Abandoning DVDs is Costing Us Money

Posted on by Larry

Commentary2.jpgOf all the recent decisions by Apple and Adobe, ending sales for DVD Studio Pro and Encore has caused more complaints and hardship than just about anything else they’ve done. (Well, OK, excepting the launch of FCP X and the switch to subscription pricing; but I digress.)

Recently, Tony Fleming sent me a letter that represents the feelings of many that I wanted to share with you.

Many, MANY filmmakers, videographers, wedding professionals and others rely on DVDs as a bread-and-butter income generator. Yes, DVDs are standard-def and the world is HD – though Encore also supports Blu-ray, which DVD Studio Pro does not. However, as has been shown time and time again, people will pay FAR more for something they can hold in their hand than something that is simply downloaded. Thumb drives are not yet equivalent to DVDs.

Terminating DVD SP and Encore has caused much lost revenue in our industry; especially as Tony makes clear, there is no Plan B.

While I don’t expect Tony’s comments to change behavior at either Apple or Adobe, perhaps it will spur Roxio to improve their support, or encourage another developer to provide the tools we need to create professional-grade DVDs.

Let me know what you think. But, as Tony eloquently expressed, we are still between a rock and a hard place.


by Tony Fleming

Firstly, I think it is arrogant and ridiculous for companies like Adobe and Apple to have decided that [optical] discs should be relegated to the stone age when there is currently no viable alternative. The vast majority of the world is not connected to reliable internet – even in this country. I show videos at public events. Am I supposed to show up and hope there is going to be a reliable internet connection that is going to last throughout the playing of the video? Even if I arrive with the video on a portable hard drive, what do I say to people to want to pay for a copy of the video [to take] away with them?

My clients (who run into the hundreds) want to take videos with them on their boats where there is no TV, no cell coverage and certainly no internet that anyone could afford to pay for.

We are encouraged to shoot in 4K and certainly I agree with that and the advantages that Larry has pointed out of being able to perform all kinds of camera movements in post. If the finished video is then saved on a regular DVD, the result is utterly depressing when you see how sorry it looks compared to the original. On the other hand, having battled my way through to being able to burn it to a Blu-ray Disc the result looks really outstanding.

DVD Studio Pro won’t do the job and, in any case, you have to scrounge around to find it. Larry suggested Adobe Encore but when I went on line I find that it, too, has been discontinued. I purchased Roxio Toast and after much hassle finally managed to burn a Blu-ray with excellent results. I had to uninstall it and re-install Toast to get it to work at all and the menu system does not function. Their support is absolutely the worst I have ever come across and, looking at the mass of infuriated comments on the forums, that is undoubtedly the universal opinion.

Streaming may be the way of the future but its availability is strictly limited and [optical] discs are the only alternative I know of. Those discs need to be in much higher resolution than DVD given that we now shoot in 4K. As Steve Jobs said “Blu-ray is a world of hurt” but it doesn’t need to be.

Once again we are just left twirling at the end of a rope while the companies on whom we rely are somewhere over the far horizon.


Tony Fleming

View some of Tony’s travelogue videos at: www.flemingyachts.com/venture.html

33 Responses to Abandoning DVDs is Costing Us Money

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  1. Keith Massey says:

    I agree with all that Tony Fleming says in his very relevant comments.

    As an Apple converted man from PC for now ten years I think it’s a complete disgrace that Apple has so arrogantly let me down all those fellow professional film-makers worldwide of all different levels, in not upgrading the DVD Studio Pro software to take into account that we need to make DVDs and Blu-ray disks.

    Apple and Jobs – you were/are WRONG! Go into any high street media store anywhere in the world and you cannot get away from DVDs for Hollywood distribution which is still way ahead of Blu-ray. If Hollywood can still make billions of $$$ with DVDs it has to be the market leader and cannot be ignored. However as someone who has just retired from a lifetime working as a Director of Photography/ Lighting Cameraman in broadcast television I started editing twelve years ago for my own personal projects.

    DVD Studio Pro gave me the tools to make a DVD with menus and chapters to Hollywood standards that impressed clients and this has not changed. Apple (and Adobe – I started on Premier Pro and Encore) should have updated this essential post production process to keep pace with HD recording that could be converted to Blu-ray and there should now be something for 4K to give us an advantage against broadcasters who cannot transmit 4K because of bandwidth problems. If Jobs didn’t like Blu-ray why didn’t he bring something else into the market for us all to benefit by? I don’t like making Blu-ray because it takes far too long to make as is still not cheap enough to justify it’s hyped up mark up.

    I still have an 8 year old 17″ MacBook Pro which I purchased for tv editing. It had every feature we needed – direct SxS input for the new tapeless cards; DVD, connectivity for all the various hard drives. After that they brought out fancy laptops with no connectivity but which looked “pretty” but only fit for purpose for very few applications. Stupid. Like a car which looks great but no petrol (or as you say “gas”) tank.

    I don’t know if I’m alone, but Apple’s arrogance, and this is what it is, may come back to bite them because no matter how big a company is, they are never too big to fall when their corporate perception goes negative with their customers.
    Apple lost incalculable trust with their worldwide editing customers when they brought out FCP X. It is now, after a few generations, a great product for me and for what I need it for, but they should not have unceremoniously dumped their FCP 6 & 7 clients and treated them with the contempt they did at that time. Big mistake.

    It was stated recently that Apple has probably peaked. If so why don’t they pull their finger out and bring out the next generation of UHD reproduction that utilises a 4K standard which millions worldwide would want to use and it looks really good in a presentation box ?

  2. Michael Slowe says:

    I have only just come across this thread. At last film makers are protesting about the diabolical Apple behaviour. It’s a pity that the millions of “little old ladies” throughout the world have no way to voice their frustrations that films that they want to view will not be available for them. I am continuing with my current workflow for as long as I can. On my MacPro (the last of the ‘towers’ I use BitVice to encode SD media, Studio Pro to mix the m2v and ac3 files and Toast Pro 11 to burn. All seems fine, provide presumably I stick with Mountain Lion as my OS. For BD’s I have no problem whatsoever just dragging my .movProRes422HQ file into Toast which then encodes and burns to my external BD burner. I just hope it all keeps working!!!

  3. Allison says:

    I just came across this post.

    What is everyone using now that DVD Studio is done? I’m still using it but it flakes out a lot with El Capitan. 🙁

    • Larry says:


      We don’t have a good solution that doesn’t involve the web.

      And, if you can, revert to an earlier OS. DVD Studio Pro will be more stable.


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