FAVC Video to DVD Guide

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Date Added: Oct 18, 2007
Date Updated: Oct 18, 2007


FAVC is a video to DVD authoring tool. You can feed it various video formats (asf, avi, avs, mkv, mov, mp4, ogm, vdr and wmv) and it will convert them to a DVD folder or image, ready for burning. It gives you the option to use QuEnc or HC as the MPEG-2 encoder, and will even create a simple menu for you that you can customize.

FAVC is fairly straight forward and easy to use. While it helps to know a bit about DVD authoring and video conversion, you don't need to much knowledge to follow this guide.

If you want alternatives to FAVC, please read our DVD Authoring Tools Roundup to find out which DVD authoring tool is best for your needs.

Software you'll need (all freeware):


Step 1: Checking your input files

Before you load your inputs into FAVC, it is best to make sure that these input files are all of the same system (PAL or NTSC). As a rule, files that are 23.976, 24, 29.97 or 30 frame per second are NTSC. While PAL video is at 25 FPS. Multiples of these frame rates (eg. 15 FPS and 60 FPS => NTSC) are sometime used as well. There are many ways to check for the frame rate of your video file, for example, using GSpot for AVI files. I prefer to organise my videos before even starting FAVC, so I will know beforehand what kind of DVD I am making. Normally, your video player software will also show you the frame rate of the file. For example, in Windows Media Player, you can find out the frame rate of the video by accessing the "Statistics" options from the "View" menu, go to the "Advanced" tab and the "frame rate" will be displayed there.

Windows Media Player: Statistics


Windows Media Player: Statistics


If you are using Media Player Classic, you can find out the frame rate by going to the "File" menu, selecting "Properties", go to the "Details" tab and the FPS will be shown there (the screenshot below shows: "Video: MPEG4 Video (H264) 720x384 25.00fps [Video]").

Media Player Classic: Properties


Another method to find out details about your video file, that will work for almost any kind of video file, is to use MediaInfo. Simply download and install MediaInfo, load in your video file, and the details about the video will be shown, including the framerate (fps).

MediaInfo: Video Details


Once you have found out the frame rates of your video files, separate the NTSC and PAL ones, as you do not want to mix them together when making a single DVD. You should probably also separate the widescreen and full-frame videos. So each DVD you make should only contain widescreen PAL, widescreen NTSC, full-frame PAL or full-frame NTSC content. It's also probably a good idea now to check your input video to see if they have any audio synch issues, and fix them before loading them into FAVC.


Step 2: Installation

Before you install FAVC, make sure you have both AviSynth 2.56a or later installed and also the .NET framework version 2.

Download FAVC. FAVC currently doesn't have (or need) a proper installer, just run the executable and it will ask you where you want to extract the FAVC files (I chose "C:\Program Files\FAVC\").

FAVC: Installation


To run FAVC, simply go to the folder where you extracted FAVC. You should see a bunch of folders and a single executable file named "FAVC", just run that to start FAVC.



Step 3: FAVC Setup

Having started FAVC, the first screen you see should be the "Source & Output" screen. Here is where most of the FAVC options are. First of all, under "Source Video Files", you can load in your input files in the order you wish for them to be placed on the DVD. Simply click on the first button on the right hand side (the magnifying glass over the document) to browse for the file(s) you want to load, use the green arrows to change the order and the red cross to remove files from the input list.

FAVC: Source Video Files


Under the "Destination DVD Folder", select the folder you wish for the output DVD files to be stored. In the screenshot below, I've chosen "C:\temp" to be the output folder. FAVC will then create all of it's DVD output files within this directory, each DVD under it's own folder (for example, c:\temp\dvd 0\VIDEO_TS, c:\temp\dvd 1\VIDEO_TS ...). The "Iso Creation" option will create an .iso file in addition to the DVD folder that you can burn straight to DVD with your favorite DVD burning software - note that this doubles the space required on the hard-drive to store the output files, so I usually set this option to "No". The "Open ImgBurn" option tells FAVC whether it should automatically start ImgBurn to burn the newly created the DVD folder - again, I usually set this to "No", since I plan on testing the DVD compilation before burning.

