Page 3 of 9: Loading and Preparing Assets

Step 2: Loading and Preparing Assets

We will now import our movie assets into DVD-lab Pro. As mentioned at the very top of this guide, it is assumed that you already have these assets ready made, as this guide does not cover making them (but I have written a companion guide that tells you have to convert AVI files, the most common type of file, to assets usable by DVD-lab Pro - follow our AVI to a DVD Compliant MPEG-2 File Using QuEnc guide for instructions). It is also strongly recommended that you edit your video before using DVD-lab Pro, as DVD-lab Pro is not a video editor and only has basic editing functions. Also, make sure the video has the 16:9 flag set in your MPEG-2 encoder if it is anamorphic. If your source is a DVB/DVR recording in which the recorder can't set the 16:9 flag, then go to the "Tools" menu -> "Aspect Ratio Patch" to correct this after you have loaded in your asset (select the asset from the list of assets first).

Go to the "Assets" section, and right click on the blank area to select "Import" and load in your video/audio assets (or you can use drag/drop it in). Usually, the assets will be a MPEG-2 video stream (M2V) and an audio stream (AC3), so load them in here. If your video stream requires 2:3 pulldown, then DVD-lab Pro will tell you so and then open up an utility that will allow you to do so.

DVD-lab Pro: Pulldown Required

DVD-lab Pro: 2:3 Pulldown

Load in all your AV assets. Background images can be loaded under the "Backgrounds" section. The "Objects" section contains things like button images. "Plug-ins" are pre-made scripts/functions, such as region checking, audio select, and special effects. The "Clips" section allows you to load video clip assets. The "Music" section is for audio assets. And the "Images" section is for images.

DVD-lab Pro: Loaded Assets

The first thing we will do is to load our main movie (now listed under the "Video & Audio" assets" section) into the project proper. Make sure the "Movie 1" movie editor window is open (if not, from the "Project" tree view, double click on "Movie 1"). Drag and drop your main movie asset into the movie timeline of the movie editor window. Do the same with the audio track, but to the audio timeline section instead.

DVD-lab Pro: Load Assets

If your audio asset somehow has a different length to your video asset and requires an audio delay, you can right click on the audio timeline and select "Audio Delay". The little tool that opens up allows you to specify the delay in ms, with a graphical representation of the delay. The delayed audio will be saved to a new file and automatically loaded as a usable asset in the "Video & Audio" section, and also automatically replaces the audio track that you applied the delay on in the timeline.

DVD-lab Pro: Audio Delay

Time to create some chapters for the movie. This is easy to do in the movie editor. Select the "arrow" icon on the left hand side of the movie editor window, click and drag the mouse over the movie to change the position of the marker (the red line with a "+" icon on top of it), you should notice a "+" icon, clicking on this icon will add a chapter at the spot specified. Added chapter points will show up as a red mark under the chapters timeline.

DVD-lab Pro: Adding Chapters

Alternatively, you can let DVD-lab Pro automatically add chapters for you. With the movie editor window select, from the top "Movie" drop down menu, select "Auto-Chapters". This tool will scan the movie and automatically add chapters at scene changes, trying to evenly space them according to the number of total chapters you want.

DVD-lab Pro: Auto-Chapters

The way chapters work on DVDs is that they must start on an I-Frame. Basically this means that even though you have set a location for a chapter, it may begin slightly earlier because that's where the nearest I-Frame is. You can manually move the chapter points to the previous/next I-Frame using the two buttons on the side tool bar (see first screenshot below). There are also other ways around this, including setting a chapter lag - to do this, right click on any chapter point and select "Chapter Properties". Here, you can set a + or - 1 second lag. You can further improve the accuracy of chapter points by right click on the chapter timeline, select Chapter -> "Frame-Index All Chapters". This is a one time operation that will improve the chapter point accuracy up to 0.25 seconds. The chapter mark, previously red, will now turn to a green diamond.

DVD-lab Pro: Move Chapter to I-Frame

DVD-lab Pro: Chapter Properties

DVD-lab Pro: Frame Index

That's it for chapters, but still within the movie editor, there are a couple of other options. The "Skip Sections" button on the left sided tool bar allows you to skip sections of the video. This doesn't cut the video (it's non destructive), the video stream stays untouched, but playback is skipped for the marked sections.

DVD-lab Pro: Skip Sections

DVD-lab Pro: Skipped Sections

You can also trim the end of the movie if the movie happens to be too long. This is useful for removing end movie credits, for example. To do this, click on the "arrow" on the left hand side tool bar and then use the mouse to drag the marker (the red line with a "+" icon on top of it) to where you want to start the cut, and then right click within the editor window and select "Trim End". When you press the "Trim" button, a trimmed version of the current video will be produced, added to the "Assets" section and replace the currently loaded video, if you choose the two options at the bottom (otherwise, you'll have to manually do both).

DVD-lab Pro: Trim End

Last, but not least, you can add a subtitles track. Click on the "Sub 1" (below the audio timeline). This opens up the "Subtitle" window. Click on the "Import" button to import subtitle files from common formats such as .sub, .srt, .ssa, .son and .sst. For my example, I have a .srt subtitle file. There are a lot of options here that you can change, but most of them are pretty obvious. You can even edit each line of subtitles and press on the position icon to adjust the position (for example, if the screen already has text and you want to move the subtitles to the top). When you're finished with the settings, click on the "Generate Subtitle Stream" button to save the stream as a SP1 file. When the file has been generated, press "Close" to close the subtitle editor and your new subtitle track will be added to the movie. Remember that if you edit the subtitle, you need to regenerate the SP1 file for the changes to take effect in your project.

DVD-lab Pro: Subtitle

That's pretty much it for this movie. If you need to add more movies (for example, now that you've added the main movie, you need to add the extra features). Go to the "Project" tree view area, and then right click and select the "Add Movie" option. Repeat the instructions during this entire step for your new movie if needed.

DVD-lab Pro: Add Movie



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