AVI to DVD using DVD Flick Guide

Original Page URL: http://www.digital-digest.com/articles/AVI_to_DVD_using_DVD_Flick_page1.html
Date Added: May 8, 2007
Date Updated: Jul 22, 2009

DVD Flick is a great and easy to use open source software for making simple DVDs. It accepts various input formats, such as AVI, FLV, MKV, MP4, MPG and even HDMOV (QuickTime HD). This guide will mainly focus on DivX/XviD AVI input files, although it will work for pretty much any of the formats that DVD Flick accepts.

DVD Flick has a built-in burner, but if you prefer not to use it and to test playback first prior to burning, then a DVD folder or ISO output is available (if you choose these latter two options, please make sure you know how to burn these files to make a DVD, as this guide will not cover it).

software such as Nero Vision or TMPGEnc DVD Author. Read our DVD Authoring Tools Roundup to find out which DVD authoring tool is best for your needs.

Software you'll need (all freeware):

Hardware you'll need:

  • DVD burner

Step 1: Installation

Installation is easy, just download DVD Flick and run the installer.

For this guide, we will also use GSpot in order to find out certain details about our input DivX/XviD files (actually just the framerate), so it is not strictly necessary if you already know these details. All you need to do to install GSpot is to download it and extract the contents to a folder on your computer.

Step 2: Inputs

Before you load your inputs into DVD Flick, it is best to make sure that these input files are all of the same system (PAL or NTSC or NTSC-Film). As a rule, files that are 23.976, 24 are NTSC-Film. 29.97 or 30 frame per second are NTSC. While PAL video is at 25 FPS. Multiples of these framerates (eg. 15 FPS and 60 FPS => NTSC) are sometime used as well. For AVI files, the best way to check for the framerate is to use GSpot. You can actually get this information within DVD Flick, but only after loading in the files, which makes it harder to plan out ahead your projects.

Start GSpot and from the "File" menu, select "Open" to load in your AVI file. GSpot will scan the file and show you the framerate in the "Frames/s" area (marked in red in the screenshot below). Repeat this for all your AVI files to make sure they are all either NTSC, NTSC-Film or PAL. Mixing different types of video files (eg. mixing PAL and NTSC) will mean unsmooth video or other artifacts.

GSpot: Framerate

Step 3: DVD Flick Project and Menu Setup

Start DVD Flick. The first thing we will do is to set up the project, so click on the "Project Settings" button.

DVD Flick: Project Settings Button

In the "General" section first. You can specify a title for the project here - note that this is not the disc's title (separately configured in the "Burning" section). You can also change the target size to match the kind of DVD media you will burn to (most likely "DVD (4.3 GB)"). You can also specify a custom size if, for example, you want to burn other types of files to the DVD.

The "Encoder Priority" will determine how much resources Windows will allocate resources to DVD Flick - the "Normal" setting should be good enough if you plan on doing light work in the background, while "Below Normal" will allow you to work normally. If you are sure you won't be doing anything while DVD Flick is working, you can select a higher priority, but the performance gains might be minimal.

Thread Count specifies how many CPU threads you wish DVD Flick to use. Those with dual or quad core processors should enable 2 or 4 threads for maximum performance.

The "Keep intermediate encoded audio and video files" option, when selected, tells DVD Flick to keep the encoded audio (AC3) and video (MPEG-2) files it uses to create the DVD. Otherwise, these files will be deleted. Keeping these files are good if you plan on using these encoded files in other authoring or editing tools to create other DVDs.

DVD Flick: General Settings

On to the "Video" section. The "Target Format" will need to be changed to match your input file (see "Step 2").

"Encoding profile" determines encoding quality, and therefore, speed. "Fastest" will have the lowest quality, while "Best" will be the slowest and highest quality. "Normal" is recommended.

"Target bitrate" allows you to set a constant bitrate for the encoding, which is not recommended unless you know what you are doing. Bitrate determines quality and file size. As an example, most commercially produced feature movie DVDs use a bitrate between 7 and 9 Mbit/s. Selecting the "Auto-fit" option is your best bet, as DVD Flick will try to fit all your video files using the highest bitrate possible and not use a bitrate that is less than 2.5 Mbit/s. You can also set your own custom bitrate.

