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Multiple sub-menus is beyond the ability of Premiere Elements' DVD authoring workspace.
But Sony's DVD Architect Studio can certainly do it. It's $49.95 retail, but you can download it from the Sony site for $39.95.
I bought it last fall and I just love it!
The following is my view of your situation if you want to rough it and stick with Premiere Elements 7 (PE7):
With regard to the Scene Menus, in PE each movie cannot have its own scene menu.
This is what I am asking you to consider after taking a look at my post on this type of project.
Start with PE7/DVD Main Menu/Scene Menu General/Generic One
The end result should be:
DVD Main Menu with
Five Main Marker Buttons (to be arranged as wanted in Create Menu Section of PE7; also can change background there, etc.)
1. South Africa
4. Play All (created by you in PE7) for playback option to play all continuously, then return to start.
5. Scene Menu (part of original design to get to Scene Selection Page)
........Play All (designed into .psd template by Adobe; to be made invisible in PE7 .psd in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements.
Scene Selection Menu (only one Scene Selection Page) with
Six Scene Thumbnails (to be arranged into three clustered; each cluster representing a movie; all done in Create Menu Section of PE 7; also can change background there, etc.)
Your Timeline is going to look like this:
1. South Africa video with Main Menu Marker named Africa at beginning and Stop Marker at end. Place scene marker named Africa Cape Town (whatever name fits).
2. leave gap of few seconds in Timeline
3. Kenya video with Main Menu Marker named Kenya at beginning and Stop Marker at end. Place scene markers named Kenya Amboseli, Kenya Masa Marai, Kenya Nairobi (again whatever name fits)
4. leave gap of few seconds in Timeline
5. Egypt video with Main Menu Marker named Egypt at beginning and Stop Marker at end. Place scene markers for Egypt Nile and Egypt Cairo (again whatever name fits)
6. leave gap of few seconds in Timeline
7. Then place copies of Africa, Kenya, Egypt side by side on Timeline with Main Marker at beginning of Africa (in this trio); name this Main Menu marker Play All and place a Stop Marker at the end of Egypt.
The only time that you should have to go into the .psd for the template in the PE7 program files, is when you turn off the visibility icon for the Play All Layer Set that was built into the template design by Adobe.
I tried this scheme out, and it seems to work nicely. Hope that it offers an alternative. Let me know if I left any glitches in this suggestion.
ATR, The few second gap on the timeline can definitely cause problems with exporting in Premiere Elements, have you tried this and been successful?
Thanks for all the suggestions, I'm not an experienced Premiere user and I'm unfamiliar with being able to create a few second gap in the timeline. I've placed my order for the yet to be released Classroom book for 7 to start my education. Until then I've decided to take the easy way out and get a program like the Sony DVD Architect where what I want is more directly supported by the application.
Just a question on Romano's suggestion (my ignorance of Premiere), would creating copies of the mpgs result in second copies on the disk or would Premiere just do it's thing with pointers? If there are actual second copies, it could reduce the max resolution I could select because of space considerations.
To create a gap you probably have to turn off the Snap function on the timeline. Still not sure that a gap on the timeline is a good idea, waiting to hear from A.T. on that one.
Instead of literally leaving a gap, you can always put a black clip on the timeline instead, trimming it to any size you want.
You can create a black clip by selecting the option from the New Item button on the project media panel.
V1Main Menu Marker/Scene Markers/Stop Marker/few second gap/V2 Main Menu Marker.......etc............
The decision to leave the few seconds gap as described was not original. I need to dig out the reference on that. BUT, I have done this procedure many, many times, all successfully. My few seconds = very small gap. In addition, if you read my original posting of the topic, you will notice that it has been road tested by others whom I have never met and who are not relatives. Further, for the write up for C. Russell Bond, I worked through the whole in Premiere Elements 7 (start to finish) as I was typing the details in this topic.
C. Russell Bond
That is a very good question that you post. Space Required is indeed a consideration in this proposed route. That "Play All" trio consisting of entire South Africa video, entire Kenya video, and entire Egypt video would be video that would add to the project and space required. But, before you reject this suggested procedure for space required reasons, consider doing a "check out" to make sure space required/quality is really going to be an issue:
1. Make sure you have your DVD disc (ex. 4.7 GB/120 min) in the DVD burner tray. Then, after you hit Premiere Elements 7 Share and proceed to Burn to disc (DVD)
a. In the Quality Section there leave "Fit Contents to Available Space" checked and note what it says for "Space Required......MB; Bitrate......Mbps. (8 Mbps is the highest bitrate, if that is lower than 8 because the program had to lower the bitrate to fit your content onto the disc, quality will be impacted.)
b. Compare a. with b. In the Quality Section there leave "Fit Contents to Available Space" unchecked and note what it says for Space Required and Bitrate by moving the quality slider from "Most Video" to "Highest Quality" (the latter being Bitrate 8 Mbps).