FAVC: Output Options


For "Temporary File Folder", specify where you want temporary files to be located. Temporary files will be stored under this folder in a new folder called "Working Folder n" (where "n" is a number, for example c:\temp\Working Folder 0\). For the "DVD Format" option, select one of "PAL" or "NTSC" based on what type your input files were (see Step 1 on the first page). For "Working Files", which are the temporary files created during the conversion process, you can specify here whether to keep the files (for editing, or use in other projects) or to delete them (normally, select "Delete" since you won't need these temporary files).

FAVC: Output Options


For "Disc Capacity", specify the size of the media you plan on burning the DVD to (4.37 GB single layer, or 7.95 GB dual layer media), or specify a custom size. "Chapter Length" specifies where the length between automatic chapter stops - by default, FAVC will create a chapter every X minutes based on this setting. "Menu" specifies whether you want the DVD to have a menu or not - normally, if you have more than one video file and you want to be able to select which one to play as opposed to playing them one after the other, then select "Yes". Otherwise, if you only have one video file or just want the multiple video files to play after each other, then select "No". Lastly, "Shutdown" will tell FAVC whether it should shut down the computer after encoding - useful when you want to encode something overnight, otherwise set to "No".

FAVC: Output Options


You may have noticed I left out explaining an option from above, namely the "Encoder" option. This option tells FAVC which MPEG-2 encoder it should use, and so it's a very important option. Selecting one will enable further encoding options for that decoder (note the "QuEnc Options" and "HC Options" tabs within FAVC). This guide covers instructions for both types of encoders (Step 4a and 4b - you only need to follow one of these steps, not both). So which encoder should you use? QuEnc or HC? Personally, I prefer HC, mainly because I've read some good things about it and it has been updated more frequently and recently than QuEnc (QuEnc was last updated January 2007, while HC's last version came in May 2007). But HC does not support multi-core encoding for the 2-pass encoding mode, so QuEnc may be faster for multi-core CPUs in 2-pass encoding.

Click on the "DVD Options" tab at the top to access the DVD compilation options. The first part of this section allows you to specify the menu text, basically the names of the individual video files/titles and the name of the DVD itself. If you've selected "No" for the "Menu" option previously, then this option, along with the "Background Menu Image" option will be grayed out. The "Background Menu Image" allows you to load a picture to use as the background of the menu. Once you have modified the text and background, press the "Preview" button to preview how your menu will look.

FAVC: Menu Options


FAVC: Menu Preview


You can also add subtitle files for each video. You can select each video file and then click on the load button the right hand side to add a .srt subtitle file for it (or press the red cross to remove the subtitle file). The subtitle file will be user selectable on the DVD (so it can be turned off), unless you check on the "Hard Subtitles" box, in which case the subtitle is "burned" into the video file and cannot be removed.

FAVC: Subtitle Files


Now skip ahead and click on the "Audio Options" tab at the top. Here, you can select what type of audio encoding will be used, AC3 or MP2. Selecting AC3 is recommended, and if your input video contains 5.1 channel audio, it will be preserved when re-encoded. MP2 does not support multi-channel audio. If you did select AC3, then you have the option to "retain" or use the current AC3 soundtrack that your input file might have, or to re-encode it again - of course, if your input file does not have AC3 audio, then this option is meaningless. You can also choose to normalize the audio. You can also choose a decoder to use, the default selected "Aften" for AC3 and "twoLAME" for MP2 audio will do. You can then choose a bitrate for the audio encoding - traditionally, 192 or 224 kbps is good enough for 2 channel audio. 384 or 448 kbps is used for standard 5.1 channel encodings.

FAVC: Audio Options


There is also an "Advanced Scripting" tab which allows you to add custom commands at various processing stages. This guide does not cover these options, and you don't really need them for making basic DVDs.

The next page/step shows QuEnc encoding options. You can skip this step and move onto Step 4b if you chose to use HC as your encoder.



Step 4a: QuEnc Encoding Options

Starting at the bottom, there are three preset buttons, Speed, Balance and Quality, you can use to quickly specify the encoder settings. Speed will sacrifice quality for encoding speed, balance is a balance between speed and quality, while quality will take longer, but might be worth the result.

FAVC: Presets


Looking at the settings more close, from the top, "Method of Encoding" specifies variable or constant bitrate encoding. Variable gives you better quality at the same file size, but will increase encoding time. "Number of Video Passes" tells the encoder how many encoding passes should be used - one for average quality, two for the best quality (at double the encoding time). "Quality of Encoding" is pretty obvious - again, "Average" for speed, "High" for quality.

