If you are looking to purchase your first video editing & DVD authoring software package, you might as well choose a package that is Blu-ray compatible.
Even though DVD is currently the standard for sharing your video projects and movies on disc, Blu-ray (also known as BD) is slowly but surely creeping into the mainstream.
For this reason, I am only listing the top Blu-ray/DVD combo software products on the market at this time (early 2009):
If you use Apple’s iLife bundle of movie and DVD creative tools, you can purchase Toast 10 Titanium to give you the capability of burning out to Blu-ray.
The best professional choice for Mac users at this time for Blu-ray options is Adobe’s Encore CS4. (Apple’s DVD Studio Pro 4.5 only supports DVD and high-definition DVDs)
Whereas most computers in recent years include an internal DVD Burner, you’ll more than likely have to purchase an external burner if you want to create Blu-ray Discs, although some computer companies have started to include Blu-Ray Burners in their computers such as Dell, Sony and Lenovo.
When deciding what BD and DVD authoring software to purchase, keep in mind that both consumer and professional software often offer many of the same features (menu templates and creation, navigation, director’s commentary, slideshows, etc.) However, one important distinction to keep in mind is encoding.
Consumer-based DVD authoring software usually does the encoding automatically (to keep things simple for the beginner), whereas professional DVD authoring software programs allow options for manual encoding, which determines how much compression is used to make your movie small enough to fit on a disc. (Compression is not good because it reduces the video quality, so the less compression you have, the better)
It’s better if you can have control over the amount of compression choices to be able to choose the best combination of settings for your project based on such factors as the movie’s length, special features and disc type/size. The question to yourself is: “What’s the least amount of compression I can use and still fit all my video footage and files onto this disc?” (See why Blu-ray is so cool? A Blu-ray disc can hold so much more data that you don’t have to use as much compression, hence retaining as much of the original quality as possible.)
That’s why the Hollywood movies look so great on DVD. They have people to test and tweak the best possible compression settings to get the highest quality results.
But if these details make your head swim in confusion, stick with the consumer products and upgrade when you’re ready for the more complex customization. (Or hire someone to do it for you, which is what I do for my documentary projects) ;)