DVD Menu & Authoring

A DVD is an optical disc storage format, although it has the same dimensions as a compact disc, it offers a higher storage capacity. There are many formats a DVD can be in now, a few being a HD DVD or now Blu-ray, a difference being that a dual layer Blu-ray disc can store up to 50GB, but a dual layer HD DVD can only hold up to 30GB.

VHS, also knows as ‘Video Home System’ was the original way of being able to watch films. After 2000, the VHS slowly disappeared as DVD’s were being introduced, replacing the need for the VHS. The VHS was big and bulky in comparison to a small thin DVD.


Having a DVD as opposed to a VHS, allowed the viewer to interact more with the film – there would be no menu screen for other options on the VHS but there was the opportunity to have a menu on the DVD. There were also a lot less difficulties with DVD’s as with a VHS, there was more things that could go wrong, e.g. the tape could tangle or break. VHS stored the video and audio in an analog format, as opposed to DVD’s used a digital format. DVD’s also could have better quality videos on.

A HD DVD (which stands for High-Definition/Density DVD) is a format for storing data and high-definition video, which was created in 2006. It was originally envisioned to be better than a DVD however, after a ‘format war’ with Blu-ray Discs, it was decided to discontinue it.

A Blu-ray Disc is an optical disc storage medium, the difference being that it became the industry standard for feature-length video discs as it contained 25GB per layer. The main difference between a Blu-ray Disc (BD) and a DVD is on a BD, information is able to be stored at a much greater density as it uses a blue laser to read the disc, rather than the red laster which is used for a DVD. Therefore, Bly-ray Discs allow for the audio and video to have greater definition.

DVD Menu is the screen you are first greeted with when you first put in the DVD, there sometimes is a few second long video ‘introducing the film’ before the menu appears, if not, the menu will appear straight away. The menu will usually include many options, such as ‘Play’ to play the whole DVD, ‘Scene Selection’ to choose a specific scene to start the movie from, ‘Bonus Features/Special Features’ which will often include deleted scenes, commentary’s and behind the scenes footage. There is also usually a ‘Settings’ option, so the viewer can choose the language, subtitles on/off etc.

Here is an example:


Analyse 5 DVD Menu’s

1. Shrek 2

This DVD menu is a lot different to many others, as it demonstrates what the characters are like as well as interacting and keeping the audience drawn in. Behind each option you can select on the menu, there is one of the main characters from the movie who are talking about the actual DVD menu and things to do with the actual movie.

2. Smallville – TV Series on DVD

This is a DVD menu of a TV series which was put onto DVD so that every episode from the first season could be played. It has a few second video clip before the menu appears which includes a montage of shots from episodes throughout the first series. It also has the shows theme song playing throughout. This is a little different as it is a TV series converted onto DVD, as opposed to the usual ‘Scene Selection’ it has ‘Episodes’ so you can choose which specific episode to watch, instead of a scene.

3. Finding Nemo

As you can see, this DVD menu has a short video before it appears. The short video helps to set the scene/tone of the movie, and give you a feel for what it will be like. The options for the menu fade in shortly after. When the DVD menu appears, it has 5 options to choose from.

4. Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

This DVD Menu has 5 simple options and appears straight away, they include ‘Play,’ ‘Scene Selection,’ ‘Bonus Features,’ ‘Set Up’ and ‘Sneak Peeks’. The Scene Selection option will take you through to another menu which allows you to choose which part of the movie you would like to start it from.

5. Madagascar 2

The DVD Menu starts with one of the films most iconic songs playing, as soon as the beat kicks in, the main characters appear as well as the menu options. This introduces you to the film without giving anything away.


Adobe Encore

Adobe Encore is one of the choices of software that you can use for DVD Authoring. It’s targeted at professional video producers. It is synced with other Adobe software, such as Premiere Pro and Photoshop for easy use, so that you can design it in another Adobe software and easily import it.

DVD Studio Pro

DVD Studio Pro is software, which was produced by Apple. It allowed users to create DVD masters which were then to be sent out to be replicated at production houses. However, it was discontinued as it had strong competitors which were better to use.


iDVD is another discontinued DVD-creation software, produced by Apple. It was strongly compared to Windows DVD Maker, which meant it had ‘opponents’ and Windows DVD Maker seemed to be a better programme to use.

Windows DVD Maker

Windows DVD Maker is software which allows you to create DVD movies. It is included in Windows machines such as, Vista Home Premium and Ultimate, Windows 7 Home Premium, Ultimate and  Professional. It was compared to iDVD before that was discontinued.

Creating the DVD Menu 

The steps I used to create my DVD Menu were:

  1. I opened Adobe Photoshop to create how I wanted my Menu page to look.Screen Shot 2013-05-22 at 09.32.45
  2. I also did this for my sub-Menu pages e.g ‘Scene Selection’ and ‘Bonus Features’. Screen Shot 2013-05-22 at 09.34.17Screen Shot 2013-05-22 at 09.34.04
  3. I imported images, logos and text.
  4. The text/images that I wanted to turn into buttons, I then made into ‘smart objects’. Screen Shot 2013-05-22 at 09.35.12
  5. I opened Adobe Encore and imported my 3 Menu pages.Screen Shot 2013-05-22 at 09.36.00
  6. I then clicked on all my ‘smart objects’ and pressed ‘turn into buttons’.Screen Shot 2013-05-22 at 09.38.22
  7. I imported all the videos I wanted each button to link with by importing them as ‘Timeline’.Screen Shot 2013-05-22 at 09.38.58
  8. I then linked each button with the appropriate Menu buttons so that when the thumbnails/text was clicked, the right video/screen would appear. Screen Shot 2013-05-22 at 09.40.33
  9. I chose an end-route for each of my linked buttons, so that when the desired video (in my case, interview) was finished playing, it would link back to the appropriate screen. For example, if I had clicked on my sub-menu of ‘Bonus Features’ and clicked on a thumbnail to play a video. After the video was played, it would go back to the ‘Bonus Features’ menu, as opposed to the home menu. Screen Shot 2013-05-22 at 09.41.28
  10. I burned my DVD Menu to disc.


I am most proud of actually creating the DVD Menu. When I originally heard the brief and heard what we had to do, I thought it was going to be really time consuming and hard to do. However, after I had understood the rough idea, I managed to create it all within under a day. I am also proud of how it looks, I stuck to a colour scheme and thought the thumbnails looked really good. I am also proud of how quickly I got to grips with the software, as I had never used it before.

I am least proud of,

I found the process of connecting the buttons the videos quite frustrating, as I had quite a few technical problems which meant they kept unlinking and I therefore had to repeat the process a few times. The most difficult part was remembering to do everything (e.g. turning the images that we wanted to be buttons to ‘smart objects’ on Photoshop).

I felt my main strength throughout the process, was designing the Menu screens (on Photoshop). I designed my menu screens really quickly which helped the rest of the process be a lot faster. My main weakness would be remembering the whole process step-by-step.




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