TMPGEnc DVD Author 3 (DivX Author): DivX Authoring GuideOriginal Page URL: http://www.digital-digest.com/articles/TMPGEnc_DVD_Author_3_DivX_Authoring_Guide_page1.html
Date Added: Jun 30, 2007
Date Updated: Jun 30, 2007
TMPGEnc DVD Author (TDA) has just been upgraded to version 3 - new in this version is DivX Authoring. With DivX Authoring, you can create .divx files that not only uses the more advanced and more efficient (compared to DVD/MPEG-2) DivX compression, you also get all the same benefits of DVDs, such as menus, multiple audio/subtitles and chapters, all in the one .divx file. There are even some standalone DVD players, like the Pioneer DV-696-AV, that are DivX Ultra certified and supports all these advanced features (complete list of DivX Ultra certified devices here).
DivX.com also releases a software called DivX Author, which is basically TDA without the DVD authoring part - so this guide can be used on both TDA and DivX Author (but I'll mainly refer to TDA).
If you are interested in making/authoring DVDs, instead of DivX files, using TMPGEnc DVD Author, please refer to our TMPGEnc DVD Author 3 DVD Authoring Guide.
This guide is aimed at users who are fairly new to DivX authoring, but is already fairly comfortable with things like video conversion and editing.
Software you'll need:
Step 1: Starting and setting up a new project
Install TMPGEnc DVD Author or DivX Author - it's very straight forward, so you shouldn't run into any problems.
Start TMPGEnc DVD Author (TDA). You will be shown the "Start Project" screen. From the top right hand side, click on "Options" and select "Preferences". Go to the "DivX settings" section and click on "Video encoder advanced settings".
The "Performance" setting determines the tradeoff between high performance (low quality) and high quality (low performance). "Balanced" or "Better" should be good enough for most situations. The Bidirectional and keyframe settings can be left as they are. The "Bitrate control mode" slider allows you to tell the encoder whether to optimize for high motion or low motion - if your movie has lots of action, then you may want to adjust the slider towards high motion - normally, the standard settings gives you a good balance. Noise filter strength is best left to "None", unless your source is very noisy. For "Quantization type", select "H.264 (optimized)" for best results. I prefer to leave "Psychovisual enhancements" off, but other people swear by it so it's up to you. When you're done, press "OK" to close this window.
Back to the "DivX settings" section, some audio options are shown. These are the default audio settings. Under the "Format Change" section, you can select "Convert non-conforming audio as below" to make these options affect any audio encodings that does not comply with the DivX standard (if the audio does comply, no re-encoding will be needed). "MPEG-1 Audio Layer III" (MP3) is good enough for most situations - you can even use Dolby Digital, but it might be a bit of an overkill. The "Bitrate" can also be adjusted to lower/improve quality - 128 Kb/s is near CD quality, so it should be enough for movies (increase to 160 or 192 to get CD quality audio, but it is rarely needed for movie soundtracks). And finally, you can select a default language for the audio/subtitle, which the DivX player will play by default in the event you have multiple audio/subtitle tracks. The options I've selected in the screenshot below should be a good default setting. Press "OK" to close the options window.
We're now back on the "Start Project" screen. Select the output format, DivX Ultra NTSC or DivX Ultra PAL, depending on your input source. Usually, if your input is 25 FPS or a multiple of it (eg. 12.5, 50), it is PAL. Otherwise, it is NTSC. Make sure you TV/playback device supports the format you have chosen (say you have a PAL source, and your TV only supports NTSC, then select NTSC). Click on "Start a new project" to continue. You should now make yourself familiar with the "Options" button and the "Save Project" option - keep on saving your project at regular intervals, to prevent you losing your work or making a mistake which you cannot undo. Also keep a note of the output size bar at the bottom of the screen - there will be markers automatically placed for you at 650 MB (CD media) and 4.0 GB (DVD media), you need to ensure the purple bar (representing the current size of your DivX compilation) is not too big for the media you are writing the file to, be it CD or DVD. The actual size in MB is also listed to the right of the size bar.
