is a professional Mac-only application designed to edit video or audio DVD's after
they have been created by any DVD authoring application (iDVD, DVD Studio Pro, DVD
Maestro, etc) on any platform. The software works with DVD's, VIDEO_TS folders and
DVD images. It is a very technical application designed for production or modification
of commercial and personal DVD's. Common commercial use of the application would
include preparing a DVD for multi-country distribution or adding or removing movie
trailers or other ancillary media to the DVD. For personal projects it can be used
to update or combine material from several DVDs without having to re-author the entire
DVD. The application is best suited for users familiar with DVD technology and structure
who have a frequent need to work with exiting DVD source information.
The installation process was very simple. I downloaded a zip file from the DVDAfterEdit
website, unzipped it and dragged the application to my Applications folder. The
application opened and I entered the appropriate key and was in business.
First a few words on DVD "architecture" from the DVD Basic Data Structure Guide: "When a DVD disc is
placed into a standard DVD player, the player looks for a directory or folder named
VIDEO_TS (Video Title Sets). For maximum compatibility, the name of this folder is
expected to be in all capitals with no lowercase letters. Older DVD players also
look for the additional folder AUDIO_TS (Audio Title Sets). Many modern DVD movies
contain only the required VIDEO_TS folder. If the VIDEO_TS folder is not present
or cannot be read, most player displays a short error message such as "No Disc"
on the screen.
Once the VIDEO_TS folder is located, the DVD player makes an attempt to read the
contents of the VIDEO_TS.IFO file in this folder (IFO stands for "Information").
This file contains required information and data structures to instruct the player
how to play back the inserted disc. If this file is missing or it cannot be read
for any reason, the DVD player makes another attempt to read the alternate file VIDEO_TS.BUP
(BUP stands for "Back up"). When a DVD disc is created, authoring software
creates the file VIDEO_TS.BUP as a backup copy of the VIDEO_TS.IFO. If both the VIDEO_TS.IFO
and VIDEO_TS.BUP files cannot be read or accessed, most DVD player again displays
the short error message such as "No Disc" on the screen".
Files associated with DVD video
When you insert a commercial or home-made DVD into your Mac and open the DVD in the
Finder, you will see the files described above. DVDAfterEdit works by providing
access and editing capability for the code and commands contained in these DVD folders
There are a couple of important things to recognize about DVDAfterEdit. As mentioned
earlier, it is a professional application made for working with existing individual
or multiple VIDEO_TS folders that have been created by a DVD authoring application.
It does not have stand-alone DVD authoring capabilities and therefore cannot create
or alter the content within individual VOB's (Video OBjects). It can add or remove
VOB's from VIDEO_TS folders regardless of the DVD authoring system used to create
them. The primary use of DVDAfterEdit is reconfiguring and reorganizing the content
of DVD's. It can also be used to create, change or delete DVD control commands and
menus as they appear in the on-screen DVD menus or as accessed by the DVD player
remote control. While you can change the behavior of a menu item on screen, you
cannot create the menu item using DVDAfterEdit. You first need to create a placeholder
button or menu item with your DVD authoring software.
These features are extremely useful to DVD professionals who may need to prepare
DVD's for different markets or forms of distribution. The features can also be
useful to amateur videographers who want to combine previously authored DVD's in
new and different ways and to create very customized control and menu options.
Using the application requires an understanding of DVD jargon and structure. Certainly
DVD professional's are familiar with the required commands and methods. Amateurs,
like me, will need to spend some time learning the technical aspects before DVDAfterEdit
can be effectively used. Fortunately, the DVDAfterEdit website provides an extensive,
57 page user guide as well as numerous tutorials and examples.
My use of the software consisted of experimentation with a 20 minute iDVD project
and a backup copy of a commercial DVD movie from my home library. The iDVD project
had 6 short chapters and no complex commands in the menu. On the other hand, looking
at a full commercial DVD is somewhat overwhelming. There are numerous commands just
in the "First Play PGC" which is the set of instructions (PGC=Program Chain)
that tell the DVD player what to do when the DVD is inserted and read. From there
it gets more complicated with the usual movie trailers and twenty or so chapters
in the movie itself. Oh and don't forget about alternative language data, special
features, deleted scenes and so forth. Figure 2 shows what DVDAfterEdit displays
when you first open the iDVD project using the Preview feature. As I indicated
in the Requirements section, the QuickTime MPEG-2 Playback component is required
to use the preview capability. As you may be aware, MPEG-2, the standard format
for all DVD's is one of the few formats that QuickTime does not play. Of course
once you have the MPEG-2 component (and QT Pro) you can do other interesting things
like playing individual VOB's (Video OBjects), capturing individual frames and exporting
to other video formats like MP4.
