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So what is iDVD and what is its role in the iLife '09 Suite? In a nutshell, iDVD is software for taking your movies, photos and music from the other iLife applications like iMovie, iPhoto and iTunes or GarageBand and burning them to a DVD that could be played on any commercial set top DVD player. iDVD is an incredibly convenient way to easily send friends and family your movies and photos on a disc, so they can play in their regular DVD player without needing a computer. So that's said, iDVD is probably the least standalone application in the iLife Suite because you don't actually create any content in it. You need to already have movies or photos or music ready to go before you can start using iDVD, because iDVD is the tool for assembling all of your assets on to a DVD disc.
But iDVD isn't just about creating a DVD of your movies and photos; iDVD is about creating beautiful and professional looking DVDs of your movies and photos. There's a multitude of programs out there for burning your media files to a DVD that could be played in a set top DVD player, but none of them come close to iDVD's ability to help you easily produce professional looking menus to help your viewers navigate through your content. IDVD '09 comes with more than 150 professionally designed themes and a lot of the themes feature animation and music to really give your DVDs that non-amateur look. Now, to use iDVD you obviously need a Mac with a DVD burner. Currently as I'm recording this movie all new Macs come with a built-in Super Drive with the exception of the MacBook Air, which doesn't have an optical drive at all.
A Super drive is simply a drive that can burn both CDs and DVDs. If you have an older Mac, you should confirm that you have a Super drive before you put a lot of effort to building an iDVD project. Now, iDVD '09 also supports third-party DVD burners, so if you have an external DVD burner that connects to your Mac via your USB or FireWire ports, you can use one of those too. But even if you don't have a DVD burner connected to your Mac, you can still use iDVD to create a DVD project and then save the project as a disc image which is a virtual disc that saved as a file and then you can take that file to a Mac that does have a DVD burner and burn the image from there.
But the main thing to keep in mind is that, iDVD is for creating DVD discs, you don't use iDVD to post videos to the web or to generate video files to email the people. If you are interested in posting your iLife music, photos or videos to the web, check out iWeb, which is also part of the iLife Suite and is the application for creating web pages to host your files. iDVD on the other hand is for creating physical discs. So that's said, let's start by taking a look at the essential stuff you need to know about the iDVD interface.
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