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RE: Video question (there will be a looping soundtrack though)

it really depends on how much movement you want to retain control over.
seems to me that the best way to turn a bunch of stills into a dvd movie
but still have a bit of movement in there, is to use one of the many
dvd-authoring packages that has a slideshow option which includes the
"ken burns" effects option. I have used this with sony's dvd architect,
apple's i-dvd & various others, all with different options. this will
get you away from treating the stills as moving images, with the
horrendous compression artefacts that you describe.
the sony option, whilst more expensive, is the more flexible in terms of
fine-tuning the duration & transition of each still, & how it interacts
with the soundtrack.