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Okay, you're back from your summer vacation and have an ample amount of digital camcorder or camera (or both) footage sitting on a shelf or desk waiting to be spruced up into a menu-laden DVD that you can burn for friends and family. The effort to get all that footage into something worthy of a movie studio DVD may be easier than you think.

Even to technology neophytes, just possessing a newer computer with Windows Vista Home Premium or the newest version of MacOS X (along with a DVD burner) will get you off and running. If you have a digital camcorder with a FireWire connection -- and your PC has one -- you should be set. But what about mixing in still photos along with your camcorder footage? I recently had this problem and found a pretty decent solution.


Enter Nero 7, a Windows software suite that I found remarkably easy to use without reading too many of the help files that came with the program. I was able to suck in several video clips from my digital camcorder using "Windows DVD Maker" in Windows Vista and build a DVD menu with those clips in an index -- just like you'd see on a new movie DVD. Also in that menu was a "photo slideshow" that contained an automatic presentation of all the high-resolution clips from the same vacation. Four years ago I would have had no idea how to do this, but without even cracking open a book a few days ago, I became an instant expert. Well, in my own mind. This semi-tutorial mimics many of the processes I discovered on my quest, so if you're just itching to get that camcorder footage and digital camera photos onto a slick DVD you can then duplicate for whoever you want, get busy.

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