Using DVDAfterEdit with an iDVD Project
As you move down the hierarchical Navigation Menu to the lower level VMG (Video Manger)
sub-menus, to specific programs (PG), to Cells and the then to NavPacks (NavPacks
are the program objects that actually contain the video and audio content), additional
detail information is presented in the main window. One level further are the Video
Title Sets (VTS) which usually contain the main program material for the DVD, like
Tracks do in an audio CD. DVD editing can be performed in all of the categories
described above. The various component or program steps can be deleted or moved
and other program material from completed DVD's can be imported. One could, for
example, import specific scenes at the NavPack level from a commercial DVD into a
homemade DVD (while observing proper copyright rules, of course)
Editing down to the "NavPack" level
Another key feature of DVDAfterEdit is the Tracer. The Trace runs in separate window
and allows you to watch the control commands that are being executed by the DVD programming
while the DVD is playing. Again, in order to actually view the video you must have
the QT MPEG-2 playback component installed. You will see that the widow includes
a simulated DVD remote control device to enable programming and testing of commands
to be performed by a real remote control.
While preparing this review I experimented with several of the features of the application
but did not undertake any major re-editing of a full scale DVD. I changed some settings
on "Prohibited User Options" which normally prevent you from skipping certain
introductory material in commercial DVD's. I removed a trailer, imported a VTS,
and reviewed actions using the Tracer. All of the actions that I performed worked
as described in User Manual. The program did "Quit unexpectedly" a couple
of times but I was unable to determine the cause. I should also mention that you
must begin your editing work on a duplicate of the target DVD files since their is
no "Save As" function to create a new version and save the original. It
does have a "Revert" option so you can return to the original without saving
any of the edits you may have made. When you are done, you will need third-party
DVD burning software (like Toast); burning DVDs is not a capability of DVDAfterEdit,
and the Finder can only create data DVDs.
The software clearly does what it was designed to and does it very well. There is
little question that DVDAfterEdit would be of enormous value to anyone who works
with completed DVD's on a regular basis. The ability to work directly within the
DVD structures and not have to re-author and re-render would save vast amounts of
time. The interface is very clear, and once you are familiar with DVD terminology
and programing techniques, it becomes quite intuitive.
Since most home users and many professionals use DVD authoring systems that generate
the necessary DVD commands and files, the first exposure to the complex information
provided by DVDAfterEdit can be somewhat shocking. As with any technology or programing
language, continued exposure makes even a novice user more comfortable with the system.
Even so, I would say that unless you have had previous experience with DVD construction
and layout, it will take several weeks of frequent use to become proficient with
the application. Though I have never used anything exactly like DVDAfterEdit, it
reminded me of using ResEdit: it provides an understandable user interface layer
that directly affects the appearance and actions of a program or object.
is a professional DVD editing tool. It is distinct from DVD authoring tools like
iDVD or DVD Studio Pro in that it works with completed DVD's, not the media used
to create them. A wide variety of DVD compilation and navigation can be performed
with the software. It runs only on Macs, but can operate on DVDs authored on any
platform. The software provides a clean interface and performs exactly as advertised.
It is a very technical application that requires an understanding of DVD programming
terminology and logic. Rivergate provides an excellent website with a comprehensive user
manual and numerous tutorials and examples. Basic information on DVD architecture
and operation can be found at http://www.dvd-replica.com/. DVDAfterEdit is officially
licensed by the DVD Forum for the DVD-Video Specification and has built compliance
verification processes to assure that the resulting DVD meets all required standards.
For the average video hobbyist, the commercial price tag may keep the product out
of reach. Amateur videographers could take advantage of the powerful capabilities
offered by DVDAfterEdit, but I believe that the real audience for this application
is the professional DVD publication community. DVDAfterEdit provides the video professional
with a unique, solid and very powerful tool for streamlining and enhancing the video
- Enables rapid editing
of completed DVD control and organization
- Well organized user
- Preview capability
permits viewing DVD content while editing
- Requires thorough
knowledge of DVD structure and command language
- No "Save As"
option (requires starting with a duplicate file)
- Professional pricing
4 1/2 out of 5 Mice