Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Calling All Readers, I Need Your Help!

Ok, here's the deal.

I've got two DVD burning programs on my computer: Nero, and Sonic.

They both suck, or my computer sucks, or maybe I suck, but the damn things don't work whatever the cause.

I've been trying to burn some of my home videos, and some music videos that I downloaded here there and wherever onto DVD so I can give copies to other people that don't have computers. I've also been trying to burn copies of my soon to be released bootleg sex video so that I can send out copies with my Christmas cards this year,(~sarcasm~), and all I keep getting is a bunch of electronic grief.

Home videos, no problem. They're all in the same format so they work just fine. The process is slower than molasses in January, but at least it works. The music videos on the other hand, no dice. All I keep getting on Sonic is a bunch of error messages and other crap that doesn't make any sense at all. A bunch of garbage about NTSC vs. PAL format, I don't give a rat's ass which format they're in. If they're in the wrong format, then convert them so that they're in the right one, that's what Nero is supposed to do. This file is corrupted and may not be usable, well is it usable, or isn't it? It plays just fine on Windows Media Player, why the hell can't I burn it on a DVD? Then there's some crap about not being able to add audio files this way or that way or something, I'm not even trying to add a damn audio file for crying out loud, it's a video file. Once again, all of these files will play on every single media player on my machine, they just don't seem to want to be on a DVD. Add that to the fact that Sonic will only work on about three different formats and it becomes even more worthless.

Nero is even better. I was told that this was the "best" DVD burning program available, yeah right. I'd hate to see the worst if that's the case. This little gem doesn't even screw around with the error messages, oh no. It just hangs up and stays that way for days if you don't hit abort and close the damn thing. It wouldn't be so bad if it would do it right away, but usually it sits there transcoding videos for 2 or 3 hours, then the little green lines on the overall progress-o-meter thingy just stop moving and that's it. No error message, no complete lock up, no blue screen of death, nothing. Just the little timer that keeps running and adding up hours while it makes no progress whatsoever. I've tried about a dozen times to burn a DVD with this useless piece of garbage and I think I've actually succeeded once. I'm sure glad it was given to me, if I'd payed the hundred and some bucks for it I'd really be pissed.

So here's where you come in, my faithful readers . . . . both of you.

Does anyone know of a good freeware program for burning DVD's? Possibly even just a program for transcoding various different formats of AV files into MPEG2 or something that one of my fragile little DVD burning princesses can handle? I know, I know, there's only about a million different audio and video codecs out there and there's probably no program in existence that can handle all of them, but is there one that can at least tell me why it won't work so that I can try to fix it? Is it my computer? Do I not have enough memory or something? I don't exactly have a multibyte gigapixel firebreather here, but it isn't no slouch either.

I have the DIVX converter on my machine as well, and it works great, but my DVD player doesn't support DIVX, and I've yet to find a video converter that will convert DIVX files into anything, let alone burn them to DVD. I've used it a few times to fix files when the originals wouldn't play, or wouldn't play right. After converting them they'll play, but I've no way to get them onto a DVD other than in DIVX format.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to tell me what the hell I'm doing wrong and suggest a solution. Preferably a free one. If you ignore this post, I don't want to hear any bitching when you don't get your sex video this Christmas, I'm only giving copies to my really good friends. ;)

Help me Obi Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope!


The Dixie Drifter said...


Exactly what is the process or the steps that you are taking when you try to do the DVD?

When I do mine I will download the movie from my camera and convert into a High quality NTSC format or a DVAVI file using windows movie maker, do my editing of the movie add credits music etc once completed and saved on the PC I use a program called ULEAD DVD MOVIE FACTORY to burn onto the disc, works great everytime.

Wulfgar said...

I second the shout-out to Ulead for authoring. For conversion, I prefer a couple of different programs (dork that I am, I can't even remember the name of one of them right now). The one I do remember is Tsunami Mpeg generator (TMPGenc). There used to be free versions of it out in the wild, but even if you can't one, that may not be an obstruction (hint, hint).

For all your questions, I strongly urge you to hang out at If there's such a thing as too much information, you'll find it there.

Justin said...

Thanks Drifter, I'll give that a try ;)

I'll have to get my hands on a copy of Ulead wulfgar, it shouldn't be too much of a problem. ;)

I had Tsunami for a while, but I quit using it. It had the same nasty habit of just hanging up and stopping half way through a video like Nero does. I'll have to check out that, I hadn't heard of that one before. I went and downloaded Mediacoder, it's supposed to work pretty good but you have to be an ubergeek to run the damn thing. I think I'm gonna try the Drifter's idea of transcoding them in Movie Maker, and then trying to burn them, but Movie Maker doesn't work with all formats either, so thats where the Mediacoder comes in.

Thanks for your help amigos!

Vince said...

Justin, I do a fair amount of this stuff too and generally use Nero. You mentioned that it doesn't produce an error message. In my experience what happens is that in case of an error Nero will ask if you want to save the log file. The file it creates has a list of steps Nero took in trying to transcode the file(s) and, although geeky, the listing in that file will point to exact source of the problem. It usually gives an error code as well which can be searched with Google. Anyway, I download and burn LOTS of Divx files, converting them into regular DVDs, sometimes with a menu and Nero handles this just fine. Make sure you have the most current version. I'm running 6.3. If you want to determine the exact pedrigree of a file that you've download, I recommend a freebie called AviCodec. Drag any media file into it and it will show you what type of file, compression, etc. and whether you have the proper codec for it. Search for it on Google. One more thing, if you want a DVD player that will play almost anything, pick up a Phillips 642. They are under $60 locally and will play pretty much anything except some weird type of Divx. I regularly download BBC material in Divx/Pal and just burn them to a DVD as files and the 642 plays them fine.

