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iDVD '09 connects with other iLife '09 applications to create slick, professional-looking DVDs incorporating pictures, movies, and music. In iDVD '09 Essential Training, Garrick Chow takes a detailed look at how to create a DVD using Apple's built-in shortcuts or the provided customized templates. Users will see how to build menus and submenus, automatically create scene selection menus, and archive the final project on a disk or as a disk image. Exercise files accompany the course.
Once you are done assembling your project in iDVD and you're ready to share your creation with the world or at least your friends and family, it's time to actually burn your DVD. But there are a few things you should do beforehand just to make sure you have all your bases covered and to help the burning process go a little more smoothly. I'm working with the Southern Utah project we created in chapter 3, but you don't need to use the same one. The steps I'm covering here pretty much go for every project you work on in iDVD and you probably don't want to waste a blank DVD burning the exercise files from this tutorial anyway. But the first thing you should do before you burn your disc is to go to Project > Project Info and in here you want to make sure your DVD has the title you want, in this case Southern Utah Trip.
If yours still says my great DVD, which is the default name of projects, you probably want to change it to something a little more descriptive. Now this point you can still change all the options like Video Mode, Encoding, Aspect Ratio and DVD Type. But if you do make changes like if you change from Widescreen to Standard, you want to make sure and go through your entire DVD and check all of your menus to make sure nothing has been cut off. If you need to change the Video Mode for a friend you are sending this video to in Europe where they use the PAL format, you can do that very easily right here and you can also change the Encoding Mode. If you have the default Best Performance mode selected, iDVD has most likely been encoding your project the entire time you have been building it. So it'll take less time to burn the DVD.
In fact, if you look at the bottom of my Project Info window you can see that iDVD has already encoded all of the assets for my project. I see under Encoding heading here everything says done. When you're working on your own project you might still see some progress bars down here indicating that iDVD is still encoding some of your files, but that doesn't mean that you can't Click the Burn button yet. It just means that iDVD will still need to finish encoding your files before it burns the disc. And again the Best Performance option is probably best for when you have less than an hour of content on your DVD. If you have more, you might want to switch to High or Professional Quality to get the best looking picture from your DVD. But again be aware that High Quality will take longer than Best Performance to process and burn and Professional Quality will most likely take twice as long as High Quality.
And finally you can choose the type of DVD you're going to be burning to. iDVD can burn to both single layer DVDs and dual layer or double layer DVDs. Double layer DVDs can hold twice as much content, but be aware that not all set-top DVD players can play them, especially older ones. So it's best to stick to single layer DVDs unless you're sure your intended audience will be able to play a dual layer DVD or if you know they'll be watching your DVD on a computer because all computers with DVD drives should be able to read a dual or double layer DVD. Now as far as the type of DVDs iDVD can burn, you can use any disc-labeled DVD-R, DVD-RW, which are rewritable discs, DVD+R, DVD+RW and DVD+RDL for dual layer. But again if you want to give your project the best shot at being successfully played on a set-top DVD player, you'll want to stick with DVD-R.
Now you also want to keep an eye on the Quality and Capacity bars here. Now I don't have much to put on this. So I'm going to be fine with my quality in this particular example. But if this arrow in the Capacity bar moves into the red and eventually the Quality bar will turn yellow and eventually red on the right side as it fell on your DVD, you might want to consider removing some content from the disc to make sure the quality of the video doesn't suffer or switch to Professional Quality Video Encoding to make sure you get the best possible picture.
Also note that iDVD will list every single asset that you're using in your project. If they all have a checkmark next to them in the Status column then iDVD knows where all these files are and it'll be able to burn the disc. That actually brings up a very important point. Once you have dragged the movies or photos into your DVD project don't change their location on your Mac, or else iDVD might not be able to find them. And once you're done checking things out here you can close the Project Info window and before you burn the disc it's still a good idea to hit the Preview button and go through the entire DVD menu by menu to make sure every thing is looking and behaving the way it's supposed to. Because burning is going to take a while and you don't want to wait potentially several hours only to discover afterwards that there is a mistake on the disc. That will mean you'll have to fix the problem and then re-encode and burn everything all over again.
So I would want to go through here, maybe Click the Preview button. That looks good. I'll go into Southern Utah, there's my menu. Here I have a menu that doesn't act or look like the other menus at the top, this underline going on here. So if I want to fix that, I could come in with that selected, go to Buttons, get rid of the underline style for the button and maybe just bring this over and line that up. And again, this is just an example but you do want to go through your DVD menu by menu and just make sure everything looks and acts exactly the way you want.
And once your disc is ready to go, Click the Burn button. Now iDVD will alert you if it finds any errors like empty drop zones or missing buttons but if both iDVD and you have seen no errors, they will ask you to insert a recordable DVD disc after you Click the Burn button and once you do that the burning will start. Then you can just leave your Mac and go find something else to do for a while because personally I think it's a good idea to not do any other work on your computer while burning a DVD is going on. Just to make sure you don't introduce any glitches to the disc. I'm not saying that'll necessarily happen if you're working on something else while you're burning a disc. But I just think if you don't have anything else to do on your Mac you might just leave it alone while the disc is burning. And when the burning is done, iDVD will eject your DVD and offer you the option of inserting another blank disc to burn another copy.
So if you intend on burning more than one copy that would be the time to do it because all the encoding has already been done and saved and the subsequent discs will burn a lot faster than the first one. If you decide not to burn another copy at that time you can still burn another copy at a later time but iDVD may have to do some processing again and it may take as long as the first time did. If you can spare the time in another disc, I suggest burning a second copy anyway just so we have one on hand and just in case the first one was a bad disc. That doesn't happen a lot but it does happen. So it doesn't hurt to have a backup. And speaking of bad discs, try to steer clear of DVDs branded with the names of office supply stores or other cheaper DVDs.
Those DVDs are good for using as data storage but don't use them for playing back video. I often get asked for recommendations on where to purchase DVDs. I purchased mine online at supermediastore.com and I'm not getting paid to recommend them but I do order from them and they carry a lot of top quality DVDs and I also like that they let users review the products they carry, so you can read about other people's experiences with the different brands of DVDs to help you decide which ones to purchase. I have always had good luck with the Taiyo Yuden brand of DVDs but that's just me and again I'm not getting paid to endorse them.
That's pretty much the process of preparing for and burning your DVD. When it's done, be sure to test your DVD thoroughly and if you can test it on at least two DVD players probably set-top DVD players to make sure it's working and if it is, it's a pretty safe bet that it'll work in the DVD player of anyone you send the disc to.
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