By Will Campbell
In video production having a client request a “DVD copy” of a final video or some footage is not that uncommon. And yet, whenever I follow up by asking if they want a Video or Data DVD, I always get the same response: “Uhhhhh…” which I often translate as “What’s the difference?” A DVD is a DVD, right? Not quite… So what IS the difference between a Video and a Data DVD? Really, it’s just how you/we/I burn the disk on the computer. But the real difference is how you plan on using the DVD in the future.
Video DVDs are exactly what you’d expect – a disk that plays a video file in your DVD player, just like you’d buy from the store. To accomplish this, we export the final video in a format that can be read by our DVD-creating software. We build DVD menus, sometimes add chapter markers so you can skip around the video, or maybe make a continuous loop to be played in a business lobby, or a store display demo – whatever fits the specific needs. But the important thing to know is that you need a DVD player or a computer with a DVD drive to watch it.
A Data DVD is essentially a disk-shaped hard drive that stores files, video or other, typically used on a computer. Standard DVDs have a 4.2gb capacity, so you can burn that amount worth of data files onto the disk. And they are not just limited to video files. You could use a Data DVD to backup all your photos from your latest vacation, or make a copy to give to friends or family. Or maybe you just need an extra digital copy of a video, but it’s too large to send online – Just burn a Data DVD and you can copy that digital file from the disk to your computer. Think of a Data DVD as a 4gb thumb-drive. The only downside is that you can’t erase the information and re-use the disk later. Once it’s burned, the data lives on that disk for good.
So when a client asks for a DVD, the real question is “What do you want to do with this DVD?” Another thing to consider is making sure you have the equipment to use the DVD. Sounds like a silly thing to say, but we are seeing a shift in technology where smart-phones and tablets can do the same job as a laptop, and many new computers don’t even have disk drives. These are all important things to consider when asking for a DVD copy. Who knew it was such a loaded question?