If youve 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
Youll 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
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 dont 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 dont 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
dont have to. Its up to you. For example, lets 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?
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 directors 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
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 skys
Home video enthusiasts have come a long way with todays 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. Dont 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!
Digital Videos With Ease
If you've been looking for a good video editing program, you may want to check out
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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