Pretty exciting stuff:
Here's my AviSynth script to convert my master comp down to DVD resolution for distribution to film festivals and for eventual DVD mastering.
My original master for Archon Defender is HD 1280 x 640 15fps. I use a 2:1 frame aspect ratio, umm just because that's what I got used to using since the first Rocketmen vs Robots film. (I'll be changing to a format based on the golden ratio for the next film... not to mention golden ratio timing for the film as well) So to convert my film to DVD it needs to become 720 x 480, letterboxed, and at the convenient and easy to use framerate 29.97 fps.
Now, when it comes to online distribution and film festivals, I'll be keeping it at 1280x640 15fps. Either in divx avi or in Ogg Theora (because it's open source). Hopefully, now that we live in times of accelerating technological change and it's 2009, film festivals will have gotten their heads out of their arses and embraced digital presentation formats. The 2003 Renderfest in Toronto had this cool harddrive / pc based all digital projection system, so formats like obscure pro video tape formats or celluloid film prints seem a bit antiquated to me.
# Convert to DVD
# 29.97 fps
# 720 x 480 pixels MPEG2
# OPEN source file as DIVX
DirectShowSource ("C:\Documents and Settings\administrator\My Documents\Video\Archon Defender - second cut interim master - sfx comp jul 05.avi")
# OPEN source file as AVI (HUFFYUV)
#AviSource ("C:\Documents and Settings\administrator\My Documents\Video\Archon Defender - second cut interim master - sfx comp jul 05.avi")
# Resize to DVD resolution
# change to DVD 29.97 frame rate
# resize 1280x640 archon defender frame to dvd 720 x 360 size
AddBorders(0, 64, 0, 56, $000000)
# letterbox to dvd full resolution 720x480
# Adjust Color Correction
Levels(0, 0.6, 255, 0, 255)
# adjust archon defender color correction gamma
AviSynth is a really powerful tool that lets you do all kinds of manipulations on video, and also allows you to bypass intermediate steps. AviSynth acts as a filter between your source file and your video encoder, so if you want to encode mpeg 2 for dvd, and also encode a divx version for the web or a lower resolution version for youtube or something, then AviSynth will let you convert to multiple formats at the same time applying color corrections or adding hard subtitles, etc., all without having to render out intermediate files.
AviSynth is a bit nerdy, and you're going to have to get your head around the scripting language, but once you get it all figured out, you can do whatever you want. (It could even be used to do a full edit of a film if you were a real masochist.) It's freeware, and integrates seamlessly into most encoder apps like VirtualDUB or dvd mpeg encoders.