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Without question the best way to produce chapter markers in DVD Studio Pro, is to add them to your project in Final Cut Pro. The number one reason is because you will guarantee they will be where you want them to be.

gop_prefs.giff you wait until you are in DVD Studio Pro to create your chapter markers, you will be at the mercy of the GOP’s. GOP stands for group of pictures, and more accurate would be group of frames. DVD Studio Pro will not let you put a chapter marker inside of a GOP. Any chapter markers created in DVD Studio Pro will be placed at either end of a GOP. In the DVD Studio Pro preferences you can tell DVD Studio Pro to place the chapter marker at the previous, next, or closest GOP. Since a GOP can be up to 18 frames long, there are inherent dangers in allowing DVD Studio Pro to place the chapter marker at the previous or closest GOP. In most cases the next GOP will work best. Imagine if you were trying to place a chapter marker at the center of a fade to black, but there wasn’t a GOP break at that point, and the chapter marker ended up 9 frames earlier than you wanted it. The chapter would start by fading out of the last chapter, then fading up. It would certainly be better to start 9 frames into the fade up, than have to see the fade down and then up happen.

By adding the chapter markers in Final Cut you embed them to the exact frame you want them at. When the video asset is added to a track in DVD studio Pro the chapter markers automatically populate within the track. DVD Studio Pro does not recognize drop frame timecode, so it may appear that your chapter markers are not in the right spot based on the timecode. This will also effect the duration of your project. For example a 5 minute project in Final Cut Pro, shows up as 4:59:22 in DVD Studio Pro. It is important to remember that you cannot place a chapter marker within 1 second of the beginning, or end of a Final Cut project. You also cannot place them within a second of one another. To add a chapter marker in Final Cut Pro you hit the M key once to apply a marker and again to bring up the edit marker menu. This is where you select the chapter marker tag, that will distinguish the marker as a chapter marker. When exporting a Quicktime movie out of Final Cut, you will want to choose DVD Studio Pro markers, or they will not appear in DVD Studio Pro.

Last of all let me share a good work around for adding chapter markers after the fact. Lets say you have a two hour job that took 15 hours to encode to Mpeg2. Once you put it into your DVD Studio project, you realized that you had forgotten to include the DVD Studio markers. At this point you can export a Quicktime reference movie that includes the DVD Studio Pro markers, and use it to populate the track with markers.  After populating the track with the chapter markers you can delete the Quicktime reference movie, and the markers will remain. You can now bring in the Mpeg2 asset, and the markers are already in place. You will be subject to the GOP’s at this point, so you will want to check each marker to see if the position is acceptable. This is not the best case scenario, but it is a great quick fix if you don’t have the time to encode again.

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Advanced Button Highlight in DVD Studio Pro was the previous entry in this blog.

Media Composer 3.05 Supports CPU and GPU is the next entry in this blog.

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