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Putting Special Features on Your DVD

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Misty Faucheux•updated: 11/24/2008

Special features are a great addition to your DVD project. So, try out some of these ideas.

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    Utilizing the DVD Format

    What often separates an amateur DVD from one that looks professional are the amount of features on it. Many DVDs produced by home users are essentially VHS videos put onto a DVD format. They are able to play the video, but not much else.

    DVD has allowed the production of home video service to actually have content unique to its format and to act as a self-contained art form. The really maximize your DVD authoring capabilities you should try to create you own special features.

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    Deleted Scenes

    One of the landmark special features is the deleted scene section. This is usually done in film projects where not every scene or take is used in the final film.

    If you are just doing a home movie, you are likely to cut out things that do not fit in with the vision of your project. Try making a reel for this. Or, if you have several lengthy ones, you can create a menu to play all of these scenes individually. Since you will most likely be using some form of menu template, you should go ahead.

    Try to use one of the chapter selection menus for this as it will come with a number of video buttons on one page. This way you can have a movie video to accompany the button that will play your deleted scene clip.

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    Trailers

    Trailers are also a common special feature, but it may be hard to do this with home video footage. If you have produced a narrative film or documentary, you should have a much easier time.

    Simply try and arrange small clips so you get a superficial idea of the story, and then add music and beat points to enhance the emotion you are going for. If you are just using home video, you can try using an Auto Movie function to a song, and then set it for thirty or sixty seconds depending on how long you want it to be.

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    Photos

    Production stills are a great special feature and work well for all kinds of projects. If you did shoot a film or documentary, then you should be taking photos along with your production for records and possible promotional packages. For home movies, you could just use family photos that are not exactly from your production, but of the people nonetheless. Try creating a slideshow in your DVD authoring program.

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    Commentaries

    Commentaries are a nice feature, but are going to be difficult for the average digital video user. To do this, you essentially watch your video and record an audio track using a program like Soundtrack Pro or Garage Band. Then, you lower the volume of your film in your editing project, and lay the new audio track over the whole thing.

    From here, you export the video again and put it on a separate track in your DVD. This is not the same as is done in a professional setting, but often the best you will be able to do. Some more expensive authoring programs have some form of commentary functioning, but it is hard to work with.

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    Your Choice

    From here, you just have to decide what you want. Most high-end authoring software will have features to allow you to add subtitles, languages and other great things. Be creative, and think about what kind of features you would want in a DVD.