Step 2: Load the input files, editing and chapter creation
You are now at the "Select Source" screen, where you can load in your input files, be they AVI/DivX/XviD files, or DVD files (unencrypted, of course). Before you do that, let's go through what a track is. In TDA, you can use one track and keep adding video files to it, or you can have separate tracks for each video file. If you only use one track, then all the video files added to it will be treated as one continuous video file - chapters are created at the start of each video file for individual playback. If you use multiple tracks, each track can be selected for individual playback from the main menu, and once selected, it will show the chapter select menu for this track. If your DivX file only has one track, the first menu shown will be the chapter select menu (or not menu at all). If it has more than one track, the first menu shown can be the menu to select which track to play. As an example, if I had the files, "Fishing Trip - Part 1", "Fishing Trip - Part 2" and "Camping Trip", then I would create a track for the fishing trip and load both fishing trip files into it, and then create another track for the camping trip. It is also required that each video under the track have the same or similar properties (eg. resolution, audio type, aspect ratio).
Use the "Add a Track" button on the left hand side to create your tracks now, if you need more than one track.
Each track will be shown on the left hand side. For each track you have created, use the "Add file" button on the right hand side to load in your video file(s). A new window will now open (the "clip addition" window). There are three sections you can select at the top - note that you can get back to this area even after you've added in your clip by using the "Edit" button next to each clip. In the "Clip Properties" section, the most important things you need to specify here is the name of this video clip, and the aspect ratio (the little preview window on the left can help you determine which aspect ratio looks right). You can also specify the audio stream mode, if your input file has multiple audio tracks.
Click on the "Cut-edit" button at the top, and here you can edit/cut your video to your liking, as well as add chapters. The video editing features are fairly easy to use, with clear buttons marked to do the usual things (mark start/end, cut). You can also add effects to the audio, such as volume reduction or fade effects. The function we are most interested here is the chapter creation function. Creating chapters is quite easy - just play the video or use the slider to get to the scene where you want to add the chapter, and click on the "Mark the current frame with a chapter entry" button (the one that looks like a "flag", on the bottom left) - each chapter will be show on the left hand side with a thumbnail. You can right click on each of these thumbnails and select whether to display this chapter in the chapter select menu (sometimes you want a chapter stop, but you don't want all the chapters to be shown in the chapter select menu), or edit the chapter name (which can be displayed on the chapter select menu, to make selections easier). Hover your mouse over the chapter thumbnails will display the chapter name and details.
Once you have created all the chapters and edited your video file, you can click on the "Subtitles" button at the top to go into the subtitle editing area. You can add up to two subtitle streams for the video by using the slider to go to the right scene and manually inputting the subtitle text (you can also specify the position and of the subtitles) - the preview window will display the subtitles once you have added them in.
Once you are finished with this clip, press "OK" and it will be added into the project. As mentioned before, you can go back and edit the clip again by clicking on the "Edit" button next to the clip. You can also right click on clip to access any of these editing functions, or duplicate the clip. If you have multiple clips in the same track, drag the clips around to get the right order. Or you can drag the clip to another track if you wish.
Once you have added at least one video to the track, you can click on the "Settings" button for the track. A new window will pop up.
In the "General" section, you can name the track (this name can be shown on the menu select screen). Moving on to the "Video" section, here you can adjust the video encoding settings for this track. It is recommended that you select the "Automatic" setting for "Encoder mode" (otherwise you will have to individually set the video settings for all the tracks, which could cause compatibility and efficiency problems). Change the "Profile & level" to match your video clip ("Home Theatre" or "HDTV" profiles - you can select "None" which will allow you to increase the bitrate all the way to 15000, but be warned, this affects compatibility - "Home Theatre" is the best profile to ensure full compatibility). You will need to adjust the "Aspect ratio" to match the aspect ratio of your input video (4:3 - full frame, 16:9 - widescreen). If your video needs re-encoding (ie. you are not editing an existing DivX file), you will need to select a bitrate - the higher the bitrate, the better the quality (1500 Kb/s should give you near DVD quality video if you don't look too closely or don't use a large screen TV, but 3000 Kb/s should guarantee that it looks very close to DVD quality). Keep an eye on the size bar down the bottom to make sure the bitrate you select fits into the media you plan to use. Note that you can configure the advanced video settings here again, if you want to use different settings for each track - otherwise, the default settings we selected in the previous step will be used for all tracks.
The options in the other two sections, "Audio settings" and "Subtitles" can be left at their default in most cases. Click "OK" to close the track settings window.
Repeat the above for all your tracks and clips.
Step 3: Menu Creation
Click on the "Menu" button at the top to go to the menu creation area. The "Menu Wizard" should be launched immediately - if it does not launch, click on the "Launch the Menu Wizard" button on the left hand side.