DVD Flick: Video Settings

Click on the "Advanced" button to access the advanced video options. "Add overscan borders" will add a border around your video. The reason for doing this is that many older TVs have overscan, that is to enlarge the picture slightly so that the border area is not viewable. If you do not have overscan enabled, then parts of your video might be cut off. On the other hand, most new TVs do not have overscan and if you select this option, you will see a black border around the picture. I would leave it unselected.

"Log PSNR values" will log certain an objective quality measurement value in dvdflick.log, not necessary unless you need to know.

"Half horizontal resolution" will half the horizontal resolution from 720 to 352, lower quality, but allowing more video to be stored (standalone DVD recorders often use this mode to the extra long record settings). Not recommended unless your source video is already at 352 resolution or lower.

"Deinterlace source" can be used if the source is indeed interlaced. If you're not sure, then don't enable this option.

"Copy MPEG-2 streams" can be used if your source is a DVD compliant MPEG-2 file - this then will make DVD Flick skip the encoding process and use the input MPEG-2 files as it is. Please be extra careful here and make sure your MPEG-2 input is indeed DVD compliant, otherwise you risk producing a DVD that won't work on DVD players.

"Apply 2:3 pulldown" can be used if your source material is 23.976 FPS (NTSC-Film) and you wish to make a NTSC DVD (29.97 FPS). In most cases, you're better off selecting "NTSC-Film" as target format in the "Video" settings section>

When you're done, press "Accept" to close this window and return to the main settings section.

DVD Flick: Advanced Video Settings

Now on to the "Audio" section. "Volume modification" allows you to adjust the volume of the audio output, as a percentage of the input volume (so 100% would be the same volume, 10% would be greatly reduced volume, and 200% would be double the volume). For "Channel count", select "Auto" match the number of channels from the input file, or you can force Mono, Stereo or 5.1 audio to be used. If your source has more channels than what you select here, then the number of channels in the source will be used (no downsampling occurs, so if your source was 5.1 channels and you select stereo here, the output will still be 5.1 channels). Lastly, you can select a bitrate to use - 384 kbit/s is fairly standard on DVDs for 5.1 audio, 448 for extra quality, and 192 kbit/s for stereo is also common.

DVD Flick: Audio Settings

Onto the "Playback" section. You can specify what happens "After a title has finished playing". This depends very much on the type of disc you are producing. If for example your disc is a series of continous holiday videos, then you might want to select "Play the next title" after each video ends. If your disc is a main movie, plus extra features, then you might need to select "Return to menu" to make sure when the main movie finishes, it goes back to the menu so the viewer can select to view the extra features.

"Loop to first title when done playing last" is a similar setting, except this only affects the very last title. "Always enable first subtitles" can be useful if your DVD is in a foreign language and you want to enable subtitles by default.

DVD Flick: Playback Settings

Finally, to the "Burning" section. Here, you can specify the burning options for the project. By default, DVD Flick will create the DVD folder (AUDIO_TS and VIDEO_TS folders, with IFO/BUP/VOB files) for burning with DVD-video burning software such as Nero. Instead, you can tell DVD Flick to create an ISO image file (eg. to burn with ImgBurn) or burn the project directly to a disc.

If choosing to burn straight to disc, make sure you have a blank disc inserted into your burner before you start the encoding process. You can specify the label for the disc and select which burner to use.

I recommend the default option of creating a DVD folder (and not burn straight to disc) - this way, you can test playback on your computer first (eg. using PowerDVD) before committing to disc.

DVD Flick: Burning Settings

Press "Accept" to save the settings and return to the main DVD Flick interface.

We'll now configure the menu options for this project. Click on the "Menu Settings" button.

DVD Flick: Menu Settings Button

From the left hand side, choose one of the menu templates (or "None" if you don't want menus). A preview of the menu style is shown on the right. There are also some down below, which include "Auto-play menu" to enable the menu to automatically start upon inserting the disc (like most DVDs). If you have subtitles or multiple audio tracks, then you can also select to display the audio or subtitles menu first. There is also a "Preview" button to preview what the menu will look like.

