Step 3: Menu Creation
We are now on the "Select Menu" screen. This is where you can select which menu you want to edit, and the types of menus that you wish to have on your AVCHD. AVCHD supports the same kind of menus that Nero Vision can author for DVDs, including 3D menus (although these will extend the encoding time a bit as encoding of these menus are required too). First, from the "Menu to use" drop down menu, select the types of menus you want to use (if you want menus at all). The "Title" menu is the main index of your AVCHD (the menu you see when you press the "Title" or "Menu" button on your AVCHD player). The "Chapters" menu will be a menu of your chapter stops, those that you manually selected in the previous step (if you used the "Create chapters automatically" checkbox, these chapter won't be available in the chapters menu). Also, if you only have one video file/title set, then the default top menu will be your chapter select menu if you've selected the "title and chapter menus" option.
Let's have a look at the layout of the edit menu area.
The top left area marked in red in the screenshot above is the menu editing area - here you can see what the menu looks like, select individual menu objects like a button or a text and edit or move them. The right hand side area is where you can select a template to use, as well as access customization options for each selected menu or selected object. The bottom left hand side is where you can select each menu in the project (such as the main menu, chapter menu ...), as well as access the option to save the template and to turn on/off the safe area.
The easiest way to make a menu is to select a ready made template. There are three types of menus, standard 2D ones, 2D animated ones and 3D ones. You can select a ready made template and then make customization to it, if you want to personalise the menu a bit more. Selecting a new template might seem to make Nero Vision hang, but it's actually just processing the new menus for the project (which can take a while if you have lots of menu pages, for example, if you have a lot of chapters).
Select a menu from the bottom left area (eg. select the "Chapter Menu", if your project has chapters). For the screenshot below, you can see the "Main Menu" menu, and also the "Chapter Menu" menu. The "Chapter Menu" menu contains more than one page (since there are too many chapters to fit onto one page), and you can navigate through the pages using the green arrows marked in red in the screenshot below - this is only possible in the basic editing mode - in the advanced editing mode (more on that below), each page is displayed separately. The menu editing area above it will show the current menu/menu page. Here, there is also a save button to save any changes you've made to the template, and an option to turn on and off the "safe area".
In the menu editing area, you will notice the two sets of dotted rectangles. Try to ensure all the objects are placed inside the inner rectangle, as this is the "safe area" to ensure all objects are viewable on TVs. Some TVs employ overscan that might block out objects outside the inner dotted rectangle, so to be safe, make sure everything is inside the inner dotted rectangle. You might even need to add a border to your background image (see below) so that parts of it don't get cut out when viewing it on a TV, but please note that some TVs employ very little overscan and so you might see the border.
Also remember that you can click on the "Next" button on the bottom to skip to the next step, which is the menu preview. Here you can view the edited menu complete with all animation, audio and effects, just like how it would look on the finalized AVCHD.
With a menu selected (and not a menu object), you can click on the "Customize" tab on the right hand side to access customization options for the current template. Each menu template will have it's own set of customization options and template settings. For example, the "Monitors" 3D template has several themes you can select, ranging from "Film Strips" to "Red Explosion".
The "Properties" section allows you to change the property of the current selected object, whether that's an entire menu, or just an object in the menu. You can change things like background audio and highlight colors, text style/font and many other things depending on what type of object you have selected. For example, the screenshot below shows the properties of the "Floating Squares" 2D animated menu. You can change the background image/video, the background audio, the animation duration (or to lock it to the same length as the audio), highlight colors and the autorun delay and action (what to do when the menu has been on for the set delay time, to automatically play the selected title or go to another menu or ...).
The screenshot below shows the properties of a typical menu object.
The screenshot below shows the properties of a typical menu linked object (note that you cannot change the link, unless "Advanced Editing" mode is activated).
If you go to the "Button" section, you can change the type of buttons that are currently being used. You might need to double click on the buttons to make the change.
The "Disc/Project" section is quite important, and you should go here and change the "End action". This setting allows you to tell the disc what to do after it finishes playing a title - whether to jump back to the menu, play the next title, and loop back to the start of the current title - this option applies the entire disc/project, not just to the current selected object.
If you selected a standard or animated 2D menu, you can also tick the checkbox for "Advanced Editing". This enables advanced editing options, such as the ability to customize where each object links to, and to create new objects and new menus. When "Advanced Editing" is enabled, the "Disc/Project" settings also adds an additional option to specify which menu is the "Title Menu". Please note that once you enable advanced editing, you cannot disable it unless you select a different template and lose all existing changes you've made to the current template.
Let's go through an example in Advanced Editing mode - adding a new link on the main menu page to an existing chapter. First, you might want to save your current project and save the template if you've already made changes to it, just in case you want to go back to basic editing mode later on. Enable "Advanced Editing" and select "Yes" to the prompt that comes up.
Go to the "Content" section and select a content (in this case, I've selected "Chapter 11" from the "Full Match" title). Click and drag the content to the menu editing area on the left. Select this newly created object and go to the "Properties" section, you can see if links to chapter 111, and here, you can customize how it looks.
Once you are finished with editing the menu, you can save the template using the save button just above the menu selection area. Press the "Next" button on the bottom to proceed to the next screen, the "Preview" screen.