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How to Make Your Own DVDs from Almost Any Video File

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If you’ve got a lot of AVI videos in your media collection, you might want to be able to play them on your DVD player—or even more likely, give a DVD to a family member to watch. Here’s how to create your own DVDs easily.

For the purposes of this guide we’ll show you how to do it using the freeware DVD Flick utility, or the Windows DVD Maker application bundled into some versions of Windows. Either one will work fine, though Windows DVD Maker will require installing extra codecs to be able to support every type of file.

Create DVDs from Video Files with DVD Flick

DVD Flick is a great open-source tool that handles almost any video file format and can convert and burn them into a DVD that can be used on almost any DVD player—in fact, we’ve covered how to use it before.

Once you’ve installed it, you can start the process by launching DVD Flick and clicking the Add title button on the upper left corner of the GUI.

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Then browse to the location of the video files you wan to convert and burn to DVD.

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Then you can move the files around and change the order of them.

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Go into Project Settings and select Burning. Then check Burn project to disc and give it a label. For best results it’s a good idea to burn at a slower sped and check Verify disc after burning.

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It also includes some default menu types you can choose from. They aren’t the most spectacular to look at, but they will do if you need a menu.

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Then click Create DVD  the encoding and conversion process kicks off. You can change the Process priority while the process is taking place.

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While you’ll probably want to do something else while the process completes (it can take hours depending on the size of the files and your hardware), click on Entertain me.

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This brings up a simple version of a Tetris game…which is a pretty neat extra feature.

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Or you can just minimize it to the system tray so it’s out of your way so you can do other tasks.

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It comes bundled with ImgBurn and since we selected to burn the project to disc it automatically launches and burns the DVD.

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When the process has completed successfully, you should have a screen that looks similar to this. Getting back to the amount of time it can take…notice it took 2 hours in this example. We burned 4 AVI files that were a total of 1.17GB.

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There you go! To make sure the DVD plays correctly you can test it out on your PC using your favorite player.

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This process doesn’t clean itself up though. You’ll need to go into the directory where the AVI files were converted to DVD and delete them.

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Create DVDs Using Windows DVD Maker

You can also convert and burn video files directly to DVD right from Windows DVD Maker which is included in Vista and Windows 7. However you might need to install the correct codec for it to work.

Open the Start Menu \ All Programs \ Windows DVD Maker.

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After it launches you can click Add item and browse to your video files or simply drag and drop them in. in the DVD title field it shows today’s date, but you probably want to change it to the title of the DVD.

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If you see the following message, you’ll need to install the correct codec for it to recognize certain types of video files—there’s a few different ways to go about getting the right codecs including DivX, ffdshow, or the K-Lite Codec Pack.

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On our Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit system we tried DivX and ffdshow but neither worked. So we’re going to go with the K-Lite Codec Pack 6.4.0 (Basic). During the install process you can choose different options but we just accepted the defaults and it worked great.

However, we tried it on a Windows 7 Ultimate and Home Premium 32-bit system, and we had no problem using the AVI files without the need to install any codecs.

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When we tested it out on our Vista Ultimate 32-bit system, we installed the DivX codec pack and that worked successfully—it really depends on the type of video file that you’re dealing with.

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Now that we have our AVI video file recognized, in the next step you can choose from different Menu Styles.

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It also allows you to customize the DVD menu style and to change the DVD title.

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After you have everything set up how you like, click the Burn button.

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Then wait while the encoding and burning process completes. Again the amount of time it takes will vary between machines and the size of the files.

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After your DVD has been created, you can save the project in case you need to burn the disc in the future.

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The project will be saved as a Windows DVD Maker Project with the .msdvd extension.

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Here we have the results of our South Park DVD…

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Which we opened in VLC to verify it burned correctly…here is an example of the Reflections main menu style we used.

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Make DVDs with Nero

If you’d rather use a commercial software solution, you can use the popular Nero DVD burning software to convert your video files and burn them directly to DVD as well. We’d really recommend this mostly for people that already use Nero for other tasks, since you’ve already got it installed—everybody else should stick with DVD Flick or Windows DVD Maker.

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Test Your DVD

Before you go and hand the DVD out to a family member, you’ll want to pop the disc into a DVD player and make sure it works. We tested our discs on Walmart’s cheapest Magnavox DVD player and they worked fine.

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We’ve talked about a couple different ways to create DVDs, and you’ll want to choose the one you’re most comfortable with. While testing the Windows DVD Maker, on some systems we needed to install the correct codecs, while at other times we didn’t need to, so your mileage may vary.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 10/18/10

Comments (15)

  1. jed

    hell yeah children of bodom!

