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Guide to DVD Authoring in Final Cut Pro

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 3/9/2010

Once you have poured your sweat and blood into a digital video project you may want to put it onto a great DVD to show your family and friends. When you are editing in Final Cut Pro you must first export your movie file in a certain way to get it into the DVD authoring program.

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    Once your final movie sequence is finished in the Timeline you will be ready to turn it into a movie file outside of Final Cut Pro. If you have been working on separate sequences that are all part of your final film then you need to nest all of the sequences and get them into a single one. Once you have done this make sure that sequence is up in the Timeline and then go to File in the task part and go to Export. When Export is highlighted it will open a number of options for how you want this to be done.

    You need to select Export Using Compressor, which will then open a different program from the Final Cut Suite called Compressor. This program does what it sounds like and compresses regular video files, such as QuickTime files, into smaller ones. Once here a menu will open up, and in the upper left hand section is where you need to drag settings and destinations. Below that window is a menu that has two tabs, one containing settings and one containing destinations. Click on the settings tab and then select the Apple folder. A number of options drop down under it, and you need to open the DVD folder. Under here you will have a number of options, but the best one to use for DVD authoring software is the “DVD: Best Quality 90 Minutes" option. When you open this folder there will be two items in there, one for video and one for audio. You then drag and drop each of these items into the window in the upper left hand part of the Compressor display. Once you do that you will have two things appear in there, one listed as Dolby Digital Professional 2.0 and one labeled as MPEG-2 with a variable size next to it.

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    Choose Your Destination

    The next thing you are going to do is select a destination on your computer or external hard drive for the compressed files to go. Highlight each one individually and go to Target in the task bar and the Destination option. There is will let you choose where you would like the files to go. Once you have done this both the audio and video in the upper left hand window will lose the exclamation points they had in them and will be ready for compression. You simply click on submit in the lower right portion of this window and the compression will begin. It will process the video and audio separately, and do so by cutting out frames. This can be a lengthy process depending ony your computer and how large your film was to begin with.

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    Authoring Software

    Once it is done you will be ready to import them into your DVD authoring program, which since you are using Final Cut Pro will most likely be the associated program, DVD Studio Pro. This is a relatively easy task that is necessary if you want to use an advanced DVD authoring system for your final copy.