In addition to burning a DVD directly from iDVD, another option you have for getting the finished project out of iDVD into a playable format is to create a disc image of your project. The disc image is essentially a virtual disc, but instead of burning a physical disc in your DVD burner, the disc image is saved to your hard drive. These days a lot of downloadable software comes in a disc image that you mount on your Mac's Desktop so you can access it as if it were a disc you put into a drive. If you've ever downloaded software, you're probably familiar with that format. Now why would you want to create a disc image of your iDVD project? Well, the first reason would be, if you don't have a DVD burner in your Mac, you can still use iDVD to create your project and then save it as a disc image to move on to a Mac that does have a DVD burner. Or maybe you wanted to use your fastest Mac to create the DVD but you need to burn several copies, and instead of having your main Mac occupied with burning discs, maybe you have an older Mac with the DVD burner that you can just set up to keep burning discs while you use your main Mac for other work.
So to create a disc image from your project, just choose File > Save as Disc Image. You'll be asked to save your file someplace and iDVD will give it the extension of IMG for image. Once you Click Save, iDVD will still need to finish any encoding just as if you were burning the file to an actual DVD, so this could still take a while. But when it's done, you'll end up with an IMG file on your Desktop or wherever you happen to save it on your Mac. Much like on a cooking show, let me cancel that, I created an image ahead of time, so you can see what the finished product looks like.
So here on my Desktop we see Southern Utah Trip.img and if I Double-Click that, it mounts just like a DVD, only its icon looks like a little removable disc. And the contents of that disc, we'll see we have an AUDIO_TS folder, which is standard on all DVDs as well as a VIDEO _TS folder, which is also standard on all of video DVDs. If I look in VIDEO_TS, these are the actual files that make up my DVD. Now don't bother Double- Clicking or trying to play any of these. The VIDEO_TS folder is a folder that DVD players, both computer-based and set-top DVD players, need in order to play your disc.
Now I also have my Southern Utah Trip DVD-ROM Contents, if you recall back in Chapter 3 we talked about how to include additional files on your disc, if you wanted to give people, say, the original copies of your photos or videos that you use on the DVDs. So if I look in there, I'll see my Movies folder and my Slideshows folder and then here I can find all the photos that I used in my slideshow. So with this disc image mounted on my Mac, I can actually open my Mac's DVD Player application. And you can see just like that, the DVD Player application starts playing my DVD because it recognizes that disc image as a regular DVD.
Even though there is not a DVD in my DVD Player, there is an image sitting mounted on my Mac's Desktop. Let's quit out of there. But again, you're probably not going to save your project as a disc image just to play it on your computer, you most likely want to burn a copy of the disc. So to burn an actual DVD from a disc image, you can use the Disk Utility program that comes on all Macs and you'll find it inside your Applications folder in the Utilities folder, and there you'll find Disk Utility.
When you open it up you can see that my Southern Utah disc is recognized and there is the mounted image. If I'm ready to burn this image to an actual physical disc, I'll just select the image, Click Burn. I'll be asked to insert a disc and then I can Click Burn. Mine device is busy because my drive is open right now, but basically you'll be asked to insert a disc and then Click Burn. The one warning here is don't burn a dual layer disc from Disk Utility. If your project is large enough that it requires a dual layer DVD, burn it directly from iDVD not from Disk Utility because Disk Utility has been known to create dual layer disc that don't play in all set-top players. You'll get better and more consistent results from burning a dual layer disc in iDVD itself. But otherwise, a disc image is a great way to create a virtual version of your disc.
Now I do want to briefly mention another option you have in iDVD and that's to save your project as a VIDEO_TS folder. Again, the VIDEO_TS folder, like we just saw, is where the actual DVD contents are stored and you can play back the VIDEO_TS folder with the DVD Player application on your Mac. So again, if I chose Save as VIDEO_TS folder, again I'll be asked to save to someplace and again I've created one ahead of time just to show you what that looks like. So this is the folder that command generated and again you can see it's looks a lot like and nearly identical to the contents of my mounted disc image.
We've got AUDIO_TS, AUDIO_TS, the DVD- ROM Contents and VIDEO_TS. Let me eject my disc image so you can see that we are, in fact, looking at the VIDEO_TS generated folder. So again, VIDEO_TS is the most important folder on your DVD. That's the one that actually contains all the files necessary to play your disc. So again, if I open up my Mac's DVD Player application... Now it's not going to play right away because DVD Player does not recognize any discs mounted on my Mac. But I can just drag that VIDEO_TS folder to DVD Player...
(Music plays.) and you can see just like that it starts playing. (Music plays.) All right, Quit. But you only really want to make a VIDEO _TS folder if you don't think you'll be burning your project to a disc, because neither iDVD nor Disk Utility can burn a VIDEO_TS folder to a DVD. Now there are programs out there that can do that like Roxio Toast, but if you don't have Toast, and it is a program you have to purchase, you'll be limited to playing the VIDEO_TS folder on your Mac, which is fine if that's all you want to do and it saves you the step of having to mount a disc image each time you want to play your DVD.
So, save a disc image if you don't have a DVD burner or if you just want a burnable version that you won't have to re-encode with iDVD each time you burn a copy. Save your project as a VIDEO_ TS folder if you just want to keep a version of your DVD somewhere on your Mac that won't require you to have to mount a disc image each time you want to play it. So those are the options you have for saving your DVD project in a playable format without burning it to an actual DVD.
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