The simplest way to create a menu is to select the first option to use a template - just select the template, and then choose a "DivX menu structure". For this guide, we'll cover the second option, "Create a custom menu ...", which has an extra step or two that will help you make a more personalised menu. You can only choose the "No menu" option if you have a single track. The option at the bottom allows you to specify the aspect ratio of the menu 4:3 (full frame) or 16:9 (widescreen). So select "Create a custom menu ..." and press "Next" to continue/
On to the "Menu structure mode settings" page. Here, you can specify how to structure the menu. The "Create a Title Page in the Top Menu" option, when selected, creates a page that loads first and contains the option to "Play all tracks" or to select individual tracks for playback - if unselected, the first menu you see will be the track selection menu. The "Create a Title page in the Track menu", similarly, will display a menu after you select a track that gives you the "Play All" or "Select Chapters" options - if it is unselected, you will be redirected to the chapter selection screen right after selecting a track. There is also an option to create separate pages for the audio/subtitle selection, or have it all on the same page (assuming you have multiple audio/subtitles). Press "Next" to continue.
The "Custom menu creation" page is where you can get down to creating your menu. You can change the top menu's layout from a selection of pre-designed layouts - note that the top menu is the one where you select which track to play, and the track menu is the one where you select the chapters for the current track. So let's say you have 3 tracks, then you might want to select a top menu layout that can show 3 items on the same screen. And let's say you have lots of chapters, then perhaps you would select a track menu that shows as many chapters on the same screen as possible. The "green square" with the number in them is where the picture/animated thumbnail will be - otherwise, you can select one without the green squares which will only show the text title of the track/chapters. The rest of the options ("Navigation buttons", "Thumbnail frame" and "Background") allows you to use different sets of pictures for the menu template you've chosen - choose them as you see fit (you can always change them, or add in your custom background images/video later on). Press "Next" to continue.
Finally, you are at the "DivX menu structure" page (you will see this page as well if you selected to use a template). Most of the time, just leave the setting on "Automatic", but you might choose to not have a chapter select menu ("Top menu only" option) or to only have a chapter select menu ("Track menu only" option), without the track selection screen (some DivX players will have problems with this if you have multiple tracks, and no track selection screen). If you have multiple tracks, each with chapters, then the "Automatic" setting will automatically choose the third option, "Top and track menu", which will create a track selection screen and chapter selection screens for each track. For the example project I'm using for this guide which only has one track, I've chosen the "Track menu only" option (selecting "Automatic" will also select this option since this is the default for one track projects). Press "OK" to end the menu creation wizard.
Back to the main menu editing screen, click on the "Global menu options" button on the left hand side. These options will affect every menu in your current project - you can have different settings for each menu if you prefer. The first page (General) shows some of the options we just went through in the menu wizard. Click on the "Chapter display" tab, and here you can change, for each track, which chapters will be displayed in the chapter selection menu (when you created chapters, there was an option to not show the chapters in the menu, which has the same function).
Click on the "Item display" tab and here, you can choose which menu items will be displayed.
Click on the "Motion menu" tab and here, you can choose whether to add motion or background music to all your menus. Motion refers to the thumbnails (showing the first specified seconds of video in the thumbnail), background images/videos (eg. fade in/out effects) and other pictures being animated. If background audio is selected, you will have the further option to add a background sound/music track when editing each menu later on. If you selected a motion menu, you will have the option to specify the number of seconds of motion the menu will show before it stop or loops back to the beginning (depending on if you select the "Loop menu/audio" option or not). Remember to keep an eye out on the size of your project by looking at the size bar on the bottom, because motion menus can take up quite a lot of space. You can also enable/disable animation for the different types of motion elements, thumbnails, background images or other pictures. Remember that these settings will apply to all the menus, so if you do not wish for all the menus to be animated, you can leave animation off here and then enable them for each individual menu later on.
Click on the "Highlights" tab, and here, you can specify what the highlight colors will be. A highlight is when you move the navigational cursor over an element (eg. a chapter in the chapter select menu), and that element will turn a shade of a particular color you select here. There are also some highlighting shape settings you can configure (eg. the "frame" option will display a frame around the element, instead of highlighting the entire element).
And finally to the "Output" tab, where you can specify the encoding options for the menu. You can decrease the "Video bitrate" to decrease the file size of the menu, but at the cost of quality. Similarly, you can decrease the audio bitrate if your menu has background audio. Press "OK" to close the global menu settings window.
Back to the main menu editing screen again, you should now see the structure and the individual pages of your menu shown, both using the menu tree browser on the left hand side, and actual thumbnails of the menu pages in the main section. At any time, you can click on the "Simulation" button at the top to preview the menu structure - some things like animations and effects won't be shown, unfortunately.
