About the author

Are you looking at me?

I can see you.

My name is Rui del-Negro. I live in Portugal and work mainly in animation, video editing, post-production and DVD authoring. I occasionaly work as a web designer, programmer, game designer, college lecturer, translator, software tester, workstation builder, AV consultant and pastry chef. If you are interested in hiring my services in any of these areas, please send me an e-mail through the Contact page (listed in the menu on the left).

Unless otherwise stated, and with the exception of trademarked company and software application names (which are the property of their legal owners, etc.), all contents of this site were created by me. Consult the copyright notice at the bottom of the page or contact me for more details.

The background image and menu icon are based on an original scan by Arun Kulshreshtha, licensed under Creative Commons. You may use the images in any way you see fit, as long as credit is given to the original author and, and as long as a compatible license is used for the resulting work.


Site philosophy

I believe that creativity without craftsmanship (technical knowledge and skill) is virtually useless. Outside your imagination, an idea is only as good as its execution. If you are not able (due to lack of adequate tools, knowledge or experience) to turn your vision into reality, you need to either acquire those skills or enlist the help of someone who has them. Push-button "automagic" solutions will rarely live up to your standards, let alone expectations.

Complex tasks typically require either complex tools or a large set of simple ones. Some tools (and this is especially true for software) try to hide a complex process behind a simplistic interface, to avoid scaring away (potential) users. While this approach may have some merits (mainly in terms of increasing the seller's profits by trying to appeal to everyone), ultimately it reduces the user's ability to control the final product. It's the difference between making a photocopy and creating a painting. The former can be done by anyone (virtually no knowledge about the underlying mechanisms is required), and will produce more or less the same result no matter who does it, but it's unlikely that someone will pay millions for a photocopy, or that anyone will become a famous photocopyist.

Beyond the knowledge of the tools lies the knowledge of the processes. Someone with a good knowledge of the underlying mechanisms will be able to adapt quickly to new tools and accomplish seemingly impossible tasks by combining several tools. A painter who understands the rules of perspective will be able to introduce into a scene objects that weren't originally there, or paint the scene as seen from a viewpoint different from his own. Despite the apparent complexity of computer data and software tools, they are just a collection of simple elements and operations, and being able to understand exactly what is going on makes it easier to understand exactly what you need to change to achieve the result you want, or exactly what is going wrong when the result is not what you expected.

The tools used in these guides are not particularly "user-friendly" in the sense that they look cute and simple and safe. But they are extremely user-friendly in the sense that they will do the job they were designed to do, and will do it well (by the way, all these pages are created using a simple text editor). The guides are not short or simple, either, but they are (I hope) clear and precise, and try to explain what each setting does, rather than simply telling you which buttons to press. The "HQ" in can stand for headquarters, but it stands mainly for high quality.



This site started its life as two plain text files that I kept on my desktop and which I used to cut & paste into messages at the Sonic forums whenever people asked me about MPEG compression settings or how to export video directly from Premiere to TMPGEnc. Since I got a bit tired of all that cutting & pasting, I formatted the text using HTML, added some screenshots, a few comments, and I put them online. That way all I had to do was post the link. Eventually I stopped using Sonic's software, and stopped visiting the forums, but I kept the two files online, and updated them regularly. I did not make any conscious effort to "promote" the guides.

So I was rather surprised to start getting e-mails about them. At first I got one message every two weeks or so. That soon rose to a couple of messages a week, and eventually I was getting three or more messages about these guides every day. So I thought the people making DVDs must be extremely vocal; after all, there's no way the site could be getting more than 10 or 15 visits a day, right? Just out of curiosity, I decided to add a visitor counter to the site.

And that's when I noticed I was getting about 1000 page views every day (approximately 500 different visitors). Even more amazing than that, if you search for "high-quality DVD" on Google, the address of my TMPGEnc guide is the first match (at the time of this writing, at least). So, naturally, I decided to cash in on the site's popularity and run pop-up ads for penis enlargment pills.

Just kidding.

