Adding Intro and Transition Clips to Menus

You can make the DVD viewing experience more polished by adding short video clips that play at the beginning of a menu (intro clips) and when buttons are pressed (transition clips).

Using Menu Intro Clips

Menu intro clips are most effective when they build up to the menu’s background video. For example, if the menu’s background is a shot of a building with buttons in its windows, you could have an intro clip that fades up from black to the shot of the building, and then has the button elements fly in from off the screen and take their place in the windows.

There are three approaches you can take to create a menu intro effect:

  • Combine the intro clip with the menu’s background video: This method guarantees a seamless transition between the intro clip and the original menu’s background. The Menu Editor includes a Loop Point setting that you can use to control where the menu jumps to when its playback is looped. This allows you to configure the intro clip to play only the first time a menu’s background plays. The loop point also controls when the button highlights appear. Because button highlights cannot move, you would not want them visible during the intro while the button elements are moving. See About the Motion Settings for more information.

    A disadvantage of this mode is that, unless you use a simple script, the menu’s intro must play each time the menu is accessed because you cannot jump directly to the menu’s loop point. (See Jumping to a Menu’s Loop Point for an example of the script.)

  • Configure the intro clip as its own menu: To do this, you need to create a menu and assign the intro clip as its background. You also need to set the menu’s At End setting to Timeout, enter 0 as the Sec, and set the Action to be the menu this intro clip is for.

    Whenever you want to jump to the original menu, you can jump to this intro menu instead—the intro menu will automatically jump to the original menu once its intro clip plays.

    The advantage of this method is that, because you are jumping from one menu to another menu, the disruption during that jump time should be minimal. (By default, all menus are stored in the same general area on a DVD disc, making it easier for the DVD player to jump between them. Additionally, you can use the VTS Editor to ensure the two menus are next to each other.) Another advantage is that you can choose whether to jump to the intro menu or to jump directly to the original menu, avoiding forcing the viewer to watch the intro menu multiple times.

  • Configure the intro clip as its own track: To do this, you need to create a track and add the intro clip to its V1 video stream. The only configuration you need to do is to set the track’s End Jump setting to the original menu.

    Whenever you want to jump to the original menu, you can jump to this intro track instead—the intro track will automatically jump to the original menu once its intro clip plays.

About Button Transition Clips

Button transition clips provide the opposite effect of the menu intro clip—they provide a transition from the menu background’s buttons to the element (a track or another menu) that the menu’s button is connected to. Using the same example used for the intro clips (a shot of a building with buttons placed in its windows), the transition clip could have the button elements fly off the screen and then fade the shot of the building to black.

You can use the menu transition feature to automatically create the transition clips or you can manually create button transition clips.

Using the Menu Transition Feature

The menu transition feature makes it easy to automatically create transition clips for all buttons on a menu. You define a transition in the Menu Inspector that is then applied to all buttons and the timeout action (if set). By default, each button is set to use the menu’s transition settings; however, you can modify or disable the settings for each button.

Figure. Transition tab of the Menu Inspector.

Transition settings include:

  • Transition (crossfade, wipe, and so on)

  • Specific parameters based on the transition type (duration, direction, and so on)

  • Alternative start and end video

The menu transition feature can be used with standard and layered menus.

Important: Be aware of the aspect ratio and resolution of the button’s target when configuring transitions. All transitions from a menu are based on the menu’s aspect ratio and resolution. Depending on the type of monitor a viewer is using, if the button’s target uses a different aspect ratio or transition, there may be a noticeable glitch when the monitor switches from the menu’s settings to the button target’s settings.

About the Transition Types

DVD Studio Pro includes a variety of Standard and Alpha Transitions you can use with your menus. These same transitions are available in slideshows and tracks with still images. Menus also allow you to specify a video clip to use in place of the Standard Transitions.

Figure. Transition tab of the Menu Inspector showing the transition selection pop-up menu.
Alpha Transitions

DVD Studio Pro includes several Alpha Transitions. These transitions use short video clips to produce a transition from the current picture to the new picture. These transitions, indicated with the Greek letter alpha in front of their name, have no settings other than a duration.

Additionally, you can even create and import your own Alpha Transitions. See Preparing Alpha Transitions for details on the process.

