written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 7/4/2011
A good DVD contains certain components that you cannot go without.
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A well put together DVD is a piece of art in and of itself. What separates it from other types of fine arts is that its usefulness is based around its functionality. When putting together a DVD, whether it is for a feature film or for home movies, there are certain things you should include in every DVD you make.
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It doesn’t matter if you have a two minute film or a four hour epic on the DVD you need to have chapter points. Chapter points allow the viewer to skip through different parts to get to the moment they want if they left off somewhere or needed to reference it. It is does always seem necessary, but really adds to the appeal of your DVD and makes the user want to engage with it more. You put chapter points at breaks or transitions in you film. Each film is different, but often it is at the end of a scene or when there is a “fade out and in" transition. This denotes a change in time and surrounding and is a good moment to put a chapter marker. Since it is your project you will know where the breaks should be.
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Since you have the chapter breaks it is a good idea to pair them with a chapter menu. You do not have create a chapter menu for very short videos, but the longer ones should have it. You may want to put a video image for each chapter of the film at that point. This may require you to export small video compressions from your editing project, so think about whether or not you actually want to put in that much work.
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Main Menu Buttons
Buttons are the key feature of any DVD and the Main Menu button always acts as the anchor. You need to make sure that on every menu you have a button that will take you back to the main one. This makes it easier for people to navigate the DVD, and without it they may get confused and want to disengage.
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Bars and Tone
Putting bars and tone somewhere on the DVD is often left out, but really should be included. This way you can ensure that the person watching your DVD has their television calibrated correctly and is seeing your videos the way you intended. Each video, and each television, is slightly different visually, so they may need to adjust their settings before watching yours.
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Detailed as Possible
The essential rule is to put everything on the DVD that you possibly can to make it more viewable. Design as intricate and detailed of menus you possibly can, use videos in the menu transitions, and try to put music wherever you can. This way the DVD you made will be just as memorable as your video projects.