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DVD Studio Pro 3: In the Studio by Marc Loy

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Chapter 1. Getting Started

Welcome to DVD Studio Pro 3! This chapter provides a detailed overview of Apple’s DVD Studio Pro 3 (DVDSP 3) software to make sure everyone is on the same page.

Frankly speaking, DVDSP 3 gives you access to all the best features of DVDs: great video, multiple audio tracks, interactive activities, and fantastic menus. If you’re new to DVDSP, you should read this chapter and try building the simple projects we cover. They give you a chance to play with the key parts of DVDSP 3 and leave you in good shape for the remaining chapters. Those of you upgrading from Version 2 might want to skim the section on using templates, which Apple introduced in Version 2 of the software. If you’re upgrading from Version 2 or you’re already comfortable with the basics, feel free to skip this chapter and get into the fun stuff. Chapter 2 covers the supported media types and various conversion notes. Chapter 3 is where we begin the real projects. Pick your starting point and get burning!

As with anything, the more you practice and experiment, the more skilled you’ll become. We heartily recommend you pick up a spool of DVD-R media and give yourself permission to make a few (dozen!) coasters. You’ll learn a lot along the way, and future projects will only benefit.

With that said, let’s get started!

The DVDSP 3 Interface

DVDSP 3 gives you an abundant workspace for building your DVD projects. You can arrange your projects in a way that is visually intuitive and easy to follow. You also have easy access to all the various properties of the DVD and your media. In short, you’ll find everything you need to lay out great projects. That’s not to say that there aren’t a few quirks, but we’ll warn you about these as we come across them.

After you install DVDSP 3, and you run it for the first time, you’ll be presented with the dialog shown in Figure 1-1. From this dialog you can choose an interface configuration that you’re comfortable with. Your choices are as follows.

The Application Configuration dialog

Figure 1-1. The Application Configuration dialog


This layout is somewhat similar to the layout in iDVD, Apple’s consumer-level DVD authoring tool that ships as part of iLife. If you’re used to using iDVD, you might want to start off with this configuration for simplicity.


This layout expands the Basic layout, adding two additional subwindows and a Property Inspector window below the Palette window. This is a good place to start if you enjoy using DVDSP for simple projects.


This layout brings out all the options and tabs that you can configure with DVDSP. This interface can be a little overwhelming at first, so I recommend this to users who are either intensely curious or already familiar with using previous versions of DVDSP for creating advanced projects.

The Advanced dialog is where you can choose the default video standard that you will be using for your DVDs. You probably already know which one you want, but here’s a brief rundown of each.

NTSC (National Television System Committee)

The NTSC standard has a fixed vertical resolution of 525 horizontal lines. It has varying amounts of horizontal resolution, depending on the electronics and formats involved. A total of 59.94 fields (sets of even or odd lines) are displayed per second. The odd and even fields are displayed sequentially, thus interlacing the full frame. Consequently, one full frame is composed of two interlaced fields, and is displayed about every 1/30 of a second. You should choose NTSC if you are creating DVDs for North America, including the United States and its territories, Canada, and Mexico.

PAL (Phase Alternation by Line)

PAL has a vertical resolution of 625 lines. Instead of 60 fields, however, PAL interlaces 50 fields per second, resulting in a 25-frame-per-second display system. PAL is used throughout Europe and in parts of Africa and Asia.

Key windows and controls

Let’s start off with the Advanced interface configuration so that we can explain all the windows and their options. Figure 1-2 shows DVDSP 3’s Main window, which has a very similar interface to Version 2. For the simple projects in this chapter, the only real difference you’ll notice between Versions 2 and 3 of the software is the number of templates available in the Palette. In this chapter we tried to include projects you can accomplish in either version of the software, but there are a few new features that exist only in DVDSP 3. We’ll be sure to point those out where appropriate.

The main DVDSP 3 interface

Figure 1-2. The main DVDSP 3 interface

In Figure 1-2 you can see three windows: the Main window, the Property Inspector (labeled Disc in the screenshot), and the Palette. If you ever misplace these windows, you can toggle them through the View menu (see Figure 1-3) or via the icons on the toolbar.

