Creating movies on Vista

So I have a movie taped on my digital camera and I want to make a relatively simple DVD out of it. Luckily for me I have Vista Ultimate with two applications I need: Windows Movie Maker and Windows DVD Maker. One is for producing movie (you know, cutting, adding titles, effects, transitions and stuff) while the other is for creating “pure” DVDs. I say pure DVD because the former doesn’t have option to burn a real DVD – though it has an option to “Publish to DVD” which really means that it’ll burn WMV file to the DVD – it won’t be playable on usual DVD player.

So, first I need Windows Movie Maker (WMM) to produce something that one can watch. WMM is quite good for most common and simple tasks and I have no big problems here. After I am done with producing I publish my movie to disk (aka create a wmv file). Once the production is finished I need to burn a real DVD – one that would play on any DVD player. I fire up Windows DVD Maker (WDM), import previously crafted wmv file and I am quite happy with its ease of use and great looking DVD menus I can add to my movie. But [MS] wouldn’t be [MS] if there wasn’t a show stopper inside. WDM is so intelligent that will create chapters (they are called scenes in WDM) for you. The bad side of this is that it doesn’t have a clue how to cut the movie to chapters – looks like WDM uses some sort of random algorithm. OK, I try importing WMM project instead of raw wmv file. I think that it should understand where it should cut because all the data is there – in the WMM project. But no, the outcome is even worse this time as the DVD menu blinks oddly and chapters are still random. This might be even tolerable if there was a “manually create chapters” option. But there isn’t one. So I am stuck with great looking movie with random chapters here and there. But I won’t give up at this point.

So I remember that my Panasonic video camera had some software bundled. The problem at the time I bought it was that the bundles software didn’t support Vista. Now, a half a year later, Google helps and finds updates for me – MotionDV Studio 6.0 LE for DV and SweetMovieLife 1.1E now work on Vista. Great, I think, I’ll be certainly able to produce something with not-cheap-video-camera bundled software. After five minutes of testing of both applications I slightly correct my opinion. It would be better if they wouldn’t run on Vista so I wouldn’t loose those five minutes. SML is like WDM just 10x times worse while MDS is like WMM just 10x times harder to use and probably 10x times worse.

Does anybody have a good recommendation for video authoring software – one that would be relatively easy to use and would create DVDs?

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