The Compleat Beginners Guide to DVDLab
After a full week of scouring the internet for a good tutorial, not finding one that fit the needs of a technically challenged individual, I decided to write this.
There are other guides, some going into great detail how to edit the audio portion, or how to encode an mpeg before authoring, but none that simply take advantage of the few easy tools/wizards included with this extremely well done application.
I hope to make it as simple as possible for anyone to create a professional looking menu, with chapters, transitions, and some special effects, that produce a finished, professional looking DVD. Please remember, this is not intended to take advantage of ALL the options available, just enough of them to create a successful, working, nice looking dvd.
This guide assumes three things:
1.) You know how to make, or already have, a dvd compliant mpeg. This isn't an encoding, nor ripping tutorial
2.) You have authored at least one successful dvd in another application. Probably the one that came with your burner, and found it lacking in features, and/or output quality.
3.) You have a burner and the appropriate blank media (dvd+r or dvd-r). It is recommended that you use a dvdrw for your first few attempts, just to make sure that the finished produce will play in YOUR player.
Now, on to the fun.
The first look overwhelms the user with a multitude of options. In other words, "What's all this then?"
The screen is divided into 4 basic parts, and although they don't seem to be logical, things fall into place after a few uses.
The assets window is where we put everything we want to go into our dvd. Here is where you load the mpeg, any still shots you want for a menu background or extra audio tracks that play in a menu screen.
The tree window simply shows you the different bits that go into making the dvd. As we create menus and transitions, those bits will show up here.
The working window is just that. Where all the real work get's done. This is where we create the menus, transitions, motion menus, adjust audio and video if needed, crop, resize, add buttons, etc. Everything that shows up on the finished dvd we create in here.
The preview window allows you to preview your movie, motion menus, etc., and is basically something I ignore.
Set up the project properties.
Click on Project, Project Properties.
Here is where you choose NTSC or PAL (if you don't know what that is, or which one you need, I suggest you check at http://www.high-techproductions.com/ntsc.htm
Give your dvd a name also, MYDVD just isn't descriptive enough.
Leave everything else as is, unless you KNOW you must change it (for widescreen TV, or digital monitor output).
Import your video.
Right click in the Assets Window, and select Import. Browse for your previously encoded, dvd compliant, mpeg file.
Click on it, then click Open. DVDLab will pop up a window:
It says "Highly Recommended" for a reason. Choose to Demux to Elementary Streams, and click OK. You can change the dropdown box to "Demux without asking" if you don't want to be bothered by this popup again. It is changeable in Project, Project Properties, Options tab.
If you encoded your mpeg with LPCM audio, DVDLab will give you another popup, asking if you want to transcode the audio. Hit the Transcode button. It's painless, and DVDLab does a quick easy job on it.
You will now have two items in the assets window, video (movie.mpv) and audio (movie.mpa)
Import other assets.
I like to use some sort of movie poster, or dvd cover, for my backgrounds. The templates available are OK, but nothing spectacular. One can usually find some sort of picture on the internet, or has a digital still available, or even one frame from your movie.
If you are using a digital image, you can import it into assets the same way we imported the movie.
Right click in the Assets Window, and browse for your image. You must change the dropdown box to "images" (or all files) first:
Images can be almost any size, providing the aspect ratio is correct. In this case 4:3 which means, the same basic aspect of a TV. If you are creating a dvd for a widescreen TV, then 16:9 is correct. Also remember the smaller the image, the lower the quality when viewed on your TV. Bigger is better, in physical size, not bytes.
You will now have three items in the assets window.
Working with assets.
Now is the time to get the movie into the project. Double click Movie1 in the Tree. This will change the view in the working window to something like this:
Click on your movie.mpv in the assets window, drag, and drop it on the movie in the working window.
Do the same with the movie_1_48k.mpa audio file.
Notice in the very bottom right corner, a green bar has appeared, with some numbers. This is the current finished size of your dvd project, in megabytes. If you go over the standard dvdr (dvd5) spec, this bar will turn red as a warning that your project is too large.
If your bar is green, skip ahead to Making Menus.
