will Sonic Foundry produce a DVD Authoring app?

stevemcx wrote on 7/22/2002, 1:40 PM
I just want to express the hope that SF will introduce DVD Authoring software. I have tried a few apps, and am now using DVDit SE as the lesser of the available evils. I have figured-out how to use it and can confidently author my DVDs...but that doesn't mean I like it. In fact, I think the interface is very poorly conceived, and it makes me wonder what planet their engineers come from ;-)

I've been very happy with my various Sonic Foundry apps, so I have some confidence that they would (will?) do a good job with this, as well.

Here's hoping! - SM


HeeHee wrote on 7/22/2002, 1:48 PM
I second the motion.
SHTUNOT wrote on 7/22/2002, 2:13 PM
Make it and I WILL buy it!
dsanders wrote on 7/22/2002, 2:44 PM
Have you tried ULead DVD Workshop? I am going to give the demo a shot. Right now I am using MyDVD 3.5, which is completly different then the 2.x version (which is similar to DVDit 2.x that you are using). Within a couple of weeks, MyDVD 4.0 will be released with yet again another user interface. I'm waiting to see if they can get it right this time! I'm not holding my breath!

However, according to a Sonic Solutions (not Sonic Foundry) press release... "Sonic Solutions [NASDAQ: SNIC] announced today that Dr. Donald Norman, one of the world’s leading authority on product usability and user interface design, has been appointed to its advisory board. As member of the board, Dr. Norman provides perspective on usability and product design to maximize positive user experience and customer satisfaction when using the latest generation of DVD-recording technology."
BuzertScum wrote on 7/22/2002, 4:51 PM
It would be nice to cap edit & burn all my video in 1 progam. Go sonic foundry.
I have tryd many progams too & dvdit is sad but it works unlead any many others dont do dolby AC3 so you end up with huge audio files.Roxio vid pack 5 does a good job i like it cause if the sorce file is not right it will convert it lets you make muti menu system but man its got a confusing menu link system . You cant test your work in the progam to see if the buttons work right you must make a img file then use there virtual cd drive to test.Im testing spruceup now so far it looks good but you cant buy it anymore you can still DL the demo SO if Sonic guys are listening look a spruceup for a good layout to copy :)
earthrisers wrote on 7/22/2002, 6:52 PM
I bought DVD Complete (from Dazzle), and I'm pleased with the results it gives me. I can set up to 36 random-access "chapter points" per movie, etc. (It was only about $75.)
I had to do quite a bit of digging & experimenting to figure out how to add my own music files to play under "menus", and to edit the text that shows up in scene-selection menus --- the online help for the product is kind of miserable for learning stuff like that, and there's no hardcopy manual.
I'll most likely go to a Sonic Foundry authoring app, when it finally appears, just 'cause I like the SFdry family of products. For now, though, DVD Complete is allowing me, after all these years and years of waiting, to produce my own DVDs!
Ron Lucas wrote on 7/22/2002, 9:27 PM
I also use DVDit! PE mainly because it supports AC3. That's a huge selling point for me to be able to have a DVD authoring app that allows me to convert audio to AC3 so I get a larger video on disk. Ever since I got this app, my DVDs are much nicer to watch because I can use a higher data rate.

However, I would buy a Sonic Foundry product for burning DVDs if it also supported AC3.

stepfour wrote on 7/23/2002, 12:24 AM
earthrisers, there is a manual for DVD complete. It's in a PDF file on this page:
http://dazzle.com/info/literature.html (slide down past the brouchures)..
I have been using DVD Complete for a few months now and I love it, too. Great quality for the money. It works great with VV3 DV-AVI renders. The process is a bit time consuming to render to DV-AVI and then to MPEG-2 in DVD Complete, but, like you, I am finally making DVD's that wow my audience. I shoot MiniDV and so far VV3 and DVD Complete together preserve as much of that crisp video as any combination of products I have used.
seeker wrote on 7/23/2002, 1:15 AM
The AC3 issue is also important to me. Not just for getting compact audio files (although that is a good reason all by itself) but also to have the capability of including surround sound on the DVD. Hopefully when Sonic Foundry does a DVD authoring product it will include support for both AC3 and surround sound.

