Shane's DVD Recording Help Center 

DVD Technology
(An overview)

Backing Up Movies
(Custom 1:1 copies of DVD Videos)

Convert VCD/SVCD
(to DVD Video)

Advanced Authoring
(Roll your own DVDs)

Our Disclaimer
(You must read and comply)

Media Recommendations
(What I've Tried and Results)


Advanced Authoring

Because of the great price and ease of use, we are going to use DVD-lab for our authoring tool. These tutorials will assume you already have captured video either in DVD format or SVCD format. This tutorial will not only get your video onto a DVD, but we'll show you how to make DVD menus (still and animated), scene selections (still and animated), create chapter stops, and how to relink everything to your own liking. This is a long one, but useful. We will ASSUME a very basic understanding of MPG, SVCD, TMPGenc, etc. This is NOT for beginners.

Making Your First DVD

Step 1: Acquiring your assets
Software Needed:
- Various

Get your stuff together BEFORE you start!

  • Gather all your videos together in one place. For this tutorial, I'll be using the SVCD rip of the TV show DEAD LIKE ME (1x6). You can use your own DVD compliant capture or another SVCD.
  • Create custom backgrounds. DVD-lab has lots of premade backgrounds, but I like something a bit more custom. Click here to see my DEAD LIKE ME background.
  • Custom audio clips. You will probably want some sound for your menus. Create or borrow a sound loop or two. We'll be using two loops - one for the main menu, and one for the chapter selection screens. These MUST be 48k/16bit/Stereo WAV files.
  • That's about it - we're ready to start!

Step 2: Importing Assets
Software Needed:
- DVD-lab
(30 Day Trial: Download; $79 | Visit Homepage)

Get all your assets into DVD-lab, transcoding any SVCD audio that is not DVD compliant.

  • Download and install DVD-lab.
  • Run DVD-lab. It looks daunting, doesn't it? Not too bad .. just bear with me.
  • Locate the asset area on the bottom left. This area has several tabs on the bottom that says VIDEO & AUDIO, BACKGROUNDS, etc. This is where pre-made backgrounds, objects, and your custom assets are stored.
  • Right click this area and select IMPORT. A file requestor will open. Select your video file. DVD-lab will ask if you want to convert the file to ELEMENTARY STREAMS.
  • Convert your file to elementary streams. Depending on how big your file is, this can take a LONG LONG time. But its for the best. You can watch the progress in the Asset Area.

  • View errors, if any - and transcode the audio as necessary. If your video is SVCD, or your DVD capture has incorrect formatting, you will get a box telling you that some errors or warnings occured. If you are using valid DVD video but incorrect audio in your file, or you are using an SVCD, you will get an error about the audio not being correct.

    Hit OK and you will be asked to TRANSCODE the audio.

    Just accept the defaults and hit TRANSCODE. This will take a bit of time, but not as long as the demuxing did.

    If you have fully compliant DVD video and audio, you won't need to perform this step.

    IF TRANSCODING FAILS ... DVD-lab may give you some sort of error during the transcode (something about accessing the file). If this happens, you will need to transcode the audio seperately. See a seperate tutorial, TRANSCODING SVCD AUDIO.
  • Import the new transcoded audio. If transcode above was successful, then the new audio already appears in your assets. If not, you'll need to right click and hit IMPORT and add the transcoded audio to your assets.

    If not, repeat the process until you have both a valid video and audio track for your video.
  • Add menu audio. If you have audio for your menus, import them the same way. I'll be adding two WAV files to the project. Your asset area should look something like this:

  • Click on the BACKGROUND tab of the asset area. We're going to be adding our background image for our menus. You will see a bunch of premade still backdrops for your movie.
  • Right click and select IMPORT. Select your custom background. In my case, I'll add my Dead Like Me backdrop. You will get asked if you want to copy it permanently to your backgrounds. Go ahead and do so. The thumbnail will show you your picture has been added.
  • We now have all the assets we need to make our DVD!

Step 3: Adding the Main Movie to the Project
Software Needed:
- DVD-lab
(30 Day Trial: Download; $79 | Visit Homepage)

Get your movie into the project.

  • Locate the project area on the upper right. This big area probably has a couple of sub-windows in it like CONNECTIONS and MOVIE1. Note the tabs underneath that will bring the named window to the front so you can work on it.
  • Bring the MOVIE1 window into view by clicking the tab. You will see a window with a timeline on it featuring chapters, video, and audio tracks.
  • From the assets window, left drag the VIDEO file you imported earlier and drop it on the filmstrip denoted track in the MOVIE1 window. Note, you may have to click the VIDEO & AUDIO tab in the asset area to see the assets again. You will see a series of thumbnails generated in the MOVIE1 window with some time stops.
  • Fromthe assets widnow, left drag the AUDIO file you imported earlier and drop it on the AUDIO1 track. The area will change color to denote you have successfully added the audio.
  • Bring the CONNECTIONS window into view by clicking the tab below the project area. You should see a few boxes, including the MOVIE1 box.
  • Right click the MOVIE1 box and select RENAME. Rename your movie to something that makes sense to you. You should see something like this:

    Notice how there is a line connecting the movie to the MENU 1. This will make more sense as we work with it.

