Is there a way to create video CDs?

Question

Is there a way to burn a CD that will display digital camera pictures on my television in some sort of slide show?

- Andreas

Answer

This question was answered on July 17, 2003. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

The popularity of digital cameras has replaced film-based cameras as our primary ‘picture taking’ device because of the cost savings and convenience

Digital cameras give us many advantages, including image manipulation and the ability to print out photos as needed But, since most of us take digital pictures with reckless abandon, we end up with hundreds, if not thousands of pictures that will never make it to photo paper.

Gathering everyone around the computer to see the photos from your Hawaiian vacation just does not work well because most of us don’t have lots of comfortable chairs around our computers.

Some digital cameras come with a special cable that will allow you to display the images directly on a television, but that kills battery life and is limited to the images that are on the camera’s memory card at the time.

CD burners are a standard device in most of today’s computers, but transferring hundreds of images to a CD in the normal way (as data) requires a computer in order to view them.

That is were a format called Video CD or VCD comes into play VCDs are just what they imply; video on CD instead of DVD (The latest revision is known as SVCD or Super VCD, which has higher resolution.)

Most of today’s DVD players are capable of playing VCDs as well, so if you create a CD on your computer with VCD files, you should be able to accomplish your goal.

Check to see if the front of your DVD player specifically lists VCD or Video CD as a playable format If you don’t see anything, you can check your unit for compatibility at www.dvdrhelp.com/dvdplayers.

VCDs can contain either still images (JPG files are converted to MPEG) or moving pictures (AVI, MOV or any other video files are converted to MPEG), so you can also use this method to transfer camcorder recordings on your computer to CD They can also be played on most computers using the Windows Media Player, so they are very versatile.

Many of today’s CD burning programs have a VCD option, like Nero from Ahead Software (www.nero.com), which is one of my favorites.

Other CD burning programs that support VCD include Roxio’s Easy CD Creator and Toast for the Mac (both can be found at:www.roxio.com).

VCDs are much more common in Asia and Europe, so most VCD programs support either PAL or NTSC video formats Be sure to select ‘NTSC’ when you see these options so they will play in US based DVD players.

If you don’t have the programs I mentioned above, you can purchase them at the associated web sites or buy a number of other programs that are specifically written to create VCDs including VCDEasy (www.vcdeasy.org - I don’t recommend the free version) and tvCD (www.tvcd.biz).

Most of these programs will give you options to add music or transitional effects from picture to picture so you can really get creative.

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Author

Posted by Ken of Data Doctors on July 17, 2003