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  Adobe Encore DVD: In the Studio

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  Introduction to the Book

Adobe Encore DVD: In the Studio

If you're looking for a stimulating way to master Adobe Encore DVD and fine-tune your moviemaking skills, look no further than Adobe Encore DVD: In the Studio. Designed for Adobe Creative Suite developers and filmmakers, the book combines practical learning materials and project-based lessons.

By studying this comprehensive tutorial, you will be able to quickly develop professional-looking DVDs studded with special effects worthy of a Hollywood studio.

DVD Authoring with Adobe Encore DVD

Movies on DVD have been a tremendous success for Hollywood and the consumer electronics industry, and now the advent of inexpensive digital video camcorders and DVD burners opens the possibility of creating your own DVDs on desktop computers. Yet DVD authoring can involve a lot of work -- organizing your clips, designing menus, creating navigational links-and can require technical knowledge of video compression and DVD specifications.

As a result, current DVD authoring tools have split into two general tiers, and into corresponding price points (ignoring higher-end professional tools for mass-market and Hollywood production). Entry-level tools designed for consumers, and priced less than $100, can create DVDs "automatically" from your clips using template designs, but therefore can severely limit your freedom to customize your productions (even to the extent of not being able to reposition menu buttons). Meanwhile, more advanced, corporate or professional tools, priced around $300-$600, provide much more flexibility in designing menus and creating discs with multiple audio and even subtitle tracks, but they require you to understand more about DVD technology and perform more manual work in constructing your projects.

Enter Adobe Encore DVD, a professional DVD authoring tool that combines the depth of professional authoring for complex projects with the ease of drag-and-drop operation for simple jobs. If you are just getting started with DVDs, or have a quick disc to create, you can simply drag your clips onto menus and Encore will do all the work of creating links, inserting video thumbnails for the menu buttons, and converting the clips to DVD formats to burn to disc. As you grow into more serious work, Encore provides precise control over menu design, navigational linking, and video compression, combined with project management and version control tools.

And, not surprisingly, Encore integrates tightly with the other Adobe digital media tools, so you can reopen and edit audio clips directly in Adobe Audition, import chapter markers from Adobe Premiere Pro, and transfer menu designs with Adobe After Effects to create dynamic motion menus. Best of all, Encore is very tightly integrated with Adobe Photoshop CS: you can exchange menu designs directly between Encore and Photoshop, complete with graphics and text objects and properties, layer sets and hidden layers, and even layer effects. In fact, Encore uses the Photoshop file format for importing and storing all its graphical elements.

The hallmark of Encore is its flexibility in fitting into your preferred work-flow. You can prepare and compress your clips in Premiere Pro, or just import and convert them in Encore. You can design all your menus within Encore, or you can work in Photoshop to create a family of template designs for your projects, including menus, graphics elements, and even styles. Encore ships with a large library of these predefined templates that you can use and customize for your own projects.


Who This Book Is For

This book is designed for people who want to make interesting DVD productions, whether they're consumers stepping up from an entry-level DVD authoring tool, or professionals moving into DVD from other Adobe digital media tools. You'll find the process of using Encore more familiar if you have some experience with playing and exploring (if not authoring) DVDs, and video editing using a tool such as Premiere Pro. Experience with Photoshop also is obviously helpful, but not required.

My goal in this book is to get you started quickly creating useful DVDs, and then give you the tools and options for digging down to customize more advanced designs. The book moves logically through the workflow of creating a DVD, introducing the associated Encore tools, and providing tips and alternatives for more advanced authoring. In this way, you can find your own approaches to using Encore for the kinds of projects that you want to create.

Besides providing the step-by-step workflow for using Encore, this book also serves as a reference to the major screens and dialogs, with annotated screenshots and associated explanations of the Encore interface elements.

This book is based on Adobe Encore DVD version 1.5, released in May 2004, and also available as part of the Adobe Video Collection version 2.5. If you haven't upgraded to version 1.5, don't hesitate any further; it provides significant workflow enhancements and even stronger integration with the other Adobe tools.


Organization of This Book

This book consists of nine chapters that walk you through the process of getting started with Encore, progressing thorough the DVD authoring workflow, and then taking advantage of its advanced capabilities to expand the possibilities of designing your DVD productions:

Chapter 1, Introducing Adobe Encore, takes you through the entire process of using Encore to create a DVD. You can get started quickly and easily with drag-and-drop authoring using Encore's library of pre-built elements: Encore automatically creates links and even builds video thumbnails. And you'll whet your appetite to move on to more advanced capabilities.

Chapter 2, Deconstructing DVDs, takes a step back from authoring to explore commercial DVDs to help you understand the possibili-ties-and limitations-of the format. You can use a variety of DVD player software tools to dig under the covers to explore how DVDs were constructed and see how other authors have designed their discs.

Chapter 3, Assets and Projects, talks about the first step in DVD authoring: importing and organizing the assets you are going to use in your project, including images, audio, and video files. We'll discuss file and media formats, and also begin to show how Encore helps to man-age your projects.

Chapter 4, Timelines, discusses preparing the playable elements of your DVD production: video clips with multiple audio and subtitle tracks. You also can create slide shows with associated audio, and add chapter point markers in the timelines.

Chapter 5, Encore Menu Design, introduces the other element of DVD design: menus and buttons that link to the video timelines. This chapter explores Encore's built-in Menu Editor that you can use to design and create complete menus directly in Encore.

Chapter 6, Working with Photoshop and Other Applications, explores the other option for menu editing: exchanging menus directly with Photoshop to create sophisticated layered designs. You, or your design team, then can create complete menu templates, as well as design elements, that can be imported and used directly in Encore.

Chapter 7, Links and DVD Navigation, brings together your menus and timelines by adding navigational links between them. And beyond direct links, you will see how to use overrides and playlists to reuse your assets in different ways and provide alternate paths through your material. Then, use Encore's powerful tools to preview and check your DVD's design and links.

Chapter 8, Transcoding and Building Discs, demonstrates how to burn your DVD productions to disc, or use Encore to create and burn from DVD folders on hard disk and disc image files. You can let Encore automatically take care of compressing your video and audio assets, or you can set your own transcoding options. For manufactured discs, you can set content protection options and write to DLT tape to send to a DVD replicator.

Chapter 9, Designing Great DVDs, gets to the fun part: understanding, and then breaking through, the requirements and limitations of the DVD specification to design great-looking and engaging productions. We'll explore tips and tricks for designing menus, timelines, and navi-gation, including stashing "secret" hidden materials on your discs.