  2. Mike

    Is there a decent open-source program out there that will resize ISO files down so that they can all fit onto 1 DVD? I keep looking for one out there and I simply can’t find one. There use to be one built into Roxio, but then in newer versions that feature seems to be gone and the previous versions won’t work with Windows 7. I record a lot of TV and would like a way to shrink the files so they all fit onto 1 DVD instead of having to use multiple DVDs. Thanks!

  3. Esley Loftis

    I have a copy of Nero 8 Ultra Edition. I tried to install it. Nero told me that the software had changed.
    There is a Nero version !0 out for about $59. Payday I intend to order a copy. “incd” will let you
    write to a cd more than once. Suggest you goto the Nero web site and check it out. Later, E. L.loftis

  4. Ryan

    Freemake Video Converter (freemake.com) is another great freeware tool for converting video files and making DVDs with very little hassle. It has been reviewed on Lifehacker, but I did not find it covered here – I wanted to make sure that it hadn’t been covered before I posted it.

  5. Timothy873261.0

    I wonder if DVD Flick supports *.mts files.

  6. kyle

    dvd flick takes ages to complete the process nearly double the length of the video file.

    convertxtodvd (not freeware) does that (+burning) in about the same length of the video files if not less.

    That’s why you pay for software

  7. lehenryjr

    DVD Flick is a stab in the heart to Windows Live Movie Maker and Windows DVD maker… their biggest issues is the codecs. And the support forums on attempting to create movies and DVD’s are littered and lined with frustrated customers… To have an open effort like this out perform Windows Live Movie Maker or Windows DVD Maker on this level is embarrassing.

    Although, if you have the codecs installed and everything ‘works’ they’re not bad.

    Nice post.

    Until next time,
    Larry Henry Jr.
    LEHSYS.com

  8. Robstar

    I have to agree with kyle…
    ConvertXtoDVD is a much better option although not free. A whole lot quicker, better menus, burning & cleans up after itself…

  9. Paul

    Is it possible to make an disk image with windows dvd maker so we can mount & test it whether it is good or needs some effects instead of burning to dvd & waste it ??

    Paul

  10. Phill Avery

    …Surely it is simpler to just buy a TV Media player for around $50 (Dick Smith) and view your avi media files etc directly on your TV by just plugging in a USB External Hard drive or Thumb stick containing the media files/movies.
    I used to burn media files to DVD’s until I discovered these media players, and you can end up with a Library of hundreds of movies all on one external hard drive with no stuffing around, magic.

  11. Ivan Kolevski

    The easiest way to convert any video file to DVD is with a fork app called DeVeDe. Originates from linux and it is based on mencoder so you get the latest all in one application that is very easy to use, does basic DVD menus and is rock solid stable. I’m not affiliated in any way with the above mentioned application, just wanted to share my opinion, that’s all.

    If you compare the quality of the two applications, you’ll find that the output from DeVeDe (mencoder) looks a lot better that ConvertXToDVD. Speed wise, mencoder is multicore and multithreaded, so anyone with Core2Duo, QuadCore CPU will benefit quite a bit.

    I’d rather donate to the devs of the original FFMPEG, MENCODER, MPLAYER, XVID, x264 libraries (and I have done it) and support open source, freeware applications.

    Hope that this helps to someone.

    PS: @admins, can you please stop deleting my posts, I’m only expressing my own opinion in regards to freeware applications. I have read you posting/comments policy, if I do something wrong pls. email me with a valid reason.

  12. Dandere

    @Phill: I’m guessing that few people will understand your Dick Smith reference – for you foreigners; Dick Smith Electronics (or DSE as they seem to prefer to be branded these days) its a chain of electronics stores similar to Radio Shack, Circuit City etc – nothing inappropriate :P

  13. Deana Hurley

    Thank you so much HTG I have been looking for something like this with ages…

    Ye are brilliant, love ye guys

    Thanks

  14. Tammy

    Hi guys, LOVE LOVE LOVE your articles! They have helped me understand so much. I recently downloaded DIVX Plus into my pc. (Have XP), but have not had a chance to really go through it and figure out its usage.. I am told from friends that i can watch movies on it. Do you have an article on this program? Or perhaps instructions for a non-geek to help figure out HOW to use the program?

  15. Mysticgeek

    @Tammy: No we haven’t covered anything on DivX Plus…but thanks for the suggestion, good chance we’ll cover it in the near future.

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