Simulating Your Project

The DVD Studio Pro Simulator is a useful tool for verifying your project while you are still creating it. There are a few things to be aware of before simulating your project:

Simulating with an External Video and Audio Monitor

When you author a DVD, it can be important to see the video and hear the audio with devices that closely match those that the viewer is expected to use. Being able to do this while simulating your project allows you to verify the video and audio prior to burning a test DVD. In particular:

  • You see the true color based on the DVD specification’s YUV values instead of a computer monitor’s RGB values.

  • You see the actual pixel aspect ratios. To display 4:3 or 16:9 video on a computer monitor requires the pixels to be scaled, which can create or hide issues in the video.

See External Video and Audio Monitoring for information on connecting external monitors. See Simulator Preferences for information on Simulator settings.

When using an external video monitor, keep the following in mind:

  • The external video monitor is only used during simulation.

  • When using an external video monitor, the Simulator window on your computer is inactive.

  • You cannot use the pointer to click buttons on the external monitor. You must control the simulation by using the Simulator window’s controls.

  • Depending on your system and the video being simulated, frames may be skipped during playback to maintain synchronized playback with the audio.

Starting and Stopping the Simulator

You can start the Simulator at any time while creating your project. You should have sufficient connections set so that navigation is possible between the elements you want to test. The most important item to have set is the First Play action. If you select the disc in the Outline tab or click an empty area in the Graphical tab, you can set the First Play action in the Connections tab or in the Disc Inspector. You can also set the First Play action directly in the Outline and Graphical tabs. See Assigning the First Play Element for more information.

To start and stop the Simulator from the First Play element
Do one of the following:
  • Click the disc item in the Outline tab, then choose File > Simulate Disc, or press Command-Option-0 (zero).

  • Control-click the Graphical tab’s background, then choose Simulate Disc from the shortcut menu.

  • Click Simulate in the toolbar.

The Simulator opens and displays the First Play element. An alert appears if none has been assigned, and the Simulator starts at the first video stream of the first track.

Stop the simulation by clicking the close button in the upper-left corner of the window or pressing Command-W.

You can also start the Simulator from a specific element or part of an element, including tracks, stories and story entries, slideshows and specific slides, or menus and specific buttons. This is useful when you only want to verify a specific element without going through the normal project navigation to get to it.

To start the Simulator from a specific element
Do one of the following:
  • Choose File > Simulate, or press Command-Option-0 (zero). (If no element is selected, the Simulator starts from the First Play element.)

  • Control-click the element in the Outline or Graphical tab, then choose Simulate from the shortcut menu.

  • Control-click in the element’s editor, then choose Simulate from the shortcut menu.

The Simulator opens and displays the element.

Note: If the element you start the Simulator at has a pre-script assigned to it, the pre-script is not executed.

Simulator Window

The Simulator window appears in front of all other DVD Studio Pro windows.

Figure. Simulator window showing the timecode of the current element, the Info button, and where to choose the type of display to simulate.

The area to the left of the video display contains the playback controls you can use to navigate within your project. Most are similar to controls you would find on a DVD player’s remote control. You can click the Info button to open a drawer that shows information about the currently displayed element and the settings within the SPRMs and GPRMs.

You are also able to choose the resolution (SD, HD 720, or HD1080) and the display mode (4:3 Pan-Scan, 4:3 Letterbox, or 16:9) to simulate when not using an external video monitor.

Note: You can set the default state of these in the Simulator pane of DVD Studio Pro Preferences.

Playback Controls

The playback controls are similar to those found on DVD player remote controls.

Figure. Playback controls of the Simulator window.
  • Menu: Jumps to the element assigned to the Menu button. The assignment can be different for each track, story, marker, and slideshow.
  • Title: Jumps to the element assigned to the Title button.
  • Play/Pause: Alternately pauses, then plays the track or motion menu.
  • Stop: Stops playback of the project. The jacket picture appears if you have assigned one to your project. See About Jacket Pictures for more information. Click First Play to restart playback.
  • Track Skip Reverse and Track Skip Forward: To the left and right of the Play/Pause button and Stop button, these buttons skip to the beginning or end of a track, allowing you to test pre-scripts, display conditions, and End Jump settings.
  • Navigation controls: Allow you to navigate through the menus as you would with the arrow buttons on a remote control. (You can also use the pointer and click the menu buttons directly.) Press the center button to activate the currently selected button.
  • Chapter Skip Reverse and Chapter Skip Forward: Skip to the previous or next chapter marker or still while playing a track or slideshow.

Menu Controls

The menu controls let you test the project’s remote assignments.

Figure. Menu controls of the Simulator window.
  • Chapter Menu, Angle Menu, Audio Menu, and Subtitle Menu: Jump to the element assigned to the Chapter, Angle, Audio, and Subtitle menu buttons (not to be confused with the Angle, Audio, and Subtitle stream select buttons). The assignment can be different for each track and slideshow.
  • First Play: Restarts playback of the project by executing the First Play action.
  • Return: Jumps to the element assigned to the Return button. The assignment can be different for each menu.

Stream Selections

The stream selection pop-up menus operate like the Angle, Audio, and Subtitle buttons found on most remote controls.

Figure. Stream selection controls of the Simulator window.
  • View checkbox: Controls whether the selected subtitle stream displays. Select the checkbox to show subtitles and deselect it to hide them.

Information Drawer

You can click the Info button or press Shift-I to open the information drawer. The drawer can open on any side of the Simulator, depending on the Simulator’s position. (You can press Shift-Option-I to have it open on a different edge.) The information drawer changes to match the current element type (menu, track, story, and so on). The Item Properties section shows information specific to that element; you cannot enter information into it. The Registers section shows the status of either the SPRMs or GPRMs. You can choose which to see by selecting the relevant checkbox. You can also choose to see the values in hexadecimal. You can double-click a value to enter a new value into it if you want to verify how your project operates under specific DVD player conditions. You can also enter a new name for any of the GPRMs.

Figure. Info drawer of the Simulator window.

Simulation Log

The Log tab contains a Simulate view that provides details of a simulation while it is running. These details include any changes in the SPRMs and GPRMs, any navigation actions, and any jumps that are made.

To show the simulation log
  1. Click the Log tab.

  2. Choose Simulate from the View pop-up menu.

  3. Simulate the project.

Note: The Log tab automatically appears once you start the Simulator.