Scenarist: Preparing Assets

Sonic Scenarist is a Blu-ray and SD DVD authoring software, and it allows users to perform many tasks on one computer. Or, users can spread out the responsibilities over several workstations, making it very efficient. But, before anyone can start using the software, they have to convert their audio and media files into the correct format. This is known as preparing the assets, and users with some knowledge of DVD authoring will be able to easily do this task.

Step 1: Preparing Video Files

Since video files are more complicated than image and audio files, it comes first. Everything needs to be encoded correctly with a video, including frame rate, resolution, bit rate and aspect ratio. Scenarist only lets uses import DVD-compliant MPEG files. And, these requirements are broken up by MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 and NTSC  (National Television System Committee) and PAL  (Phase Alternative Line).

For example, if a user has a MPEG-1, NTSC file format, then the frame rate will have to be 29.97 fps (frames per second), the aspect ratio 4:3 and the frame size 352 x240. The GOP size maximum will have to be 18 frames. For both types of MPEG-1 files, the encoding bit rate maximum is 1.856 Mbps (Megabit per second).

Before a user starts encoding their files, it would be best to check the Scenarist manual first to determine the program requirements.

Step 2: Preparing Image Files

Scenarist only supports the following image formats: BMP, JPEG, GIF, PSD, PICT, SGI, TIFF, YUV and TGA. The program does not, however, support LZW-compressed TIFF images. These images can be used for menus, slideshows, titles and still shows.

They also have to be in the correct size, and that sizing will depend on whether or not it’s a NTSC or PAL image. If they are not the correct size, Scenarist will adjust the size. This could result in uneven, noisy or over/under-stretched images. It would be best to fix this beforehand.

Step 3: Preparing Audio Files

Scenarist is compatible with MPEG-1 Layer 2, Dolby Digital, PCM and DTS. Users must also consider how much bandwidth the audio will take over, as this could affect overall video quality and play time.

Individual audio specifications will be listed in the manual. Users should properly encode their selected audio type before importing that information into Scenarist. If they do not, either the audio will be removed from the selection. Or, it could become highly distorted. Some audio selections are also only compatible with certain Scenarist programs. For example, to use PCM audio with a sample rate of 96 kHz (kilohertz), users will have to purchase Scenarist Professional.

Step 4: Preparing the Menu

Menus contain either a still or moving background, a highlight layer and a sub-picture. For this to properly convert in Scenarist, users must limit their menu to four colors. The image must be made in an image editing program, and users must disable anti-aliasing. Backgrounds must be white.

Letters must be in pure blue, red or black, and RGB color points must be 255. The sub-picture must be smaller the video or background on which it is placed.