by Sonic software, not Movie
Part 1 -
Rendering the Movie (WMV file)
When you select the DVD
option in the Saving Wizard, the profile is automatically selected and
the movie rendered to a WMV file.
It's saved in the same folder
that the project file is in. If you haven't saved the project file, the
movie is rendered to the c:\Documents and Settings\PapaJohn\My Documents\My
The movie is
named Untitled_001.wmv, nothing to do with the name of the project file.
You don't get a chance to name it, not until it gets to the DVD
And you don't get an option to
save a copy either. Unlike the option of going to an email with your movie, the
wizard doesn't make such an offer...
If you want a copy, you'll
need to rip one from the temporary WMV after it's saved and before
moving on to DVD creation. Copy it to another file name or folder.
Tip 1: The wizard doesn't keep the
temporary movie file open. If you wanted to, you could swap it out
with another file that you'd like on the DVD instead. It could be a
story file from Photo Story 3, without having to re-render it in Movie
process after the rendering and before starting the DVD process
results in the temporary movie file being immediately deleted, and it doesn't
show up in the recycle bin. If your movie is large and took a long time to
render, you'd be better off rendering it to a DV-AVI or high quality WMV file
first, and bringing it in as a single clip. The single clip on the timeline will
render lots quicker and you don't run the risk of something getting in the way
of the original rendering.
The profile used for the temporary WMV file is built
into the process and not changeable. I searched my hard drive to see if I
could find the file and see the settings... but didn't find it. Must be embedded
in the application software someplace... in an exe, a dll, whatever. It's
not a prx profile.
Instead of looking at profile
settings, let's take a look at the properties of a temporary WMV file by
importing it into Movie Maker.
The bit rate is as high
as the best WMV option that comes with Movie Maker but only 1/3 to 1/4
the rate of a high quality DVD MPEG-2 file.
Tip 2: Bumping up the bitrate
in a custom profile, and substituting the rendered
movie for the temporary WMV file would be a good use
of the swap-out
Not only would the swap work with a higher
quality WMV file... you could render the movie to a
DV-AVI file and use that instead (name it the same, including
the WMV file
The size of 720x480 is
appropriate as it aligns with the MPEG-2 DVD standard... better than the Photo
Story 3 DVD plug-in that uses 640x480 and results in lower quality.
Part 2 -
Transcoding (converting) to MPEG-2 files...
After the temporary WMV file is fully rendered, Movie Maker
tosses the ball to the Sonic DVD wizard (or whatever brand comes with your
system - I'm interested in hearing about it).
You know you're out
of Movie Maker at this point because the window has a Sonic logo, and
you can have this wizard open yet go back and do other things in Movie
Maker. If it was a Movie Maker wizard, you'd have to close it first.
This is the window where
you get to name your DVD and the video... see the screen shot
in part 4 below to see where these two titles end up on the main
Accept the drive
selection and write speed. You can select as many as 20 discs.
Tip 3: It's a good idea to
select a few copies... even if you only want one disc. If you run
into a glitch in the burning, it'll tell you that it was unsuccessful but
won't offer to try again. You have to start over in Movie Maker and
re-render the movie.
you get a successful burn on the first disc, you can press the cancel
button to close the process before starting the second
When you press the
Create DVD button the Sonic wizard checks to see that you
have a blank DVD disc in the drive...
if you don't, or if
you've slipped a substitute in to try to get it to a disc, but it won't
accept it... it'll give you the error message below.
Tip 4: It's another message that
could be due to other reasons. I saw it a bit during testing... not
only when I put an already used disc in the drive (good call)... but
also when I substituted a downloaded MPEG-2 file to see if I could
slip it into the process (bad call, as it was based
on the input file, not
When it accepts both the
input file (or the substitute you slipped in) and the blank disc,
it'll transcode the MPEG-2 files needed for the disc. To do it, the
wizard creates a temporary disc-based DVD project.
The project is named
MCE2005.dvd and created in the c:\Documents and
Settings\PapaJohn\Local Settings\Temp\Symphony.Sonic\MCE2005 folder.
Part 3 -
Burning the disc(s)...
You'll have had to satisfy
Sonic's need for an appropriate blank disc before the DVD project is saved
to disc, so there's nothing more to do at this step except watch it. I use DVD-R
When the disc is finished you
get the good feelings (or relief) from the notice at the right...
The DVD menu at the left
is what you get if you accept all of the defaults, not naming the DVD
The embedded logo on the menu
is the Media Center... but here it's playing in WinDVD. It plays
As I didn't have a functional
DVD player in the house, I went out and purchased the lowest priced one I
could find - $29.95 after rebate. I played it, using the 3-1/2" LCD screen
of my camcorder as the screen... and it looked good.
Part 5 - Adding to or
Editing the disc...
tried to open the DVD project on the disc, to change the titles or add
another movie, but a message said this version doesn't support it... and
offered a link to purchase a higher version.