DVD Flick: Menu Settings

Step 4: Adding Titles

First, use the "Browse" button to select where you want the temporary and/or image/DVD folder files to be generated. It is essential that you use a newly created folder, not something like "My Documents", because DVD Flick will delete all files in the folder before it creates any (and you get a warning message about it too, but it is often easily overlooked).

Now we can use the "Add title" button to load in our video files. The following diagram from the official DVD Flick guide demonstrates the organisation of a project.

DVD Flick: Project Organisation

Each "Title" can have multiple video files. Or you can create a title for each video file. An real world example might be say if you have TV downloads for Lost and Heroes, 3 episodes for each show, you might create a Title for Lost and another Title for Heroes, and add the 3 episodes to each of these titles as video sources. It's important that all the video sources in each title should have the same specifications (aspect ratio, framerate).

DVD Flick: Adding Titles

Once you have added a title, you can double click on it or use the "Edit Title" button to edit its properties. In the "General" section, the "Target aspect ratio" (which is automatically detected from your input video) specifies the aspect ratio of the input file. You can also select a thumbnail index, the picture used in the menu to present the title. Note the "Previous title" and "Next title" buttons down below, this can be used quickly to skip between the titles and configure their settings without closing the settings dialog window.

DVD Flick: Title General Setup

The "Chapters" section allows you to create chapters at set intervals, or choose to create a set number of chapters. You can also make sure each video source in your title has a chapter automatically added at the beginning. You can apply the settings here to all titles if you wish using the "Apply to all titles" button, to quickly add uniform chapter settings for all titles.

DVD Flick: Title Chapters Setup

The "Video Sources" allows you to load in more videos files to this title. Each video source will play automatically after the last source has ended. Think of multiple video sources as joining multiple files into one big video file. Just make sure these sources have at least the same aspect ratio and framerate (preferably same resolution and audio specs too). Note that the details about the video is displayed here (framerate, resolution), and you can use this information to set the system (PAL, NTSC, NTSC-Film) information without using GSpot as recommended by this guide. You can also select different pixel aspect ratios for each video source (for example, if some sources are anamorphically encoded, while others are not) and also whether the source is interlaced or not.

DVD Flick: Title Video Setup

The "Audio Tracks" section is slightly trickier to understand, so more explanation is needed. For audio tracks, think multi language DVDs. If the length of the audio track is less than that of the video, then the end part of your video will be audio less. Within each audio track, you can also load in additional audio sources (double click on each audio track to do so) - again, it's the same as loading in multiple video sources - all these audio sources will basically be joined into one big audio file. You can also select the language that the track is in (this allows the correct language information to be displayed in your DVD player). Now for a real world example:

You have 3 episodes of Lost which you've loaded in as video sources. This will automatically create 1 audio track (composed of 3 audio sources). Let's say you want to add foreign language track, then you need to create another track composed of another 3 audio sources (and change the language setting accordingly). Just make sure the length matches for all these audio and video sources, as otherwise, you will run into problems with audio synch.

DVD Flick: Title Audio Setup

For "Subtitle Tracks", you can load in subtitle tracks for your video (similar to the way audio tracks work, each track for a language, for example). Most of the common format are supported, like SSA, SRT, SMI. Once you add a subtitle track, you can double click on it to change its settings and preview it. All the options are pretty straight forward.

DVD Flick: Title Subtitles Setup

DVD Flick: Title Subtitles Setup Options

Repeat all of the above for each title, and when you are finished, click on the "Create DVD" button to start the encoding, authoring (and optionally, burning) process.

DVD Flick: Create DVD

DVD Flick: Progress

After DVD Flick finishes, you should have a ready-to-burn DVD folder/ISO file or a burnt disc ready to play. For a guide on how to burn the DVD folder with ImgBurn, please refer to our Burning a DVD Folder with ImgBurn guide. For a guide on how to burn the ISO file using the free ImgBurn, please refer to our Burning a Image with ImgBurn guide. And we're done :)

Got more questions? Post them in our DVD Flick Forum and get them answered by other expert users.

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