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Enhance Your Videos with Great Looking DVD Menus

If you’ve 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.

You’ll 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.

A sample professional-looking DVD menu
Source: DVD Advance

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 don’t 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 don’t 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 don’t have to. It’s up to you. For example, let’s 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 director’s 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 sky’s the limit!


Home video enthusiasts have come a long way with today’s 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. Don’t 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!

Edit Digital Videos With Ease

If you've been looking for a good video editing program, you may want to check out Corel VideoStudio Pro. This software allows you to quickly create and share a movie using built-in templates, special effects, titles and transitions. You can apply unique effects such as stop-motion animation, time-lapse and chroma key to create brilliant digital videos.

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