Standard Transitions

When you choose a Standard Transition from the Transition pop-up menu in the Transition tab in the Menu or Button Inspector, DVD Studio Pro creates a short video clip to be used as the transition.

The transition clips use a start and end video frame, with the transition controlling how the video changes from one to the other.

  • The start frame: This is the menu with all buttons in the normal state. If the menu has a video asset as its background, the loop point frame (or first frame, if the loop point is not set) of the video is used as the start frame. The start frame also includes the menu’s drop zones and text objects.
  • The end frame: This is the first frame of the target the button is jumping to. If the button jumps to a script, the end frame is black. If you change the button’s target, the end frame automatically updates.

You are able to assign specific assets or colors as the start and end video frames in the Menu and Button Inspectors. See Transition Tab in the Menu and Button Inspectors for more information.

The transition clips that are created with the menu transition feature are rendered as part of the build process. They are placed in the same video title set (VTS) file as the menus. When authoring a project that will fill the DVD disc, you must take into account that a transition video clip is rendered for each menu button that has transitions enabled—a menu with 18 buttons can require 18 transition video clips. This can have a significant impact on the amount of disc space the menus require. See Transitions for more information.

Video Transitions

When you choose Video Transition from the Transition pop-up menu in the Transition tab in the Menu or Button Inspector, you can assign a short video clip to be used as the transition clip.

Adding Button Transitions to a Menu

You can set a default transition for the menu. This transition is applied to all buttons.

To set a transition for a menu
  1. Select the menu in the Outline tab, the Graphical tab, or from the Menu Editor’s View pop-up menu.

  2. Click the Transition tab in the Menu Inspector.

  3. Choose either a Standard Transition or the Video Transition from the Transition pop-up menu.

    You can choose “not set” to disable default transitions for this menu. (You can still configure individual buttons to use transitions.)

  4. Configure the transition using its specific parameters.

Once you have configured the menu’s transition, you can modify or disable it at each button.

To modify a button’s transition
  1. Select the button to be modified.

  2. Click the Transition tab in the Button Inspector.

    The Transition setting shows “Same as Menu” by default.

  3. Choose the transition to use from the Transition pop-up menu.

    You can choose “not set” to disable transitions for that button.

  4. Configure the transition using its specific parameters.

Transition Tab in the Menu and Button Inspectors

The Transition tabs in the Menu and Button Inspectors are identical—the only difference is that the Transition pop-up menu in the Button Inspector has a “Same as Menu” choice that the Menu Inspector does not have.

Figure. Transition tab of the Menu Inspector.
  • Start thumbnail: Shows the video frame that a still transition will start from.
  • Transition thumbnail: Provides a preview of a still transition when you click the Preview button, or a preview of a video transition when you click the Play button.
  • End thumbnail: Shows the video frame that a still transition will end with. This thumbnail is empty in the Menu Inspector unless you have used the End pop-up menu to specify an ending frame.
  • Preview: Click this to preview the current transition in the Transition thumbnail area.
  • Parameters area: Contains the parameters, including the duration, for the current transition. Each transition has its own set of parameters.

Transition Parameters

Each transition has its own parameters. In many cases, the settings are self-explanatory; however, in some cases, the settings are not obvious. See Transition Parameters for details on the parameters for each transition.

Manually Creating Button Transition Clips

Transition clips are inserted between the button and the button’s connection. While a menu’s intro clip plays when you jump to the menu, button transitions play when you activate a specific button. If you have eight buttons on a menu and want the transition clip to play when each button is activated, you have to create a separate transition clip for each button because the end of the transition clip needs to jump to the button’s actual connection.

There are two approaches you can take to create the button transition effect:

  • Configure the transition clip as its own menu: To do this, you need to create a menu and assign the transition clip as its background. You also need to set the menu’s At End setting to Timeout, enter 0 as the Sec, and set the Action to be the element that the button originally connected to. Then you need to change the original menu’s button connection to this transition menu.

    The advantage of this method is that, because you are jumping from one menu to another menu, the disruption during that jump time should be minimal. (All menus are stored in the same general area on a DVD disc, making it easier for the DVD player to jump between them.)

  • Configure the transition clip as its own track: To do this, you need to create a track and add the transition clip to its V1 video stream. The only configuration you need to do is to set the track’s End Jump setting to the element that the button originally connected to, and to change the original menu’s button connection to this transition track.