PrE ships with many Menus for use in DVD’s. Some have Video Motion Backgrounds, and some even come with Audio. In most, one can add their own Audio, but with those, which contain both already, the Duration is set. Users often want to change that Duration. PrE has a Duration limit of 30;00 as the max, so one cannot exceed that. Also, the DVD-specs take Video ahead of Audio, and any Audio must be exactly the Duration of any Video, or ever so slightly shorter.
This step-by-step will allow for one to extend the built-in Duration to accommodate longer Audio of the user’s choice. Note: as the Menus are set to Loop, the choice, or construction of the Audio can be important for it to sound good with the Menu. I recommend an Audio piece with both a Fade-in and Fade-out, to keep all sounding smooth.
As much of the Menu Template’s visuals will be provided by that Motion Background AV file, we’ll plan on keeping that, but just modifying it a bit back in PrE.
First, choose an Audio piece that is no more than 30;00, or that you can alter in either PrE, Audition, Audacity, or other audio-editing program. Add a Fade-in and a Fade-out to it. Note the exact Duration. Save_As, or Export, as an Audio-only file. I would choose PCM/WAV @ 48KHz 16-bit, and not some compressed format, like MP3. WAV is as good as it gets.
In a new PrE Project, Import the Menu’s Motion MPEG (or other format) and use TimeStretch to increase its Duration to match the Duration of your Audio Asset, or make it one Frame longer, but remember that it must be < 30;00. Export/Share this new, “stretched” Video-only Asset. One could choose DV-AVI, or DV MPEG. Remember - no Audio, and Multiplexing set to None. You want a Video-only file. I would NOT overwrite the original Video file, but give it a unique name, even if you just add a “1" to the file name.
Go to PrE’s Create Menus Panel, and choose the new, stretched AV file, and the Duration of the original AV file will change to match that of the new one. In that Panel, now link to the new Audio-only file. Note: this will be “adding” an Audio Asset, if you are working with a Menu Set that does not contain Audio already (some have Audio, and some do not).
Now, Preview your Menu, and listen for the Audio. It should Fade-in and then Fade-out immediately before the Menu Loops.
With PrE’s Menu Sets, you’ll notice that there will be a Main Menu and a Scene Selection Menu. Most of these Assets, that have Motion Backgrounds, will have the same Motion Background Asset for both the Main and the Scene Selection Menus. Do not forget to repeat the above steps for the Scene Selection Menus too. You can use the same exact Assets - the ones that you have modified, or created. One important note here: Menu Audio cannot span Menus. That is against the DVD-specs. The trick is to make the user think that the music has spanned them, when it has not. For this “illusion,” I use music pieces, that have both a Fade-in and Fade-out, and repetitive passages, so that when the user goes to the Scene Selection Menu, it appears that the music continues. If you have a music piece, with vocals, it gets very difficult to make it seem that the music spans, especially as you have no idea when the user will go to the Scene Selection Menu - you can never match the lyrics up, so do not even try - you do not know where the user will push the Button. For this, I would have the vocals ONLY for the Main Menu, and then use only an instrumental passage from the same song, if one exists, or choose another piece of music, that is very similar in style, tone and rhythm, so that the two seem to flow. This will mean a second, and different piece for the Scene Selection Menu.
Things to remember:
1.) the Duration of the Audio, or Video for a Motion Menu cannot exceed 30;00
2.) the Duration of the Audio cannot exceed that of the Video by even one Audio Unit
3.) Audio cannot span multiple Menus, but one can create the illusion that it does with careful selection, and the use of Fade-ins and Fade-outs.*
4.) when using Time Stretch to increase the Duration of the original Menu’s Motion Background file, the motion will slow down a bit, but this should not affect the overall look. The user will not have seen the original version, so will have no frame of reference. Stars might twinkle more slowly, or neon might flash more slowly, but how will they know that they ARE slower?
5.) for Audio Assets, use PCM/WAV (Uncompressed) and not any compressed formats, especially with any flavor of MPEG CODEC, like MP3.
6.) remember to use elemental streams only, i.e. Video-only for the video portion, and Audio-only for the audio - no Multiplexing.
* in my SmartSound library, I have chosen about a dozen scores that can have Fade-in/Fade-outs and have repetitive passages within a 30;00 Duration. I use these often, and SmartSound allows for about 5-6 variations on each of these. Choose wisely, and listen closely, as you will want to create that “illusion” that the music DOES span the Menus, when it really cannot.