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Author Topic: Mini Review - DeVeDe  (Read 13711 times)

Target

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Mini Review - DeVeDe
« on: July 22, 2008, 06:58:38 PM »
Basic Info

App NameDeVeDe
App URLLinux - http://www.rastersof...rogramas/devede.html
Windows port - http://www.majorsilence.com/devede
App Version ReviewedWindows port v3.8 (v3.9 has since been released)
Test System SpecsAthlon 64 3200, 1G RAM, XP SP2(.5)
Supported OSesLinux, W2k or better
Support Methodsemail - linux raster@rastersoft.com, windows peter@majorsilence.com
Upgrade Policyfree
Trial Version Available?N/A
Pricing SchemeFree
Author Donation LinkThis appears to true freeware, ie the neither of the developers appear to make any mention of donations in any way shape or form that I can see
Reviewer Donation Linknot necessary, but if you feel the urge to donate, donate to mouser for providing this forum
Screencast Video URLN/A
Relationship btwn. Reviewer and Product REVIEWER: I have no knowledge of or relationship with either of the developers (I'm just a damn user....)


Intro:

DeVeDe is a(nother) video converter, but with the sole purpose of producing DVD's viewable on a TV using a standalone DVD player

Features (from the site)

Spoiler
  • Preview Video with selected settings
  • Save disc structure to convert at a later time
  • Ability to check for updates
  • Menu option to view documentation
  • Create
        - Video DVD
        - Video CD
        - Super Video CD
        - CVD
        - DIVX / MPEG-4
  • Menu - DVD
        - Action to Perform when Title ends
            - Stop reproduction/show disc menu
            - Play the first title
            - Play the previous title
            - Play current title again (loop)
            - Play the next title
            - Play the last title
        - Menu Options
            - Choose custom background
            - Choose PAL/SECAM or NTSC format
            - Customize menu font
            - Preview menu
            - Option for no menu
  • DVD Options
        - Convert only to MPEG
        - Convert only to disc structure
        - Convert to ready to burn ISO file
        - Choose 1.4 GB, 4.7 GB, or 8 GB DVD
  • Video Information
        - Original size (pixels)
        - Final size (pixels)
        - Length (seconds)
        - Estimated length (Bytes)
        - Output aspect ratio
        - Frames per second
        - Video rate (Kbits/sec)
        - Audio rate (Kbits/sec)
        - Size of chapters
  • Video Properties
        - Set video rate (Kbits/sec)
        - Set audio rate (Kbits/sec)
        - Output video format as PAL/SECAM or NTSC
        - Set Final video size to:
            - 720x576
            - 704x576
            - 480x576
            - 352x576
            - 352x288
            - Default
        - Choose scaling mode
        - Can choose to use 16:9 aspect ratio
  • Quality Options
        - Trellis search Quantization
        - MacroBloc decision algorithm
        - Deinterlacing
  • Audio Options
        - Delay audio (in seconds)
        - Create DVD with 5.1 channel sound
        - Specify video already has AC3 sound
  • Subtitles
        - Add subtitles from sub and srt formats
        - Choose encoding type of subtitles file
        - Ability to raise subtitles above black bars (if chosen in scaling)
  • Misc Video Options
        - Split video file in chapter (for easy seeking). Defaults to 5 minutes per chapter
        - Specify video file is already DVD suitable MPEG-PS file
        - Use a GOP of 12 frames (this improves compatibility)
        - Option to specify extra parameters for mencoder (DeVeDe back end)
 


I'll start by saying that I have (until recently) had no interest in or requirement for anything like this, hence my knowledge of all things relating to video editing, conversion, production, etc is practically nil, and as such, I have absolutely no qualifications for writing this review...

Recently though my inlaws purchased a shiny new HDD camcorder...

how is that relevant?  well, for a start they are techonogically challenged.  They really shouldn't have any tech whatsoever, period.  They didn't seek any advice regarding their purchase, just what the salesmen told them on the day (I think you can see where I'm going with this....)

They have an old PIII that they can play patience on and type up the odd letter (the MIA does the odd birthday card as well...) but it's nowhere near capable of coping with the software that was supplied, nor do they have the faintest idea how to use it even if they did, so it's fallen to me to try and rescue the situation (datdaDAAA!!!!)