Justin said...

Thanks for the pointers vince. I've got a program called G-Spot that does what you describe as far as telling you what codecs ect. were used on a video. Only trouble is, most of it might as well be in Greek, it doesn't mean much to me to be honest but I am learning.

I used mediacoder to transcode a bunch of videos the last couple days. I put them all in "DVD ready" MPEG2 format, now I'm trying to burn them that way. I tried Sonic and it's still bitching about PAL vs. NTNC, so I figured I'd try Nero again and see if it will handle them this time. All I know is that those MPEG2 files are HUGE, and I'd really like to burn my disks so I can delete them and free up the hard drive space that they're eating. I agree also that getting a more capable DVD player would make things a lot easier, only trouble is that it doesn't do me any good if, for example, I want to burn some home movies of the kids and give them to my parents or some funny videos or music videos that I've downloaded somewhere. My folks don't have a computer, and if I started talking to them about a DVD player that was DIVX capable, they'd look at me like I just jumped off of a spaceship, LOL. Anyway, thanks again for the help, we'll see if Nero can digest these suckers now that they've already been transcoded.

Vince said...

Justin said, "Only trouble is, most of it might as well be in Greek." Actually, it's in Geek. ;-)

Lots of times I also get scolded, by Nero, about PAL vs. NTSC but I just ignore it and tell it to go with NTSC, which is good ol' American TV. However, here's another thought or two. I rarely have Nero transcode and burn directly to DVD. I usually have it just put the VIDEO_TS folder on the hard drive. That way I can mess about with the files before I do the actual burn. Plus, if it crashes on the burn I don't have to go back through the transcoding again. Occasionally I end up with a PAL format (sometimes they download that way) and before I burn them to DVD I use a trick to convert them to NTSC:

In the VIDEO_TS folder there are files with an IFO extension. I use a program called IFOEdit that lets me modify those files. In those are are formatting and chapter info about the DVD. I select all references to PAL and change them to NTSC and select the Automatic Letterbox option. Save the IFO files and now you have an NTSC compatable DVD. It does not have to retranscode the video so this operation takes about 1 minute. It can also kill the region code, handy if you are downloading DVDs from the Brits.

I'm in the process of converting a bunch of VHS to DVD so I feel your pain. I connect my VCR to my camcorder which handles the analog to digital conversion and the camcorder connects to the computer via firewire. I capture using Adobe Premiere. I creates an AVI (not divx) that I can edit if required. While I can burn directly out of Premiere, I usually use Nero Vision Express because Premiere does not have menu building capabilities (they want you by their Encore product for that.)

BTW, a great place for help and sources to software tools is:
Just when I thought computers had finally become fast enough, I get into video...

Justin said...

Thanks again Vince, I'll check out that IFOedit for sure. Nero just asks about the PAL vs NTSC, it's Sonic that has such a problem with it.

It'll probably take me a bit of research to figure out what the heck you're talking about, but so far you're making more sense out of it than I've been able to make myself. Like I said before, the home videos aren't really a problem, but when you start downloading stuff and have no idea where it's really coming from, that's when it gets sticky.

And you're absolutely right about the speed of computers. I thought mine was pretty good until I started playing with video, now I'm eyeballing the uber fast firebreathers for 2 or 3 grand and thinking that they'd be pretty cool, LOL.

Anonymous said...

Justin, I just run my video off onto video cds and call it good.

By the way, here are the links to Crashis Clay doing his thing this last week.

Just figured you would enjoy these and some of your regulars would also.
Sorry to hear about Ron Bartholomew. I had the honor of meeting him at the Terry, Montana fly-in this past month.
Many people I talked to admired him very much as the man he was in this world. I pray to GOD all the time there is an airstrip in heaven where a soul can fly touch and goes all day long and never wreck an airplane. No better feeling in the world.

P.S.- Haven't seen you at the park for the last few weeks. Need to get down there to visit!!

Justin said...

Howdy Ralpho, those videos were great! I've been threatening to head out to the field to watch Clay fly one of his big birds for a week or two now, ever since I heard he was hovering the Laser with the tail six inches off the ground, but I haven't made it out there yet. If we're not careful, we're gonna screw around and make ol' Crashis famous, LOL. Hopefully he'll still be a nice guy when he's on the cover of a few magazines though, he's quite an inspiration to all of us, I know I've sure learned a lot from him and you'd be hard pressed to find a nicer guy.

I managed to bore a few holes in the sky last week, Wednesday and Friday mornings, but I've just had other things going on the last few weekends. Dick and Eric were there as well as a few others, Clay stopped by one morning with the Extra and showed us all up, it was a good time. I'm sure I'll run into you sooner or later, we seem to have similar interests early in the morning when the wind isn't blowing, LOL.

By the way Ralpho, would you object to me putting up a link to your putfile page? You have some great video on there of our local talent, and I'd really like to help you show it off. Get back to me if you would please!

And thank you for the kind words about Ron. I don't know of anyone that's ever met him that didn't like him, he was just one of those guys that you couldn't help but like. He is most definitely missed.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Justin, any time I give you a link you are free to post it to share with the rest of the world.