Help me win over the mother through piracy!
April 26, 2006 1:36 PM   Subscribe

Need to burn a DVD from Avi files to impress my boyfriend's mother! Help!

My boyfriend's mother is in town, and I know she doesn't fully approve of our gay relationship. I've met her briefly a few times, but that was before she knew about us.

I want to get in her good graces (or at least do something thoughtful for her) by burning her a copy of a season one of her favourite television series. I know, I know, I'm an evil downloader.

Anyway, I now have a bunch of avi files and have no idea how to burn them properly to a DVD. I want to make it nice, with a menu and all that.

There is a similar post on AskMe from about a year ago, but it was centred on a Mac system. I've tried the PC solutions in there, but with no luck. There was reference to a DIKO program, but it was way too confusing for a newbie like me. I've tried google searches, but all the free trial programs I've found either put a registration reminder in the middle of the video, only converted part of the video, or something lame like that.

So the question (finally) is: Where can I get a simple, free, and easy to use program to convert these files? Or is there a program that can write them directly to a playable DVD (with I guess a menu feature so I can make it all purdy)?
posted by yellowbinder to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I found this thread (which is horrible to read but) led me to some app called The Film Machine. You also might check out, which has a bunch of dvd burning info.
posted by inigo2 at 1:43 PM on April 26, 2006

Before you do this, I'd make sure that she doesn't have some huge moral problem with downloading stuff... it could totally backfire on you.
posted by Lotto at 1:55 PM on April 26, 2006

DVDAuthor and the GUI (graphical user interface) for it.

Load it up, load up your AVIs and it'll magically turn it into a DVD format that you can burn (I'm assuming you're familiar with burning DVDs suitable for set-top-box viewing).

It also allows you to make menues so the viewer can choose which episode they want to watch.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 1:55 PM on April 26, 2006

I haven't seen a free program that is easy to use and does a good job at this. Most tutorials contain instructions on using multiple, difficult to understand programs. These programs seem to be extremely brittle (forget one option and your dvd is a coaster) and difficult to understad.

I think your best bet would be program like Ulead DVD MovieFactory. It's $40 and looks like it creates good looking results. There's also a free trial which may do everything you need.
posted by null terminated at 1:59 PM on April 26, 2006

I think Adobe Premiere 2.0 Trial will let you export to DVD without anthing untoward happening. It's just limited to 30 days or something. Import, wham it in the timeline, export, DVD. Piss of fuckin' piss.

Menu's are always going to be a pain - but if you're determined - Adobe Encore DVD 2.0 Trial might be best bet.
posted by ed\26h at 2:29 PM on April 26, 2006

Everything you need is here.
posted by bradn at 2:51 PM on April 26, 2006

Nero. It's simple, simple, and most of all, simple.

And it often comes with DVD burners, making it cheap and effective.
posted by Kickstart70 at 2:52 PM on April 26, 2006

for authoring I like to use DVD LAB .

but there is a good chance you are going to run into a problem with audio/video getting out of synch- Previous askme topic on this
posted by tj at 3:08 PM on April 26, 2006

Nero for PC, Titanium Toast for Mac. Both cost money but they do make life simpler for this kind of task. I have both and paid for both. Sometimes, free ain't worth the money.
posted by TheRaven at 3:36 PM on April 26, 2006

Another vote for DVD Lab...
Been using it for over 3 years now. There's a 30 day trial, but I found it so useful that I purchased a license. I initially bought it so that I could make dvd's out of programs I transferred from my replay...
posted by Arthur Dent at 3:54 PM on April 26, 2006

Bradn, thanks for the link. I found a great visual walkthrough for that DIKO program I mentioned, and it seems to be working. I'll let you know how it works out, if not I'll try DVD Lab as everyone else is suggesting.

Lotto, it doesn't seem as if she'd really care. From what I know of her, I don't think she spends a lot of time cursing the pirates of the world. Of course it would be nicer if I could spend the money on an official product, but that's not an option right now. Plus, giving her a nicely shrinkwrapped DVD set might seem like I'm trying too hard, while a burned DVD is more of a thoughtful gesture than trying to buy her approval. Weird how those things work.
posted by yellowbinder at 4:01 PM on April 26, 2006

Whatever you do, test the burned CD before giving it to her. I've had burned CD's test fine on my computer, but not play correctly in the DVD player.

Take another look at DIKO. it's not that difficult to figure, and it will also author a simple disk for you (but with no menus). Set it up with FreeEnc.
posted by Brando_T. at 5:11 PM on April 26, 2006

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