Using DVD Lab

Links:     DVD Lab Quick Tutorial     MediaChance DVD Lab Home (for both Standard and Pro versions)
                DVD Lab Pro Forum 

File Types and DVD Lab

Elemental streams allowed for DVD Lab Pro video clips:

Video - mpv (MPEG-1 Video) or m2v (MPEG-2 Video)

Audio - AC3, mp2, mpa, wav  -  or from audio stream in mpg
NOTE:  no MP3.  Although many other DVD authoring utilities allow mp3 files, DVD Lab does not (neither does Adobe Premiere).  Convert it to mpa using TMPGenc Plus

Add Background Audio to Menus

  1. import an audio file in the assets window - it must be 48 kHz !!

  2. goto the connections window and double-click the menu to view it

  3. simply drag an audio file into the menu window
     

Opening the Menu Properties Window - for setting colors, PBC for background audio, etc

This is suprisingly tricky - you MUST first drag an audio or videofile into the menu.  It is a bug in the program.  Because the only way to open the Menu properties box, is to right-click on the Video/Audio background bar (which does NOT show unless there actually IS a background video or audio file ).

So drag one there, and do as follows:

 

then click on the tab at the left that you want (in this case we clicked on "PBC" to set up the background audio parameters:

 

 

Importing Menu Backgrounds  -  the size is strange but this is what the DVD-lab Help file recommends:

  1. create a PSD file usin the dimensions shown in the table


     

  2. add a new, Empty Menu to the connections window

  3. double-click to open the blank menu

  4. select Menu/Import Menu . . . from PSD

  5. select the PSD file and it will become the background of the new menu

 

Typically you only need one VTS set, and you can place multiple menus (one Root menu and multiple sub-menus) under that set. You can also have submenus of submenus.  BUT all movies in one VTS set must have the same frame size (720x480 for example), the same aspect ratio (4:3 for example) and the same type of audio format (AC3 for example).

If you want to add videos to your DVD that have different properties − for example, typically different aspect ratios − one is Full Screen (4:3) and the other Widescreen (16:9) − then you have to make at least two Video Title Sets and place each of the movies in its own VTS.

But DVD players cannot navigate from one VTS directly to another, and for this the DVD needs a go-between menu called VMG (Video Manager Group).  The VMG menu acts as a hub. or connector for the different VTS Root menus.

NOTE1: the first VTS menu by default becomes the "Root", or "Main Menu". The other VTS menus will be sub-menus and can be used to reference large numbers of video clips to be played separately.

NOTE2: you will want the clips to finish and return to the VTS Menu that they were started from. So make sure to either draw connections for the returns, or click on the selector of where to link to upon completion. Otherwise, after each clip plays it will return to the Root Menu by default (not the VTS Sub-menu that the clip was played from).

NOTE3: You can include a "Playlist" button to play all the clips sequentially, or whatever ones you add to it, in that menu too as an option.

DVD Lab Bugs

1) Link Text under Buttons unreadable - quite often you need to see what a menu object is linked to - so you click on the object and the blue text underneath lists the link. Problem is, even with my glasses I cannot read the text on my DVD menus, which are black. I can find no option to make the text karger, nor any option to change the color of the text

2) Recompile "changes only" needed - sometimes I make the most minor change, such as drag a different link or remove an audio track, etc. I have 63 video clips in my projrect and EVERY time I compile, which takes over a half hour - they are all processed again. I am not asking for DVD Lab to give me options to only compile this, or that . . . . rather, it should keep a log of what was compiled, and then only recompile what needs to be changed

3) Connections Window Lines Overlap - the connections window is my favorite part of DVD Lab. However, they have made it so that almost all of the right-angle lines overlap so that there is no way to distinguish them. They lines should always be at least a millimeter apart so that they can be distinguished from one another

4)  Render Motion sound synch is way off  - to make motion buttons in Menus - the sound lags behind the video a whopping 3 to 4 seconds !!!

