There are plenty of reasons you might want/need to put together a DVD. Sure, you might want to put together that family DVD to send to everyone at Christmas time - but there are also training videos, marketing materials, and even products. But without the right software, creating those DVDs would be an exercise in futility. For those on a tight-as-nails budget, I have found five free DVD authoring tools that are not only spot on for your spending limit, they are also fairly easy to use.
But will any of them meet your specific needs? Let's dive into the world of DVD authoring and find out. Remember, these aren't editors; you'll need your completed clips ready to use. If you need a free video editor, look no further than OpenShot. With your video in hand, let's author some DVDs.
1. DVD Styler
DVD Styler is a cross-platform (Windows, Linux, Mac) authoring tool that allows you to convert your footage into a DVD-friendly format, but also create professional-quality DVD menus. The ability to create menus is especially important when creating marketing materials or products for your company. DVD Styler also features: Slideshow creation, add multiple titles and audio tracks, multiple supported video and audio formats (AVI, MOV, MP4, MPEG, OGG, WMV, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, Xvid, MP2, MP3, AC-3), use MPEG and VOB without having to re-encode, drag and drop interface, add buttons, text, and imported backgrounds to menus, and more. DVD Styler is open source and has a fairly shallow learning curve.
2. DVD Flick
DVD Flick aims to be as simple as it is powerful. This particular take on DVD authoring supports over 45 video formats, over 60 video codecs, and over 60 audio codecs (for a full list of supported audio/video formats, check out the features page). DVD Flick also allows you to create menus as well as subtitles for your DVDs. With DVD Flick you can create chapters and alter the aspect ratio of the final product. Another nice feature is that DVD Flick will automatically calculate the bitrate of your project to make sure you can easily keep an eye on quality loss.
3. Bombono DVD
Bombono DVD may have an odd name, but it's ability to easily author DVDs makes up for it. Available for Windows and Linux, Bombono DVD offers plenty of features that should have you authoring professional-quality products or materials for your business in no time. Bombono DVDs feature list includes: Video viewer (with time line and monitor), WYSIWYG menu editor, drag and drop support, built-in transcoding, motion menus, subtitles, and more. With Bombano DVD you can author to folder, create an ISO, or burn directly to disk. You can also re-author by importing from DVD disks. NOTE: The Linux version of Bombono DVD is free. The Windows version will cost you $24.95 USD.
DeVeDe is a Linux-only DVD authoring solution that requires a minimal amount of dependencies to do its job. Outside of the GUI dependencies, DeVeDe requires: Mplayer, Mencoder, FFMpeg, DVDAuthor, VCDImager, and Mkisofs. DeVeDe features include: Create DVD, VCD, SVCD, China Video Disks, MPEG-4 ASP; output to images or video formats, subtitles, audio shift, basic video editing (rotation, deinterlacing, etc), and more. DeVeDe supports a large range of formats and automatically converts source material to DVD-compatible formats.
5. Video to DVD Converter
Video to DVD Converter, by Koyotesoft, offers the smallest feature-set of the group, but is still a solid entry. This app does exactly what the title implies - it converts your video files into a format compatible with DVD players. The feature set includes: Wide range of supported formats (such as AVI, DivX, XviD, MPEG, MP4, VOB, WMV and more), convert output (MPEG) to aspect ratio, bitrate, NTSC, or PAL, burn ISO-compliant DVDs (4.5GB+ DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVD+RW). The user interface makes Video to DVD Converter incredibly easy to use.
If you're looking for a tool to help you create DVD's for your company, look no further than one of these. Although some are a bit more bare-bones than others, they all do an outstanding job - especially, given the cost. Add in a solid video editor and you're sure to create professional-quality marketing material, training videos, and products for your business.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.