How to use DVD Studio Pro

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The 'First step' with DVD Studio Pro is to import the material, called ‘Assets’ in DVD Studio Pro, you need for your DVD. If you’ve used Final Cut for editing, you need to import it from there. Also, if your project did not need much editing and if you used a program like iMovie, you can import it from here too. But it is easier to import assets from Final Cut Pro since transfer of material is easier between these two programs. You can also edit your project in DVD Studio Pro if you’ve forgotten to edit something earlier.

Like it says in the Help section of this program, planning your project is essential. Try and figure out how long your project and will it actually fit on a DVD. Also, what type/ length of DVD you need according to the space you want is essential. The Help section tells you about storage space etc so you should scan through that.

The next step would be to choose your settings. Again, it is better to select your setting before you import assets.

1. When you double-click the program icon for the first time, it will ask you to choose from a Basic, Extended and Advanced configuration. If you’re using this program for the first time, you should select the Basic model to work with. And, later if you want to use more features, go to Window ? Configurations and select the one you want.

2. Also, go DVD Studio Pro ? Preferences.. and select the settings you want to work with.

3. The next step is to create a new file and save it. Go to File ? New and File ? Save As with the title you want to save it as.

4. The first window you see contains 4 main tabs: Menu, Slideshow, Viewer and Graphical. The menu will let you design the menu you will first see when you insert the DVD. The slideshow is helpful to arrange and sort the clips you’re using to make a slideshow. The Viewer lets you view a video clip that is selected. The Graphical tab is very important because it helps you sort all your assets and let’s you see the whole process. Here, you will create different menus, add assets to them and you will be able to see all the menus and how they’re linked. The menus will be displayed as menus and audio/ videos will be displayed at Track.

5. Double-click on the Palette and Inspector icons, located on the top right-hand corner, if they are not opened already. You can also go to View ? Show Palette/ Show Inspector.

6. Now go to File ? Import ? Asset and import the assets you want to use. Also, if you want to use any other saved clips/ audio, you can do that in the Palette window under Clips/ Audio/ Video. When you have imported your assets, they will show in the Assets window. If this window doesn’t open, go to File ? Assets ? Preview.

7. Now that you have all your settings and your assets prepared, you can start creating menus for your DVD. First, if you want to name your menu, double-click on the word Menu and type the new name in. For example, if you’re using lots of menus, it is better to name them the way you will remember them like the main menu as the Title menu or something. If you want to add more menus, go to Project ? Add to Project ? Menu. You will see them added under the Graphical tab. Double-click on a menu and it will open it under the Menu tab. You can change it to another one by clicking on View in this tab and click on the one you want to use.

8. You can select an existing template or download one in the Palette window. You can drag it or double-click it to apply it. Once you’ve chosen a template, you can start working on the buttons. If you double-click on any of the buttons, you can enter the text you want. You can drag the buttons to wherever you want them and delete the extra ones by clicking on the button and pressing Delete. If you have to add one, go to the Buttons tab under Styles in the Palette window and pick the kind you want and drag it. DVD Studio Pro has a great grid system that lets you see the grid lines when you move buttons so you can easily align the buttons together.

9. Once you’ve made your menu and sub-menus, you link them through the buttons. For example, if you want to create a separate page about the performer’s history, on the main page you can have a button saying ‘About the Performer’ and then link this button to the page you have the information on. To create a link with a button, you need to right/ control-click on the button, go to Target ? Menus ? Menu 3(or whatever you have named that menu). If you’re linking it to a video, then go to Target ? Tracks and Stories. This will create a link. In the Graphical window, you will be able to check if your items are linked properly.

10. Also, you need to drag the assets from the Assets window into the Graphical window and then you can link them.

When you want to split the full video into chapters, double-click on the video (in the Graphical tab) and it will open the video in there. It will also open up a timeline(just like in Final Cut Pro) and here you can drag the purple head line to wherever you want to add a chapter. In the main menu then, you can link a button to a specific chapter (let’s say 2) by going to Target ? Tracks and Stories ? Video ? Chapter 2. So all the chapter buttons will link to the same track but will automatically go to that specific chapter when clicked. To check if your buttons are working properly, you can go to Simulator (top left-hand corner).

11. Another important part is to go to Inspector and select your settings. First, pick a name for the DVD that should be displayed. Its right on the top in the Inspector window. Also, right next to it is displayed the estimated size of your DVD. Make sure this dosen’t exceed your settings. This is very important because if your DVD size is too big, DVD Studio Pro will not let you burn. Go to General and pick your settings: NTSC/ PAL, 4:3/ 16:9, etc. Under Remote Control, select which menus you want as the title and main menus. In the Disc/ Volume tab, select your DVD options like Single/ Dual layer, disc media (most commonly used is 4.7 GB) and disk size. You should also look though the Copyright and Advanced tabs.

  • 'FIRST-PLAY' is a way you can select which menu should be displayed as soon as a user inserts the DVD. You can set this by right/ control clicking on the menu (in the Graphical tab) you want to be played first and select First Play. You can also select a First Play menu in the Inspector window (its right under the DVD title).

12. If you want your buttons to change color or show a symbol like a check mark when selected, you will need to set them in the Inspector as well. But first make sure you’re on the menu to want to change settings to. Then open the Inspector and you will see different tabs under it now. It shows you the size of just that menu and also settings for that selected menu. There is a Colors tab where you can select either the Simple/ Advanced overlay. In the Selection Settings you can pick the colors you want the button to be displayed in when in the Normal, Selected and Activated states.

If you want to add a symbol to the button, you can go in the Palette and drag the shape you want from the Shapes tab. If you want the symbol highlighted along with a button, then place it in the button and set it as a Shape. If you want it highlighted separately when a button is selected, drag this shape outside of the button and have it set it as a button. Make sure you link the appropriate shape/ button to the chapter you’re linking them to. There is a lot more detail offered in DVD Studio Pro Help about overlays.

13. After you’ve completed your project, checked all your settings and created menus and linked everything, you’re ready to burn your DVD! But before you do that, make sure you first play it in the Simulator. This is very important because this is how you will detect your mistakes and make changes before you actually burn it. The Simulator will show you what the DVD will exactly look like when played in a DVD player.

14. Now you need to format your project and burn it. Go to File ? Advanced Burn and choose to Build, Format or Build/ Format together. If you’re pressed for time, the Build/ Format option is the best option. When you click on these options, you will again get to check your settings. Please go through this very carefully and make sure they’re the settings you want. It will prompt you to Burn your DVD after its done.

DVD Studio Pro will create Audio_TS and Video_TS files and you should save them in the folder you want. It is good to save them just in case you need to make more copies.

15. After you’ve saved your files, it is also a good idea to preview the DVD again before burning it. You can do this using iMovie or just a regular DVD playing program. You can quit DVD Studio Pro and then find your Video_TS file and open it in the program you want to preview it in.

16. After the logging is all done and you’ve previewed your DVD, you can go to File ? Burn.

I hope this section helped you with some basics and in understanding the program. Again, the DVD Studio Pro Help is very helpful. It is also quite extensive so you will find more detailed information in there. This write-up is a basic overview of the whole process you will go through. Also, some of the pointers are included according to the problems I encountered when working with the this program. I hope you have fun working with DVD Studio Pro.