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DVD Studio Pro is Apple's powerful DVD authoring application.  With drag & drop ability to design menus and set up connections to your content, editors find it's easy to start a project, and create professional DVD's over time with awesome, intuitive tools.  And best of all, you can preview and test your work in real time, with no need to burn a disc.

Commonly, there are 6 steps involved in DVD authoring: 

  • Plan the viewer's experience (like in a storyboard)
  • Create your assets (Video, audio, and image files)
  • Import your assets
  • Assemble elements (into Menus and tracks)
  • Link the elements (creating flows from menus to submenus using buttons)
  • Build & Format the disk
As you create your disk, be sure to pay careful attention to how the viewer will navigate through the DVD with their remote control.  In DVD Studio Pro you can test how the different buttons will function using the Simulator. 

Now, in the Basic view of the interface, you have the Project window, the Palette, and the Inspector

dvdspinterface.gifThe Project Window is the main interface of DVD Studio Pro.  Below the toolbar are 4 tabs:  Menu, Slideshow, Viewer, Graphical

dvdsptabs.gifThe Palette has 6 tabs:  Templates, Styles, Shapes, Audio, Stills, and Video

palettetabs.gifBasically the Palette is a window of possibilities.  What you see in the Palette are your links to your assets, where you can drag & drop them into your Project window.

The Inspector is probably the window you will use most within the DVD Studio Pro interface.  The Inspector shows the properties of whatever is selected in your project that you are currently working on.

Now that we have a little background on the interface, let's try to create something simple.  We'll start by bringing some assets into the project; Go to the Palette window and click on the Video tab.  Then click the Add button.  Locate the media you wish to use and click Add.  Once your media is added to your Palette, you will see a thumbnail image of it.  The thumbnail represents the first frame of the video.  Bring in your audio files in a similar process, but by clicking on the Audio Tab in the Palette first.  Again, click on the Add button to select a folder with your audio assets and click Add again.  You can also import Still images in the same manner, but just click on the Stills tab in the Palette first.

dvdspalettestills.gifAt some point, you will want to save your project.  Give your project a name and save it as name_dvd.  It is a good habit to get into to hit Command+S to save your project every so often as you work.  Ok, so now let's suppose you had a bunch of still images you want to tack on to your DVD as a slideshow option for the viewer along with your video.  To allow your viewer to navigate between the track and the slideshow, you will create a main menu with buttons that link to the track and slideshow.

The main menu should grab the viewers attention right away, and be easy to navigate.  As you become more familiar with the application, you will be able to create custom menus on your own from scratch, however, for someone just starting out, it is a lot quicker to use the menu templates provided.  Click on the templates tab in the Palette and scroll down to see the different choices available.  This might be something you want to play around with and look at several of the templates.

dvdsptemps.gifOnce you find the one you wish to use, double-click on the template thumbnail to load it into the Project window.

dvdspmenupg.gifCommand+S to save your template to your project.  Notice the Inspector window will describe what is in your Project Window and will give you the parameters to set within your Menu.

dvdspmenu.gifClick on the words "Title Information Here"; notice the Inspector window changed to Text Object.  You can type your title into the Text Box, or you can also type it right into the box in the Project window by double clicking on it (indicated in blue).  You can change the Font Style, Size or Color at the top of the Menu editor.

dvdsptitles.gifIf you want to add additional text or information to your menu, (where you see the latin in this example), again click on the text box, and enter whatever it is you want to describe on the DVD.  I have added the dates and place for example.  If you do not want to have more information in the text box, you can simply delete it, by clicking on it and hitting the delete key.

Ok, so now you're ready to insert an asset into your "drop zone".  You might want to use a still image for the example template I have shown here.  The picture frame is your drop zone.  Go back to your Palette, to the Stills tab.  Scroll through the thumbnails of the stills you have, and insert or "drop" one of the stills into the picture frame, by dragging the thumbnail right into the picture frame and into the orange section that shows up labeled "Set Asset", and let go of the mouse button.

dvdspmenuA.gifOk, now for the Buttons.  This particular template has a default of 3 buttons, Back, Main, & Next.  Let's work on creating some custom buttons, therefore you will delete the defaulted buttons, in the same manner, that you can delete your text box (by clicking on it and hitting delete).  From the Palette, click the Styles Tab, the Apple Tab, and then the Buttons Tab to see the available button styles. 

dvdspalettebutt.gifChoose a button style you would like to use for your menu page; click and drag it onto the menu where you would like it to appear; hold the mouse button down and wait for the Drop Palette to appear; select Create Button, Set Style in the Drop Palette.  The new button is called Button 1 in your menu.  Now go back to the Palette, and select another button, click, drag, and drop again into another place on the menu page, and select Create Button, Set Style again.  The new button appears as Button 2 on your menu page.

Now you can double-click on Button 1 to rename it, Play Movie.  Double-click on button 2 and rename it, Slideshow.  Remember, you can also further customize these buttons by changing the Font, Size, and Color, just like you did with the Titles.  You can also click & drag the buttons around on the page to better place them where you want them.

dvdspmenubutts.gifNow the next step is to connect your assets to the buttons.  From the Palette, click on the Video Tab.  Drag your movie thumbnail onto the Play Movie button, and drop it into the Set Asset and Create Track selection.  Your button is now linked to your video track and will play when the Play Movie button is pressed.  Let's link your slideshow to it's button.  Again, from the Palette, click the Stills Tab.  Drag the Stills folder onto the Slideshow button, select Set Asset and Create Slideshow.  Now your Slideshow button is linked.  If you wanted to add a music track to your slideshow, go to your Audio tab in the Palette, select your audio file and drag it onto the speaker well at the top of the Slideshow Editor.

Finally we can test our disc, build, and burn it.  You can test the disc by using the Simulator.  Click on the Simulator icon in the toolbar (upper left hand corner of the interface)

dvdspsimburn.gif Select the Play Movie and Slideshow options just as you would on a regular DVD player.  Once you are satisfied with your project, close the simulator and click on the Burn icon in the toolbar.  When prompted, insert a blank DVD into your DVD burner, burn, and remember to Command+S to save your file before you exit.

This covers the basics of DVD authoring.  Play around with it, explore different options, and with more practice, you'll be ready for the more advanced version.  Stay tuned!

Also don't forget we offer training classes for DVD Studio Pro at least once a month at our training facility in beautiful Orlando, so check out our schedule, and give us a call today to book your training class! 




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