13.gif

I have dabbled with a few similar app's in the past (Super, DIKO, and others) but always struggled because of poor documentation and/or my aforementioned ignorance, and my results were never what I would call acceptable (in fact, in most cases they were abject failures...). 

DeVeDe on the other hand was something of a revelation.  Not only was it dead simple to use, but I understood what it was doing, and I got good results (choose the output format (DVD, VCD, SVCD, CVD or DivX), add my files, answer the prompts, and I'm done!!)

The interfaces are logical, clean, and simple, with all the common functions ready to hand, and the lesser only a click away.   

SCREENSHOTS

Spoiler

[attachthumb= 1][/attachthumb]
this is the entry screen.  From here you choose the output format
[attachthumb= 2][/attachthumb]
this is the main screen.  Title list on the left, file list (per title) on the right.
[attachthumb= 3][/attachthumb]
Title properties screen.  Use this to amend the text in your titles, and the default title behaviours
[attachthumb= 4][/attachthumb]
File add/File properties screen.  set the video format, add subtitles and/or audio tracks.  Advanced options at the bottom 
[attachthumb= 5][/attachthumb]
Same as above, but with the advanced options showing (general tab)
[attachthumb= 6][/attachthumb]
Same as above, but with the advanced options showing (video1 tab)
[attachthumb= 7][/attachthumb]
Same as above, but with the advanced options showing (video2 tab)
[attachthumb= 8][/attachthumb]
Same as above, but with the advanced options showing (quality options tab)
[attachthumb= 9][/attachthumb]
Same as above, but with the advanced options showing (audio options tab)
[attachthumb= 10][/attachthumb]
Same as above, but with the advanced options showing (misc tab)
[attachthumb= 11][/attachthumb]
Menu options screen.  Set the background image, title fonts, positioning etc
[attachthumb= 12][/attachthumb]
Menu preview screen


encoding takes a few hours, and there are a few output options - in this case writing to an image (ISO) ready for burning seems an obvious choice, but ymmv.

you can add a simple menu (limited to 12 titles), chapters, subtitles and/or audio for each title, even adjust the bitrates and audio synching.  If you add multiple files to a title it will stitch them together

the app claims to be economical on HDD space (roughly double the final file size if you delete the temp files, triple if you don't)and it cleans up after itself (nice!).  The default option is to delete all temporary files, though you can turn this off if you want.  Some of the other apps I've tried produced an extroadinary amount of temporary files (up to 10X the final file size!), and left me to clean up.

Another nice feature is the 'adjust disk space' function.  Press the button in the middle of the dialog box (the one showing the projected size) and it will adjust the bitrates (within limits - up or down) to best fit the available medium.  The result is an approximation of the final size that (they claim) may be smaller than the listed size, but will never be bigger (from use it appears that this is a very conservative estimation - it seems the result will ALWAYs be smaller than the estimation).  Useful if you're a few meg over the limit of your medium.

The help file is short (24 A4 pages), but clear.  Explanations are simple and in plain english, and cover the available functionality.  And if you can't work it out from the help file, the app is intuitive enough that browsing through the options should help to make things clearer.

Power users might prefer a more masochistic tool, but for what it does this one has got to be hard to beat (even my inlaws should be able to master this one!!)

Who is this app designed for:

It would probably suit novice's, or users with simple needs, eg converting those You-Tube video's into a DVD, bundling episodic videos so you can watch them on your TV, etc

The Good

relatively small download (20M)
all inclusive download (no other tools required!)
simple but includes all of the necessary (basic?) functionality
logical and intuitive ( :Thmbsup: :Thmbsup:)
allows a fair degree of control over the finished product (if required)
economical and tidy use of resources
documentation is clear, concise, and in plain english

The needs improvement section

for my purposes there is very little that needs improving.

One thing that initially limited my use of this tool was the limit of 99 source files.  For most purposes this is probably sufficient however in this case I had to come up with a means of stitching some of the source files together in order to meet this limit (remember my source files were from a camcorder so there were over 250!!).  Not necessarily a big issue, but another level of complexity for users (the inlaws) to potentially deal with. 