-- Burton --
dsanders wrote on 7/23/2002, 8:02 AM
Sonic Foundry used to have a AC3 encoder in their Soft Encode product, but no longer sell it. I suspect that everyone would include an AC3 encoder if it was affordable, but unfortunatly, Dolby Labs charges a huge licensing fee. So anyway, how did Dolby get the DVD Forum to endorse AC3 that the ONLY acceptable compressed audio on NTSC DVDs? And when is their patent up?
vonhosen wrote on 7/23/2002, 10:54 AM
There's already been a long discussion about that. Dolby lobbied hard when DVD spec was drawn up for AC-3 and won with NTSC. PAL was different and are lucky enough to be able to use MPEG-1 layer II audio so you get the compression, comparable quality and none of the cost.
It is not likely that the spec is going to change due to the amount of legacy NTSC hardware but more & more players are appearing that support both NTSC/PAL and AC-3/MPEG & PCM audio. Particularly in Europe.
seeker wrote on 7/24/2002, 4:33 AM

> "I suspect that everyone would include an AC3 encoder if it was affordable, but unfortunatly, Dolby Labs charges a huge licensing fee." <

That is a sort of chicken-or-egg thing. If everyone included an AC3 encoder, it would be affordable. The trick is to spread the licensing fee out over a larger number of products. If Sonic Foundry included Dolby in all of their product line, including ACID, Sound Forge, Vegas Audio, and Vegas Video, then the per-unit cost could be made much lower. And all of those products could benefit from surround sound. Not that all of the ACID users would make surround loops, but some users would really enjoy composing in surround space.

There is already precedence for this in existing products. Vegas Video has a lot of features, all of which contribute to the cost of the product. But any given user may choose not to use certain features, even though by purchasing Vegas Video that user is, in effect, subsidizing those features in Vegas Video.

For example, suppose I don't ever plan to use the Track Motion feature in Vegas Video. I can't really expect that Sonic Foundry will take the Track Motion feature out of Vegas Video in order to offer that abridged version of Vegas Video to me at a reduced price. Similarly, if Vegas Video 4 were to have Dolby support, I would be paying for it whether I wanted to use it or not and, in a sense, the non-users of Dolby in Vegas would be subsidizing the Dolby feature for the rest of the Vegas user community. But by spreading the Dolby cost over many shrink-wrapped boxes, the cost per box could be made much lower.

And that could be a win-win proposition. Presumably consumers would be impressed by the new surround sound capabilities, so Sonic Foundry would sell more copies of their products, which would increase the total number of Sonic Foundry users. In turn, a bigger user base benefits everyone in several ways, including attracting more third party support in the form of plug-ins, hardware, and books.

Yes, books. I would like to see some Vegas Video books in the bookstores, right there on the shelves with all those Adobe Premiere books and Final Cut Pro books. And if we get the user base, that will happen. But Sonic Foundry needs to supply beta copies of upcoming software to the book authors. If you wait for the final release of the software to start writing the book, the book release is just delayed too much.

> "So anyway, how did Dolby get the DVD Forum to endorse AC3 that the ONLY acceptable compressed audio on NTSC DVDs?" <

Well, Dolby got there first with the best surround sound audio compression solution. Nobody could knock them off of that perch. The optional DTS scheme gives good surround, but the audio files are about twice as big. In my opinion, Dolby won because they didn't have any competiton that was better.

"And when is their patent up?" <

I think Dolby probably protects their system with more than one patent. A lot of companies do that. However, I don't know when Dolby AC3 will pass into the public domain. But I am impatient to dabble in surround sound now.