5) Render Motion Intro AND Looping cannot be done - I read the guide very carefully on this and it does not make sense. The setup is this - I have 8 buttons that are linked to video clips in Menu2. When I am at Menu1 and click the link to go to Menu2, I want to see a black, black screen while the 8 buttons drop down from the top for a 3 second "Intro", and then each button will continue to play video that loops for the last 7 seconds, using the "shuffle loop" start option.

I do not want the text and buttons to show while the buttons are descending from the top. But the guide says:

"The Intro Effects determine how the objects appear during the Intro sequence. For example "From Top" will, during intro sequence, animate all objects from top part of screen to their current position.  There are also two special cases Buttons Cut and All Objects Cut that don't have any animation. Buttons Cut will make all buttons invisible during intro (every other object will be visible). The buttons will then appear at once right after intro time.  All Objects Cut will make all objects invisible duuring intro, except background. The objects will then appear at once right after intro time."

So I selected "All Objects Cut" in the drop-down box. BUT that removed my previous "From Top" selection, which removed the Intro. The whole idea behind cutting the buttons cut option is to do it "during the Intro motion". The guide even says, "All Objects Cut will make all objects invisible duuring intro". This does not make sense and it seems to be a catch-22. If you select "From Top" so that you have an "Intro", then you cannot select "All objects Cut". And if you select "All Objects Cut" . . . then you cannot select an option that creates an Intro.

There is only one drop-down box and the selections are all mutually exclusive. Any
 

6)  Frames permanently take over the Link from the object they are dropped onto  -  once a frame has been dropped, the object will lose its link forever.  The frame takes it.  For example, if you have one frame of video "clip1.mpv" that you dragged and dropped into the Menu, and then linked it to the actual Movie, it will show that link to "clip1.m2v" when you click on it to select it.  If you drag and drop a frame onto the image, and then later click to select it - you can only select the "frame", and it will now show that it has take over the link to clip1.m2v !!!  The only way to select the image is to drag the frame away from it.  If you do that, and click on the image, you will see that it has lost it's link to clip1.m2v  In fact, if you drop a frame onto an object that is linked to a movie, and then decide you do not want the frame, and you delete it - since it took over the link fro the object  .  .  .  the object does not "retake" the link back, and the link is lost.  So, whenever you delete a frame, you need to re-link the underlying object.

7)  Cloned Menus - new objects not updated to the clone - if you add objects after the cloning is performed - they will NOT be added to the other menu and therefore there will NOT be a logical group created.  Whenever you add objects to one of the menus of a clone pair - the other menu will NOT be updated automatically.  Your only choice to keep them identical is to add an object to one of the menus, copy it, then paste it into the other menu.  This will cause both menus to have the same object - however, the objects still will not be grouped, and any subsequent changes or edits will have to be done to either both menus - or to one of the menus and then copy and paste it over.

8)  Stop Compiling does not work - the compile process can take up to 30 minutes on a complex DVD, an d many times you may realize you forgot something or want to change something.  So you need to stop the compile, and you click the "Stop Compile" button  .  .  .  the problem is  .  .  .  it never stops !!  The only way is to open Windows Task Manager (CTRL-Alt-Del) and shut down DVD Lab !!

9)  Mysterious Error Message - "You have reached limit 128 Pre-commands in one or more of the objects" -  on a rather complex DVD with 62 Video clips and 7 Menus, I received that error message during a Test Compile.  Here is the exact message - it does not tell me which object/s I have reached the limit with - it also does not tell me what in the world a "pre-command" is :

You have reached limit 128 Pre-commands in one or more of the objects
Do you want to continue anyway (the commands above 128 will be ignored) ?  (Yes/No)

 

Here is an excellent thread on the DVD Lab forum that talks about this error message.  Unfortunately, the solution they talk about is to add "dummy menus" - however no one explains it well enough to understand it.