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Advanced Navigation Authoring with Apple DVDSP: The Chapter Skip Button

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Advanced Navigation Authoring with DVDSP: The Chapter Skip Button
A Creative COW Tutorial


Advanced Navigation Authoring in DVDSP: The Chapter Skip Button
Jake Russell Jake Russell
London, England UK

©Jake Russell and CreativeCOW.net. All rights reserved.

Article Focus: Creative Cow Contributor Jake Russell takes you deep into the advanced navigation capabilities in Apple DVD Studio Pro to show you how to take complete control over menu navigation. In this case, he'll show you how to make the chapter skip button take you to a menu. It might SOUND easy, but if you've tried it, you might actually think it's impossible -- but not if you follow Jake's direction.

With all the navigational options available in DVD Studio Pro, making the Chapter Skip button take you to the Menu may, at first, not seem too hard to achieve! But after you have tried setting Chapter End Jumps and Track End Jumps you would be forgiven for thinking that being able to force the Chapter Skip Button to go to the Menu is impossible.

This question arose in the Cow's Apple DVD Studio Pro forum:

I am editing a one hour training video that pauses several times for a user-definable length of time to "stop and do the exercise." No music or animation or anything else that distracts the user, just a simple still graphic so that they can concentrate on the exercises.

So, I first edited everything on one sequence in FCP. I faded to black and put DVDSP chapter markers where the DVD is to display the still PSD until the user clicks anywhere on it or taps any key to resume. This actually works well and is pretty straight forward to author. If you just play the DVD in its entirety, it works as authored.

Here's the snag, however.

When you're playing back the DVD and you want to jump or fast forward or backward to the next or previous programmed PSD, it instead jumps or plays past to the next or previous chapter marker on the sequence and then plays from there without showing the PSD stills (menus) authored in DVDSP.

I thought of a workaround, but it didn't work.
...

I have already started authoring a project like this, and it is fairly simple so far. A Training Video Plays (Vid1) then End Jumps to a Menu 1 so the Users can ask questions, do an exam etc. They then watch Vid2, go to Menu 2 and then Vid3 before Menu 3.

Multiple tracks menu

As you can see above, each Menu has 2 buttons. One to Play the Next Track and one to Play the Previous Track. The Third Menu has a replay button and a restart (from Track 1) button.

Title/Top Menu and (root) Menu Calls have been disabled but you do not have to do that for your project if you need to be able to Menu out of the video.

The hitch is if you want to be able to Skip to the Menu, or force playback through the Menu after each Video using the Chapter Skip Button.

To do this select Track 1 in Graphical View or the Outline Tab.force playback through the DVDSP menu



Then in the Connections Tab you need to make sure you are using Advanced Detail View because then you will see two new options. Next Jump and Prev Jump. To ensure that the Next Item seen is Menu 1 drag Menu 1 from the Targets on the right to the Next Jump Sources Target.

DVDSP Graphical View or Outline Tab


Now when the User skips they will be taken to Menu 1. If there is more than one Chapter in the Track they will be taken to Menu 1 when Chapter skip is pressed during the last Chapter.


Now select Track 2.Here's how to assign the track skip in DVD Studio Pro



Set the Next Jump to Menu 2 and Prev Jump to Menu 1 if you want the User to be able to return to the Previous Menu.
DVD Studio Pro Next Menu



Select Track 3.
Track 3



You’ve got it! Set the Next Jump to Menu 3 and the Prev Jump to Menu 2.
Jump menu



Before we Simulate the Project to check things we will quickly restructure the Domains.

Huh?!?!

It’s nothing major. We simply don’t want all the Menus by Track 1, as the behind the scenes programming will have to bounce us about the place and take us back over by Track 1 each time we view a Menu. Even after doing this it will still bounce us about a bit, but we will end up by the associated Track.


In the Outline Tab its a good idea to split the Tab.
Split the tab for efficient DVD authoring

Put the mouse over by the edge of the quadrant and when you see the mouse pointer change to look as above then drag out to reveal the By VTS view.


You can toggle between By Type and By VTS views but I much prefer to have both visible.
Sort by VTS


As you can see, the Menus are in Video Title Set (VTS) 1 next to Track1. We want to leave Menu 1 by Track 1 but we want Menu 2 near Track 2 and Menu 3 by Track 3.
Align assets with menus. This advanced stuff isn't all that tough is it?



Lets move Menu 2, drag it from VTS 1 to VTS 2 and let go. Then drag Menu 3 to VTS 3.



This “advanced stuff” really is not that tough is it?


Now each Menu should be by its associated Track. Much better.Place DVD Assets and menus next to each other



That’s it! The Vids play as we want and go to the Menu but now if the user skips they will still go to the Menu.


Great, but wait! What's the catch??


There is a downside to using Next Jump and Prev Jump which I’ll cover shortly, but let's just Simulate the project first. Press Simulate on the Tool Bar.Simulate the DVD project

 

Then make sure the Information Drawer is visible. If it is not you can make it appear by pressing the ‘i’ button.DVD Studio Pro information tray



As Track 1 (Vid1) is the First Play of the Project it will begin to play. The Item Properties will confirm the Track Name playing is Vid1 but notice also that Menu 1 is the Next Jump. Press Chapter Skip (not Track Skip) and you will go to Menu 1. Activate the Play Next Button on Menu 1 to go to the next Track.Press Chapter Skip, not Track Skip



Now Vid2 will be playing and the Next/Prev Jumps should work as expected. Press next to go to Menu 2. Then from Menu 2 go to Track 3.Next/Prev jumps should work as expected



While Vid3 is playing check the Next Jump and Prev Jump settings in the Item Properties, the User should be able to Skip to Menu 3 or return to Menu 2.The advanced navigation is now complete: user can skip to menu 3 or return to menu 2


The functionality has now been added and all working as expected.

Oh yeah, what about the downside?

Basically, DVDSP has to do some stuff behind the scenes to make this all possible, which means when you set the Next/Prev Jump for a Track some players will not display the runtime and chapter info in the LCD Display. That may or may not be a big deal for your project.

This is the Build opened in DVDAfterEdit 3 Mastering Edition (DVDAE ME). DVDAE allows you to see under the hood and exposes the really advanced “Spec Stuff”. Although it has many features that are essential for advanced mastering, all I want to do is to show what DVD Studio Pro is doing behind the scenes.

Here you can see the Title Play Map when the Next/Prev Jump options are set a multi-PGC Title (PGC stands for Program Chain) is created. .DVDAfterEdit Mastering Edition (DVDAE ME)


Losing time display on some players is just a spec thing that comes along with making "one random or multi-PGC Titles." Typically only sequential PGCs are used.

This is VTS 2 in DVDAE which is where Track 2 is (remember the Outline Tab).Looking under the hood in DVDAE to see where the Next/Prev jump options are set

You can see there are now 3 PGCs in VTS 2. If the Next/Prev Jump options are not set there would be one PGC.

Below you can see that Menu 2 we moved to VTS 2 has been placed in VTSM 2 (Video Titles Set Menu) Domain.Video Titles Set Menu in DVDAE

 

Anyway, getting back to DVDSP, if you need Next/Prev Jump functionality you can set it in DVDSP, but you may have to sacrifice the info on the LCD Display with some players.

 




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