-- Burton --
JJKizak wrote on 7/24/2002, 8:42 AM
Chienworks wrote on 7/24/2002, 11:22 AM
Seeker, i think one point you're overlooking is that the cost of SonicFoundry developing a feature is mostly a one-time cost that is spread over the total number of packages shipped, so it can be subsidized for a very small price to the end user. However, a Dolby license is a fee that must be added to every package shipped. SonicFoundry doesn't pay just one license fee to add the technology to all of it's shipments. Yes, i'm sure there are probably volume discounts, but the cost is still a per sale item rather than one time only.
HeeHee wrote on 7/24/2002, 11:26 AM
Kelly is right. I think a possible solution here is to offer an optional plugin for AC3. If you want to use it, you register it and pay a fee.
Cheesehole wrote on 7/24/2002, 1:50 PM
>>> I think a possible solution here is to offer an optional plugin for AC3

I agree. it's a pro feature and pro's would pay extra for it.
dsanders wrote on 7/24/2002, 2:44 PM
I really don't think its a "Pro" feature. Its the ONLY way to get compressed audio on NTSC DVDs. 5.1 dobly might be "Pro", but just regular old stereo is what us "hobbiests" use and we need compressed audio.

Just as a reference point, a Dolby Digital plug-in for Adobe Premier is $300!!! Just for a stinking encoder. And, I think all it does is Stereo and Dolby Surround, not 5.1 (but I may be wrong). Check out http://www.minnetonkaaudio.com/V-Plug.htm. In addition, most DVD authoring apps will not accept dolby files unless you get the "Professional" versions. And these usually already include a DD encoder. So you can't win. The odds are stacked against us. :>(
stepfour wrote on 7/24/2002, 4:31 PM
So far I have been lucky. The paid jobs I have edited and burned to DVD have been about one hour and fifteen minutes in length. Max bitrate burn and MPEG L-II audio fits fine on the DVD. I dread when I get that job that involves trying to put close to two hours on a DVD. I might have to spring for ReelDVD at that time which will be an unhappy purchase. Somebody mentioned SF SoftEncode earlier. I still see that product offered on certain sites, but it's around $1k.

If SF comes up with a reasonably priced plug in for VV3 or other sound editing package and that plugin can convert wav to Dolby Digital, I would buy it.
fuzzzzy wrote on 7/24/2002, 5:02 PM
HI when u say burned to DVD..what do you actally mean...
With a a DVD recorder, or mpeg2 to a normal CD?
the reason I ask because I have a just over 1 hour DV avi file and am not sure how to get it on a normal CD.

seeker wrote on 7/24/2002, 5:16 PM

> "However, a Dolby license is a fee that must be added to every package shipped. SonicFoundry doesn't pay just one license fee to add the technology to all of it's shipments. Yes, I'm sure there are probably volume discounts, but the cost is still a per sale item rather than one time only." <

The volume discounts could be considerable, and if the volume were sufficient the discounts would probably be open to negotiation between Dolby and Sonic Foundry. As it stands now, Dolby is missing out on a lot of Sonic Foundry money that could be flowing into their coffers and surely someone at Dolby has the business sense to realize that is not a good thing. There is no reason this can't be a win-win-win deal, with us users getting surround sound support, Dolby getting a fair fee for it, and Sonic Foundry getting more customers and more income. I think Dolby will recognize that we are consumers and not corporations, and that Dolby loses money if they price exorbitantly.

Don notes that a Dolby Digital plug-in for Adobe Premier is $300, and he thinks that is too much for just an encoder. However, Sonic Foundry charged about $1200 for Soft Encode, and it, too, was just an encoder. I would be curious to know how much of that $1200 was a license fee to Dolby, and how much of the $300 for the Premiere plug-in is a license fee to Dolby.

In this, the past is not a good predictor of the future. The consumer market for surround sound authoring is just now awakening. Adobe Premiere and Final Cut Pro already have it available. A lot of DV camcorders have been sold and are being sold. Soon there will be millions, yes millions, of DV camcorder users out there, and they are a potentially huge market for video editor software. Likewise, the sales of set top DVD players have burgeoned, with significant overlap among the DV camcorder users. DVD burners are dropping in price. An awakening demand for DVD authoring software is a natural consequence, and since DVDs play surround sound, a lot of consumers are about to "discover" that they want to author DVDs with surround sound. This will not be a gradual, linear transition. Non-linear chaotic-like psychological processes are involved in the marketplace, as they are in the stock market.