If the bar is red, then you must do something to make the project smaller. This involves anything from a complete re-encode of the file, to a simple edit. Encoding takes so much time, I usually end up chopping off all the credits to make things fit, and DVDLab can do it, without needing to use another editor, then reimporting the asset.
To do this, click the mouse pointer over the red line at the very left side of the movie box, in the working window.
Drag the red line to the right, until you get about to the start of the credits. Notice the preview window shows a more detailed view of where the cursor is. Release the mouse button in an approximate position. Now you can use the arrow keys on your keyboard to move forward and backward through the movie, until you find the exact place you want to edit. Right click on the movie in the working window, and select Trim end.
Leave the two options ticked.
DVDLab will trim the ending off the movie, automatically trimming the audio during compilation, and we're ready to make some real magic.
Here's where you can get seriously creative, or keep it as simple as you want. Either way, you end up with something more than just an autoplay movie on the dvd.
Click on the little arrow beside the magic wand at the top and select Auto-Chapters.
This gives you two options for creating chapter points in your movie.
The first is to create a given number of chapters, at a set interval through the movie. Nice, but not always where you want them. The second allows you to have DVDLab detect scene changes, and make chapter points for you. It does take some trial and error with the sensitivity to get it right, but I have found that if you want a lot of chapters, set the sensitivity to about 240, and if you want only a few set it to about 120. 255 is just too much, ending up with chapters every few seconds, and 100 is too low, missing some of the major points, especially if those are fade in/out in your movie. Setting the Minimum Space x Minutes to less than 3 gives more chapters, and more than 3 sometimes misses places you wish you had a chapter. The settings shown here work for me.
Next, click on the arrow beside the magic wand again, this time selecting Add Scene Selection Menus.
You will be presented with another window, with a few menu options. Background color is not so important here, as we are going to change that later anyhow, but try to select the button/link style you like most. Layout can also be altered in many ways later. For this project, I am selecting a basic 6 window, with frames and buttons.
You will be prompted to create scene selections menu, click Yes.
DVDLab will create a number of scene selection menus, based on the number of chapter points you created. These automatically show up in the tree window, and there is only one reminder to place a link from menu 1 to scenes 1.
We'll get to that in just a second.
Working with Menu 1.
This is the first thing (almost) that you will see when playing the DVD. Here is where I like to make a nice title screen, only having one or two links (buttons) on it. Double click Menu 1 in the tree window, and that brings up our working screen for the menu.
Maximize it for easier viewing.
There are two sets of dotted lines. The inner set is called the TV safe zone. Anything that must show on the screen must be placed inside this line. Anything outside this line may not be viewable on your TV.
Hint: If using a downloaded image as a background, edit the image and make 50 pixel borders around the whole thing.
For this project, I am going to use a frame from the movie as the background, although any jpg will work, DVDLab will import a still frame from the preview window just as easily.
Scroll through your movie until you find an appropriate frame. Click, and drag up to the menu 1 box in the working window. IMPORTANT! Hold the SHIFT key down, and then release the mouse button. This will automatically resize the image to completely fill the menu 1 box, making it a background. If you don't hold the SHIFT key down, the frame will be imported in original size, and you must manipulate it. If you DO want to manually adjust the background, there are two buttons that will automatically center it vertically and horizontally.
You can right click on the image and resize it to fit the way you want, by selecting Change Size (duh!).
Now it's time to make that important link we were reminded of, as well as any other links that are NOT chapters.
For example, if you were making a dvd that has two or more movies on it, you can create links here that lead to the scene/chapter selection menus, or directly to the beginning of the movie itself.
For our project, I am only going to have one link, leading to the chapters menu, but...it's time to get fancy.
I am going to make the link invisible. It is also going to have a timer that selects it after 60 seconds, and goes to the chapters menu, with a nice transition effect. Here's how.
First, make a link, any kind of link, text, a button, a box, a frame, doesn't matter at all. Of course, if you want it to be visible, then be fussy. Here's an example of my title screen with a visible link.
Of course it isn't a link yet, just an arrow, which I got by selecting the Objects tab at the bottom of the assets window, and drag/drop it on the menu in the working window. You can click, drag, and drop any object this way, until you get it where you want it.
Now we need to make it a link. In this project, I am linking directly to the chapters menu, so I right click on my arrow, and select Link > Scenes 1 for Movie 1 (our first chapter menu).
This puts a little 1 beside it, and changes the color to let us know it is button 1 (the default) and it's a link.
You could leave it like this, and move on to the Chapters Menu section below, or let's make it disappear!
On the right hand side of the working window is a 5 tabbed sub-menu. Each tab has different ways of manipulating the objects in the menu. I'll leave it to you to play with these options, as most of them are self-explanitory, once you see how I manipulate one object.
The first tab (color) has Fill, Shadow, two sliders to manipulate that shadow, and transparency.
Fill would be used to fill in outlined text, or a frame.
Shadow is just that, different types of shadows you can put under any object in the menu, with two ways of changing the shadow. You can use the first slider to make it drop a long ways, or not at all. The second slider can be used to make the shadow very dark, or very light. One unique way of using this, is to create a neon light effect, as in one of my other tutorials here: http://www.videohelp.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=219946
If you are happy with your link/button choice, skip ahead to the Chapters Menu section.
Hint: Make a link invisible, yet active!
Highlight your link/button, that is, click on it once. Now slide the transparency all the way to the right. The link disappears! This is the only link on this page/menu, so we don't really need to see it anyhow. When a button is pushed on the dvd remote, it will automatically activate this link.
Next, select the Link tab on the right. In the Button Visibility dropdown box, select Invisible All. Next select the PBC tab, and in the top, put 60. In the next box, put a 1 for button 1, and put 1 again in the third box so it activates. That will make that link automatically activate after 60 seconds, and move on to the first of our chapters menus.
Hint: Create an animated gif in Paintshop Pro (or other good graphics program), save it as an avi, encode it as you would any other avi to dvd format, and import it. Then set it as a moving background for your main menu too!
Hint: For even more spectacular effects, hit the
button and play!
Double click on Scenes 1 for Movie 1 in the tree.
This brings up a pretty boring looking menu.
Time to make it shine, but first a little necessity. Making the first link automatic. Face it, some people will just stare at that screen, not knowing what to do next. We are going to make it automatically start the movie, if they don't push a button in 60 seconds. Adjust the time as you see fit.
On the right side is a 5 tabbed menu. Select the PBC tab, and set your timeout, link you want default, and link you want to automatically activate. In this case, link 1 is to the movie start.
Now to spice up the menu.
If you like, you can import a picture or frame from the movie as the background, just the same way we did for Menu 1. First, right click on the chapters menu in the working window, and select Remove Background. Now drag, hold the SHIFT key, and drop your image into the menu. Instant background.
I also like to make the icons and buttons more eye-catching. To do this, see my Hint above about neon light effect.
Just an example:
You can go on to make each of your chapters menus unique, or all the same. Get creative, have fun with it.
This is a simple yet stunning effect, made even easier with DVDLab's wizard.
Double click on Menu 1 in the tree. Click on the arrow beside the magic wand at the top, and select Menu Transition.
DVDLab gives us 38 different effects to choose from. I like the random burning effect for action movies, page curl for drama, etc., use whatever you like. When you've chosen your effect, make sure you choose the From and To options at the top. In this case, we are transitioning from Menu 1 to Scenes 1 for Movie 1, then hit the Proceed button.
Give it a name, something that represents what it is, click Save, and DVDLab will create the transition, and automatically place it where it belongs.
You can also modify the times for a longer pause before, after and a longer transition inbetween. I find that 1 second pause is plenty, and the default 0.8 is good, and transition times no longer than 2 seconds.
Repeat this for every menu you wish to have a transition effect.
Making motion menus, aka getting professional about it
Although this may be one of the most confusing parts, it also produces the most effective, eye-catching menu's, and once again, DVDLab has generously given us a wizard!
Double click on your first scenes 1 for movie 1 in the tree.
Select the little arrow beside the magic wand again, this time selecting Render Menu Motion.
You are presented with a menu to generate all the effects.
You may notice that your first menu choice is black, probably before the first actual frame of the movie, which is useless. Here we can adjust that. In the top portion, click on your first menu item (#1 in the picture). Now click and gradually slide the "Start Point" slider to the right (#2 in the picture), until you arrive at the first frame you want to see, in that box, of your motion menu.
In each of the boxes a few frames of the movie is going to play, the "motion" in our menu. 10 seconds is usually sufficient, and 15 seconds max, or the menu's delay in loading because of size. (#3 in the picture)
Another annoying effect, is that all the boxes play, then stop, then restart at the same time. We can cure that too!
Click once right after the tick mark in the top right box, then click again. Do this for ALL items in that box (#4 in the picture). This makes the motions repeat, if they are shorter than your clip length as selected in #3, and also shuffles the start times, so they don't all start and repeat at the same time. Gives the motion a nice random effect. Now hit the Render button (#5) and wait until it's done. It only takes a minute. While you are waiting, take note of where the rendering is being saved (#6), and open up your encoder program.
When DVDLab is done rendering, open the render in your encoder, and encode it to dvd compliant mpeg. It's only 10 seconds long, so it shouldn't take too much time.
Repeat the above steps for all your chapter menus, giving them unique names, so you know which belongs where. For example, I name my first chapters scenes menu "scenes1", the second "scenes2" etc.
Now we import the finished short mpegs just like any other asset. Right click in the assets window, import, and select your mpegs. DVDLab will demux it into an .mpv, this is normal.
To finish, we need to make the menus into the motion menus we just created, so double click Scenes 1 for Movie 1 in the tree, then from the assets window, drag and drop the scenes1.mpv up to the working window. Double click Scenes 2 for Movie 1 in the tree, drag and drop the scenes2.mpv from assets to the working window, etc. Do this for all your chapters/scenes menus.
DVDLab will give a warning about overwriting. Provided you have not made other changes to any menu AFTER rendering, this is fine. If you made any changes to any menu after rendering, you will have to re-render and encode that menu.
Hint: Add an audio track to any menu. Just import the audio track like any other asset, and drag and drop it on the menu in the working window.
Making the DVD.
ONe last check in the bottom right corner to make sure we haven't got a red bar, and we're ready to compile the project.
Click on Project, Compile DVD, and providing you've done things right, you will be presented with this screen:
All settings should be pretty much the same as mine, with the exception of the temp folder and the output folder.
This will create two folders in the output folder, ready to burn with either the built in burning app, or your favourite burning software.
If you get an error screen,
you will have to correct those errors before continuing, or risk the chance of making a coaster (a disk that doesn't play).
Remember above, I suggested you try this on a dvdrw first. Now's the time to be brave and hit the Start button.
Nothing get's burned until you say so. Make sure you have enough room on your output drive/folder to hold the dvd.
The little pie charts give a good representation of the space available and the space needed.
Once DVDLab has compiled the video, you can click on Project, Burn DVD from Disk. This will open DVDLab's built in burning engine, and allow you to burn the compilation.
Quick, grab the finished disk and run over to your dvd player and see if it works! Be sure to check all menus and buttons, to insure that they do what you expect them to do.
Success! Sit back, crack a cold beverage, and bask in the glory of having mastered (well...sorta) DVDLab.
Although there are FAR more options available, I'm sure you will discover them in time, this guide hopefully helped you make your first successful dvd with one of the most exceptional authoring programs available.
Don't forget to visit the Mediachance website for more tutorials, FAQ's, updates, and even a friendly forum, where you can get answers directly from the guy(s) who are developing DVDLab.
I'm by no means an expert. This guide is only from my experience (less than a week!), yet I haven't made any coasters yet.
Cheers, and enjoy, Jim (aka reboot)
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Many thanks Jim, I found this really helpful - exactly what I was looking for.
Wow.. Great guide. Thanks, much appreciated!
Thanks alot! This was a great intro.
Why does the alternate multiplex engine only work for me?!
I want to make a DVD with 2 or more Movies(Music Videos, Short Cartoons, etc...)
And I have this problem:
If I put 2 Short Cartoons on Movie 1 and Movie 2, and when I made DVD I can't skip from Movie 1 to Movie 2, but I must wait until Movie 1 is finished or I need to go back to the Menu.
Can you tell me how to fix this?!?
I try to put a chapter on Movie 1 on the END of the file, but I'm not satisfied with that, because that's not it.
Thank you in advance!
Would be much better if Mediachance could get their web site working. Has been inaccessible since at least yesterday.
Not down, just get a message saying the site is too busy, please try later. Kind of like a busy signal on a landline.....
great guide reboot. I've been using the dvd-lab pro beta and had to figure out all how to author dvd's on my own. This guide would have helped a lot.
if you haven't done so, you should check out the dvd-lab pro beta. It's a great piece of software. I moved up from tmpgenc dvd author to dvd-lab pro and am really happy with the functionality of the program.
Originally Posted by dafreak
Do you maybe figure out how to skip from one movie to another if there are more than 1 movie on DVD?!?
Because right now I'm creating Chapters at the end of the movie(s), and when I burn DVD, and when I watch it on TV or PowerDVD and I press next on my remote control there is a problem like it shows me the last second of the curent video, and then it goes to the next one. I don't like that.
Thank you in advance!
Followed your guide on rendering, my rendered scenes are saved as avi and ot mpeg, therefore I'am having trouble dropping them into my assets and using them. I tried saving it as an mpeg but i can only save it as avi. Please help.
The sound still doesn't work on the slide show did everything what it tells me to do in help.
My slideshow consists of about eleven pictures and i wanna run a about a 30sec music file while the pictures are shown. Please help. Thankyou
Originally Posted by iammai
I just try it by myself and sound is working with me.
So you maybe have ICQ or MSN?!? It will be much easy to solve this puzzle
Send me a PM with either ICQ # or your Email for MSN.
Originally Posted by LoveHate
first is the main menu with play all option, and select movie option
the select movie option goes to the 2nd vmg menu and lists the available movies.
1st vmg is considered the main menu
2nd vmg is considered the root menu
Hint: If using a downloaded image as a background, edit the image and make 50 pixel borders around the whole thing.
depends on the image editing software you are using.
usually there is a way to insert borders. insert borders around the image and make it 50 pixels all around.
Can someone please help. I have DVD Lab Pro, and although the complete guide is excellent. it doesnt cover putting svcd/vcd onto dvd, the only reason I actually got the program as I use other programs to convert avi and mpeg, etc. to dvd very successfully.
I put the svcd in cd rom drive, as specified in the "official" tutorial, get as far as picking up the AVSEQ01.MPG but every time I click on this, I get "can't write the Output File(s)" Can some kind person tell me what I am doing wrong or make any suggestions. Thanks
I downloaded and tried the DVD-Lab 1.4 files, and tried creating a DVD. Once I got used to it, I liked the way it work and the interface. I created my DVD with motion menus, background image and music, and then went to create the DVD files. The process created the proper VTS_01xxx.vob files for the movie but nothing else.
Any ideas on why it didnt created the remainder files would be appreciated
additional information. I re-tried the process and after the "TOTAL" status was complete, I received the following windows error:
abnormal program termination in c:\apps\DVD-lab\compile.aux
WHich went away after after 10-15seconds, which is why I didnt see it the first time.Shuttle SH55-J2-BK-V1 w/4.00gb Ram, INTEL i3-550, 3.2ghz, WIN7 home premium 64bit
hauppauge 950q, 1600, 1250
I have ripped 2 catoon dvd's to my HD and now I want to make a dvdr with both of these 2 movies from the dvd's. I want 2 audio streams and 2 subtitles and a menu that enables to choose between these 2 movies. Is this possible?
Ok here's another very stupid question, i guess.
If I had like a movie in 2 seperate files, and I press the play button to start the movie, how can I make it so that it plays part 1 and after that part2 without going back at the menu?
No problem. You create an additional VTS (video title set). Basically, in the "Project" panel just right-click on the little yellow "Movies" folder and select "Add Movie." Ta-da ... another movie. Add your video and audio to each of your movies and author as usual. Just be careful to link everything correctly. TIP: You can rename the movies in the project panel. You don't have to leave them titled "Movie 1" and "Movie 2." Name them so that you know what they are while working with them.
