The ProShow Blog

Tips, tutorials & inspiration for making slideshows

Burn HD Video to DVD with the New AVCHD Feature


With ProShow 8, we’ve introduced a new output format called AVCHD. Essentially, AVCHD is a lite version of the Blu-ray format that can be burned onto a standard DVD disc. This saves the cost (or inconvenience) of having to buy a Blu-ray burner and blank Blu-ray discs. The result is that you can create pristine quality video to play on your Blu-ray player, all on a readily-available medium that can easily be archived on your shelf. For those that already create standard DVDs for their clients, AVCHD may be a perfect opportunity for a free add-on or upsell.

Visual quality

AVCHD is primarily a high definition disc format, supportings resolutions all the way up to 1080p.  Additionally, the visual quality of an AVCHD disc should be virtually indistinguishable from Blu-ray when using the highest quality setting. There are also some other presets (Standard Play, Long Play, Super Long Play) available that will allow you to fit more content on the disc without sacrificing too much visual quality.


Multiple shows and additional controls

AVCHD allows you to add multiple shows to a disc that will be played in sequence. In the Shows tab, simply click the Add button to include additional shows. Be mindful of the size meter at the bottom of the window, as you may end up exceeding the available space on the disc. Once you’ve burned the disc and put it in your player, you don’t have to wait through the first show to see the second or third shows; you can use the “Next” button on your Blu-ray player remote to skip to the beginning of each show. Lastly, you are able create a disc that loops after it finishes playback. Simply check the “Loop all shows” option in the Options tab.


Choosing the right frame rate

When it comes to slideshows, higher frame rates tend to look better than the standard 24 frames-per-second that is used for feature films. The default setting – 1080p@29.97fps – may look perfectly fine to you, but if you want buttery-smooth motion in your shows, you’ll want to opt for another setting. “1920×1080 Interlaced” at 29.97fps actually contains 59.94 *fields* per second, and is about as smooth as you’ll ever need. “1280×720 Progressive” defaults to 59.94fps, and gives you the same level of fluid motion. Both 1080i and 720p will look about the same from couch-distance, though there are some differences. 1080i is higher resolution when there is little or no motion while 720p has slightly higher resolution during motion scenes. My vote is to choose 1080i if you don’t mind waiting a little bit longer to render.


Why should I use Blu-ray if AVCHD exists?

If you’ve been previously burning Blu-ray discs in ProShow and are wondering whether you should consider trying out AVCHD, that question will largely be determined by a) if you require disc menus, and b) if you need to fit a lot of content on one disc. AVCHD output in ProShow doesn’t currently have the ability to create disc menus, so if menus are required for your projects, you will probably want to stick to creating Blu-ray discs. Lastly, the amount of video you can fit on Blu-ray is much greater than AVCHD. For context, AVCHD allows you to put 35 minutes of content on a disc using the High Quality preset and 1.5 hours using Super Long Play preset. Blu-ray, by comparison, will give you 2hrs at High Quality and 4.5hrs at Super Long Play. The disc storage of either can be increased by using dual-layer discs.

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Alex is a member of the Quality Assurance department at Photodex. He is an avid music fan and spends his free time going to concerts, perusing record stores, and archiving his ever-growing collection of music videos