FAVC: QuEnc Encoding Options


"Trellis Quant." is another option that, when enabled, will improve quality at the expense of encoding speed. "CPU Cores" allows you to set the number of CPU cores to use, if you have multi-core CPU. The "Extreme and Slow" option gives you extreme quality, which will also extremely slow down encoding speed.

FAVC: QuEnc Encoding Options


"TV Overscan", when enabled, will enlarge the pictures slightly so that no border is shown on an older TV that suffers from overscan. This option is usually not needed, so don't check the box. "DC Precision" has an effect on quality - selecting "10" is recommended. The maximum "Birate" setting tells the encoder what is the maximum bitrate it should use - 8000 seems like a fair value, although you can go as high as 9800. "Video resolution" - "Full D1" is the full DVD resolution (720x480 for NTSC, 720x576 for PAL), "Half D1" halves the horizontal resolution (352x480/576 for NTSC/PAL) and VCD resolution is the lowest (352x240/288 for NTSC/PAL). Select Half D1 or VCD will allow you to fit more content per DVD, which is not so bad if your input is already at these lower resolutions.

FAVC: QuEnc Encoding Options


You can skip the next page/step (Step 4b: HC Encoding Options) and move onto Step 5: Encoding, Testing and Burning the DVD.



Step 4b: HC Encoding Options

Starting at the bottom, there are three preset buttons, Speed, Balance and Quality, you can use to quickly specify the encoder settings. Speed will sacrifice quality for encoding speed, balance is a balance between speed and quality, while quality will take longer, but might be worth the result.

FAVC: Presets


Back to the top. "Method of Encoding" has the 2-pass encoding mode (best quality), constant quantization (best speed) and predictive quantization (good speed plus better quality than constant quantization). Note that you cannot use more than 1 core for 2-pass encoding mode. "Quality of Encoding" is pretty obvious - again, "Fast" for speed, "Normal" for a balance between speed and quality, while "Best" gives you the best quality (and the slowest encoding speed). If you selected the "Constant Quantization" mode, then you can also select a quantizer value - the lower the quantizer, the better the quality. "CPU Cores" allows you to set the number of CPU cores to use, if you have multi-core CPU. "Matrix" allows you to set a quantizer matrix - it's best to leave it on the "MPEG" setting unless you know what you are doing.

FAVC: HC Encoding Options


"TV Overscan", when enabled, will enlarge the pictures slightly so that no border is shown on an older TV that suffers from overscan. This option is usually not needed, so don't check the box. "DC Precision" has an effect on quality - selecting "10" is recommended. The maximum "Birate" setting tells the encoder what is the maximum bitrate it should use - 8000 seems like a fair value, although you can go as high as 9800. "Video resolution" - "Full D1" is the full DVD resolution (720x480 for NTSC, 720x576 for PAL), "Half D1" halfs the horizontal resolution (352x480/576 for NTSC/PAL) and VCD resolution is the lowest (352x240/288 for NTSC/PAL). Select Half D1 or VCD will allow you to fit more content per DVD, which is not so bad if your input is already at these lower resolutions.

FAVC: HC Encoding Options




Step 5: Encoding, Testing and Burning the DVD

All you need to do now is to click on the big "Generate DVD" button down at the bottom and FAVC will start the encoding process. It will first analyze the input videos, create encoding scripts and then run these scripts in QuEnc or HC. Once it finishes writing the scripts (and before encoding actually starts in HC/QuEnc), a dialog box will pop up telling you that you can quit FAVC or configure it for a new DVD if you wish (except when HC 2-pass encoding is used).

FAVC: Conversion Started


When encoding finishes, you should have a folder and an .iso file if you selected the "Iso Creation" option. You can test playback the DVD folder using a media player that supports DVD folders, such as Media Player Classic or PowerDVD. Test for things like if the menu works, and if the audio syncs.

MPC Preview


If you want to burn the DVD folder to a DVD, you can now follow my Burning a DVD Folder with ImgBurn guide. If you want to burn the .iso file to a DVD, you can follow the Burning a Image with ImgBurn guide instead.

We're done :)



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