5 Replies Latest reply on May 27, 2011 6:32 AM by the_wine_snob

    DVD Menu Editing


      Somewhat disillusioned by the breadth of the pre-canned menu offerings in the "Street" version of Prel 9 and refusing to be held hostage by Adobe's "Plus" offerings, I decided to open up the world of DVD menu editing.  I downloaded Chuck Engel's excellent PDF on the subject (is there an updated version to that? - His discussion centers around Version 2, although for the most part, his notations from that version on how to construct menus seems to be quite applicable to Prel Version 9; i.e., the basic syntax for naming the layers hasn't changed).


      One thing I noticed when browsing through the DVD menus directory


      Adobe Premiere Elements 9 -->DVD Templates --> DVD Menu Name


      Is that most of the template structures use the PAL pixel dimension  for SD (640 X 575) as opposed to NTSC (648 X 480).  Is there a reason for that?  There are skeleton templates for all four major formats (SD-NTSC, Wide Screen NTSC, SD-PAL, and Wide Screen PAL) and it would seem, at least superficially, that using the PAL pixel dimensions, as opposed to the NTSC pixel dimensions, would result only in a marginally larger vertical size of any resulting menu developed under those constructs, perhaps inferring that the tops and bottoms of any menus developed using the PAL construct would be slightly truncated.


      Of course, if one still used the NTSC text and graphics guides, that would not be a problem.  My basic questions is:  In the majority of pre-canned menus offered by Adobe with it's base product, most of them seem to use the PAL pixel dimensions for SD as opposed to the NTSC dimensions.


      Has anyone experienced difficulties with menus developed under the PAL definitions and used in an NTSC format ... incorrect menu size, strange appearances, etc., and more, why would Adobe package tier product with so may PAL menu templates if they weren't usable in the NTSC environment?


      Thanks ...

        • 1. Re: DVD Menu Editing
          the_wine_snob Level 9

          As there are more pixels necessary for PAL, the Menu Sets accommodate that, but are laid out, to also accommodate NTSC, which will be semi-automatically be chosen in an NTSC Project.


          Hope that helps,



          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: DVD Menu Editing
            TheAmishman Level 1

            Thanks ...

            • 3. Re: DVD Menu Editing
              the_wine_snob Level 9

              You are welcome.


              When I first looked at the Menu Sets from Muvipix, I asked myself the same question - why PAL? I thought about it for a bit, looked at some of the PrE Menu Sets, and it became clear.


              I am used to creating my Menus (as individuals, Main and Scene Selection) for Adobe Encore, so the Menu Set and semi-auto aspect of PrE was totally new to me. Though there are similarities, there are some important differences, as well. I still have to sit quietly, reflect deeply and then get my head around the PrE Menu Sets, when I need to edit them. Kind of a zen thing.


              Good luck,



              1 person found this helpful
              • 4. Re: DVD Menu Editing
                TheAmishman Level 1

                Continuing ...


                It would appear to me that PrEl only needs a correctly named template file in the templates folder.  If the syntax of the name is correct, PrEl will attempt to use it.  For instance:


                An  SD NTSC template file name is structured thusly:




                Where format name = ntsc_s; the entire file name being:  TemplateName_ntsc_s_mm.psd


                The equivalent SD PAL menu would be named:




                In essence, to me at least, this infers that if the file name is correct, PrEl will present it as a selection option, regardless of what is actually contained in the file.  Of course, it must be a valid file type, but I am suggesting here that PrEl will attempt to use any file that is named correctly.


                Which means I can develop a file of almost any size (within reason of course), give it a proper name, and PrEl will attempt to use it as a DVD Menu.  By extension, I can develop a 16:9 menu, give it a proper name, and PrEl will allow me to use it, even thoiugh it looks crappy.


                When I began looking into this, I assumed that when you initially defined your project during the setup phase that Adobe set a flag somewhere in the application that restricted your choices in matters like menu development to only those components with comparable attributes; i.e., if my project is defined as SD NTSC (640 X 480), PrEl will only offer me options with similar attributes.


                This doesn' seem to be that case ... I can go in and select any menu I choose, even though its wrong for the format I'm using and it looks terrible.


                So as long as I develop my menus with favorable pixel dimensions that compliment the display format, I can name it anything I want, as long as the name has the proper syntax.




                An aside ... I have gotten so into this I an strongly considering jumping into the Premiere Pro arean and it would appear the menu system there is somewhat similar to what we are discussing here.  Yes?


                Thanks again

                • 5. Re: DVD Menu Editing
                  the_wine_snob Level 9

                  I have gotten so into this I an strongly considering jumping into the Premiere Pro arean and it would appear the menu system there is somewhat similar to what we are discussing here.  Yes?


                  The Menus in PrE and Encore (the authoring app. that ships/installs with PrPro) are very similar. The difference is that Encore does no semi-automatic authoring, so you will need, say a Main Menu, and then as many Scene_Selection Menus, as will be required. There are no official Menu Sets in Encore, as in PrE. The Menu naming conventions are far, far less important in Encore.


                  The reason for the "as many Scene_Selection Menus... " is because you manually Link your Buttons to your Assets. Navigation is done manually, so you need as many S_S Menus, as you require Buttons. Say you have 20 Chapters (or 20 Timelines), and the Menu that you have either chosen, or have built, has 5 Buttons for Scenes/Chapters, then you would need 4 of those. They can be essentially the same, except for perhaps a Next and Previous Button. The first would not have a Previous (but only a Main Menu Button), the next two would have both a Next and Previous, and the last would not have a Next Button. PrE does that part automatically, as it turns ON, or OFF those Buttons, and creates the numbe of S_S Menus from that one "master" in the Menu Set. In Encore, YOU do that. While there is more "hand work," there is much more power. Within the DVD-specs., you can do almost anything in Encore, where PrE is quite limited. Also, with some creative "sleight of hand," you can get around many of the limitations of the DVD-specs. You will not have broken the rules, but if done correctly, will convince your users, that you have.


                  If you do migrate to Encore, I strongly recommend that you pick up a copy of Jeff Bellune's great book, The Focal Easy Guide to Adobe EncoreDVD 2.0, Focal Press. Yes, it's for an older version, but because Encore adheres to the DVD-specs., everything in that book will apply to Encore CS5. Now, the newer Encore will have more capabilities, like Adobe Dynamic Link, which only appeared in one version of EncoreDVD 2.0, the CS2 Production Studio version. Also, BD authoring has been added, but with some exceptions, is the same as for authoring a DVD. Jeff steps you through almost everything that Encore can do, plus much, much more. The little "tricks" are worth the price of the book.


                  Good luck, and happy authoring,