Add Movies to iDVD Projects on Your MacBook

Drop zones and themes are cool, but most folks want to add video to their DVDs from their MacBooks. To accomplish this, iDVD uses buttons as links to your video clips. In fact, some iDVD Movie buttons display a preview of the video they’ll display! To play the video on a DVD player, you select the Movie button with the remote control, just as you do for a commercial DVD.

To add a Movie button, drag a QuickTime movie file from the Finder and drop it onto your DVD Menu display. (Only MPEG-4 QuickTime movies and DV streams are supported — MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 movie clips may be rejected or converted, or even be added without audio. The freeware HandBrake application can also convert many of these unsupported formats into clips that iDVD can accept.)

Alternatively, click the Add button and choose Add Movie from the pop-up menu.

iDVD and iMovie are soul mates, so you can also display the iDVD Media pane and then click Movies from the pop-up menu. Now you can drag clips from your Movies folder.

No matter the source of the clip, when you drop it onto your DVD Menu, iDVD adds a Movie button. Note that some buttons appear as text links rather than actual buttons. The appearance of a Movie button in your DVD Menu is determined by the theme you choose.

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A Movie button doesn’t have to stay where iDVD places it! By default, iDVD aligns buttons and text objects using an invisible grid, but if you don’t want such order imposed on your creativity, just drag the object to where you’d like it to be to turn on Free Positioning. (You can also right-click the object and select the Free Positioning item from the menu that appears.)

iDVD even provides cool new automatic guides that help you align objects when you’re using Free Positioning! You’ll see them as yellow lines that appear when objects are aligned along a vertical or horizontal plane.

You can have up to 12 buttons on your iDVD Menu (the theme you choose determines the maximum number of buttons you can add). To add more content than 12 buttons allow, add a submenu by clicking the Add button and choosing Add Submenu from the pop-up menu. Now you can click the submenu button to jump to that screen and drag up to another 12 movie files into it.

Keep your target audience in mind while you create your DVD. Standard TV sets have a different aspect ratio (height to width) and resolution (number of scan lines on the screen) than a digital video clip, and a standard TV isn’t as precise in focusing that image on the tube. If you selected the Standard aspect ratio when you created the project, you can make sure that your DVD content looks great on a standard TV screen by following these steps:

  1. Click View on the old-fashioned iDVD menu (the one at the top of the screen).

  2. Choose the Show TV Safe Area command.

    You can also press the convenient Command+T shortcut. iDVD adds a smaller rectangle within the iDVD window to mark the screen dimensions of a standard TV.

If you take care that your Menu buttons and (most of) your background image fit within this smaller rectangle, you’re assured that folks with a standard television can enjoy your work. To turn off the TV Safe Area rectangle, press Command+T again.

If your entire family is blessed with a fleet of HD TVs (or you chose the Widescreen aspect ratio for this project), leave the Show TV Safe Area option off. Today’s widescreen displays can handle just about any orientation.

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