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Just as with recorded music, where the CD format overtook vinyl in a very short time, DVDs have replaced videotape as the medium of choice for distribution, from Hollywood movies to high-school video yearbooks. The high quality of both picture and sound, along with the additional features of DVD—interactive menus, alternate content, multiple languages—open up huge opportunities for creativity.

What this means for you is that you can do a whole lot with a DVD; you just need the right tools.

Which is where Adobe Encore DVD for Windows comes in.

What is Encore DVD?

Encore DVD is a DVD-authoring software application developed by Adobe Systems.

If you've been out shopping at all, you already know that a wide spectrum of DVD-authoring tools are available, from very expensive hardware-based systems to very inexpensive desktop software designed for the casual user.

Encore DVD fits in the middle of this spectrum. It is designed for professional users who want to combine DVD-authoring capabilities with design tools to control the creative process right down to the “burn disc” command.

A sophisticated tool in its own right, Encore DVD is also fully integrated with other world-class Adobe applications—Photoshop, After Effects, and Premiere. If you're familiar with the Adobe “look and feel,” you'll be right at home in Encore DVD.

Who should use this book?

This book is designed for professionals who want to create high-quality DVDs with familiar, efficient Adobe tools. If you're an old hand at DVD titles, you'll be pleased with Encore DVD's ease of use and flexibility as you progress through the book. Even if you're new to the DVD-creation process, you'll be up and running quickly using the basic overview provided here.

What's in this book?

This is a task-based reference book. It contains simple, step-by-step instructions on the use of Encore DVD—setting up your system, understanding the Encore interface, importing assets, creating menus and links, and efficiently combining video, audio, graphic, and text elements into a finished product.

The focus of the book is on using Encore DVD. The technical aspects of the DVD world can get very complicated very quickly, so rather than bog you down in arcana, I discuss just the relevant technical aspects as concisely as possible.

The first part of this book gives you a bit of background on the technology and technique of DVD authoring, with suggestions on how to plan your project for maximum impact and minimum fuss. Chapter by chapter, you'll go through the steps of creating a DVD and outputting to disc.

Encore DVD is becoming a powerful tool for design and DVD creation in its own right, so the entire first part of this book emphasizes what you can do just with the features available in Encore DVD.

The second part of the book gives you an idea of what you can do when you combine the other members of the Adobe suite—Photoshop, After Effects, and Premiere—with Encore DVD. You'll also learn how to incorporate subtitling and multiple languages into your DVD in this section.

A Note on Windows Commands

As a user of Windows, you are no doubt aware that there are often several different ways to accomplish a task. Menu options, right-click contextual menus, keyboard shortcuts, and modifier keys all come into play—supposedly to make your high-tech life easier and as efficient as possible, if you could only remember which ones to use.

In order to make this book manageable, I mention or illustrate one or two useful methods to accomplish a task, rather than list every conceivable Windows alternative. In general, you can substitute your favorite Windows methodology for the procedures described in the book.

There are occasions in Windows and in Encore DVD where there are alternate ways of doing something—creating a timeline, for instance—that yield different results. In these situations, I cover each method and give you some suggestions about which one to use and when to use it.

System requirements

Encore DVD is remarkably unfussy in terms of setup. If you have a reasonably new and fast computer and are serious about investing in the right monitor(s), drives, and DVD burner, getting up and running is a breeze. For the latest specs, refer to www.adobe.com.

The following are the minimum system requirements:

  • Intel Pentium III 800 MHz or faster processor (Pentium 4 and dual processor recommended)

  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional or Home Edition, with latest Service Pack

  • 256 MB RAM (512 or more recommended)

  • 1 GB available hard disk space for application installation

  • 5 GB of additional hard disk space recommended for extra content

  • 10 GB or larger hard disc or disc array for ongoing work

  • 1280 x 1024 32-bit color video display adapter and monitor with 16 MB VRAM or more (dual monitors recommended)

  • Stereo sound card

  • DVD-ROM drive

  • Supported DVD burner (see www.adobe.com)

  • QuickTime 6.5 software recommended

  • Creative Edge
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