The top performers in our review are CyberLink PowerDirector, the Gold Award winner; Corel VideoStudio, the Silver Award winner; and Pinnacle Studio, the Bronze Award winner. Here's more on choosing software to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of these 10 applications.
We live in a world where you can capture beautiful HD footage with just a few taps on your smartphone. If you’re ambitious, you can buy, learn, and use powerful cameras and audio gear cheaper and easier than ever before. Making high-quality home movies, amateur films or simple videos has never been more accessible to anyone who has a creative soul.
However, all of this footage is relatively useless without the powerful editing and publishing tools found in the best DVD authoring software. These programs not only allow you to burn videos onto a disc, but they also transform your raw footage into a highly polished video disc that you’ll be proud to share with your family and friends.
The first step to building a DVD is loading all the elements you want included in the final product into the DVD creation software you choose. Once you’ve organized everything, you can then get down to the business of editing and enhancing your video. It's going to take some time to learn how to use the DVD making software effectively, but it’s worth the investment if you want to make professional-level videos.
When you’re done editing, it’s time to get your video in front of an audience. The top DVD authoring software has a versatile DVD menu creator that lets you build and customize your disc’s menu and navigational structure. It also allows you to add footage that you didn’t use in the final video as a bonus feature.
Once you’ve edited your videos and built your virtual disc, all you have to do is insert a blank DVD into your optical drive and start burning. When the disc pops back, you’ll have a brand new DVD movie that can work in any player. The best DVD making software also allows you save a virtual copy of your disc onto your hard drive so you can make new copies well into the future.
The best DVD creator software should also have all the qualities of a top-notch video editing program. There are DVD creators that focus solely on authoring and have little or no editing tools. If all you want to do is burn finished videos to a DVD, you may want to look into one of these applications. However, if you’re building your own creation from scratch, it’s best to buy professional DVD authoring software that has a robust array of video editing features.
All of the products on our DVD authoring software lineup have the ability to burn home movies to a disc. The best programs also allow you to add the little but important features found in commercially produced DVDs. Chapter breaks, surround sound and attractive menus, for instance, give your discs that refined feel that elevates your work from good enough to excellent.
Building a DVD from the ground up is often a difficult and time-consuming process, especially if you’re new at it. The best DVD creation software makes it as easy as possible to harness and utilize all its features and tools quickly and easily. Even so, there are going to be times that you need step-by-step instructions. Some programs build tutorials directly into the interface while others offer free lessons, guides and forums on their official websites. Additionally, many of the programs on our lineup have free trials, which you can use to determine if a particular program will suit your learning preferences.
Top Ten Reviews seeks, whenever possible, to evaluate all products and services in hands-on tests that simulate as closely as possible the experiences of a typical consumer. We obtained the software in our comparison directly from the manufacturers. The software companies had no input or influence over our test methodology, nor was the methodology provided to any of them in more detail than is available through reading our reviews. Results of our evaluations were not provided to them in advance of publication.
We subjected all the products on our lineup to a battery of tests to determine the best video authoring software. These tests included an evaluation of the software’s interface, the video editing features, and how well we were able to create a DVD menu and burn the final product onto a disc.
All of the applications in our review are based on the same general concept. But there are major differences from program to program, such as interface layout, workflow and toolsets. In our tests, we assessed how easy each program is to learn and use. We also tracked how complicated it is to perform common tasks like editing your video footage; adding effects, transitions, and titles to your projects; picking a menu template; customizing your video project; and burning a finished DVD. We found that all the programs on our side-by-side comparison chart were relatively easy to use once you know your way around the interface, although some were much more straightforward than others.
Using DVD authoring software can be a major time investment. In our tests, we timed how long each program took to install the application, import and organize video files, build a test video and menu, burn a disc, and more. We found that programs that take even a few minutes longer to execute simple tasks than other applications quickly add up to hours. The best DVD authoring programs run fast and save you that extra time you would have otherwise spent babysitting a progress bar.
There is one major hang-up with DVD authoring software: DVDs were invented before the advent of high-definition video and, therefore, can only display standard-def footage. Since most of the videos you’ll be working with are HD, your DVD authoring program will have to compress it before it can burn it to a disc. This compression resulted in significant quality loss in each of the products we reviewed.
Our video experts examined each of the test DVDs, looking for imperfections in the picture, such as pixelation, compression artifact, general distortion and interlacing issues. While no program performed perfectly, the best programs minimized the quality loss caused by the compression. At the end of our evaluation, each program was given an A to F quality grade.
When we finished our review, we found the following DVD movie makers performed the best:
CyberLink PowerDirector – This program took the top spot on our side-by-side comparison chart due to its wide array of editing features, powerful DVD menu maker, quick burn times and high-quality results. CyberLink also offers a large online community called “Director’s Zone” where you can connect with, learn from, and build relationships with other filmmakers, video editors and other creative minds.
Corel VideoStudio – This is a unique entry in our lineup of the best DVD authoring software in that it's two programs in one. VideoStudio allows you to edit your footage and polish your video while its companion program, MyDVD, offers an easy-to-use DVD creator complete with beautiful menus, surround sound configurator and good (but not the best) compression quality.
Pinnacle Studio – Another excellent choice for DVD maker software. This program offers the most extensive effects library with more than 1,500 objects to enhance your video project. , The compression quality isn’t perfect but watchable. Only a few omissions in its toolset kept it from achieving an even higher position in our lineup.
When you set out to make your own DVD movie, you need to make sure you have the right tools for the job. The best DVD authoring software is easy to learn and use; offers a full set of video editing tools, menu builders, and templates. Along with these features, DVD menu software gives you the ability to create virtual discs that you can use to make new copies of your DVD whenever you want.