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DVD Studio Pro: December 2008 Archives

chapter-marker-teaser.pngWhen you're producing a DVD using a Final Cut Studio workflow, you can add chapters in plenty of places.  FCP, DVD Studio Pro, iDVD ... all of them will graciously let you split your files up.  But if you're using our recommended workflow for producing DVDs, there are three rules you should follow:

  1. Add chapter markers in Final Cut
  2. ONLY add chapter markers in Final Cut
  3. Don't add chapter markers outside of Final Cut
Now, if you're on a tight deadline, we understand.  You can break our rules.  And if you're going against our advice and using "Export to Quicktime" rather than Compressor, it doesn't really matter which way you make your chapters (why).  But read on for an explanation of why adding your chapter markers directly on your Final Cut sequence is important.
supercharging-compressor.pngYou can find more compression settings articles in our Supercharging Compressor series index.

If you read our Final Cut to DVD tutorial, you may be wanting to dig a little deeper into the belly of Compressor.  I'll be writing at some length about the video settings in the coming weeks, but for an introduction, let's tweak a setting that's pretty noncontroversial.

(skip to Step-By-Step)
Out of the box, Compressor's DVD presets apply fairly aggressive dynamic range compression (see also) to your audio.  If we were only talking audio, we'd call this transformation simply a compressor -- but to avoid confusion, I'll call it a DRC for this article. 

In a nutshell, the DRC makes the loud parts of your audio quieter and the quiet parts louder, for a more consistent level of sound on your viewers' TV sets.  To be fair, DRCs are popular in broadcast media, they're often appropriate for audio that's being delivered specifically to TV sets, and Compressor uses a really solid algorithm from Dolby itself.  On the other hand, audiophiles loathe DRCs, and Compressor's default DRC algorithm is designed for movie theaters rather than DVD players.  If you haven't spent time mastering your audio tracks, you might be pleasantly surprised by the DRC's effects when you prepare your DVD -- but then again, you might not.

Personally, I hate surprises -- and when Compressor substantially modifies my audio without my say-so, I get a little annoyed.  So whether you want to turn the DRC off or just play with its preset values, read on for the (really quick!) step-by-step.
readersrespond.jpgSeveral of you wrote emails in response to my article on burning Final Cut sequences to DVD.  Thank you!  A few responses were particularly helpful, and their authors were kind enough to let me share them here.

Eric Mittan writes:

"You might also do a tutorial for getting out a REALLY "quick and dirty" DVD that doesn't even have a menu.  Here at the TV station, we're often throwing little videos to DVD, under 5 minutes even, for viewers or story subjects that want a copy of their piece.  Since I'm Chief Editor AND the IT guy, I went to all the editing stations and changed the preferences for bitrate in DVD studio pro to be pretty high by default, and then printed a copy of these instructions for all our editors and photographers:

export-fcp-to-dvd-icon.pngA friend of mine asked me the best way to get his Final Cut sequence on a DVD - and I was surprised to see that we didn't have a GeniusDV tutorial for that!  So here goes:

The textbook "easiest way," of course, is to export your sequence as a Quicktime movie, then drag the Quicktime movie into iDVD.  But that process degrades the quality of your video -- and it wastes the excellent tools that come with Final Cut Studio.

The "right way" doesn't take much more effort -- read on for a step-by-step!
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This page is a archive of entries in the DVD Studio Pro category from December 2008.

DVD Studio Pro: November 2008 is the previous archive.

DVD Studio Pro: March 2009 is the next archive.

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