Step 3: ConvertXtoDVD Settings
Start ConvertXtoDVD. The first thing we will do is to set up the project, so click on the "Settings" menu and select "General".
Nothing really important to set up here in the General section. The only thing you might want to change is the working folder, where the output DVD files and any temporary files will be located - the default is the "ConvertXtoDVD" folder under your "My Documents".
Moving on to the "Chapters" tab, here you can specify the automatic chapter creation options. You can tell ConvertXtoDVD to insert chapters every X number of minutes if the video is longer than Y minutes. The default options (create a chapter every 5 minutes if the video file is longer than 15 minutes) seem to be fine.
To the "Menu" tab now, here are some interesting settings. First, think about whether you want menus at all - menus are great if you have multiple video files, but if you only have one video file, you probably don't need a menu. Select the "Include Menu" option if you want menus. Going through the other options:
- Auto-start playback: select this option if you want the DVD to start playback of the video when inserted, instead of going straight to the menu
- Loop playback: select this option to make the video play in an endless loop
- Sequential playback: select this option to play the video one after another, as opposed to going back to the menu after playing each track
- Default title: this is the title of your DVD
- Default background: select a default background image for your DVD menus
- Max entries per page: specifies how many selectable menu entries per page
- Font type and color: select the font type and color to be used in the menus
To the "TV Format" tab next. This is where the work we did in "Step 2" comes into it - here you can manually specify the system (PAL or NTSC) and the aspect ratio (4:3 full-frame or 16:9 widescreen), or leave it on "Automatic" for ConvertXtoDVD to sort out. If all your input files are of the same system and aspect ratio, then leaving it on "Automatic" will work fine. If you have mixed inputs (again, not recommended - you might get jerky video playback, or video that is of the wrong aspect ratio), then you can force on of these settings.
Click on the "Burning" tab. Here, you can specify the burning options for ConvertXtoDVD. If you've read my other DVD authoring guides, you know that I don't like to burn straight to disc, as I prefer to test the authored DVD before burning. Uncheck the "Burn result to DVD" if you feel the same way, or otherwise insert a blank disc into your DVD writer drive now, check the "Burn result to DVD" option and set a burning speed (as a general tip, burn at 4x or below to minimize the chance of a bad burn). The "Add original files to DVD (if possible)" options is an interesting one - if you have enough space on the disc, ConvertXtoDVD will add the original input files onto the DVD (these will only playable on your PC). The "Delete folder after successful burn" will delete the output DVD folder once burning is completed - uncheck this if you plan on making more copies later on. "Send burning statistics to VSO online database" can be selected to help VSO compile stats about what kind of media is being used, how successful it is at burning, burning speeds ... uncheck if you are a privacy nut (no personal information is sent anyway). The "Do not eject ..." option is fairly obvious. The "Prefer SAO burning mode for DVD-R" enables "Session-At-Once" burning mode - some DVD burners have problems with SAO, while others will only work with it - leave it unchecked unless you do have problems with burning.
On to the "Subtitles" section. Here, you can specify the default subtitle language and whether the default subtitles will be shown automatically without specifically turning it on in the menu. If you click on the "Text subtitles rendering settings", you can specify how the subtitles will look like on screen.
Go to the "Audio" section. Just like subtitles, select a default audio language if you need to and/or set it to be automatically enabled (if you have more than one audio track). You can also let ConvertXtoDVD adjust the audio level to increase/decrease loudness. The "Don't check/fix audio discontinuities" option is best left unchecked unless you get audio synch issues after making the DVD (another reason to not burn to disc straight away).
Click on the "Encoding" tab. Here is where you specify how ConvertXtoDVD will convert your input video files into DVD compatible MPEG-2 files. Select the "log engine messages" if you need to, for troubleshooting/debugging reasons. Select the quality/speed of the encoding - unless you are really strapped for time, select "High quality/Slow encoding". "Target size" is obvious, and conversion priority can be changed if you plan on doing work while encoding happens in the background ("Normal" will give the program equal status as other programs - so both might be slow if they are used at the same time. Selecting "Below Normal" will always give preference to your current active program).
Finally, onto the "Image processing" tab. There is only one option here, and that is to apply de-interleave/de-interlace to your input video. Normally, you would not need to do this, as most video files you have are progressively encoded. The only exception is DV footage or certain type of interlaced HDTV recordings. Press "OK" to close the settings window and return to ConvertXtoDVD.