DVD Production

DVD (Digital Versatile Disc) has become the standard domestic format for audio visual material. DVDs are increasingly used for exhibition, especially for installations of moving image work. Although commonly used, there are many issues involved in DVD production that can make it a frustrating and difficult format. The most common problem is the potential incompatibility of a DVD with some players (this problem is exasperated with the exchange of DVDs overseas). These problems are the result of the wide range of formats and compression standards that are available.

Most new desktop computers have DVD authoring facilities. But before you embark on producing your DVD consider which would be the best compression format you will use and test your DVD if possible.

The advantage of using a professional company is that they have access to industry standard equipment and the experience to inform deciding which format / compression to use. The basic stages involved in DVD production are as follows:


Design

First the DVD content (menus, special features) and packaging is designed.

Encoding

Then the material, video and audio files, are encoded – this compresses them to fit onto a DVD. The level of compression is relative to the amount of material you want on a DVD.

Authoring

The various elements of the DVD are linked together and functionality is added.

Pre-mastering

This is the addition of high-end features and checking the DVDs specification.

Emulation

This produces a digital version of the DVD on your hard disc so you can check for any mistakes.

Manufacturing / Duplication

This is the final process when the DVD is actually produced. Many companies offer duplication services which can be used to produce a large quantity of DVDs.


There are two main types of DVD that people will use. A ‘pressed DVD’ is a mass produced disc similar to any high-street release (available in a variety of data sizes). ‘DVD recordables’ (including DVD-R and DVD+R) are widely available for home use or small DVD production. Compatibility with players is generally not effected by the type of DVD you use (DVD-R or DVD+R) but can vary with different disc brands - Verbatim, Maxell and Taiyo Yuden are the most widely compatible brands.

For an in-depth step by step guide to the stages involved in producing a DVD we recommend Pink Pigeons’ DVD Planner.

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