Okay, we're now officially smack dab in the middle of the era of the
There is no question--we're now officially smack dab in the middle of the era of the "homemade" DVD.
DVD burners are included with most modern computers and the ubiquitous shiny discs are rapidly pushing aside VHS tape as the "home recording" format of choice. So if you haven't made the switch to your own home DVD authoring environment, now's the time.
I use the term "environment" rather than "program" because quite a few people who want to create their own DVDs are turning to stand-alone DVD burners, rather than authoring their DVDs in a software application on a computer. Both approaches yield similar results -- take your pick. This article focuses on computer-based DVD burning, but if you're considering a standalone DVD recorder, see the sidebar, Standing Alone.
All DVD authoring requires at least some basic menu creation. This is the process of building a navigation "front end" so that the end-user can locate and play the content that is burned onto the disc.
Most DVD authoring software typically comes with pre-packaged menu templates, so if you just want to get the job done fast and easy, look for these templates to give you a head start or inspiration, or cues for how to proceed in making your own templates down the road. More robust software provides customization options, including control over the "look and feel" of your interface. The best software programs allow you to start with a professionally built template but essentially "deconstruct" them in order to customize them for your particular use.
For example, if the original template designer specified 4 animated picons (picture icons, or thumbnails) for scene selection, but you have 5 scenes that you want to fit onto your menu page, you can almost always copy and paste another picon link and, with a few clicks and some simple drag-and-drop screen re-arrangement, be ready to go.
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