The View menu

Figure 1-3. The View menu

At first glance, this looks like a mind-numbing number of components and options. So, let’s quickly go over the purpose of these windows, and then we’ll pare things down to the few pieces you really need to get started.

The Main window

The Main window, shown in Figure 1-4, is the largest of the three windows; this is where you create your DVD projects. Note that the Main window defaults to having four subwindows, and each subwindow consists of one or more tabs. In a typical workflow, first you import various resources (e.g., menus, buttons, etc.) into DVDSP 3 as assets, which then are stored under the Assets tab (as shown in the lower-left subwindow in Figure 1-4). Alternatively, you can use the various Add buttons (e.g., Add Menu, Add Track, Add Story, etc.) along the toolbar at the top to do the same thing. Then you can build a DVD by dragging and dropping these items from the Assets tab to an appropriate tab somewhere else. At this point, the assets become objects in your project, and you can “edit” them. Note that I enclosed edit in quotation marks, as it can mean different things based on context.

DVDSP 3’s Main window

Figure 1-4. DVDSP 3’s Main window

For example:

  • Editing a menu means creating the buttons and setting their actions. This means dragging assets onto the Menu tab in the upper-right subwindow.

  • Editing a movie clip means setting the chapter stops, audio tracks, and subtitles. You can edit clips by dragging them onto the Track tab on the lower right.

  • Editing a script doesn’t mean editing a movie script. Instead, it refers to editing programmatic instructions that you want the DVD player to follow when it reaches a certain point. You can edit scripts using the Script tab, also on the lower right.

You also can edit other things such as stories and slideshows, but we’ll get to those later.

Finally, right-clicking (or holding down the Control key and clicking, for you one-button mouse folks) in any subwindow tab area enables you to choose the tabs for that subwindow from a pop-up menu, as shown in Figure 1-5.

The right-click tab configuration pop-up window

Figure 1-5. The right-click tab configuration pop-up window

The Property Inspector window

The Property Inspector tracks the object currently selected in the Main window and enables you to configure all the relevant options for that object. For example, in Figure 1-6, you can see the properties available for the DVD disc itself. Other property sheets appear when you work on menus, movie clips, or buttons. Note that they all have a slightly different format. For example, compare the option sheets for both menus and buttons, shown in Figure 1-7.

The Property Inspector window (DVD view)

Figure 1-6. The Property Inspector window (DVD view)

If you want to know which object the Property Inspector is currently “inspecting,” the easiest way is to check out the listing of objects in the Outline tab of the Main window. Whatever object is selected there is the object that shows up in the Inspector.

In my experience, it’s easy to lose the Property Inspector window when you’re working on a DVD project. However, as we mentioned earlier, you can get your Inspector back by selecting View Show Inspector, pressing Option-

image with no caption

I, or clicking the Inspector icon in the toolbar.

The Inspector showing menu and button properties

Figure 1-7. The Inspector showing menu and button properties

The Palette window

The view shown in Figure 1-8 is a complete list of your raw materials. All your assets—your clips, audio files, and images—appear here. The Palette window organizes assets available to your project into quick-glance lists. Through the tabs you can access lists for things such as the currently defined templates, styles of text and buttons available, music you have in iTunes, etc. You can quickly grab items from the Palette and drop them into your project without importing them explicitly. (But any asset you grab from the Palette will be added to your regular asset list as well.)

DVDSP 3’s Palette window

Figure 1-8. DVDSP 3’s Palette window

The Palette is essential for playing with templates and building menus. Or rather, we should say that the Palette makes child’s play of working with templates and building simple menus. You still can roll your own if you need to.

As with the Property Inspector, the Palette can get lost. You can get it back by selecting View Show Palette, by pressing Command-Option-P, or by clicking the Palette icon on the toolbar.

The toolbar and other useful things

The toolbar sits at the top of your Main window and gives you quick access to a number of common tasks. Figure 1-9 shows a sample toolbar.

We say sample because the toolbar is customizable and enables you to keep your favorite actions close by. You can configure the toolbar by Control-clicking or right-clicking anywhere along the toolbar. If you want to remove an item from the toolbar, click above that item and select Remove Item. If you want to add one or more items, select the Customize Toolbar option from the menu that pops up, as shown in Figure 1-10.

A sample toolbar in DVDSP

Figure 1-9. A sample toolbar in DVDSP

You can customize the toolbar to include functionality as you see fit.

Figure 1-10. You can customize the toolbar to include functionality as you see fit.

This brings up the Toolbar Customizer dialog, shown in Figure 1-11. Here, you can drag items to and from the toolbar to suit your needs. Or you can drag to the toolbar the entire default setup at the bottom and go with that.

The Toolbar Customizer dialog

Figure 1-11. The Toolbar Customizer dialog

Simply click the Done button in the lower-right corner when you’re satisfied with the toolbar’s configuration.

Interesting tabs

A few of the tabs available are worth mentioning here. Look at Figure 1-12. We’ve chopped up the interface a bit to zoom in on the interesting areas.

We’ll be using the following tabs on every project:


This tab shows you the various audio, video, and still resources (files) you have associated with your project. To use a video clip, you can import it so that it is listed here in the Assets tab. You also can just drag a clip from the Finder (or another application) and drop it into DVDSP. It will be imported automatically and listed here as well.

Several commonly used tabs

Figure 1-12. Several commonly used tabs


This tab shows you the contents of your DVD in a hierarchical view. You can use it to get a quick overview of what’s going on in the DVD. You’ll also use this tab quite often to select a particular item so that you can edit its properties.


This tab details the video, audio, and subtitle streams you have active. You can use the pop-up window to select the track to view. You can organize multiple clips into one track, and define multiple audio, video, and subtitle streams in this tab.


In this tab you arrange your DVD menu items and hook up their jump targets (where the user is taken when he selects a menu item). You also can configure any background audio or video you want for the menu. Most of the work we’ll be doing in the first four chapters of this book will happen in this tab. The Menu tab shows one menu at a time, but you quickly can switch between them using the pop-up button in the upper-left corner.

Viewer (contents not shown in Figure 1-12)

This tab enables you to preview an asset without starting up the Simulator. This can be handy if you haven’t yet set up a menu for the project.

We’ll explore the other tabs, such as the Log and Graphical views, later in specific projects. One quick note for DVDSP 2 users: the Graphical tab is new to DVDSP 3. It provides you with a quick, visual view of your project, which can be great for dealing with complex projects, but it does not provide any new functionality. You can do nothing in the Graphical view that you can’t accomplish elsewhere in DVDSP.

Things you can’t forget

The Property Inspector for the Disc object contains a few options that you should set on every project. They are highlighted in Figure 1-13.

The must-set properties for any project

Figure 1-13. The must-set properties for any project

  1. The Disc Name. You should always name your disc. Otherwise, inserting the DVD into a computer will bring up a disc with the ever-popular default name, Untitled Disc.

  2. The First Play. This is critical. Be sure to pick an initial menu or movie to show when you put the disc in a player. DVDSP 3 always defaults to the first menu that you create. If you want your movie to start immediately when the disc is inserted into a player, this is the place to specify it.

  3. The Remote Control Settings. These properties determine how the remote control will work with the disc. At a minimum, you’ll want the Title and Menu controls to take you to your main standard menu. The default on these settings is also the first menu.

You should get into the habit of specifying these values as soon as possible. That usually happens just before you save the project for the first time. That being said, I burned a few coasters before learning these little tidbits, so don’t feel bad if you forget.

Typical Project Workflow

Every DVD project you work on will flow in a fairly standard way. Although you’ll certainly encounter projects in which you must add a new clip at the last minute or delete a bonus item that wasn’t ready to be included, most of your projects will follow the five basic steps shown in Figure 1-14.

Project flow in DVDSP 3

Figure 1-14. Project flow in DVDSP 3

We’ll work through these five steps in the following sections, using the sample media from the projects/ch01 folder on the accompanying DVD. Again, you should feel free to skip this project if you’re already familiar with DVDSP. If you’re just starting out or want to play with the new version, dive on in!

Step 1: collecting and formatting the raw media

The first step is, of course, gathering your raw materials. You need to collect your movie clips, audio to accompany the movies, and images (or more movies) to use for the menus. Chapter 2 details the specific formats that DVDSP supports. However, the big thing to realize/remember here is that you usually do all of this work outside of DVDSP. DVDSP is the last application along the path to getting video onto a DVD. For the earlier steps, Apple’s Final Cut Pro and Adobe’s Photoshop are particularly well suited to producing the right type of media.

Apple Final Cut Pro

Final Cut Pro enables you to edit your movie and add fancy things such as titles and special effects. Once you have your movie in good shape, you can export it to MPEG-2. Figure 1-15 shows the export dialog for Final Cut Pro.

The Final Cut Pro export options for MPEG-2

Figure 1-15. The Final Cut Pro export options for MPEG-2

The export will create two files: a movie file (.m2v) and an audio file (.aif ). You’ll need both files once you’re inside DVDSP. We actually converted the audio file to the AC3 format to save a bit of space, but more on that in Chapter 2.


DVDSP 3 does enable you to import other types of audio/video files that QuickTime understands, such as Digital Video streams. But before you burn your disc, you’ll have to encode those files to MPEG-2. In other words, DVDSP 3 will transcode it for you. The downside to this approach is that it takes a lot longer to build the project.

Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop enables you to create extremely intricate menus using its Layers feature. The layers form the various buttons and screens available in your menus, as shown in Figure 1-16. Layered Photoshop images are best saved in Photoshop’s native PSD format, so you don’t need to export them into a non-native format. You also can use your favorite editing software to create still images for simple menus. Chapters 2 and 3 provide more details on this.

One menu associated with the Hawaiian Vacation DVD project (from Chapter 3)

Figure 1-16. One menu associated with the Hawaiian Vacation DVD project (from Chapter 3)

You can see the various files for another volcano-related project in Figure 1-17.

The files associated with the volcano DVD project in this chapter

Figure 1-17. The files associated with the volcano DVD project in this chapter

Step 2: importing media into DVDSP 3

From DVDSP’s File menu, you can import files by selecting Import Asset… (or just pressing Shift-

image with no caption

I). Select all the files you want to load and click the Import button. Your imported files should show up in the Assets tab.

For our first project, go ahead and import the following files from the Chapter 1 folder on the companion DVD:

  • volcano.m2v

  • volcano.aif

For the moment, we’ll rely on the graphics built into the templates for all the menu images. Templates make quick work of simple projects! (But more on templates in Chapter 10.)

Step 3: creating a menu

First things first: let’s switch to a simpler interface configuration for this project. Press the F1 key or select the Basic configuration in the Window Configurations menu to set up the two key windows you need to get started. You should have the Main layout window and the Palette open, as shown in Figure 1-18.

The Basic layout option for your windows

Figure 1-18. The Basic layout option for your windows

In the Main window on the left, you should have four tabs: Menu, Slideshow, Viewer, and Graphical. Click the Menu tab so that it is raised and highlighted (if it isn’t already), as shown in Figure 1-19. You’ll be rewarded with a drab, blank gray canvas! Don’t worry, we’re about to change that.

The Menu tab shows an editable view of the menus in your project

Figure 1-19. The Menu tab shows an editable view of the menus in your project

In the Palette, select the Templates tab. Scroll down to find the Light Cover template. Double-click that icon. It should transform that blank gray canvas into a spiffy, nearly completed menu. Check out Figure 1-20 to see the results.

We say nearly completed because you’ve still got some work to do. First you want to fill in that big box in the middle with something a bit more interesting. For that, you need your assets, so grab the Assets tab by pressing

image with no caption

1 or selecting Window Assets. Drag the volcano.m2v asset over the box, as in Figure 1-21, and pause for a moment. You should see a set of options magically appear.

The amazing results of applying a template

Figure 1-20. The amazing results of applying a template

Setting the asset for a template drop zone

Figure 1-21. Setting the asset for a template drop zone

You’ll want to choose the Set Asset option. It shows you the first frame of the video—which in this case is all black. You can check that the drop really worked by clicking the Toggle Motion button, which is represented by the little walking person at the bottom of the Main window shown in Figure 1-22.

You’ll also want to change the default text; “Title Information Here” just doesn’t seem very interesting. Give your project a nice title (we used “Volcano Flight”) by double-clicking the default text and then typing your new title. Be careful, as DVDSP 3 can be a bit twitchy when you’re editing text. Words to the wise: make sure you have a blinking cursor before editing the text.


Using motion backgrounds can be a great way to create eye-popping menus. You’ll get to see more details on using video for menus in Chapter 4. We just want to warn you that turning on motion with that Toggle Motion button can tax your system. It’s great for quick previews, but it is not meant to be left on indefinitely. Of course, with each evolution of Mac hardware making leaps and bounds, this warning might not apply for long!

The volcano project in progress

Figure 1-22. The volcano project in progress

Next, delete the lower three buttons (Button Two, Button Four, and Button Six). You select a button by clicking inside its dashed border. To delete it, press the Delete key. We’ll deal with the upper three buttons in a few minutes, but for now, your project should look like Figure 1-23.

The volcano project in progress

Figure 1-23. The volcano project in progress

Step 4: adding the video

Next, you need to add a new track for the video itself. Click the Add a Track button at the bottom of the Main window. You should see the Track tab pop up. You need that Assets tab again, so go ahead and raise it (

image with no caption

1). Then, drag the volcano.m2v file from the Assets window to the Track window, as shown in Figure 1-24. Be sure you use the Track tab and not the Menu tab; otherwise you’ll end up with an extra button on your menu!

Adding a video track to the volcano project

Figure 1-24. Adding a video track to the volcano project

Notice in Figure 1-25 that the audio file was added automatically, along with the video. You won’t always want that, but it’s perfect for what we’re trying to do this time around. You might be wondering about those purple lines running down the track listing. Those are actually the chapter markers we set inside Final Cut Pro. You also can set new markers here if you need to, but we’ll talk about that later.

The Track window after adding the video

Figure 1-25. The Track window after adding the video

That’s actually all there is to the video track. You’ll have to go back and link your menu to the video, but for now you can go ahead and close the Track window.

Step 5: linking the buttons

Setting up your buttons is easy with templates. For each button, you should Control-click (or right-click if you have a three-button mouse) the button and set the target. Figure 1-26 shows the pop-up menus you should see.

Setting a button’s target

Figure 1-26. Setting a button’s target

You’ll also want to double-click the text to the right of the button and change it to match the actual video content. Table 1-1 shows the targets and text we used for the buttons.

Table 1-1. Our template project button targets





Tracks and Stories Track 1 [Track]

Taking off


Tracks and Stories Track 1 volcano1



Tracks and Stories Track 1 volcano2

Over the Volcano

Testing your project

That should be it! Make sure you save your project before moving on. Once you do, you should be able to launch the Simulator and check out your project. The Simulator is easy to launch from the toolbar, as shown in Figure 1-27.

The Simulator button in the toolbar

Figure 1-27. The Simulator button in the toolbar

Figure 1-28 shows our current project in the Simulator. If you’re happy with how the project works in the Simulator, you’re set. All you have left to do is to burn the disc. But we’ll save that for the grand finale of the chapter. (If you can’t wait, skip to the section “Burning the disc,” later in this chapter.)

In our next project we’ll re-create much of what we’ve done here, but this time from scratch. Although templates work great in many situations, you’ll find some projects demand more. You can deliver on those needs with DVDSP; you just need to do a bit more of the legwork yourself.

Our first project in the DVDSP Simulator

Figure 1-28. Our first project in the DVDSP Simulator

A More Advanced Project

The second project in this chapter covers the same basic process as the first project, but this time we’ll create our own menu in Photoshop instead of using one of the template menus.

For the second project, you’ll need to import the following files from the Chapter 1 folder:

  • volcano.m2v

  • volcano.AC3

  • mainmenu.psd

  • chaptermenu.psd

You’ll probably want to switch to the Extended layout for this project. Press F2 or use the Window Configurations menu. You should end up with a screen similar to Figure 1-29.

The Extended layout you’ll use for the next project

Figure 1-29. The Extended layout you’ll use for the next project

Step 1: adding a movie clip

Usually you don’t have to do much work to add a movie clip to your DVD projects. In most cases, you can just drag the movie clip from the Assets tab to one of the editors and drop it. Occasionally you’ll have to set the chapter markers manually. You’ll probably also want to specify where to go after finishing the clip—back to the main menu, for example.

For this project, we set the chapters while editing the video in Final Cut Pro (which, incidentally, was very easy to do), so we’re OK there. After the movie is done, we want to go back to the main menu. We’ll set that property in a few minutes after we add the menu.

So, here’s the next task: drag the volcano.m2v file from the Assets tab to the Track tab. Your Track editor now should have one movie item, as shown in Figure 1-30.

The first step in our second project: adding the movie

Figure 1-30. The first step in our second project: adding the movie

Step 2: adding a menu and buttons

Adding menus is just as simple as adding movie clips. First make the Menu tab active in your Main window. Now drag the mainmenu.psd file from the Assets view to the menu area. You should see a pop-up list similar to Figure 1-31. Choose the first option to set your image as the background for the menu.

The next step in our second project: setting up the main menu asset

Figure 1-31. The next step in our second project: setting up the main menu asset

So, at this point, the menu itself exists. However, you still have to create the buttons for the menu. If you’re making a simple menu with the standard box highlights over the buttons, be sure to pick your highlight colors in the Menu Inspector. See Figure 1-32 for an example.

Setting the highlight colors for your menu buttons

Figure 1-32. Setting the highlight colors for your menu buttons

If your Photoshop document consists of multiple layers, you’ll also need to specify which layers of the Photoshop document you want to use. The Menu Inspector can help you there as well. Choose the options highlighted in Figure 1-33.

Setting the active layers for your menu background

Figure 1-33. Setting the active layers for your menu background

You’ll see some examples of really complex layered buttons and menus later. For now we’ll just use the one layer we have. Figure 1-34 shows that menu in the Menu tab.

The Menu editor window showing our main menu

Figure 1-34. The Menu editor window showing our main menu

Here’s a nifty thing to know: you can create new buttons by simply dragging an outline over part of the background. Then you can select an existing button by clicking inside its border. Figure 1-35 shows the action of creating our first button.

Adding a button by hand to our main menu

Figure 1-35. Adding a button by hand to our main menu

Once you have the boundary set to the right size and position, right-click the button to bring up a menu of quick options. You can set the target for the button here or through the Inspector. (I recommend always relying on the Inspector, as shown in Figure 1-36.) You can use the Inspector to set a few other key properties: specifically, the button’s name and its navigation properties (e.g., which button comes next when you press the left arrow on your remote). You might not be able to specify the proper navigation entries until you have created all the buttons in your menu. That’s fine. Just click the interior of a button’s outline in the menu window to make that the “active” button in the Property Inspector.

Setting a target with the Button Inspector

Figure 1-36. Setting a target with the Button Inspector

For this project, you’ll need to make menus from the mainmenu.psd and chaptermenu.psd assets. You can rename the menus via their property sheets if you don’t like using the filename to tag them. Double-click the mainmenu.psd icon to build the buttons shown in Figure 1-37.

The Menu tab showing both buttons for our main menu

Figure 1-37. The Menu tab showing both buttons for our main menu

You’ll also need to pick a shape for your buttons. We just went with the Simple button option, but you can play around a bit if you want. As you can see in Figure 1-38, there are plenty of options.

The pop-up dialog for choosing a button shape

Figure 1-38. The pop-up dialog for choosing a button shape

Once you’ve got the shape, you also might need to set the level of transparency, or opacity. If the shape is off to the side of your text, the default of 100% opaque might be fine. Our buttons cover the text we built in Photoshop, so we want translucent buttons. You can set that opacity value in the Button Inspector. (See Figure 1-39.)

Setting the buttons’ opacity in the Colors tab of the Button Inspector

Figure 1-39. Setting the buttons’ opacity in the Colors tab of the Button Inspector

If you want to set the precise values for the buttons’ coordinates, use the Advanced tab in the button property sheets, and enter the numbers shown in Table 1-2.

Table 1-2. Button coordinates for the main menu
















Figure 1-40 shows you the Advanced tab of the Button Inspector where you can enter these values.

Controlling a button’s coordinates using the Button Inspector

Figure 1-40. Controlling a button’s coordinates using the Button Inspector


The Height values for the button coordinates in Table 1-2 and Table 1-3 are dependent on the Top and Bottom values. Changing either the Top or Bottom value will automatically change the Height value. Changing the Height value will, in turn, update the Bottom value.

Similarly, the Width value is dependent on the Left and Right values. Changing either the Left or Right value will automatically change the Width value. Changing the Width value will, in turn, update the Right value.

Click Add Menu from the toolbar. You should now have a Menu 2 option in the pull-down on the Menu tab. Select Menu 2 and set the chaptermenu.psd file as the background, as you did for the first menu. Go ahead and set up the four buttons shown in Figure 1-41.

The Chapters menu button layouts

Figure 1-41. The Chapters menu button layouts

Table 1-3 lists the values for the buttons in this menu.

Table 1-3. Button coordinates for the Chapters menu







1. BackButton





Menu 1

2. TakeoffButton





Track 1 [Track]

3. FirstSightButton





Track 1 Volcano 1

4. LavaButton





Track 1 Volcano 2

You’ll need to go back to Menu 1 and set the target for the Chapters button now that you actually have a chapter menu. And you should definitely save your project at this point if you haven’t already.

Step 3: setting the mandatory disc options

Now is a good time to make sure you’ve specified those “Things You Can’t Forget” that we covered earlier. In the Outline tab (see Figure 1-42), click the DVD icon at the top and bring up the Inspector.

Using the Outline tab to select the disc

Figure 1-42. Using the Outline tab to select the disc

Be sure to set the following values in the Inspector and then save the project:


  • First Play: Menu 1

  • Remote-Control Title: Menu 1

  • Remote-Control Menu: Menu 1

Previewing the disc

At this point, your DVD project should be in really good shape. You can test that theory by previewing the project. Launch the Simulator just as you did before. (You can call it up by selecting File Simulate… as well.) Figure 1-43 highlights the Simulator button. You also can just press Option-

image with no caption


Launching the DVD Simulator

Figure 1-43. Launching the DVD Simulator

That should launch you into a fully functional preview of your disc. You can navigate your menus using the arrow keys and the Return key. See Figure 1-44 for an example of our disc running in Preview mode.

Our volcano project in Preview mode

Figure 1-44. Our volcano project in Preview mode

Simulating is a great way of debugging things such as the menu buttons. It’s easy to forget to specify the navigation information for every button. When you actually try to use the disc, though, things such as broken buttons pop out almost immediately. Simulating can save you the hassle of finding problems after you’ve burned the disc. Although you shouldn’t worry about creating a few bad discs, that shouldn’t be your goal!

Burning the disc

OK, you’re almost there. All you have to do now is build and burn the project. Although the assets already should be encoded in the proper format, they need to be assembled properly for a DVD. From the File menu, choose the Burn option. That should launch a build and format session that picks reasonable defaults for the burn.

If you need to, you can select File Advanced Burn Build & Format. This option enables you to customize the burn session. If you have separate drives for building the disc or multiple DVD burners, you’ll need to take this route. Figure 1-45 shows you where to set your build location.

Specifying a build location

Figure 1-45. Specifying a build location

Note that you created a Volcano folder on a separate hard disk. You certainly can use the same disk if you have space, but separate disks make the process go a little bit faster. That way, you can read continuously from one disk and write to the other at the same time rather than reading, stopping, writing, stopping, reading, stopping, etc., on the same disk.

Next, you have to tell DVDSP to write the project to an actual DVD. If you’re lucky enough to have a variety of DVD writers in your machine, pick the one you want to use. As you can see in Figure 1-46, we have the built-in SuperDrive that shipped with our G4 and an external Pioneer 106 drive in an external FireWire enclosure. We’ll use the built-in burner for this example.

Picking a burner

Figure 1-46. Picking a burner

Now you should be prompted to insert a blank piece of DVD media. Once DVDSP recognizes the media, it’ll start burning. First it builds the project and encodes your menus. Then it actually writes the project to the disc. Watch for any errors in the Log window, which is shown in Figure 1-47.

When it’s done writing, you should have an honest-to-goodness, ready-to-play DVD. Most players can play these discs—but not all. You can find a number of compatibility charts online. The folks at DVDRHelp.com (http://www.dvdrhelp.com/dvdplayers.php) even maintain an interactive search tool that you can use to determine which players will work and which ones will not.

The actual burn in progress

Figure 1-47. The actual burn in progress

Our volcano project playing on a consumer television set

Figure 1-48. Our volcano project playing on a consumer television set

Figure 1-48 shows a screen capture from a TV playing our spiffy volcano DVD.

Making multiple copies

If you want multiple copies of this disc, you can just go back and choose the Format option from the toolbar. This time around you’ll be prompted to reuse the existing project’s data, as shown in Figure 1-49. Click the Reuse button, and you can skip over the menu encoding step.

Reusing information from a previous burn when making another copy

Figure 1-49. Reusing information from a previous burn when making another copy

Playing back your DVD on consumer DVD players

For those of you who are new to the DVD world, let’s take a quick detour and talk about playing your DVD in a consumer device, which is usually the goal for these projects. Let’s start off by making sure you know how to navigate your menus with the remote controls that come with such players. Figures 1-50, 1-51, 1-52, 1-53 through 1-54 show a consumer remote (from a Yamaha DVD-S796), the Simulator remote control, and the DVD Player remote control with various function categories highlighted.

The VCR functions (Figure 1-50), which are available on both consumer remotes and the software DVD players, behave exactly as you would expect them to behave. You can play, stop, pause, and fast-forward/fast-rewind through the video. Most fast-forward/fast-rewind buttons double as chapter-forward/chapter-back buttons as well.

VCR functions on consumer player and software remotes

Figure 1-50. VCR functions on consumer player and software remotes

The arrow and Enter buttons highlighted in Figure 1-51 enable you to move the “cursor” around the onscreen menus and select a highlighted option. The Enter button is sometimes labeled Select or OK.

The more interesting buttons to note are the stream controls (audio, video, and subtitles) and the various menu buttons, shown in Figure 1-52.

DVDs support a fancy variety of audio, video, and text streams. Most DVDs have menus that enable you to con-figure which streams you want to see (a Spanish audio track with French subtitles, for example). In addition, most DVD players also enable you to switch streams on the fly. The stream control buttons perform that service. You can cycle through all the available streams. Not every DVD will have multiple streams, of course. We’ll be discussing streams and how to use them extensively in Chapter 5, where we’ll cover our international project.

Onscreen navigation functions on consumer player and software remotes

Figure 1-51. Onscreen navigation functions on consumer player and software remotes

Stream control functions on consumer player and software remotes

Figure 1-52. Stream control functions on consumer player and software remotes

Most DVD remotes also have two separate menu buttons: a button labeled Top Menu (sometimes called the Title, Root, or Disc menu) and one labeled Menu, highlighted on the far left in Figure 1-53. The Top Menu button is supposed to take you back to the first menu of the disc. The Menu button should take you back to the most recently viewed menu. (Or, if you just used the Menu button to get to a menu, pressing it again often resumes playback where you left off.) Chapters 3 and 4 dive into menus and show you how to configure your remote control menu buttons if you don’t like the default behaviors.

Menu functions on consumer player and software remotes

Figure 1-53. Menu functions on consumer player and software remotes

Last but not least, you probably noticed that the consumer remote has numeric input keys (shown in Figure 1-54). You can use these buttons for various things. Some discs allow time searching so that you can enter a time—usually in minutes and seconds—and jump to that point in the video. While viewing a menu, you often can use the numeric buttons to immediately activate a given onscreen item. Chapter 8 covers using numeric input for fun and games.

Numeric input functions on the consumer remote

Figure 1-54. Numeric input functions on the consumer remote

So, what’s next, you ask? Chapter 2 covers the various media types (audio, video, and still images) you can use in DVDSP. If you’re already up to speed on that topic, skip Chapter 2 and get to the fun stuff in Chapter 3.

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