Importing and Encoding

Now that I've spent several pages explaining why you don't just jump into iDVD without creating some content first, that's exactly what I'm going to ask you to do.

You see, iDVD doesn't come with a manual, so Apple recommends you work your way through the included iDVD tutorial. It shouldn't take you more than an hour to complete, and it exposes you to many program features in a short time.

But this tutorial is also short on explanations it shows what to do, but it doesn't provide much detail about why you're doing it, or other ways of doing it.

That's what every hands-on tutorial in this book is shooting for. And, in addition, the tutorials in this chapter are designed to get you familiar with iDVD's rich set of features.

Getting started

For this section, we're going to pretend you've already completed Steps 1 and 2 planning the project and creating the content elements. We'll be using the movies, pictures, and music you received with your copy of iDVD in the Tutorial folder to simulate those steps.


When you installed iDVD, the tutorial should automatically have been installed in a folder called "Tutorial" in your iDVD folder. If you can't find the Tutorial folder on your hard disk, try this: Choose iDVD Tutorial from the iDVD Help menu, then click the "Open the iDVD Tutorial project and continue" link at bottom left. If it doesn't find the Tutorial for you, you may have to reinstall the program. Also, if you've moved the iDVD folder (for example, put it in a subfolder of Applications), Help won't be able to find it.

Let's open that Tutorial project and get going. You can do this in either of two ways. Here's the first way:

  1. Launch iDVD and choose iDVD Tutorial from the Help menu.


  2. Click the "Open the iDVD Tutorial project" link at bottom left.


The second way is even simpler:

  1. From the Finder, open the Start Tutorial Here file in the Tutorial folder.


Whichever method you do, when you're finished, you should have two windows on your screen the iDVD Help window and the South Pacific project window, as shown in Figure 3.1.

Figure 3.1. Your screen should now look like this, more or less.


Finally, click the Next link at the lower right of the iDVD Help window and you're ready to begin.

Importing (and encoding)

After you complete Steps 1 and 2 for your project, the next step is to import that content your movies, still pictures, and sound files. While you work on other things iDVD can begin encoding them in the background, as you'll see in a moment.

Right now, I want you to import at least one file so iDVD has something to chew on (encode in the background) while you continue to work on the rest of the tutorial.


This isn't a bad habit importing your movies earlier rather than later. Compression takes quite a bit of time, so you might as well let the program get to work while you're doing other things.

The files you're going to use are in the Media folder, in the Tutorial folder, and are shown in Figure 3.2.

Figure 3.2. QuickTime movies, TIFF graphics, and MP3 audio are just some of the types of files you can use with iDVD.



You'll learn more than you want to know about file formats in Chapter 5.

We'll start with the file Background in the Media folder. Choose File > Import > Background Video and select the file. When it opens in iDVD, things should look something like Figure 3.3.

Figure 3.3. There's nothing fishy about having a movie playing in the background like this.



If your screen doesn't look like Figure 3.3, make sure you imported the correct file. Also make sure that you didn't choose Import > Video instead of Import > Background Video. They're not the same. Click the Motion button to turn on Motion if it's not already turned on. Finally, make sure iDVD is currently the active application, not Help Viewer.

You should be seeing fish swim and hearing a sweet little jazzy composition. If you're not (but your screen does look like Figure 3.3), click the Motion button.

Now, sit back for a second and admire your handiwork. You already have a background movie for your DVD. The excitement should last about 38 seconds, which is roughly the length of two repetitions of the movie (it loops automatically). When you begin to get sick of it, click the Motion button (again).


Notice how the background movie dims when you turn motion off; that's just one of iDVD's elegant touches.

Let's add a normal (non-background) movie. While you could choose Import > Video to do this, I find the drag-and-drop method easier. Just drag the movie file onto the project in iDVD, like this:


And when you release the mouse, you'll have created a movie button, as shown in Figure 3.4.

Figure 3.4. I know it doesn't look like much yet. But it will.



If Motion is turned off you won't see the dude in the rectangle in the middle you'll see a text message that says "Drag movies or photos here."

Import the other two tutorial movies, and Play, using either drag and drop or Import > Video. Let iDVD chew on them while you get to work on the next step, which is…


If the background encoding makes your Mac feel sluggish (which it may, particularly on older Macs), you can turn it off in iDVD Preferences by unchecking "Enable background encoding."


Minimize the iDVD window (click the yellow gumdrop) and your movies will be encoded somewhat faster.

The Little iDVD Book
The Little iDVD Book
ISBN: 0321197747
Year: 2003
Pages: 62 © 2008-2017.
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