Then make your decision on Go or No Go based on the numbers that you see. I would suggest that you give this a try on a mini test run. You may be surprised at how easy and effective it is.
Whatever your decision, much success in your project.
I never tried the black video for the gap, so I cannot speak to that. See my comments to CE on my batting average on successfully using this procedure with "tiny gaps".
In C. Russell Bond's write up of Menu question, it is definitely stated that 3 mpg videos are going onto that Premiere Elements 7 Timeline. Besides the menu questions, do we need to address the issue of those Timeline mpg files and whether they can be taken to DVD-VIDEO as is or whether they need the workaround of prior conversion to DV AVI by MPEG Streamclip or the like?
Do you feel it advisable to ask C. Russell Bond to do a mini test run with just one of the mpg files to see if it burn successfully to DVD-VIDEO with or without menus? Or, is that for another topic at another time?
C. Russell Bond
Just one more remark about those "gaps" and then I will fade away (for now).
I am quoting you now:
I'm not an experienced Premiere user and I'm unfamiliar with being able to create a few second gap in the timeline.
In the plan (all on Video Track 1)
V1Main Menu Marker/Scene Marker/Stop Marker
few seconds gap
V2Main Menu Marker/Scene Markers/Stop Marker
You place Video 1 on the Timeline (Video Track 1) and do all your markers. Then, when you bring Video 2 to the Timeline, you do not drag it so that its beginning is snapped to the end of Video 1. Instead you drag Video 2 from the Media to the Timeline leaving a small space between its beginning and the end of Video 1. There no special skill needed in that respect. Sorry, the I did not elaborate on creating a gap.
C. Russell Bond
Getting back to my post here about looking at space required and bitrate....
Whenever I have used the bitrate of 8 Mbps (highest PE available) to burn to DVD-VIDEO, the quality of the end product has been excellent...high quality as the given name implies for that setting. I use "Fit Content to Available Space" checked.
However, a very well respected PE User and innovator (Robert J. Johnson) has reported back in January 2008 "Poor Quality Burning a DVD at 8.00 bitrate" and recommended using a bitrate of 7.55 instead. That is done manually (slider) with "Fit Content to Available Space" left unchecked. There was a suggestion that there might be a difference depending on whether you had the "Fit Content to Available Space" checked or unchecked. I am not sure where the issue was left. So, for now, just keep that information in the background to be brought forth when and if necessary.
You say that you are a new user, and I do not want to overwhelm you will too much information all at one time. But, since you raised the issue of space required and quality, I thought it best to mention this now rather than later.
The biggest problem with gaps is when you have DVD markers and motion menus. The errors occur during the encoding of the Scene menu, usually, where there could be motion buttons. You need to make sure that the video pointed to by the offset value of the DVD marker doesn't start on a gap. If there are gaps, then you'll get error cpp-110 or cpp-111 or cpp-390 with a "Failed to return frame" error message in the Events log. In PRE7 this isn't fatal. You can click the Continue button and PRE7 will finish burning the DVD. You may have to click Continue more than once.
Robert J. Johnson
Thanks for your report. Are you saying that this happening is involved only when you have motion buttons in the scheme?
As I said, the gap procedure was taken from another description of creating bonus items on a DVD Main Page. I went looking for that reference, but have not located it yet. I adapted (adopted) it to my suggested procedure and have never had any problems what so ever in obtaining a great DVD-Menu. But, I usually use non motion buttons, main or scene pages..
Please confirm what I think that you are saying, that is, that this point is related solely to motion buttons and not non motion buttons. Then, I will try what I have suggested, but incorporate some motion buttons and see what happens. If I can replicate what you say should occur, then I will modify the suggested procedure in these forums and elsewhere accordingly.
By the way, was there ever any decision/conclusion/whys and why nots re: Bitrate 8.0 vs 7.55 for burning to DVD?
Robert J. Johnson
I was going to wait for your confirmation reply, but my need to know and set the record straight if need be got the better of me.
I just repeated the menu procedure that I had suggested to C. Russell Bond as I did last night before posting (non motion buttons), but this time I made every one of those Main Menu Buttons and Scene Menu Buttons = motion buttons. So, that meant 3 motion buttons on the DVD Main Page (South Africa, Kenya, and Egypt) and 6 motion buttons on the DVD Scene Selection Page (one scene for South Africa, three for Kenya, and 2 for Egypt).
The menu used was as described previously: General/Generic One.
I burned that the previously described Timeline to DVD-VIDEO without any error messages, glitches, or any other problem. There were just normal message of encoding/burn in progress in a timely fashion. I used a HP DVD-R 16X disc (4.7 GB/120 min) Total burn time was about 25 minutes. The DVD-VIDEO worked great on the TV via the TV/DVD player, menu-wise and video/audio-wise. (And, all the motion buttons were in motion.)