I did decide to make some changes, though. The first change was to add a bitrate calculator (you can find a link to it in the menu on the left side, under Utilities). The second was to redesign the whole site to make it easier to add new contents, and also to make it look better in small screens and on paper. It has since been redesigned a second time (reredesigned?) using a more flexible codebase I developed for another site.

The third decision was partly made by my ISP (Netcabo). Since their service kept deteriorating, I decided to move the site to a new host, with more space and a more reliable connection. Unfortunately, that costs money. The site will always be public and free, and I would like to keep it free of advertising, so that leaves only one possibility: donations. With some luck, these will be enough to pay for the hosting and bandwidth. Any money beyond that will be saved and used to improve or expand the site (ex., I might buy a bunch of different video encoding packages and make a detailed comparison, test different brands of recordable media, etc.). I will always focus on quality and I will always try to be thorough, objective and practical. If you find these guides useful, please make a small (or not so small) donation (click on the Donate option in the menu for details).


Despite having over 1.6 million visitors, the total number of donations since the site was started is under 15, and the donations for the past three years have totalled an impressive zero euros (that's zero dollars or zero pounds, in case you're having trouble with the conversion).

This site isn't free because I think it's worthless; it's free so that people can evaluate it and decide how much it's worth for them. And it's also free so that people who cannot currently afford to pay may still access the information. But I find it a bit hard to believe that, out of 1.6 million people (who presumably can afford computers and an internet connection), only twelve are not completely broke. Although I'm glad to share the information in these guides with everyone out there, there is a limit to how much of my own time and money I can afford to put into the site.

Page layout

Page layout and conventions

Pages on this site have two main elements: the menu, on the left side, and the main page body, on the right. The menu is organised into sections, and has three hierarchical "levels". The top level shows the sections, below that level are the page links, and below the visible page link are the links to page anchors (shortcuts to specific parts of the page). The current location (section and page) is shown in black. You can open and close sections and anchor lists by clicking on the section and page names, respectively. You can also hide the entire menu (ex., for printing) by clicking on the logo at the top. On modern browsers the menu will remain visible as you scroll down the page.

Inside the main body, anchors are identified by an arrow, followed by large, bold text. Links are shown with a dotted underline that changes to solid when you place your mouse cursor over the link. Links to pages that you have already visited are shown in blue, while new (unvisited) links are shown in orange. Note that the decision about whether a link has been visited or not is made by your browser; most browsers will consider a link as new if you haven't visited it in a certain number of days.

Blue words without an underline have an associated note or defintion. Leave your cursor over the word for a couple of seconds, and that note should be displayed as a tooltip.

Some images are shown as thumbnails. Click them to load the full-size version. Move the mouse cursor away from the image to return to the thumbnail display.


Tips for optimal browsing

This site is optimised for a 1024 pixel wide window, but it should adapt well to larger window sizes. The site uses standards-compliant XHTML, CSS and JavaScript / DOM code, and should therefore render correctly in any browser that supports those standards. The latest versions of Opera and Mozilla-based browsers (such as Firefox) will render the site correctly. Microsoft Internet Explorer has some functionality and display bugs (whenever possible, workarounds for those bugs have been included in the site's code, but if you want an optimal browsing experience, use a modern, standards-compliant browser).

Valid XHTML Valid CSS

The site is "power-browsing" friendly. Every link can be opened in a separate or background window (if your browser supports it), every page and anchor can be bookmarked, there are no pop-ups or frames, and no plug-ins are required. Some of the features mentioned above, such as the ability to hide the menu or open and close sections, require JavaScript support in the browser, but the site will work fine even if JavaScript is disabled. Devices with small screens or no support for images (ex., cell phones or text-only browsers) are likely to exhibit some formatting problems, but all information should still be accessible.

The site uses the following fonts:

If you don't have one or more of these fonts installed (only the first comes pre-installed on most personal computers), it will be replaced by a similar alternative.

Site map

Site map

If, for some reason, your browser cannot render the menu correctly, you can find a complete list of the site's pages below. Note that this section is updated manually, and so it might not include very recent pages. If you still have problems accessing any of the pages, please contact us.

Main area:

Guides & articles: