DVD Pro 6: Using the HD Menu Compositor

DVDit Pro 6 is a professional quality DVD authoring software suite that enables home users as well as professionals to author DVDs in a highly customizable workspace. The following tutorial looks at using the HD Menu Compositor feature to create DVD menus.

Understanding Safe Areas

To use the HD menu compositor, you need to understand that almost all of the televisions try to produce an image that is actually larger than the screen because this hides away the distortions taking place on the image edges. But, this almost inadvertently introduces image cropping. The safe area marks the part that can still be seen after the cropping has taken place. The compositor will use this safe area to display the various elements of the menus that you try to create for your DVDs.

You can turn off the safe area guidelines by navigating to the view menu and then selecting the ‘View Safe Area’ option. This will show areas on the screen beyond which you should not place any elements (either buttons or titles), or else they run the risk of being cropped during the actual viewing exercise.

You will use the gridlines to help and direct you while placing and aligning every element while designing a menu. You can turn them on by selecting ‘show grid’ from the view menu. This is essential if you are a novice and require assistance for alignments. Additionally, you may force the elements to snap into place by selecting the ‘snap’ option from the view menu.

Understanding Layers

To create a DVD menu, you will need to work with three different layers namely, Background layer, Highlight layer and the Subpicture layer. These three layers respectively contain information of images and videos, selection preferences and the smaller representative pictures of the time line. You may either choose to hide or display any particular layer. To do this, you can toggle the individual layer view options from the View menu.

Creating Menus

You will now create a menu, and it is advisable to begin with a pre-existing template. You will go to the Palette window and click on the templates tab to bring up the pre-set templates. Then, select a template for use. You will now drag this template into the project window’s Menus group. The HD compositor will automatically create a preview for the menu.

You may now proceed with adding your own images or colors to the background. You can do this by clicking the appropriate tabs in the Palette window. Click the images tab if you would like to use an image. Click the media tab if you like to use a video clip. You will now drag and drop the image or the video clip, as the case may be, onto the projects window Menus group. This will create the appropriate background, and you can now scale the background as per your requirements and preferences.

You may now proceed to experimenting with the options and menus highlighted above and create a new DVD menu.