Adam Tracksler reviews DVD Authoring and Production by Ralph LaBarge
Adam Tracksler reviews DVD Authoring and Production by Ralph LaBarge



A Creative COW "Real World" Book Review



Adam Tracksler takes a look at DVD Authoring and Production:
Adam Tracksler
Adam Tracksler
Kittery Point, Maine, USA
©2002 Adam Tracksler and CreativeCOW.net. All rights reserved.

Article Focus:
Adam Tracksler takes a look at DVD Authoring and Production: An Authoritative Guide to DVD-Video, DVD-ROM and WebDVD by Ralph LaBarge. This book is in the CMP Books DV Expert Series.


When I worked for a web design firm back in the 90’s, we were sitting around one day eating lunch, discussing how we came to be web designers. Nobody I knew went to school for web design; we were the pioneers. Anyway, I said that I thought that people who were drawn to make their living web design loved art and were secretly geeks, since much of it was a blending of what you could imagine and what was possible given all of the limitations. DVD is the same.

DVD Authoring and Production: An Authoritative Guide to DVD-Video, DVD-ROM and WebDVD by Ralph LaBarge is extremely detailed and goes step by step through the process of creating DVD from scratch. Like all things, you have to learn how to walk before you can run. Ralph begins the book by going into detail about all of the various DVD formats explaining what each does (and does not do). Honestly, I didn’t have a clue that there were so many DVD formats (he discusses seven different types). The descriptions are clear and concise, this comes in handy when there isn't a whole lot of difference in the naming conventions (for example DVD-RW and DVD+RW).

The DVD production process is explained in great detail with a strong emphasis on preplanning for creating a DVD. There is a lot of math, but it is explained well and there are a lot of charts to help communicate what is necessary to take into consideration when designing DVD. Also, Ralph uses the DVD that is bundled with the book as an example throughout the book to understand the project requirements, the budget, the amount of information that has to be put into the DVD, the graphic creation, and navigational structure. This alone, is probably worth the cost of the book.



If you are considering getting into DVD, this should be the first thing you buy. The tables and forms and business advice are great. If you are a casual user, the information contained within this book may be overkill and scare you away. But then again, the greatest challenges offer the greatest rewards.

I give this book 4 cows
But wait! It doesn’t stop there! Ralph LaBarge goes on to discuss many other facets of pre-production and production of DVD’s from audio issues to the differences in RBG and NTSC and PAL. Then the book goes on to show the step-by-step production of a DVD using Scenarist Pro. Although I don’t have this program, (and was unable to find a price listed anywhere, which leads me to believe I can’t afford it…) the instructions and explanations were general enough to apply to other programs without too much trouble. The book goes on to explain the DVD production process from using very basic consumer–level tools through mid-range and professional tools. Ralph continues with Enhanced DVD authoring including WebDVD (which is a really cool technology) and finally the DVD-ROM production process.

Ralph continues the book with a chapter on the DVD business. This chapter is frank and honest about the business side of DVD, what the business costs and what is needed to be successful. This is also well worth the cost of the book.

The book ends with a very thorough chapter on DVD production services and resources and a glossary of DVD terms (so you can keep CPPM and CPRM straight in your mind).

--Adam Tracksler




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