Page 7 of 9: Chapters Menu Creation

Step 5: Chapters Menu Creation

We will now create the chapters menu. This menu will be a motion menu, with the chapter thumbnails being animated by scenes from that chapter.

Showing the following screenshot again here as this page refers to this screenshot again.

DVD-lab Pro: Menu Editor Interface

An easy way to make the chapter menus is to use the built-in "Add Scene Select" wizard that will use one of the pre-made chapter templates to make your chapter menus quickly. Access this wizard by clicking on the wizard icon at the top DVD-lab Pro toolbar, and select the "Add Scene Selection Menu" option.

DVD-lab Pro: Add Scene Selection Menu

In the new window that opens, select which template you want to use, the VTS set and movie you wish to make the chapter menu for, and what is the parent menu (the menu that links to this chapter menu, which should be the "Main Menu" for the example project used by this guide).

DVD-lab Pro: Add Scene Selection Menu Wizard

Alternatively, you can just use what you've learned from this guide so far to manually make your chapter menus. The only thing new you need to know is the "Insert Chapter Still" function (7, in the menu editor interface screenshot above). This function is quite easy to use, and it will insert a still image from the chapter stop as well as automatically link to that chapter. Remember to link all the menus together, and to link them all to the "Main Menu", and to draw the routes if you didn't use "auto-routes". You can also copy/paste elements from menus, it that helps.

DVD-lab Pro: Insert Chapter Still

Now we'll get to the fun part of making motion menus. What I want to do now is to take these chapter stills and make them animated. Each "still" will now show 10 seconds from the chapter and then loop back. What really happens is that the background to the menu becomes a movie file instead of a still picture, thus allowing for animated menus. This is now easy to do with DVD-lab Pro's built-in "Render Motion Menu" wizard, and even easier in the new version of DVD-lab Pro (previous versions required you to make an AVI file, and then encode it to MPEG-2 using third party applications - the new version has a built-in MPEG-2 encoder so no other tools are now required). Access this wizard by first going into the menu editor for the menu you wish to make into a motion menu (in my example, the Chapters menu), then click on the wizard icon at the top DVD-lab Pro toolbar, and select the "Render Motion Menu" option.

DVD-lab Pro: Render Motion Menu

In the new window that opens, the "Motion Objects" section will list the items that can be animated, which in this example should be the chapter still images. You can select each individual object (a red border will be shown around the object in the menu preview on the left) and check or uncheck the "Render this object in the final clip" option to specify whether you want to animate this object or not (by default, all objects are selected). There is a preview where you can play back a section from what will become the motion object, check the "Repeat if Shorter" option if certain objects have different length (eg. if the chapter stop is at the very end, then perhaps that chapter will be shorter than the length of the motion), and you want to make them all play with the same length, with the shorter clips being looped to get to the longer length. The "Shuffle" loop point will make the point at which the loop occurs for each object different, so you won't be visually able to tell when the loop point occurs (as opposed to every object having the same loop point, which makes it very obvious). You can even change the start point of the animation if needed, using the slider or the "Fine Scrub" tool to greater precision.

DVD-lab Pro: Render Motion Menu Wizard

DVD-lab Pro: Render Motion Menu Wizard

Under the "Global Settings and Output" section, this is where most of the options for the motion menu are selected. The "Total Clip Time" indicates how long this motion menu should last before looping (10 seconds is a good default value, anything higher will take up more space in your project - see timing diagram below). Select "MPEG-2" as the video format to forego the need to re-encode the video - set the bit-rate to somewhere between 6000 to 8000 kbps (or less if you are short on space). For the "Intro Effect" setting, you can specify one of many options - selecting the "From Top", for example, will display an intro that "drops" the two animated objects from the top of the screen (the intro will only play the first time the menu loads, and will not be part of the subsequent loops - see timing diagram below). Select how long this intro needs to be. The "Cross-fade the End for Looping" option will make the looping less abrupt by cross fading the end with the start of the next loop (see timing diagram below). When you're happy with the settings, press the "Render" button and you'll be asked where you want to save this motion menu (as a M2V file, I would save it in the same directory as where you main movie M2V file is). After a short while, the M2V file will be generated containing the motion menu. Press "Close" to close the wizard and you will get a prompt telling you that the current menu has been made into a motion menu.

DVD-lab Pro: Render Motion Menu Wizard

DVD-lab Pro: Motion Menu Prompt

DVD-lab Pro: Motion Menu Timing

You should notice at the bottom of the menu editor, the M2V file has been added as part of the motion animation for this menu. If you want to view what the motion menu looks like, you can locate the M2V file that has just been saved and play it back in your MPEG-2 capable media player.

And repeat the above steps for every chapter menu. See, it's not too hard at all. This is what my connection diagram now looks like after adding chapter menus.

DVD-lab Pro: Connections



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