Not too hard. Take a glance at this tutorial on how to make a 'Play All' button in DVD Lab.
-abs"The purpose of art is not the release of a momentary ejection of adrenaline but rather the gradual, lifelong construction of a state of wonder and serenity." --Glenn Gould
I'm also having some trouble with the motions.
I have a perfect mpg file of my motions, but only if I import them in the program it gives a few remarks. And when I simulate, it turns completely black and only the selection of the first button is visible
Isn't there like a way to import gif files? That would make it a lot easier.
All the rest works fine now, thx!
I have been trying unsuccessfully to create motion menu's with DVD-LAB. I am using the trial for the "regular" version of DVD-LAB. I have added a M2V file to the menu background, added a JPG pic on top of it with transparency so the motion is visible thru it, and added a title to the screen top.
I render the motion menu, then add back in as background. I get a (large - 3+gig) AVI file, that has all the images and the motion when played. however when I use TMPGenc to convert it to M2V, the resulting M2V does not have any motion to it. It has the TITLE, the JPG, and a static background. I have viewed the M2V from within DVD-lab and from a different player, both show it as static. is there some other way to convert the AVI back to M2V, or some required settings for TMPGenc to do it properly? I am thinking either the size (3+gig for 45sec of video) is causing issues and/or there is some settings within TMPGenc that I need to set away from default
patrickShuttle SH55-J2-BK-V1 w/4.00gb Ram, INTEL i3-550, 3.2ghz, WIN7 home premium 64bit
hauppauge 950q, 1600, 1250
I am having trouble with background audio for menus...i convert an mp3 to a wav file, but get an error wrong frequency as is 44.1khz, so convert to 48khz but music always plays really fast on a dvd player. any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
Sorry for my long delay in answering, but I've been without internet (and time) for a few months.
I'll try and sort out each response here, by author, in chronological order. I realize some of this may be redundant, but don't want anyone to be left out.
If you're still having troubles, maybe start a new thread, and others will be able to help.
bigdee: Depending on your system, and your original mpeg, alternate may be the only way.
If your mpeg is truly 100% DVD compliant, you wouldn't have to use alternate.
LoveHate: Do as suggested above. Create a main menu, that links to a sub menu, for each movie on the disk. I quite frequently put 3 (S)VCD's on one dvdr, each has their own menu, which is linked from a main menu. (Yes, you can do "mixed-mode" in DVDLab. That is, to mix svcd, vcd, and dvd, all on one disk).
iammai: An .avi is not dvd compliant. You need to do much more reading and learning from the other guides on this site, before attempting to author a dvd. Start with AVI->MPG conversions...
GaMeFaNaTiC: I use Paintshop Pro. Open the image, select Image, Add borders, symmetric, 50 pixel, save. Other editors will be similar.
elainecole: Seems your process is accurate, but your hard drive may not have the room, for the finished product. It may also be FAT32, which has a limiting size.
pglenn: same answer as elainecole got.
younso: Easily. Create a main menu that links to the sub menu for each movie. There is a guide on the Mediachance site for putting multiple movies on one dvdr. I know it's not a great tutorial, but it's a start. If I have time, I'll write a guide for multiple/mixed-mode authoring in DVDLab.
WtFudgE: On the links window, link part 1 directly to part 2, instead of the menu (default).
pglenn: you cannot put a jpg over top of your motion menu. Even if you think portions of the jpg are transparent, it can't happen. Put the jpg behind the motion, then re-render it all as one motion menu.
stevelamb121: You don't say how you convert to 48khz. The easy way is to open the .wav (44.1khz) in tmpgenc (not the video, just the audio), then go to the audio tab, change it to 24 bit, 48khz, and run it.
I hope this clears up a bit of the confusion.
I have little problem.
I was trying to follow your guide,made it throu pre-render menu option.
I rendering has been saved as "tmp_0.motion" file.
When I tried to load it to TMPGenc for encoding,it kept saying this file is not right.
Could someone help me here please ??