124. About Troubleshooting DVD Output
If there's anything more frustrating than not being able to bring video into your computer (see 12 About Troubleshooting Capture Problems), it's not being able to output your movie when it's done.
Fortunately, diagnosing and remedying output problems is rarely as random a process as doing so for video capture. Usually, the issue can be resolvedor, at worst, temporarily worked aroundwith a few simple steps.
Consider the Hard Drive Space
The single biggest roadblock to output is inadequate hard drive space. The hard drive not only needs room for your video files and room for the files you are going to produce, but it needs gigabytes of scratch disk and temporary file space. Your hard drive is a very dynamic place, with temporary files continually being written and readand a great many of those files are quite large. In fact, because of the size of some of these files, much of this free space must be contiguous, or in big, clean chunks. For this reason, a defragmentation of your drive can often be a good first step in remedying your output problems.
A rule of thumb for calculating how much free space you'll need for processing your project is to estimate how much space your project's video files are currently taking up, add to that an estimate of how much your output files will take up, and then multiply that by one-and-a-half.
Although the estimate calculation given in the tip might err just a bit on the liberal side, the principle is right on the moneyyou really can't have too much free hard drive space. Nothing keeps intensive processes moving smoothly like plenty of RAM and lots of free hard drive space.
If you've added a second hard drive, one dedicated to video, ensure that all of your scratch disk and temporary files are directed to it. (Choose Edit, Preferences and set all the Scratch Disks to point to Same As Project.) Doing so keeps your temporary files on the dedicated drive and frees your C drive up to handle the other needs of the operating system.
Make Sure Your Second Drive Is Properly Installed
If you are using a second hard drive, one dedicated to your video files, ensure that it is properly connected to your system and installed. If your drive is installed internally, make sure it is set up not just in your operating system but also in your BIOS. To check your BIOS settings, press the Esc or F1 key (or whatever your manufacturer recommends) when the blue logo screen appears as your computer first boots up.
If your drive is connected using a FireWire or USB connection, ensure that you have a fast enough data flow to allow for the necessary processes.
Burn to a Folder
It's important to note that the Burn to DVD process is not one task but several. First, the program renders your effects, transitions, and stills; this video is then encoded as an MPEG-2 file. The program then creates menus and links, generating your DVD. Finally, the program launches your DVD burner. Quite often, when a Burn to DVD process fails, it's this final step that stalls the process. Remember, there are dozens of DVD burners on the market, each with sometimes several versions of drivers floating around, and Premiere Elements might simply be unable to make the driver start the hardware.
There's a simple test to see whether that is the caseand, if it is the case, this test can also double as a workaround. Rather than burning directly to a DVD, burn to a folder on your hard drive as explained in 123 Burn Multiple Copies of a DVD).
If this process works, you'll know where your problem lies. A driver update from your DVD burner's manufacturer's site might solve the problem. Otherwise, you can still create a DVD from the files in this hard drive folder. Simply burn these folders and their contents to a DVD using the software that came with your system or hardware.
Output to an AVI
If your Burn to DVD process stalls before it even gets to the point of burning to a folder on your hard drive, it could be a sign that there's a problem with the rendering or encoding processes. To test this, output your project as an AVI, as explained in 104 Output to an AVI Movie.
If your output to AVI is successful, you now have the option of opening a new video project, dropping this AVI on the Timeline and then outputting this new project as a DVDthus eliminating one more step in the process and eliminating one more place where the process can go wrong.
Look for a Troublesome Clip
Regardless of whether you can output an AVI, but especially if you can't, problems producing DVD files can often come as a result of an incompatible clip or a poorly prepared still. And, quite often, eliminating this clip will allow the rest of the project to burn.
Unnecessarily large photo files (see 22 Prepare a Still for Video) can overwhelm the program and will often cause the rendering or encoding process to stall. Keep your photo file sizes to the minimum size necessary, and you'll minimize possible downsampling logjams.
DV-AVI files form the workflow for Premiere Elements. Although Premiere Elements 2.0 has a much-improved tolerance for non-DV-AVI files, it's not unusual to have one of these files stick in its craw. When considering which files might be choking the rendering or encoding process, start by removing the most unusual files first: video and stills from picture phones; video from digital still cameras; MPEGs; AVIs with codecs other than AVI. Eventually, you'll be able to output an AVI that, as described in the preceding section, "Output to an AVI," you should be able to use to produce a successful DVD.
Look for a Troublesome Effect or Transition
As with clips, occasionally one of Premiere Elements's internal effects or transitions can corrupt an output file. Although this is rare, it's worth checking if all other options have been eliminated.