Page 4 of 9: Connections

Step 3: Connections

Now we get to the serious part. Menu creation is what a tool like DVD-lab Pro is all about, and why it is better than other home user based tools like Nero Vision. DVD-lab Pro is much less based on pre-made templates and much more flexible when it comes to making menus exactly the way you want.

Let's first take a look at connections. The "Connections" window should be open, but if it isn't, double click on the "Connections" tree listing in the "Project" tree view. A connection is any link between menus, content or any object. A button in the menu that can be clicked on to go to another menu page (for example, the chapter selection page) will have a connection to that other page shown in the "Connections" window. Buttons on the player's remote control/interface is another type of connection. Even automatic redirects (such as a menu automatically redirecting to the main movie after 30 seconds) is also a type of connection. The screenshot below is what the "Connections" window currently looks like (ie. pretty basic). It shows that when the disc first starts, it will go to "Menu 1". "Menu 1" doesn't actually have any outgoing links at the moment (we'll fix this later). Pressing the "Title" button on the remote also goes to "Menu 1". The main movie, "Movie 1", will go to the root menu when it finishes playback, and the root menu is currently "Menu 1".

DVD-lab Pro: Connections

I will now add a short intro clip that will play before the main menu starts. This intro clip will also be accessible from the main menu through an Easter Egg type button, just as an example of how to do these sort of things. I haven't made a clip, but I will use the one that comes with DVD-lab Pro. Go to the "Assets" section, select the "Clip" sub-section and drag the "DVD-lab" (choose NTSC or PAL, depending on which one your project uses) clip into the "Connections" window.

DVD-lab Pro: Add Clip

To make this clip the intro clip, click on the "Draw Links" button from the left hand toolbar, and draw a link between the "First Play" icon to the new clip in the "Connections" window. Then draw another link from the clip to the "Menu 1". Press the select arrow at the top of the left hand tool bar to exit the link drawing mode. And this is how easy it is to add an intro clip that displays before the main menu. Now, we will add a new menu that will become our chapter select menu. To do this, click on the "Place Empty Object" button on the left hand toolbar and click anywhere in the "Connections" window to place a new menu object (alternatively, there are a bunch of buttons on the bottom of the "Connections" window for adding new objects). Your connections diagram will get more and more complicated as you add more menus, buttons and links. Most of your links will be automatically generated as you edit menus, add buttons and place links.

DVD-lab Pro: Draw Links

DVD-lab Pro: Place New Object

You can right click on any object in the connection window and rename it to something more meaningful ("Main Menu", "Chapters Menu", "Main Movie" and "Intro Movie"). The connections should now look something like this (after I renamed everything):

DVD-lab Pro: Connections

Selecting any object and there are also some options you can change at the bottom. The "Menu Button" option refers to what happens when you are viewing this clip/menu and the user presses the menu button on the DVD player remote - you can select a menu that the player will be redirected to (for example, when the user presses the menu button during the main movie, it goes to the chapters menu instead of the main menu). You can select (SELF) to have it loop to itself (only applicable for menus). The "Self (RSM)" is an option for DVD players for which the menu buttons doubles as the "resume play" button, selecting this will allow resume to work on players that supports it, and on players that don't, it will simply act the same as "SELF"). Similarly, the "End Link" option specifies which menu will be opened when the item finishes playing, and you can even select which button will be highlighted on that menu.

DVD-lab Pro: Linking

Let's first edit "Main Menu", our main menu. Double click on the "Main Menu" icon in the "Connections" window, or the "Main Menu" entry in the "Project" tree view. This opens the menu editor.



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