Creating a Play One or Play All Project

You may have a project with a track that contains several sections that a viewer either might want to watch individually or all at once, one after the other, from the start to the end.

It’s actually fairly easy to set this up using stories. Once it is set up, you can optionally add additional functionality to polish the project.

Stories in a Nutshell

Stories allow you to configure alternative ways to play the movie in a track. Stories use chapter markers to divide the movie into sections (cells) that you can then configure to play, skip, or even play more than once. You can also choose to play these sections in a different order than they appear in the track.

Stories are elements you can add to your project that are tied to a specific track—a story can only contain content from a single track. However, a track can have multiple stories.

An advantage of stories is that because they only redefine how to play an existing track’s movie, they do not require any additional disc space on the DVD. They do count against the 99 track and slideshow limit that DVD Studio Pro projects have.

See Introduction to Stories for more information about stories.

Creating the Basic Project

You follow three primary steps to create this project:

  1. Stage 1: Creating the Track and Adding Chapter Markers to It

    The chapter markers define the sections that you can use for your stories. You can manually add the markers in DVD Studio Pro, import the chapter markers you added in Final Cut Pro or Final Cut Express, or import chapter markers from a text file.

  2. Stage 2: Creating and Configuring the Stories

    For this project, you create a story for each individually playable section of the movie. Each story contains one chapter marker to define the section of the movie to play. Each story also has an End Jump setting that takes the viewer back to the menu.

  3. Stage 3: Creating and Configuring the Menus

    Once you have the stories defined, you can create the one or more menus needed to access them.

Creating the Track and Adding Chapter Markers to It

How you create the track depends on your movies:

  • If you have a single movie that contains all of the sections edited together: This is the ideal situation because, assuming you edited them together in Final Cut Pro, you could also have added the chapter markers needed to set up the stories. You can manually add the chapter markers in DVD Studio Pro; however, most often you will not be able to place them on the exact frame you would like to use because the markers must be on an I-frame or a key frame.
  • If you have multiple movies, with each containing one or more sections: In this situation, you place all of the movies in the same track (in the order they should play for the “play all” button). This situation also requires you to manually add the chapter markers.

    Note: Having multiple movies makes it tempting to skip using stories and just create a separate track for each section. You could then create buttons to play each of the tracks. The difficulty in this is creating the “play all” button, because each track’s End Jump would need to be set to go back to the menu. Even if you managed to use scripts to get each track to jump to the next track, you would almost always have a short pause during the jump while the DVD player located the next track. Using stories makes it possible to have seamless playback between the sections for the “play all” button while retaining the ability to play each section individually—all without using scripts.

To create and configure the track
  1. Click the Add Track tool in the DVD Studio Pro toolbar to add a new track.

    You can also use the track that is automatically added to new projects.

  2. Import the movie or movies into the project.

  3. Do one of the following:

    • If you have a single movie, drag it to the track in the Track Editor.

    • If you have multiple movies, drag each to the Track Editor, in the order that you want them to play.

  4. Add the chapter markers to the track by positioning the Track Editor’s playhead on the first frame of each section and pressing M.

The markers are placed on the nearest I-frame or key frame. You can move the marker forward or backward to try to locate a better frame if needed.

Note: If you used a single movie that had the chapter markers added in Final Cut Pro, the chapter markers should already be present and you can skip this step.

You can also name the chapter markers to help identify them later when creating your stories. See Importing Assets and Working with Markers for additional information.

Creating and Configuring the Stories

Once you have the track configured with chapter markers to identify each section, you are ready to create the stories. For this project, you need a story for each section of the movie that you want the viewer to be able to play individually. Once you create the story, you need to choose the chapter marker that defines the section of the track that that story should play.

To create and configure the stories
  1. Click the Add Story tool in the Toolbar.

    This adds a new story, related to the currently selected track, to your project.

  2. Double-click the new story’s icon in the Graphical tab to open it in the Story Editor.

    Figure. Story Editor showing the source and target lists.

    The left side of the Story Editor lists the chapter markers in the track. The right side lists the markers that have been assigned to this story (which is empty at the moment).

  3. Locate the chapter marker on the left side that you want this story to play and drag it to the right side.

    Note: If there are additional chapter markers in the section of the movie you want this story to play, you need to drag them to the right side as well, in the order that they are placed in the track.

  4. Repeat the above steps for each section of the movie.

As mentioned previously, naming the chapter markers makes this process much easier. Naming the stories, especially if there are a lot of them, can also help the process.

Creating and Configuring the Menus

Once you have created your stories, you are ready to create the menu (or menus, depending on how many stories you created and how many buttons you want to have on each menu).

The basic concept for the menu is to have a Play All button that plays the entire track and separate buttons that play each of the stories. You can use any of the normal menu creation methods. See Introduction to Creating Menus for information on the types of menus you can create.