If pushed, I could perhaps comment on the 'Disc Format' gui's lack of sophistication - a slicker, toolbar type GUI would perhaps be more attractive (I'm thinking along the lines of the old CloneCD here), and perhaps the inclusion of ISO burning functionality, however these these are trivial issues, and wouldn't improve the app in any way

Why I think you should use this product

this is possibly one of the simplest and fastest (encoding aside) ways to convert your digital video collection into a watchable DVD. 

How does it compare to similar apps

hard for me to say, but in my limited experience most similar apps seem to be overly complex, and/or require 'helper' apps to complete the job.  Many seem to have little or no documentation, or if they do, it's written with a level of assumed knowledge that i don't have.  Net effect is usually a steep learning curve, a reliance on whatever tutes or guides you might be able to find, and a measure of good fortune.

Conclusions

this probably shouldn't strictly be considered a review, more of a recommendation from a satisfied user.  As i said before, I'm in no way qualified to make any sort of recommendations or criticisms, however I do consider myself to be a fairly typical user and as such it probably has some value.

Likewise it would be silly to assume that there aren't other tools that can do what this one does, or that there aren't tools that can perhaps do a better job, but like everything, they aren't always easy to find (well, they are, if you know what you're looking for, in which case you probably didn't need this review anyway...). 

And while this probably isn't for everyone, it suits my (meagre) needs - I can watch video's with my family on the TV, and my inlaws should be able to transfer their video's to disc for show and tell nights with their friends.   

if you try it, let us know here so others can benefit from your experiences...

Links to other reviews of this application

While I could find plenty of references to this tool I was unable to find any reviews of any significance (if you do find some, let me know and i'll add them here...)

EDITED: - duplicated image removed
« Last Edit: July 22, 2008, 09:57:13 PM by Target »

Shades

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Re: Mini Review - DeVeDe
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2008, 08:38:37 PM »
DVDStyler on SourceForge is a tool that does similar things like this one. A friend of mine could not find software to create DVD's and my search ended with DVDStyler. After two weeks the guy is still making happy comments about the software to me.

However, it is strange that I have never heard of this one...

Target

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Re: Mini Review - DeVeDe
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2008, 12:13:38 AM »
i hadn't heard of it either until about a month ago, but clearly it's been around a while

 (It's a pet peeve of mine that finding answers on the net is mostly about asking the right questions.  Problem is that, in order to know the right questions, you really need to already know the answer...)

mouser

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Re: Mini Review - DeVeDe
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2008, 01:26:05 AM »
Nice review  :up: :up:
ps. i like the way you put the screenshots in the spoiler buttons, cool idea.

Quote
Another nice feature is the 'adjust disk space' function.  Press the button in the middle of the dialog box (the one showing the projected size) and it will adjust the bitrates (within limits - up or down) to best fit the available medium.
nice.

Tekzel

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Re: Mini Review - DeVeDe
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2008, 09:25:48 PM »
Nice program, but I am having a bit of a problem.  It is truncating all the videos I add to like 9 mins.  The resultant DVD ISO is 500mb, and it is supposed to have four 24 minute episodes on it.  I made sure to select the media size of 4.7gb DVD too.  Have you watched the DVD you made with it?  Is it the proper length?

Target

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Re: Mini Review - DeVeDe
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2008, 09:55:58 PM »
Strange, I can't say as I noticed that, though my source files were considerably different to yours (what file types are you adding?)

My source files were MPG2(?) and there originally over 250 of them.  I stitched them into nominal days (using copy /b at the command line) which seemed
to produce a file of the correct size, though I can't comment on the length as this process borks any header info and so there's no run time info when you view the resulting file...

To the best of my knowledge there wasn't anything missing from my test files, but I'll run another test with some different files (6 x AVI files @ 350M ea) and I'll post back when it's finished

Tekzel

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Re: Mini Review - DeVeDe
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2008, 10:23:08 PM »
I kind of thought it might be the original files (they are MKV files, the video stream codec is AVC) although they play perfectly fine in Windows Media Player.  So, I grabbed an AVI file and used it and that worked fine.  I guess I need to find something to convert the other files to another format.

