2012-06-03

2012.06 Article: IDVD Like Hypercard? A Tale of Frustration

By Woodson Gannaway

(Editor's note: Woodson is an occasional contributor to Mad Mac News and lives and teaches in China.)

News of the demise of the DVD (as burned from my Apple anyway) must not have reached a large majority of the world's population, and it is the most direct way for me to publish my video material and be assured that my friends can enjoy it.

So I shot two hours of 1920 x 1080 HD video of some excellent ping-pong practice sessions and prepared it to give away. Or maybe I should say prepared it as best I could, for somehow Apple hasn't made it easy or straightforward for me to do that now. A couple of years ago and from Standard Definition video it was no problem doing the same thing. Now something has changed.

My good camera shoots good HD video. Was it 2006 we got iMovie HD and the assurance that the HD age was here? Well the pieces didn't come into place and I'm still having to burn HD on DVDs as standard PAL 16:9 format stuff. Windows doesn't do mp4s (the native format of the camera) without extra stuff and my friends gave me a blank look when I asked them about it. So it was a DVD.

Except that, this won't work and you can't do that, and so on and so on. No I'm not going to spend more $$$, shouldn't have to. Yes I'm going to drop the movies directly into iDVD, shouldn't have to use iMovie necessarily and when I tried to it only made things worse. IDVD won't let you make a menu choice that plays all the movies sequentially.

So I used the "Combine" feature on the video camera which reduced the 27 clips to four. The camera itself has some limitations, this one probably related to the SSD card format choice. However much I would have liked to have one movie, four is a big improvement over twenty-seven.

Encoding the video showed me (via Activity Monitor) that it tops out at about 130% on my two cores. JES Deinterlacer will use 185% and sometimes more. Just how much would it bother Apple to improve the iDVD code a little to take advantage of the multiple cores more efficiently? Everybody doesn't live in that small subset of the so-called First World where broadband internet access can be presumed to have supplanted any need for DVDs.

IDVD does allow me to put a tad under 2 hours video on a single-layer DVD when I use the professional-quality encoding choice. Don't know how much under, I burned 116 minutes my first try.

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