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iDVD Basics

High-end DVD authoring systems, such as Apple’s DVD Studio Pro, can add programmatic logic within DVD menus and adjust video stream encoding ad infinitum. For personal users, however, iDVD takes a more simplified approach to DVD creation that seems immediately familiar to anyone who has created Web pages, used the old Apple HyperCard program, or even just filed documents in the Finder. There are four potential components to an iDVD-authored DVD:

  • Folders (Menu)— An iDVD folder (or menu in traditional DVD lingo) holds the different components that a user can access visually through her DVD player. If you have four different movies of your puppy chasing butterflies, you can create a folder with four buttons for each of the movies. You can also create additional folder items that lead to another video clips and even other folders. Much like folders can be used to categorize documents on your computer, they can also be used to organize the movies and images on your DVD.

  • Movies— Most DVDs contain video, and presumably yours does too. iDVD can use almost any QuickTime movie on a DVD, except those in the MPEG1 format or QuickTime VR and Flash animations. For the best results, however, you should use DV format video from a digital video camera. DV-encoded files are produced by iMovie 2, so any iMovie 2 production is immediately iDVD ready.

  • Slideshows— iDVD contains a unique slide show feature that enables users to add still images to their finished product. Slide shows can be driven automatically or manually, and can include an accompanying soundtrack.

  • DVD-ROM files— Although not part of what most of us think of when we hear DVD, DVD-ROM files can be included as a value-added feature of any iDVD production. DVD-ROM files are simply files that you can use on your computer, rather than watch on a DVD player. For example, you can include the actual images that make up an iDVD slide show so that someone watching the DVD could pop it into his computer and copy the images files directly off for use as desktop backgrounds, and so on.


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