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Desktop Video News #036: Enhance Your Videos With Great Looking DVD Menus
March 07, 2006
Issue 36, 7 March 2006

What's Hot

Learn how to share your digital video creations with friends and family.

A review of Roxio Easy Media Creator 8, a powerful DVD authoring tool.

How to buy your first digital camcorder.

How to shoot a spectacular wedding video.

A powerful tool for editing video and adding special effects.



Ulead VideoStudio

allows you to turn home videos into slick looking productions with ease.

Learn how to use Microsoft Movie Maker using this excellent video tutorial.

Ulead MediaStudio Pro is a quality video editor designed for professional videographers.

Store your video files online with StreamLoad - a premier video storage service.

Pinnacle Studio Plus allows you to easily capture video from camcorders and produce the best home movies.

Enhance Your Videos with
Great Looking DVD Menus

© 2006

If youíve ever watched a movie on DVD, you are very familiar with the concept of menus.

DVD movies usually come with extras like special settings, bonus features and audio narratives (by the director) of the movie. Users can access these additional features through menus.

They can also use menus to play the movie right away or jump to a specific scene.

Youíll be happy to know that you can do the same with your productions! Using your DVD menu creator, you can create DVD menu options in your film, giving your home movie on DVD a truly polished look.

Step 1: Add a DVD Menu

Actually, creating DVD menu options is quite easy. Usually the same software that you use to edit your home video will allow you to add a DVD menu to the finished production. How it does this is worth explaining.

What you do is just add the video file to the background and the DVD menu creator will then create a menu for that particular video segment. It treats each video segment as a 'chapter'. Some programs actually have an automatic menu creation feature. It attempts to detect chapters in your movie by looking for pauses in your video and then creates chapters for these video segments.

This may or may not be worth your time, depending on how many pauses you have in the video. You certainly donít want to have too many menu items in your final production. Regardless, plan ahead how you want to break up your video and then assign chapters to important segments.

Step 2: Focus on The Highlights

As an example, you may want to create menus around important moments in a vacation video. Vacation home movies have a reputation for being quite boring, but they donít have to be! Think in terms of highlights. Focus on those special moments of the trip - those parts of the vacation that made it the best experience yet. Then, simply create menus for that part of your vacation.

You can build menus around the chronological order of the vacation, but you donít have to. Itís up to you. For example, letís say you went on vacation to France. You can make a DVD menu button for 'Arc De Triomphe' and another one for the 'Leaning Tower of Pisa'.

Your DVD menu creator may also automatically create themed graphical buttons for you in the process. The features vary depending on the particular editing program that you are using, but the basic concept is the same. Drag and drop onto the menu window, and the software will do the rest.

Step 3: Add Special Features!

What other menu items can you include in your home movie? Think about what we said at the beginning of the article. Is there any reason that you cannot use your DVD menu creator to include bonus features with your home movie as well? Certainly not!

Consider creating an 'outtakes' section. All of our home movies invariably have moments we think are worthy of being submitted to a 'Funniest Home Movies' competition. Additionally, perhaps you want a directorís cut section.

In this section, you could provide some narration about the trip, and give your viewers additional insights into the vacation. Perhaps you could set your camcorder on a tripod and videotape yourself providing some narration about the trip.

Or consider creating a 'Making Of' section. This requires pre-planning of course. Instead of just shooting the trip, shoot footage of the planning of the trip, and add that to the DVD under a DVD menu titled, 'The Making of Our Vacation to Paris.'

Step 4: Change the Look of Your DVD Menu

Depending on the type of video editing program you have, you will probably be able to customize the look of your DVD menu. The DVD menu creator will usually give you access to the same special text and special effects tools that you can normally use to create titles for your video.

You can use these tools to add a layer of animation to your menu buttons, just like you see with the professional DVD menus. You might be able to use a picture from your trip as a background image to truly make it a themed menu. The skyís the limit!


Home video enthusiasts have come a long way with todayís modern video editing tools. Long gone are the days when simply adding transitions and some music made a home movie stand out. Now you can burn to DVD, and with that, your users will expect the complete look and feel of a DVD production.

The DVD menu creator that comes with your video editing software is probably capable of more than you realize. Donít brush it off as a mere afterthought. Explore all of its capabilities, and soon you will be producing DVDs with menus that make your viewers want to sit down and watch your home movie!


Articles Of Interest

How to create a movie with Windows MovieMaker
A short tutorial on how to create a movie clip with Windows MovieMaker

An in-depth explanation of how a camcorder works
An in-depth article which reveals the intricacies of a camcorder. Learn how a camcorder functions and captures video.

Convert digital photos to VCD format
How you can convert digital photos to VCD format using Ulead DVD PictureShow.

How to buy your first digital camcorder
Buying your first digital camcorder. How to find the best deal among the many cameras out there.

All about the different types of camera movement
Learn about the camera movement techniques that professional videographers uses.

For more articles, be sure to visit

Recommended Desktop Video Tools & Services

A Top-Notch Video Editing Program

Ulead VideoStudio is a full-fledged video editing package at a reasonable price. This software allows you to turn home videos into professional looking productions with ease. There are more than 1000 customizable special effects to play with.

Create Great-Looking Digital Videos
Roxio VideoWave Professional is a video editing program that could be the answer to your video editing headaches. If you have trouble creating good-looking home videos, VideoWave allows you to edit and produce Hollywood-style videos with a few mouse clicks.

The Easy Way To Make DVD Movies
Ulead DVD MovieFactory is the quick, easy way to make great DVD movies, music discs and write data on DVDs or CDs. The software allows you to burn video straight to disc using no hard drive space. You can also easily trim video clips or add DVD chapters and titles.

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