Though less popular than in the past, DVDs remain a reliable way to distribute your video and are still very popular in many parts of the world.
There are various options for distributing your video on DVD. You could submit your video to existing compilations. The producers of the compilation will look after distribution for you, though you can arrange to be responsible for distributing copies in your own area. Or you could gather some films together, make your own compilation and work with other filmmakers to distribute them.
For small numbers of copies you can duplicate DVDs yourself, if you have a DVD burner in your computer. If you anticipate distributing a larger number of discs, you can make a single master disc and have it professionally duplicated.
If you wish to sell them, you can then choose to either set up an ordering system yourself (online or through the post), or pass the discs on to a mail-order company that may have their own online credit-card ordering facility to take the trouble of filling orders and delivering them off your hands. Or you could distribute the discs as part of a tour, in shops, or alongside campaign materials.
DVD Authoring Step by Step
- Decide what content you wish to include on the DVD; video segments may include the main programme/s and additional video such as a trailer or extra footage, while in the menus you can also include texts about the video and the issues concerned, links to further information, production stills, logos and some audio loops for background music.
- One of the advantages of the DVD format is that you can include sub-titles for different languages, or original-language subtitles can be activated for the hearing-impaired; prepare translations if you have the time and resources.
- Work with a graphic designer to create images for menu designs for backgrounds and buttons, or create them yourself.
- Import your video into your DVD authoring application. Some applications will let you import the file you have exported from an editing program as it will be transcoded within the application itself, while others will expect you to have encoded the video as MPEG2 that conforms to DVD-Video specifications.
- Arrange your content within intuitively designed menus that will be easy for users to navigate.
- Create the DVD master using your authoring application and test it on a DVD player to make sure it works correctly, including all the menu buttons.
- Make sure you author your DVD as region-free (known as Region 0), enabling the disc to be played on DVD players sold in different regions of the world. You will still have to choose to author the DVD as either PAL or NTSC depending on where in the world you are going to distribute the discs.
- Burn a master copy.
- Copy this master using a DVD burner and a DVD burning application, or take it along with graphics for the disc and jacket to a professional duplication company for bulk copies to be made.
DVD Authoring Software
Two great open source cross-platform DVD authoring programs are available – DVD Styler for Mac, Linux and Windows, and DVD Flick for Linux and Windows. Consult each of the websites for documentation on how to use these programs. Keep in mind it might take a while to learn how to use the interface, and ask somebody with experience to help if you need it.
Both of these programs will let you convert just about any type of video file. Just keep in mind when authoring a DVD from online sources, you will want to use the best quality (and higher file size) of video file you have available, or the DVD may not look or sound very good.