Note that each menu will have a "menu settings" button (eg. "Top menu settings", "Track 1 menu settings" ...) button that you can click on and override the global menu settings for each individual menu (eg. some menus to have animation, other not to). Select the "Use local settings ..." option at the top to enable the changes.
If you double click on any menu pages, it will enter the editor mode where you can change each item on the page individually - you can right click on the background or each item to access editing options for the background/item or double click on them to open their properties. Just below the main area are some controls that allow you to go to the previous/next page. To the right of those, you have several options to help with editing, such as display/snap to grid, show all the directional links (more on this later on). The "TV" button is of interest because it shows you the overscan area (inner and outer set of dotted lines) - older TVs use overscan, which basically enlarges the images in order to prevent a black border from showing up - even though new TVs won't suffer from this, it is still best to ensure all your menu elements are within the inner set of dotted lines.
If you want to add a text or picture element to a page, right click on the page entry in the left menu tree browser and select the "Add a Text item" or "Add a Picture item" option.
If you have lots of menu pages and you want them all to have the same font/effects/music, then you can make it easier on yourself and edit all the menus at the same time as opposed to editing each one individually. To do this, right click on any track of page on the left hand side menu tree browser and select one of the "Change ... for all menus" options.
If you selected the "Change fonts for all menus" option, you should see the following screen, which as expected, allows you to change the font used in all the menus.
If you selected the "Change effects for all menus" option, then here you can apply effects to all the menus, such as fade in/out, blur, rotation ...
If you selected the "Change background and audio for all menus" option, then you can upload your own background picture/video, audio and add effects to the background image (eg. fade in/out). You can upload AVI/DivX and other video files to use as the background, as well as just plain still images - but remember that the motion menu settings you change earlier specified a duration for the motion menu - if your audio or video file exceeds this duration, it will be cut off or looped back to the beginning.
If you select a page and click on the "Link editor" button at the top, you can edit the directional links (what happens when you press the up/down/left/right buttons on your player's controls). For example, in the screenshot below, it shows that the "next page" button is "linked" to several other items when you press the up/down/left/right cursor on the player controls. If you are creative, you can create your own easter eggs by creating an item that is invisible or appears to be part of the background, which can then be "linked" here.
Basically play around with your menu layout, add different effects, pictures, text, until you are happy with the result. Remember to save often. Once done, press the "Simulation" button at the top, and then the "Start" button on the playback console to preview your menu (unfortunately, without animation/effects) and your DivX video. Make sure to test chapters, navigation, audio/subtitle selection.
Step 4: Output
We are nearly finished. Press the "Output" button at the top, and here we will specify where to put our new DivX file. You can even burn the DivX file straight to disc using the options here.
Use the "Browse" button to select an output folder - it is best to create a new folder for your output, otherwise you run the risk of overwriting your existing files.
Next, select the "Target size" to match the type of blank media you will be using.
If you want to burn the compilation straight to disc, enable the "Write to the media disc after output completion" option, insert a blank disc into your CD/DVD writer drive now and then click on the "CD/DVD writer settings" button to configure the writer options (select which drive to use, burning speed - as a general rule, burn the disc at the lowest speed possible, eg. 4x, to ensure the disc is error free). You should also specify a disc label for the disc. There are also post-output tasks you can specify (eg. to shut down computer after burning).
Press the "Start output" button, and TDA will now produce the DivX file for you. If no re-encoding is required (if you are editing an existing DivX), then it could take only 20 minutes to half an hour, otherwise, re-encoding can take several hours.
Once TDA finishes, you can use the DivX Player to test playback (it may be launched automatically for you). If you are using DivX Author, you can burn the DivX file to a CD/DVD using any CD/DVD writer software, or through DivX Player.
If you are using TMPGEnc DVD Author, TDA may present you with an option to use its "Disc writing tool" to burn the DivX file to CD/DVD - you can also access the "Disc writing tool" by clicking on the "Start" button at the top (going back to the "Start Project" screen) and launching it from there. Add in the folder that TDA produced if it isn't already added, insert a blank disc into your CD/DVD writer drive, specify a label, select the burning options (as a general rule, burn DVDs at the lowest speed possible, eg. 4x, to ensure the disc is error free) and click on the "Write disc" button to start the burning (or you can choose to create a disc image in ISO format, or burn an existing image to the disc).
And we're done .
Got more questions? Post them in our TMPGEnc Forum and get them answered by other expert users.
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