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I've inherited some (12) DVD recordings of events for our organization that were burned to disc as data, instead of as a video disc.

I'm looking to take a 16:9 MPG video from these DVDs and burn it back to DVD in video format. Unfortunately I'm having problems with it. It seems to be losing its 16:9 dimension/ratio whenever I do a conversion from the very little amount of knowledge that I have with the applications at my disposal. I'm not too knowledgeable about video production software.

I have Windows Live Movie Maker, Windows Live DVD Maker, and Adobe Premiere Pro and Encore CS5 (part of CS5 Master Collection).

When I tried Encore, it converted (or read as?) the video to 728x480 (3:2) on import even though the settings seem to show "Don't Transcode" and DVD Maker seemed to add a black border around the video regardless of what settings I had attempted (widescreen/fullscreen). Live Movie Maker was made to make the creation process easy, so its settings are rather lacking, and I understand that - it just happened to be what I had on hand. I unfortunately don't have a lot of experience with video products.

Does anyone have any suggestions on solutions to run the conversion? Points for fewer steps and ease-of-use, but with "decent" quality conversion.

I have no additional budget for this task.

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2 Answers

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Encore should work fine for your purposes. When you look at the original source, what is the resolution? Is it still 728 by 480? Most likely the original image is using oblong pixels to make a 16:9 image with a non 16:9 resolution. This is fairly typical and is called Anamorphic Widescreen. The 16:9 image is compressed to a 4:3 size (720 by 480 is a typical .9 pixel compressed NTSC 4:3 image.)

When recording it to a DVD, you want to make sure that it is encoding it as an Anamorphic wide screen so that the DVD player that plays it back knows that it should scale it out to 16:9. Your other option is to letterbox the original to a 4:3 size with black bars on the top and bottom.

I don't have Encore in front of me at the moment, but if you can't find the setting for anamorphic widescreen, I can look it up when I get home and let you know.

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I had never known about the anamorphic widescreen effect. That's pretty cool! Confusing, but cool. I just checked the original source video and it is indeed 728x480. After some quick, specific web searches I found how to choose the proper setting for anamorphic widescreen (and even further reading). Thank you! On an aside, it seems that the first DVD that I rendered via Windows Movie Maker had some issues with it. The 2nd source video that I created rendered without the black border and looked exactly like the original. But now I'm more well-versed in Encore if need arises - thanks again!! –  BrendonKoz Jun 6 '13 at 21:32
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DVD video is actually MPEG video, packed in VOB format (with audio and subtitles). So you don't have to reencode your footage. Adobe Premiere Pro and Encore are high-end software programs, not for beginners. I recommend you to find more user-friendly software (like ConvertXtoDVD or similar).

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Unfortunately since I already have software that is capable (albeit a bit more technical in nature) I have no additional budget since I do have everything needed. The trial is either time-sensitive or leave a watermark and this may be an on-going project, so I unfortunately can't use that particular software suggestion. I have used VirtualDub before, but at times I know that can get quite technical too. –  BrendonKoz Jun 6 '13 at 21:20
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