DVD handling is a relatively new job for most users, given the fact that DVD format itself has not been with us for a very long time. And yet, there are plenty of video tools supporting the format and allowing you to manipulate it almost any way you like.
Making your own DVDs is not an easy task as the amount of softwares able to assist you are not abounding and there are few users that have the necessary knowledge to bring the result to a satisfactory standard. But, there are some instruments that will make even a beginner pass for an expert video encoding "artist".
Nero Recode for instance makes for an easy to use tool in this sense. It is not a professional digital encoding, but it is perfect for jobs involving personal video from camcorders. The interface is nice and simple and comparing it to the last version it is definitely a step forward. Other than the looks, there isn't anything changed.
So the same user friendly, intuitive interface will be available, but with a Vista touch on it. The five options available allow you to recode a non-copy-protected DVD to a DVD disc with no loss in quality, recode only the main movie to a DVD file, compile a DVD from personal DVD videos, recode DVDs and videos to Nero Digital format (MPEG-4 files) or recode an entire DVD main movie to Nero Digital format.
Although it seems like a difficult task, the moment you start the wizard and take a look at the available settings, you will realize that it is the easiest job on Earth. For each of the aforementioned jobs you can integrate additional files (any type of file) to the final result, without including them in the DVD Video file.
Recoding a DVD to DVD is actually similar to creating a backup of the video file. The difference is that you can remove unwanted elements and keep only the interesting ones. For instance, you can keep only the audio tracks and subtitles you are interested in and which are useful for you. Eliminating extra luggage will result in a smaller file and generally, the video quality is very little affected.
Unfortunately, you cannot remove the menu and the extras in this module. All you can do is shrink their size by replacing them with a custom picture, a color of some kind or turn them into slide shows. During our testing, Extra features weighing about 220MB were successfully replaced with a slideshow of only 22MB.
The output result can be of any size format you need. DVD 5 and DVD 9 are supported as well as 8-cm DVDs (1.4GB). If none of these alternatives suits you then customizing the size sure will (lower right hand part of the DVD-Video Files screen).
Under this window, you have a preview screen and the audio and subtitle components of the selected item. If there are one too many audio tracks, I suggest you keep only those of use for you and dump all the others. The same is available for subtitles. The next step of the wizard leads to the settings of the output result. This can be burned directly to disc or saved on your computer in a location of your choice.
Recoding the main movie options does exactly what it sounds like: dumps all the extra baggage and keeps only movie file. This is saved in DVD-Video format and from what I've seen, it is rather untouched. I have not made a comparison between the original and the recoded result, but playing it in a DVD player showed a preservation of quality in both image and sound.
This window comes with changed options and though you cannot change the extras and menu as they are sent to oblivion, you can still do a trick or two. First of all, there is Trim Movie option which allows recoding only a certain part of the movie. The process is almost effortless as you get to set both start and end frames and the preview windows with control buttons only makes it easier. You will also benefit from information on the total size of the trim as well as from
total duration of the file.
Making your own DVDs involves having a set of titles on your computer. The options available include trimming the movie, merging the titles into a single one, locking ratio (don't worry, changes still can be made, but manually) and deleting some of the appended files. The window is similar to that of the first option in main menu (Recode an Entire DVD to DVD) so there should not be too much trouble.
Recoding to Nero Digital is nothing more than converting the files in MPEG-4 format. There are several presets available, allowing for an easy conversion for iPod, 3GPP, Sony Memory Stick Video or Nero Digital playing as well as profiles (Mobile phone, Portable device, Standard, Cinema or HD-TV). The size of the resulting file is also configurable and you can choose between the various predetermined formats (80 minutes CD, 128MB, 256MB, 512MB, 1GB or 2GB flash, 74 minutes CD, 1.4GB mini DVD, DVD5 or 9) or decide upon a size of your own. In this case, size combined with the digital profile you opt for, can make a really big difference in quality.
For each of the added titles you can configure audio settings and subtitles. Video settings permit the user to enable deinterlacing, manual cropping of the movie (here's your chance to eliminate the black borders) and define the resolution.
The application does a great job and it is almost perfect for home videos. You can convert personal non-copy-protected DVDs to run on various media devices with just a few mouse clicks. The only process that takes longer than expected is recoding to Nero Digital. But the result is worth the wait.The Good
The application is wizard driven and all the settings are out into the open so there is no way to stumble upon any difficulty at all.
Redesigned interface perfectly integrates with Vista standards. You can burn the output result to disc or save it to your computer with the same ease of use. Recoding a DVD main movie and burning it to disc with 4x speed took about 24 minutes, which is not a long wait at all.
DVD Video and data can be burned alongside with no problems.The Bad
Considering that the latest version has no other improvements except for those made to the interface, the application is nothing much.
Making the application more complex by allowing the user to create menus to the DVDs would greatly improve the software. Also, allowing the user to create DVD titles from popular video formats would be a great step forward.The Truth
The only conclusion we can draw from the latest version of Nero Recode is that it changed its looks but preserved the exact same personality. I wish it were the other way around.
All in all, it does a good job and will not fail you. It is very easy to use and provides you with all the options necessary for achieving the best quality after recoding the files.
Proceed to Nero BackItUp
, Nero BurningROM
, Nero CoverDesigner
, Nero Express
, Nero Home
, Nero PhotoSnap
, Nero PhotoSnap Viewer
, Nero ShowTime
, Nero Vision
, Nero WaveEditor
, Nero StartSmart
, Nero Scout
, Nero InfoTool
, Nero RescueAgent
, Nero DiscSpeed
, Nero DriveSpeed, Nero BurnRights, Nero ControlCenter
, Nero SoundTraxHere are some snapshots of the application in action: