We are located on the lower level of the Undergraduate Library, across from the ITS computer lab.
Phone: (919) 962-2559
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About DVD Studio Pro
DVD Studio Pro enables you to take complete control of the look and function of your DVD project. DVD Studio Pro allows an almost unlimited amount of flexibility in how you can present your movies and slideshows. If you are interested in quick and easy DVD creation with a smaller number of available features, or if you are a beginner to the DVD creation process, iDVD may be a more appropriate application for your needs. However, if you are interested in using a professional-level program to create a professional looking product, DVD Studio Pro offers an intuitive interface to help you realize your creative goals.
This tutorial is designed to take you through the
basic features of DVD Studio Pro. By working through a
project from start to finish, you will gain a firm
grounding with the program that will allow you to explore
the more advanced features on your own. Once you feel
comfortable with the program, you can learn more by
consulting the "Help" menu, the DVD Studio Pro
Users' Manual or a third-party manual.
How to Use DVD Studio Pro in the MRC
Here are a few important guidelines that will keep your project undisturbed and help you to effectively use the Media Resource Center Digital Media Lab. Saving your work is the most important single thing you can do as you work on your project. Programs crash and mistakes happen, so it is extremely important that you save your work every minute or two. Where you save your work is also very important. Save your work in either "Save Disk One" or "Save Disk Two." Work saved on the "Macintosh HD" will be erased daily. Note that many programs default to saving on the Macintosh HD (for example, the "Movies" folder). Make sure that the first time you save, you double check that you are saving in one of the Save Disks. "Save Disk One" and "Save Disk Two" are erased twice a month (the deletion days are prominently posted around the studio). We are happy to make sure that your project does not get erased, but you have to let us know! Talk to the Media Lab Attendant or Greg Klaiber, the Lab Manager, and we will be happy to help you fill out a "Save Request Form." In addition, if you are working on a long term project it never hurts to make backups. If this is your first time in the MRC Digital Media Lab, please look at our MRC Digital Media Lab Hardware page. It will guide you through the basics of using the equipment that is at each workstation.
Before You Begin | Overview of the Working Environment | Common Terms
Before You Begin
Before you begin to work with DVD Studio Pro, you should have your movie(s) and slideshow(s) completely finished. DVD Studio Pro is not a video or audio editing program, so you want to make sure that you are happy with what you have. If you want chapter markers in your DVD, it is a good idea to have those put in already too. Although DVD Studio Pro does let you insert chapter markers, Final Cut Pro or iMovie will give you a greater amount of control.
In addition, you should have all of the additional materials you plan on needing for your DVD prepared. Pictures, videos, images and audio files for menus should be ready. You should also make a basic plan of how you want your DVD to work. How many buttons do you want on the opening screen? Do you want buttons to go to other screens that contain separate menus? What do you want in the background? Do you want an audio track? Sometimes it helps to sketch it out on paper. The image to the right shows one way to sketch out a DVD plan.
That being said, keep in mind that you can always go back and edit your movie or your files for the menus. Chances are that you will need to do a certain amount of this. Nothing is set in stone. However, if you go into DVD Studio Pro with a solid idea of what you want to do and the appropriate files to do it, your job will be much easier and you will end up with a more cohesive final product.
If you are unsure of how you want your movie to look, skim through this tutorial to see what some of your options are. Also, it helps to look at commercial DVDs and how they are set up. While you cannot expect your first project to look like a professionally designed DVD, this is a great way to get ideas of what can be done and what you like.
When you first open DVD Studio Pro, your screen should look something like the picture below. If you have more windows, it may be that your window configuration is set to something other than "Basic." To change this, go to the "Windows" menu and select "Basic" from the "Configuration" submenu. For this tutorial, the basic setting does everything that we need it to do.
Briefly examine how things are configured. While most of these things won't make much sense until you use them, it helps to have a grounding in how everything is arranged.
Here is a glossary of the terms presented above and some other terms that are used frequently in DVD Studio Pro and this tutorial. Just skim through them right now. Later in this tutorial you will probably want to refer back to this list to remind yourself of what certain terms refer to.
AC3: an audio compression format used by DVD Studio Pro 2 that lets you include Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound in your DVD; use the A.Pack application (it comes with DVD Studio Pro) to encode AC3 audio
Action Safe Area: the area where you want to keep your menu's action to insure that all viewers will be able to see it
Attribute: a file that you plan on using in your DVD; an attribute can be video, audio, graphics or still pictures
Backward: these two icons will move the selected image back in the ordering of images; for example, if you had a shape obscuring part of your menu, you could move the shape back so that where the two objects overlap, the menu would obscure the shape
Button: this is what the user clicks on with his mouse or selects with a DVD player remote control to navigate through the various sections of the DVD; buttons typically have three states: normal, activated and selected
Button Outline: this is an outline that helps you to see where your buttons are placed on the screen; these do not show up in the final video
Drop Palette: when dragging an attribute onto the menu screen, if you hold the object for a moment over the viewer before releasing the mouse button a "drop palette" will appear, giving you multiple options as to how you want to insert the attribute into your project
Forward: these two icons move the selected image forward in the ordering of images; for example, if you had a square and wanted to put a triangle so it shows up in the middle of the square, you would want the triangle to be "forward" of the square - otherwise the square would obscure the triangle
Guides: a grid that crisscrosses your screen to help you accurately place items; guides do not show up in the final movie
Menu: a DVD menu provides a backdrop for buttons; a menu can be still or can be a movie
NTSC: this is the standard North American video format; PAL is a different standard that is not compatible with NTSC
Palette: the various tabs on the palette hold all of the different files that you have at your disposal
Photoshop: Adobe's powerful graphics editing software; DVD Studio Pro is fully compatible with Photoshop (.psd) files
Project Size: this handy meter keeps track of how much memory your project takes up - remember that your project includes not only your video, but also audio, subtitles and any file used in the creation of a menu; the most common DVD-R advertises 4.7GB storage capacity - note that when formatted, there is only about 4.37GB available to use, so make sure that your project will fit onto the disk!
Region Coding: this feature allows a given DVD to be played only in specific geographical areas; the United States and Canada are Region 1
Slideshows: one or more still pictures (can also be MPEG videos) played sequentially; the rate of change is specified by the user
Start/Stop Motion Layer: this button allows you to view the current menu with the motion elements (for example, a video background) moving or still as you work on them
Subtitle: these can provide a translation or closed captioning for your video; you can have multiple different subtitle streams for a single track
Tabs: these look like tabs on a physical filing system; essentially, they organize windows in a neat and orderly way; click on the tabs to navigate through them
Templates: these are pre-defined formats for buttons and menus; you can use factory-installed templates or make your own
Title Safe Area: the area where you want to place titles to insure that all viewers will be able to see them
Toolbar: this contains convenient shortcuts to commonly used features in DVD Studio Pro; click on "Customize Toolbar" to change what is displayed here
Tracks: contain a specific video file; if there are audio tracks or subtitles, these are also contained in the track
Adding Assets | Setting a Background | Setting Audio | Adding Titles | Drop Zones | Adding Menus | Working With Templates
Before you start designing your menus and buttons, you have to import everything you need into your project. When you import items, DVD Studio Pro does not actually make a copy of the file, it merely notes where that object is located so that the program can work with it when needed. Because of this, you need to be careful not to move the files that are used by your DVD project. If you do, you will have to show DVD Studio Pro where they have been moved to.
To add assets to your project you will use the "audio," "video" and "stills" tabs on the palette. For example, if you have a video that you want to use in your project you would click on the "video" tab on the palette. Click on the "+" button and select the folder that contains your video using the pop-up menu. Notice that you do not select the actual video file; DVD Studio Pro will not let you do this. You select only the folder that contains your video. This allows you to arrange your video files in a logical way. If you have a small number of videos that you are working with, keeping them all in one folder is probably easiest. However, perhaps you are in a situation where you have a number of small clips that you want to incorporate into your menus in addition to a number of larger video files. In this case, it may be useful to arrange them into multiple folders.
Once you select the folder, it will be added to the list. When you select the icon on the list, you will be able to see all of the items that the folder contains. Go ahead and go through the same process to add audio and still images. Once you have added all of your assets, you are ready to start creating your menus.
First you need to set a background for your opening menu. Select the "menu" tab in the main menu. Now, click and drag the file that you want as a background onto the main window. Do not release the mouse button once you have dragged the file onto the menu - keep holding it. After a moment, a "drop palette" will appear. This will provide you with a number of options as to how you can insert your file into the document. Choose the first option, "Set Background." Now the background of your menu should be the still image that you inserted or, if you inserted a video as your background, it will be the first frame of that video. If you want to see what your video background will look like with motion, click on the "Start/Stop Motion Layer" to toggle the motion on and off.<
You can insert audio into your menu using the same method. Just click and drag your audio file from the palette onto the menu. If you already had audio (for example, as part of a video background), the audio track you just inserted will replace it. Note that if you click and drag an asset onto the menu without waiting for the drop palette to appear, the action taken by DVD Studio Pro will be the "default action." The default for dragging an audio file onto the menu is to "Set Audio." The default for dragging and dropping a still image is "Set Background."
Adding titles is a simple process. Double click on your menu where you want a title to go. Type in your title. You can reposition the text by dragging it. The font characteristics can be changed by clicking "Show Fonts" on the toolbar or selecting "Show Fonts" from the "View" menu. The color of the font can be selected by choosing "Show Colors" from either the toolbar or the "View" menu. Additional options can be accessed through the "Format" menu. Remember that your text box must be selected and the text inside highlighted for changes to affect the text.
Drop zones allow you to add graphics or small video clips on top of your background. Drag a still image, a video or anything from the "shape" palette onto the menu and wait for the drop palette to appear. Choose "Create Drop Zone." You can now reposition the image or video by clicking and dragging it. You can also resize the image by doing the following: click on the middle of the drop zone. This should make a number of diamonds appear around the edges (as in the figure to the left). Position the mouse over one of the diamonds. The cursor should turn into a double headed arrow that you can use to resize and reshape the image. If you hold "Shift" as you resize, the horizontal and vertical measurements of the object will stay proportionally the same and prevent the image from looking stretched.
When drop zones overlap with each other or with titles, one item is going to obscure the other one. The positioning of objects can be specified by using the "Forward" and "Backward" buttons. If one drop zone is forward of another drop zone, it will essentially be "on top" of that other item if they overlap.
Now that you have a good grasp on how to create a menu, we should start thinking about adding additional menus. Not every project will need more than one menu, but there will be many instances that you may need multiple menus. For example, what if you wanted to include four video tracks and four slideshows on your DVD? You probably would not want all eight items cluttering up the main menu. It would be better to have a main menu that linked to a video index and a slideshow index. We will cover how to create the actual links in the Creating Buttons section of this tutorial. Right now we will briefly cover how to make additional menus.
From the "Project" menu, choose the "Add to Project" submenu and select "Menu." You can view your new menu by selecting it from the "View" pulldown menu (right underneath the tabs in the main window). The new menu should be blank. If you want it to look similar to the main menu, you do not have to completely redo everything that you have done. What you need to do is create a "template" of your original design.
Templates are designs that specify multiple attributes for your menus. You have probably noticed that DVD Studio Pro comes with a number of factory-installed templates that you can use to give your project a professional look in a short period of time. To apply one of these templates, all you have to do is drag and drop a template from the palette into the menu. The template will specify how your background, text and buttons look. In short, pretty much everything. While these templates look great, they are somewhat generic. If you have the time, it can be much more satisfying to create your own personal look for your DVD.
Once you have your main menu looking like you want it, you can create a template of it. The primary reason to do this is so that you can quickly make other menus in your project look like the main menu. Also, if you are making separate but related projects you can give them all a consistent look.
To make a template from your main menu, go to the "Templates" tab in the palette and click "Create" at the bottom of the window. You will be given the option of what to name your template as well as two check boxes: "project" and "self-contained." Check "project." "Self-contained" should be checked only if you plan on using this template in another project. What this does is make a copy of all the files needed for the template so that it always has the assets it needs. The downside of this is that it can take up a great deal of memory.
Once you have your template created, you can apply it just like you would apply any other template.
What is a Button? | Creating a Button | Targeting a Button
A button is in many ways similar to a drop zone. You can use pictures, videos or shapes as a button. You can resize them and move them just as you would a drop zone. Buttons behave the same as both drop zones and titles (and interact with drop zones and titles) with regard to forward and backward positioning.
What makes a button different from a drop zone is that clicking on a button causes something to happen. This can be done either by clicking it on a computer screen or by using the remote control on a DVD player. In addition, buttons can be invisible (an invisible drop zone would be pointless).
To create a button, click and drag a shape, video or still image from the palette over the menu area. From the drop palette, select "Create Button." You can now adjust the object just as you would a drop zone. To create an invisible button, just click and drag on the menu area.
Now that you have buttons, you need to tell them what to do. This is done by "targeting." Control-click on a button and a pop-up menu should appear. Use the "target" submenu to specify where you want this button to take the viewer. If you want the button to lead to another menu, select the appropriate menu from the "menu" list. If you want the button to start a movie immediately, target it to a specific track.
Creating a Slideshow | Adding Music to Your Slideshow
Slideshows can be used to show a sequence of photos and/or movies. For this tutorial, we will assume that we are working on a slideshow with only still images.
To create a slideshow, go to the "Slideshow" tab in the main menu. You can add pictures to the slideshow by dragging and dropping either individual pictures or entire folders onto the main window. You can rearrange the order of pictures by clicking and dragging them in the list. Once you have your pictures loaded into the slideshow, your screen should similar to the picture below.
There are a number of options available to you to customize your slideshow. The options to the right of the list (slideshow duration, etc.) will affect multiple items in the list. "Slide Duration" and "Manual Advance" will affect the duration of the slides currently selected. "Manual Advance" requires the viewer to press forward on his remote control to progress to the next slide.
An important note about manual advance: If "Manual Advance" is checked on the last slide, some DVD players may get stuck on the last slide. An easy solution to this is to have two copies of the last slide at the end. The second-to-last slide can have "Manual Advance" checked, then put a very short duration for the last slide and make sure that "Manual Advance" is not checked.
The other options to the right of the list affect all slides whether or not they are selected. If you set an "Overall Audio File," that audio file will play during the slideshow. If you check "Fit to Audio" under "Slideshow Duration" the duration of each of the pictures will be adjusted so that the slideshow starts and ends with the music. If "Fit to Slides" is checked, the duration of the audio will not affect the timing of the slideshow. "Loop Audio," if checked, means that the music will repeat until the slideshow is done (if the music is shorter than the slideshow). If not checked, the audio will go silent when the audio track is finished.
If you want to adjust the settings for individual slides, you can do this on the list itself. Check and uncheck "Pause" to turn manual advance on and off for individual slides. Double-click on a duration value to manually edit the duration of a specific slide. You can have a specific audio track assigned to each slide as long as there is no "Overall Audio File" specified. Just drag the audio file into the "Audio" section of the list next to the slide you want the audio to correspond to. Note that if the audio is longer than the slide's duration, the duration will be changed to the length of the audio track.
A couple last notes about slideshows: Slideshows can be targeted by buttons in the same way that videos can be targeted by buttons. To add additional slideshows, go to the "Add to Project" submenu in the "Project" menu and select "Slideshow."
Finishing Your Project
Previewing | Burning
At any point during the creation of your project you can preview what your DVD project currently looks like. Just click on "Simulator" in the toolbar or choose "Simulate..." from the "File" menu. A new window will appear displaying the main menu of your DVD and your project will act as it would if you were to burn it right at that moment. While you can do this at any point during the creation of your DVD, it is an especially good idea to do this when you think you are finished and are ready to burn your project.
Simulate your DVD and make sure that all of your buttons work and that your menus, videos and slideshows work how you had planned. If you are happy with what you see, you are ready to burn a disk.
To burn your project, click on the "Burn" icon in the toolbar or choose "Burn" from the "File" menu. If you haven't already inserted a blank DVD-R it will prompt you to do so. Follow the directions, and your project is finished.
Learning More About DVD Studio Pro
This tutorial barely scratched the surface of what is possible with this application. If you are interested in learning more, consult the DVD Studio Pro manual or a third party manual. Both are available in the MRC Digital Media Lab. Ask the lab attendant if you wish to use our copies. In addition, the "Help" menu and online sources can be very useful in educating yourself about what is possible with DVD Studio Pro.