A year or so ago, Soft Encode was overpriced and in a niche market. Its marketing failure was a given. A year from now, surround sound authoring will be emerging from its professionals-only niche to become a main-stream market. When you have millions of people with DV camcorders and DVD players, even a small fraction of that market amounts to a lot of customers for DVD authoring software with surround support. By that time, if ACID, Sound Forge, and Vegas don't support surround, a lot of Sonic Foundry's customers will be looking elsewhere. Frankly, the $300 surround plug-in for Premiere got my attention.

-- Burton --
stepfour wrote on 7/24/2002, 9:39 PM
fuzzzzy, I meant recording the m2v and all the menus and chapters and stuff onto a 4.7GB disc using the DVD-R drive in my system. The term "burn" refers to what the laser in the DVD-R drive does to put the information on the disc. I don't think the CD disc (I assume 650 or 700MB) can hold the amount of information you're trying to put on it. You might try SVCD. I used to do some really nice quality SVCD's using good AVI's, TMPGEnc and NERO prior to getting into DVD authoring and burning.
seeker wrote on 7/24/2002, 11:37 PM

> "Just as a reference point, a Dolby Digital plug-in for Adobe Premier is $300!!! Just for a stinking encoder. And, I think all it does is Stereo and Dolby Surround, not 5.1 (but I may be wrong)." <

You are right, it won't encode 5.1 into AC3. I checked out the Minnetonka Audio Software website. The SurCode Dolby V-Plug for Premiere does have an Advanced Options dialog on which you could check "Dolby Surround Mode". If the original stereo material was matrix-encoded for analog Dolby Surround, then you should select that option to tell the decoder that it is Dolby Surround material. That could be useful in case your music bed was from a CD that already had analog matrixed Dolby. But SurCode Dolby V-Plug is far from a total surround solution. However it would, as you said, compress your stereo sound to AC3 for a big space savings and room for more video on your DVDs.

Your point that surround stuff is too expensive is well taken. Current prices limit surround to professionals and upper echelon prosumers. As the market expands, I think we will see entry level surround sound prices drop a lot in the next year. At least I hope so.

-- Burton --
dsanders wrote on 7/25/2002, 8:10 AM
I use Sonic Solutions MyDVD 3.5. They had press release late June that said MyDVD 4.0 will be out in July. Well.... the end of the month approaches and still no version 4.0. Now they say August! We'll see. I can understand if a tech support guy "unofficially" talks about a release day (I know it's against Sonic Foundry's rules), but they announced it in a press release to the entire world. I too was looking at DVDit, but if you compare the features that will be MyDVD 4.0, they exceed what DVDit can do - at a third of the cost. I was also looking at their ReelDVD product. It has a much better user interface than DVDit, but the product (in my opinion) is WAY overpriced. They want $1500 for it. For right now I'll just stick with MyDVD and wait for Sonic Foundry to crank out their DVD authoring app - LOL.
HeeHee wrote on 7/25/2002, 10:24 AM
FYI - I took the liberty of submitting a formal New Product Suggestion to SF. I included the link to the beginning of this thread.
riredale wrote on 7/25/2002, 1:07 PM
I am beginning to think that Dolby has shot itself in the foot by charging apparently enormous fees for its codecs. By this I mean it appears to me that users are turning to the OTHER compression format, MP2. Even though the official DVD specs insist that a DVD-video disc must have either PCM or Dolby audio here in NTSC-land, the fact is that nearly all set-top DVD players are being manufactured to be equally adept at decoding MP2 audio. This is because MP2 is one of the alternative formats for PAL countries, and economies of scale dictate that the players use a common chipset.

Many low-cost MPEG2 encoders produce MP2 audio, so over time the millions of consumer-made DVDs incorporating MP2 audio will make it a defacto standard, even in NTSC countries. I believe there is a surround-sound version of MP2 also, but don't know anything (yet) about it.

Any time the market is constrained in one dimension, it compensates in some other way. Dolby has blown it by trying to lock in huge fees.