Many homes have video cameras that are pulled out to capture the kids' first bike rides, trips to the beach, summer vacations, and various other activities. Many times, these videos end up being relegated to the closet and forgotten. You can customize movies of birthday parties by editing out all the dull parts and adding more excitement by creating titles or adding special effects. When you have a movie just the way you want it, you can share it with others and even create your own DVDs or video CDs that can be played in a DVD player or sent to relatives who can share in the experience. This chapter shows you how to get your precious memories into digital form and then share them or view them from any point in your home network.
A Word About DVD Players
The ability to create your own discs to play in a home DVD player is an exciting feature. However, when you're making your own discs, you need to keep in mind compatibility. Most modern DVD players offer the ability to play not only prerecorded DVDs but also those burned on the various DVD formats, including -R, +R,+RW, and various other combinations, depending on the manufacturer.
DVD -R was developed by Pioneer in 1997 and is the most compatible format available. The DVD +RW format offers the ability to write to the disc more than one time, which can be a great convenience. However, because the price of DVDs is so low, it can be a financial wash to simply buy more DVD -R discs than to buy the more expensive +RW version.
When purchasing blank DVDs, check the packaging to see what formats are supported, and if this information isn't printed on the box, you can most likely get the information from the retailer or by doing an online search for the product you are planning on buying to ensure that it will support the type of media you will use to create your own DVDs. If you want to author DVDs, and you want to be as compatible as possible with any DVD players you might purchase, then go ahead with DVD -R. It works, and it will continue to work for the foreseeable future. Prices seem to have become stable, and the format will not be obsolete tomorrow.
The downside is that at this time you cannot rely on rewritable formats to be compatible with any arbitrary player, old or new. This is getting better, as new players come to the marketplace and are more compatible with the rewritable formats. The DVD Forum has introduced a DVD-Multi logo to label players as compatible, including support for the DVD-RAM format.
Windows XP ships with an application called Windows Movie Maker that you can use for video capture, editing, and sharing. Unfortunately, Windows Movie Maker does not come with DVD or video CD authoring tools built in. However, if you have a DVD burner on your computer, you undoubtedly already have DVD authoring software and can refer to the manual that came with your product on how to create your own DVDs from the final videos that you create with Movie Maker.