written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 7/1/2011
A base menu is the first menu that comes up in your DVD, and links to all others within that DVD. It is the most important aspect of the user interface on your DVD.
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When authoring a DVD in DVD Studio Pro you essentially create a series of menus that link to video tracks. You may have several short films, chapters, or video special features on one DVD, each with their own menu system. All of these should be linked from one starting menu, which can be called a base menu.
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When setting up a base menu you have to decide how many other menus are going to be in the entire DVD. From this base menu you need to provide buttons to link to each of these menus. Go to the graphical view and first create all of the menus needed for the project. Open the base menu and create and label buttons for each one of these associated menus. Right click each button and select Target, then Menus, then the appropriate menu for each button. Make sure that the button has associated text identifying the menu that it is linked to and that the button highlight includes that text.
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The most important thing you need to do when setting up a base menu is to make sure that it is the first menu that comes up when the DVD is read by the player. If it was the first menu that you created then this is already the case, but if not you have to set it to do so. Go into the graphical view that shows all of the menus, tracks, and the connections between them, and right click the base menu. The first option at the top of the right click menu is called First Play. Make sure that this has a check next to it and if it does not select the option and the check will be put next to it. If a menu is set for First Play then an icon will appear in the upper left-hand corner of the menu’s thumbnail image in the graphical display of a blue DVD with a triangle on a segment of it.
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Make sure that all of the menus that the base menu links to have buttons that return the user to the base menu. This should be a button that says something like Main Menu, so it is easy for the user to know how to get back. Simply create a button in each menu, add the appropriate text, and then link it back to the base menu.
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When constructing a base menu you should apply all necessary information identifying the project in its totality. This would be something like using the title of the film or collection and an iconic image that identifies the content. Include all buttons linking to other menus, unless the menus are a text driven slate that is part of a series within a smaller menu system. This would be something like a story treatment that has several pages. You would use the menus as the pages, but you do not need to link every page individually to the base menu. Also, if you have many sub-pages within a section such as Special Features you do not need to link every page to the base menu, just the first Special Features menu. Though it is not always necessary, you may want to include a link back to the base menu on every single menu page.
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The DVD Foundation
What determines if a DVD is successful or not is its ease of use and accessibility to the audience. Creating a great base menu is the foundation for a well constructed DVD experience.