written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 7/1/2011
DVD authoring can be a creative affair. Here are a few tips to take your DVD to the next level.
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The ability to make a DVD of your digital video film revolutionized home and independent filmmaking because it completed the final step in film production and distribution. Now you could make a professional looking DVD to pass around, and this ability will create a much better presentation when sent to film festivals or distributors. To create a great DVD there are a number of things you can try that may not be obvious solutions when you first open the software.
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Try Somthing New
One of the first things you have to remember is that not all DVD authoring programs are the same. Though some of the best ones, such as DVD Studio Pro and DVD Architect, come as part of an expensive package, they are not the only ones out there. Begin looking around the web for freeware authoring programs, and look for unique features that you may not have considered.
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Create Great Menus
Do not just treat the menus as simply places to choose your options. Most authoring programs allow you to include a whole variety of media right on them, including music and video. Though you do not want to overwhelm the user, you can still try and color up these menu systems. Try using a color palette for the menu that stays in line with the credits and main color motifs you have in your film or video project. Use a looping piece of music that is found somewhere in your film, but not in the very beginning because then it will sound repetitive once you play it. A great thing to try is mixing a piece of dialogue from your film with some music that coincides with it in terms of emotion and pacing. You can do this in a music editing program, or even in the video editing program you just used.
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Try working with some of the menu and video transitions to give them a little more flair. Again, you do not want to overload them because this is distracting and makes the transitions take too long. Try putting a photo or just a small audio clip of dialogue from the movie. You can even try placing a piece of video footage. If you are using video on the menu then you can try and have another sequential video clip used in the transition.
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One of the most standard things that people try to do to spice up their DVDs is to take a small clip of their video and place it in the button that plays that film. To do this you usually use a template that has specified buttons with the ability to place video or pictures in them. If you do not want to use a template you can usually make your own video capable buttons, but you want to make sure that the position and style of the button coincides with the visual continuity you have created in the menu. All you have to do is cut out a specific clip, or montage of clips, in you editing program and then export them. From here you can import them into your DVD authoring program and then drag them into the button. Usually you will not get any audio from this clip because one audio track is able to play on the menu at a time, but you will get a looping video for that sequence.
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The best thing you can do is design your menus outside of the authoring program and then import them. This way you will have great designed visual pieces that will stay in line with your film.