The greatest feeling for a home video producer is to have a finished copy of your project, completely shot and edited. Then you can pass it around to family and friends, proud of what you have just accomplished. This feels even better if what you are passing around is a high-quality DVD with professional looking menu and playback systems. DVD authoring is one of the hottest trends in home digital video production today and is often the difference between a simple home movie and a film document that will last through the years. Many digital non-linear editing programs have DVD authoring capabilities, but they are not near as efficient or impressive as using an outside program.
Final Cut Pro is one of the most popular editing programs on the market today, and its suite comes with the superior program DVD Studio Pro. This is the top of all consumer disc authoring programs because of the accessible interface and range of options it gives you. Studio Pro does not have to be used in conjunction with Final Cut, but is offered free when you purchase the editing software.
What you do to put your edited film onto the DVD is to first compress it. You can use a variety of programs for this, but Compressor is one of the most popular. You simply export the final film using one of these compressing programs, setting a compression format for it to transfer to. The best for DVD Studio Pro is MPEG-2: 90 Minutes, which is a DVD format that is small enough to fit appropriately into the disc authoring software. Once it is finished compressing you will have two new files, one for the video and one for the audio.
Once in DVD Studio Pro you will have to create menu systems by simply creating buttons on background templates linking different pages together. You will want to create a welcoming page with a link to the film. If you have trouble deciding how to format all this simply look at a conventional consumer DVD and see how they put it together. Create a new “Track” and then go to File and Import Asset. Import both the audio and video compressions you just did, and they will appear on your left-hand list of assets. Open the track you just created and drag the video into the top track and the audio into the bottom two. This track will appear similar to the timeline in the editing program you used, except it will be in one nested block. Now go ahead and link the “Play Movie” button you created to the track and you will have a DVD that will play the film from the menu you created.
Simply use the simulation button to simulate how the DVD works. If it works as you intended it to, simply hit burn and your DVD will be ready soon. Though there are many more advanced ways to customize your DVDs, this is an easy way to create DVDs that you can distribute.