Step 4: Creating Chapters (auto)
Software Needed:
- DVD-lab
(30 Day Trial: Download; $79 | Visit Homepage)

Break your video into chapters not only for the convenience of viewing but also to assist in making scene selection menus.

  • Select the MOVIE 1 tab below the asset area to bring the video into view.
  • Locate the PREVIEW window on the bottom right. Above the window is an Auto Chapters button:

    Click this button.
  • Choose ADD and enter 11 in the chapters window. Click OK.

    Your video file will be parsed (you get to watch) and it will select some chapter breaks based on scene changes in your movie. You will see little red carrots appear on the MOVIE1 window showing where the chapters are. You may change them later. For now, let's move on.
  • Your chapters are ready.

Step 5: Creating Scene Selections
Software Needed:
- DVD-lab
(30 Day Trial: Download; $79 | Visit Homepage)

Let DVD-lab make you a menu full of thumbnails for each chapter.

  • Using the pulldowns, select MENU -> ADD SCENE SELECTIONS.
  • You will get a pop up window. Select your movie, menu1 and the yellow selection on the bottom:

    Hit ok. Then hit YES when asked. It will tell you it successfully created the menu.
  • Locate the project tree on the top left. Under MENUS, double click the SCENES 1 FOR <your movie name>. This will bring up your newly made menu of scene selection into view.
  • Change out the background with your own - under assets, click the Background tab and locate the thumbnail to your imported background. Left drag it and drop it near the edge of the existing orange border. This will trade out the background for your own.
  • If you would like, you may remove the balls by single clicking them and hitting Delete. Be sure not to select the up carrot (its gold) - that is the menu item that takes the watcher back to the main menu. You can also move the up carrot around by left dragging - put it somewhere where it meshes well with your background. Something like this:

  • If you have an audio track to play during your scene selection, drag it from the assets area to the AUDIO track located under your scene selection menu.

  • We're done making the chapter selection menu.

Step 6: Creating the Title Menu
Software Needed:
- DVD-lab
(30 Day Trial: Download; $79 | Visit Homepage)

Create the main menu including branches for starting the movie and going to the chapter selection menu.

  • Select the CONNECTIONS tab under the project area.
  • Double click the ROOT box (its light purple). A blank menu will come up.
  • Add your backdrop to the menu. From the BACKGROUNDS area of the asset manager, find the thumbnail for your backdrop and left drag it to the menu area in the project area. Your image will become the backdrop of the menu.
  • Add an image from the movie to the menu for aesthetics. Use the preview window slider to scroll through your movie and find a nice frame. Left drag the image to the menu area. Put it where you want, say centered on the right.
  • Add some menu items. Click the TEXT button in the upper left:

    Click somewhere on your menu where you want to place text.
  • Select a font (we'll use ARIAL 40 point size) and type in "Play Movie". Hit OK. You may then move the text wherever you like by left dragging. To change the color, use the FILL COLOR located in the upper right hand corner of the menu editor.
  • Repeat this process and put a "Scene Selection" item on the screen.

    Might look something like that.
  • Now link the PLAY MOVIE text to the movie. Right click the PLAY MOVIE, select LINK->your movie name->MOVIE START. The Play Movie is now linked to the start of your movie.
  • Link the SCENE SELECTION text to the chapter selection menu. Right click SCENE SELECTION, select LINK->SCENES 1 FOR <your movie name>. That text is now linked to the scene selections.
  • Add your audio clip to the menu. As before, drag the audio clip from the asset window to the audio track area of the menu.
  • Your menu is now done.

Step 7: Testing Your DVD
Software Needed:
- DVD-lab
(30 Day Trial: Download; $79 | Visit Homepage)
- Software DVD player (Nero Showtime, PowerDVD, WinDVD)

Test the menus before making the DVD files.

  • Select the pulldown PROJECT->COMPILE DVD. This opens the compile DVD window.
  • Check mark TEST COMPILE. This will create only the navigational stuff while leaving the movie clips alone. This is a fast way to test to make sure everything is ok before you do the long part of remuxing the video and building the vob files.
  • Hit Start. Depending on your machine speed, this will only take a moment.
  • Close the compile DVD window.
  • Minimize DVD-lab.
  • Open your software DVD player.
  • Point it at the files in the C:\DVDVolume\VIDEO_TS folder.
  • Try it out. Go to your scene selections. Try the up carrot.

Step 8: Burn your DVD
Software Needed:
- DVD-lab
(30 Day Trial: Download; $79 | Visit Homepage)

Burn the full DVD.

  • Select the pulldown PROJECT->COMPILE DVD.
  • Hit OK.

    Your movie will fully build and finally burn. This can take a great deal of time. Once burned, your DVD is ready to play.

    Note: If you used SVCD files, your DVD player MUST play SVCD movies. Believe it or not, many players do not.

(c) Copyright 2004 by Shane R. Monroe. All rights reserved. If you plan on shoplifting, please let us know. Thanks, Mgmt. This site is not officially associated with or endorsed by Ahead Software, Pinnacle Systems, or any other product that may be linked or downloaded from here. Use of this site requires the complance with Our Disclaimer. Use of product images is allowed under the Fair Use Act.