Converting Downloaded Videos to DVD
Today I had bought a boatload of DVD+R media at Costco. I had a great coupon–buy one 100 disk spindle, get another one free. That made the cost per disk cheaper than the CD-R media I also bought at Costco.
After spending that money, I was thinking: how can I make use of all that DVD+R media? I could make backups, of course, but I decided I'd try to do something I tried to do on my Linux boxes but failed: mastering a DVD based on movies I downloaded off the Internet. I searched the Internet a bit for programs that could do this, and I realized that I already had the necessary program pre-loaded on my Mac: iDVD.
iDVD gives you a way to put pictures and movies onto a DVD so you can see them through a regular DVD player. You can easily set up a DVD complete with slick menus. It comes with a number of "themes" for these menus that let you choose your own style. You can customize what is displayed in the various "drop zones" as well as the text displayed on the menus. You can "walk through" the DVD to make sure it's going to be exactly the way you like it before the DVD is burned.
The other important thing is that iDVD will handle the transcoding that will need to occur for your video content as well as the animated menus. DVDs require video to be encoded in MPEG2 format, which means converting all those Quicktime, MPEG4, or other files over to MPEG2. This process can be time-consuming, but at least it does it for you and you don't have to think about it.
I am currently in the middle of having the contents of my first disk transcoded to MPEG2 and am anxious to see how the DVD will look in my DVD player once it's all done. I'll report on the process.