You can’t turn back time. That’s why memories are our precious treasures. Throughout history, humans have tried many methods to preserve precious fragments of the past; from passing on tales, carving symbols, building monuments, drawing paintings, printing photos, up to the latest method of saving digital files to hard drives and optical disks.
Speaking of optical disks, CD and DVD are the most commonly used media by common people nowadays to store their multimedia digital memories. Being a media that supports interactive menus, it’s a bit surprising that most people use DVD only to store the raw data – just a direct copy of the files from the hard drive.
Maybe they just don’t know how to make a DVD, or they think that creating DVD interactive menus is not for everybody, “those complicated things are too advanced for my simple brain” they might say.
Getting started with iDVD
But compiling pictures and videos to make your own interactive DVD shouldn’t be a daunting task. Apple provides its users with a tool to make a DVD easily. The name is iDVD.
I was opening iPhoto to organize my photos and videos taken from my cameras when I saw that there’s iDVD sitting there nearby waiting. Curious, I opened it and found out that the DVD creation process is as simple as using other iLife apps like iWeb and Garageband.
When you open iDVD, you’ll get the familiar menu with several start options. As our purpose today is to quickly and easily create an interactive DVD with our personal photos and videos, the suggested choice is “Magic iDVD“.
The next step is giving your project a name and choose the theme for it. There are several theme groups available: 7.0, 6.0, 5.0 and older versions. Each group has several themes to choose for. I just picked the “Revolution” theme as it’s the first choice that appeared.
Then you can browse the media folder to find items that you want to include in the DVD. The materials could be music, pictures and movies. Adding them to the project is just a matter of dragging and dropping.
Hit preview to see what the end result will look like. A preview window will appear, complete with the remote control-like playback interface.
If your project contains a big size of data collection, it might exceed the maximum capacity of the disc and iDVD will give you a pop-up notification.
You could delete some files to reduce the size, or you could try to modify the encoder setting. To do that, open “Project Info” from the “Project” menu (or use Command + Shift + I),
And choose the lower quality setting from the “Encoding” drop down menu.
Click “Start Project” to enter the next stage.
Giving the final touch
There are other things that you can adjust from the menu interface. Click the “Menu Info” buttom at the bottom left of the window.
The menu info window will appear. Here you can adjust the loop duration, audio volume, buttons and drop zone. You could also change the background music simply by dragging and dropping any audio file from the hard drive to the audio box.
You’ll see the general folders of the DVD such as Movies, Pictures and Music. The folder and sub folder names could be edited easily by double clicking on it.
While editing the names, a text object setting dialog will appear. You could choose the font type and size here.
The last step is producing the DVD. From the File menu choose “Burn DVD” or hit “Command + R“. You could also save the DVD as an image to store in the hard drive (Shift + Command +R).
Another way to start the DVD burning process is by clicking the “Burn” button at the lower bar of the window next to the “Play” button. The process will stall unless you have a blank DVD ready in the drive.
And all that’s left to do is wait. The time will depend on how big your files are and how strong your Mac is. You could do something else while iDVD handle the necessary steps one by one.
There are a lot of iDVD features still uncovered by this short introduction, but I think it should be enough to start your own DVD project.
Have you tried compiling personal movies and pictures into an interactive DVD? Do you know other free alternatives to iDVD? Please share using the comments below.