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What You Can Do with iDVD in iLife '11

3 of 7 in Series: The Essentials of What You Can Do with iLife '11

Besides offering professionally designed menu themes with spectacular special effects, iDVD in iLife allows you to grab your photos from iPhoto, your videos from iMovie, and your music from GarageBand and your iTunes library. Using iDVD, you can put videos on DVD, of course. But you can add several features to the DVD other than a menu with a button to play a video:

  • Put photo slideshows on your DVD accompanied by music from GarageBand or your iTunes library.

  • Add nifty menus animated with scenes from the videos and slideshows.

  • Define buttons on a menu that can play short video clips and slideshows as well as link to submenus, slideshows, and different videos.

  • Add submenus and scene selection menus to your DVD so that viewers can jump to specific sections.

DVD is a mass-produced medium, like audio CDs. The discs are read-only — they can’t be modified in any way, only viewed. To create even a mass-produced DVD, you have to burn a recordable DVD (DVD-R) with the content. The DVD-R serves as a master to mass-produce the type of DVDs you see in stores. With iDVD, you can burn a DVD-R disc that you can then use in normal DVD players, and you can also use the DVD-R disc as a master to provide a service that mass-produces DVDs.

Saying that you can fit a lot of information on a DVD is an understatement, but video takes up a lot of disc space. Though single-layer recordable DVDs hold as much as 4.7GB of data, double-layer discs offer two layers, nearly doubling the amount of storage to 8.5GB You can fit as much as 90 minutes of video on a single-layer DVD-R disc using iDVD, including all still images and backgrounds. However, if you put more than 60 minutes of video on a single-layer DVD-R disc, the picture quality may suffer because iDVD uses stronger compression with a slower bit rate to fit more than 60 minutes, and both factors reduce overall picture quality. The best approach is to limit each single-layer DVD-R to 60 minutes. Also, keep in mind that the audio portion of the DVD takes up about 10MB per minute.

You get one chance with a DVD-R disc. After you burn video to it, you can’t rewrite it. Gather everything you want to put on the disc beforehand so that you don’t waste a disc.

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