All this does not support the negative comments that have been directed at those gaps(spaces) in the Timeline setup proposed. So, I stand with what I posted as what worked for me and some others who have road tested it elsewhere.
Your comments included several "ifs", such as DVD marker starting on a gap. Why would you do that? So, I would suggest that, if you execute the procedure as described, those types of shortcomings are non existent.
I wasn't referring to the DVD marker itself being on a gap, it's the thumbnail offset that points to a gap. But after further testing, I have narrowed down that it's not even a gap that's the problem. I haven't found anything in PRE7 where a gap causes the error. It's PRE7 trying to access a point that is beyond the end of the movie. That is, if the thumbnail offset for a DVD marker points to a spot beyond the end of the movie, the error occurs. The "Motion Menu" option has to be ticked as well. If the thumbnail offset doesn't point to beyond the end of the movie, then I haven't gotten an error. The thumbnail offset can point to a valid frame and run past the end of the movie without there being an error.
I am also only talking about PRE7.
Where errors with gaps usually manifest themselves is in the Transcode phase. Most often, the error is "...Failed To Return Frame... " and usually shuts down the process.
For additional reading on gaps in Timelines, you might want to stop by the Adobe Encore forums. There are many discussions on gaps in Timelines. Same for the Premiere Pro forums. These list several of the more common problems.
Robert J. Johnston
Robert J. Johnston Quote:
"I haven't found anything in PRE7 where a gap causes the error. "
Thanks for that comment and your further testing. I fully understand that you are directing your comments to the use of Premiere Elements 7 in this matter.
Although the "thumbnail offset" considerations that you are now directing your attention to are interesting, I do not think that they impact the procedure as I describe it. With markers placed on the Timeline in the Edit Mode where you get a good look at your marker placement, I find very little or no need for adjustments of the "thumbnail offset" in the Menu Marker dialog for the individual markers. I have yet to invoke a scenario where someone can bring on these problems in following my suggestions as written.
Therefore, I am forced to re-use my quote:
"So, I would suggest that, if you execute the procedure as described, those types of shortcomings are non existent".
I have Premiere Elements 2, 4, and 7. I have used this procedure in all those programs without ever having any problems. As an added measure, this morning I created the exact same project (as detailed previously with menus with motion buttons) in each of these programs and burned the Timeline of each to DVD-VIDEO. All three worked great, no problems.
I have long admired your Premiere Elements comments and innovative work here and elsewhere, and I appreciate that you took the time to get involved. As it turns out, the person who submitted the topic says that he decided to go with another program to take care of his menu needs. But, for others who want to try to get this done in Premiere Elements, not buy another program, not start up a new learning curve, then I feel confident in suggesting that they try it as a viable alternative. If it works for them in their unique situations, great. If not, they take an alternative route.
I did not see your response, until after I posted by comments to Robert J. Johnston.
I will find every one of the existing references in the locations that you mentioned and study them closely.
I get very annoyed when I am trying to find solutions to problems online, and I find conflicting replies in print. Often people believe, if they see it in print, it has got to be true.
I will continue to do everything in my power to be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem.
Yes, it can get very confusing and frustrating. Initially, I had allowed gaps in PP Timelines, and never got an error message.
However, two venerable contributors to the Encore forum, Jeff Bellune (wrote the book on Encore) and Neil Wilkes (now mod and a producer of many famous DVD-Audio & DVD-Video Projects in the UK) took me aside. We did several tests and it turned out that I had just been lucky with my earlier Projects (probably 10 DVD-5's). I could get errors with just one gap, in some cases. This was when I discovered the wisdom of Black Video and use it in every Project. It is the first Asset that I create in all Projects.
There are many instances in this forum and on Muvipix, where errors were encountered. Gaps were found and eliminated and the errors ceased.
As an aside, I inherited a 3 DVD-5 set Project. It contained over 1400 still images with Pans & Zooms. The 3 DVD's had been authored and burned successfully. Now, I was given the task of doing a major re-edit. On the 14 Timelines, I repaired over 900 gaps, almost all 1 frame. Remember, this Project authored and burned fine. I've viewed the DVD's. Except for the "jump" in 900+ Cross-dissolves, none caused an error. That is a lot of gaps! There were no errors, other than the visual problem that these gaps caused.
Do gaps always cause problems? Apparently not. I never got them early on, and this Project should indicate that they are not always a problem. Still, for many others, a simple 1 frame gap can bring the Project down with errors - usually the "...Failed To Return Frame... " Removing that gap "fixes" the problem for that user. Why are gaps not always fatal? I have no clue. Why do some allow Transcoding/Export, and other bring things to a halt? I have no clue.
It would certainly be nice if something always yielded the exact same and repeatable result. It would be nice if there were not exceptions, but there are.