|Review: Inside DVD Studio Pro
on a Computer
Minimum of 256 MB RAM
Mac: OS X; G4 Processor
Minimum screen resolution 1024 x 768
Over 6 hours
of video-based lessons
35 Lessons of DVD Studio Pro 2 Instruction
Project Files (to work along with the instructor)
for purchase in the lafcpug Store
Reviewed By: Alex Alexzander
Ed Note: Magnet Media
Films is a sponsor of lafcpug.org,
however this review and all reviews published on lafcpug.org
are the opinion of the author and author alone and lafcpug.org's
policy is to not edit or influence the author's opinion in any
way, shape or form.
One of the most asked questions
I hear from any novice seeking to learn a professional application
is, "What is the best way to learn this?" Where the
novice is concerned I have a bias towards visual based lessons.
I write that because while the author of a book fully understands
the point he is going to make, the reader must read with faith
and must try to visualize what the author is describing with
the hope that by the time the final point has been made he or
she will fully understand the concept being taught. The simple
facts are most novices will have to re-read a tutorial a few
times to fully appreciate the lesson. Many written tutorials
will offer many screen shots and illustrations to help the user
better interpret the text, but where text and screen shots fail,
video and project based lessons succeed. Your instructor for
the next 6 hours in training is Zeth Willie. Zeth is an
editor, motion graphics artists and interactive designer. Zeth
also teaches After Effects, Maya and DVD Studio Pro.
Magnet Media's Inside DVD Studio
Pro 2 visual tutorial provides complete visual training broken
down into four sections:
- Part I. Basic Tutorial
- Part II. Understanding the
- Part III. Intermediate Tutorial
- Part IV. Advanced Tutorial
In Part I,
the basics are covered in great detail. Every aspect from planning
a project through simulating and burning a DVD are contained
in this single section. For the novice, you are not required
to hop from section to section in order to get a complete lesson
specifically for the beginner. The entire instruction is broken
into four parts and two of them, i.e., novice and intermediate
are self contained, fully complete sessions on their own. The
basic tutorial teaches DVDSP2 using the basic interface mode
that DVDSP offers. Everything from using Apple's templates to
creating Styles and a brief on Shapes is covered to get you started
very quickly. To that end, the basic section even concludes with
DVD burning. You could put down the lesson and begin creating
DVDs that much sooner and without having to delve into more complex
issues. This approach is a thoughtful and an insightful time-saver
that will minimize frustration you might otherwise have attempting
to quickly get started.
Rest assured, as soon as you are
ready, many advanced topics are waiting and thoughtfully detailed.
This instruction also contains three projects so you can follow
along and test the principles you are learning.
In Part 11, the folks at Magnet Media provide an explanation
and instruction of topics you have likely overlooked in the past.
- Pixel Aspect Ratio
- MPEG2 Compression
- Compression Markers
As someone who has been helping
users with DVD questions for the last year I can tell you the
first two of these topics are often the most neglected and confused
new and intermediate users have. If you are not sure what pixel
aspect ratio is, you need to watch this section. If you have
ever wondered why some asset you created looked fine in Photoshop
but didn't look so fine in DVD Studio Pro, you need this.
MPEG2 compression is always a subject
of confusion as well. MPEG2 compression is explained in good
detail with a section on improving your video with compression
markers and how this relates to GOP. If that sounded technical
or you would like to improve problem areas or understand compression
a little better, you need this section.
In Part III - the intermediate section, there is so
much good information here I get lost deciding where to begin.
I am particularly impressed with the flow of this section. Building
on the concept of the prior section 5, Building an Overlay
Menu, Zeth Willie revisits pixel aspect ratio as it
relates to combining a motion menu with an overlay asset. These
are the kind of menus you want to create. Creating a motion background
combined with your own custom-made text graphics and maintaining
the ability to create effective overlay maps all rolled into
a single sub section of the tutorial. I mention this particular
sub section because it illustrates a point that some tutorials
actually have a greater value than just teaching something once.
Some tutorials become a reference for future projects you will
work on. When you decide you want to create an effective motion
menu with the added benefit of an overlay map, and you are unsure
how to prepare for it, you have a visual reference you can access
again and again. You can compare your ideas and thoughts with
the work flow presented here.
So many topics are covered from
adding subtitles and additional audio streams to building a transition
clip. Just as the basic section, this section has its own pre-planing
section in the beginning and ends with its own building and formating
the DVD section.
Section IV, the final and advanced section of the
tutorial, concludes with such topics as DVD@ccess and creating
Stories, dual layered DVD creation and scripting. The experienced
user may know all of these already, however this is a new interface
and obviously you are interested in a tutorial or you wouldn't
be reading this.
There are simply so many new features
in DVD Studio Pro 2 that you could easily overlook whole features
that would have added to your creative capabilities. Watching
six hours of training can be difficult for anyone, however you
don't have to do it all at once. I would recommend watching every
minute of this visual tutorial.
Even if you consider yourself an
advanced user of DVD Studio Pro 1.5 and earlier, this tutorial
will wake you up to the possibilities you now have at your disposal.
DVD Studio Pro 2 is not a gradual upgrade from its predecessor,
so to a point we have all become novices for the time being.
Your options for customization have dramatically grown with this
release and many time saving functions have been added, specifically
with regards to menu creation, drop zones and shapes. Take the
time to learn these new functions. You'll be glad you did.
2003 Alex Alexzander
for purchase in the lafcpug Store
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