Target

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Re: Mini Review - DeVeDe
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2008, 10:37:49 PM »
this <a href="http://www.moviecode...m/topics/4727p1.html">here</a> might be helpful

noblejoker

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Re: Mini Review - DeVeDe
« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2008, 08:26:57 AM »
I have been looking for a decent program to convert a number of video files into a 'standard' DVD
I have a number of cartoons in avi files I would like to burn to seasonal DVD for my kids and nephews
I will be giving DeVeDe and DVD Styler a try
Thanks :)
Matt from Australia

y0himba

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Re: Mini Review - DeVeDe
« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2008, 10:15:22 AM »
DVDStyler gets my vote.  However, this one is very nice.  :Thmbsup:

Great review, thanks.
My Web Site:  http://www.y0himba.net

Target

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Re: Mini Review - DeVeDe
« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2008, 01:36:05 AM »
can anyone clarify this for me - I've been looking at DVD styler (based on your comments above) and it appears to be limited in the formats that it will accept for authoring, ie MPG only???

It also appears to me that it's greatest strength is in authoring 'complex' menuing structures (it almost seems as if adding video is an afterthought)
 

mikiem

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Re: Mini Review - DeVeDe
« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2008, 01:41:36 PM »
Hopefully this will be of some use... Rather than try to cram way too much info in here, I thought a minimalist approach would work better - often I find the biggest hurdle to learning something new is figuring out what I want to know and where to look for it.

To start with, video is complicated - very few people “know it all” [& I’m not one of ‘em], so everybody else tailors their learning to accommodate their needs. Nothing wrong with that at all, except it has led to a tremendous amount of white noise online - there is actually much more incomplete & even disinformation re: video & DVDs than anything else, with the moral being you need to fact check almost everything you read, at least until you can build up your own list of trusted sources.

RE: DVDs... If you want to get into the tech aspects, the best source may be the videohelp.com forums, or any place where folks into ripping gather. You will likely never see the real DVD specs, as they come with a steep price tag & NDA; most of the available knowledge comes from reverse engineering. As legality is probably questionable, and a lot of folks simply don’t like those “neighborhoods”, you won’t find too much, real, tech info anyplace else. Authoring program docs will mostly just tell you what they’ll accept, & what they’ll let you do.

In the freeware video, &/or open-source world, most of the software tools are specialized, letting you complete just one of several steps required to get your video (or audio, subs etc) on DVD. There are several front ends for commonly used freeware (including DeVeDe & DVD Styler), most with GUIs that, as Target so eloquently put it, have masochistic tendencies, but they save you from having to learn & execute the individual steps. Learning to use AviSynth can be invaluable for quality conversions, allowing you to work *Accurately* with the different color spaces various formats use, along with loads of optional filtering, sizing etc. The simplest, easiest to use are convertors, almost clones of each other based on ffmpeg, mainly out of China AFAIK, & available regularly from giveawayoftheday.com. There are only a couple of free mpg2 (for DVD) encoders, and none that work as well IMHO as commercial alternatives. 

As far as authoring DVDs goes, most of the skill & effort goes into the menus & scripting, which is hard to do at anything near pro level without spending close to $100 or more on software - with the free DVD Author it’s possible, but much more learning is required. The difference between a bundled app (as in Nero) & higher priced software is almost totally based on menu and script creation. If menus aren’t important, then the free version of Muxman works very well. Figure out what you want to be able to do, what you want the finished DVD to look like, & open up your wallet - or spend a lot of quality time learning about DVDs, how to use DVD Author (and maybe one or more of the front ends), & how to get your content ready. In your situation Target, I’d highly recommend one of the Sony DVDA studio products, which you can often pick up cheap, often after rebate, at outlets like Frys. There is a noticeable difference in the quality of the output.

HD video presents special challenges, often because there are so many format possibilities, plus restrictions if you go to BluRay. For HD content I’d very highly recommend AviSynth for the conversion, but you might also look at the DGIndex programs (one for mpg2, the other for AVC). If you have HDV, keep an eye on the aspect ratios.