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DVD Authoring Glossary
by Douglas Dixon
Terms from DVD authoring, including DVD and CD optical media formats, DVD video and audio formats, and home theatre and surround-sound audio.
See the Digital Video Editing / Adobe Premiere Glossary for common terms from digital video and audio editing and Adobe Premiere, including analog formats, multimedia file and compression formats, and data size and rate measurements.
Derived from Desktop DVD Authoring. Used with permission.
Macrovision APS (Analog Protection System) -- The DVD Video copy-protection mechanism that prevents copying from a set-top DVD player to an analog videotape. This introduces distortions to the synchronization signals in the video output, so that video recorders cannot synchronize to the signal properly, although televisions will be able to display it correctly. See also content protection.
magnetic disk -- Term used for storage media such as hard disks and floppy discs that record data using magnetic fields. See also optical disc.
master -- For prerecorded discs, to create the master mold used in manufacturing DVD (and CD) discs. See also replication.
menu -- The main mechanism for navigating DVD productions. Typically consists of a background (still image or motion video), title text, buttons to link to different elements of the DVD (menus or video tracks), and background audio. The viewer interacts with the menu by pressing the up, down, left, and right keys on the Remote Control to cycle through the buttons; and then presses Select to activate the currently-highlighted button. See also button, motion menu.
Menu key -- A dedicated key on DVD remote controls that typically returns playback to the main menu for the current section of the disc (that is, the current Video Title Set). The action of this key is defined by the DVD author. See also Return key, Title key.
mini-DVD -- A smaller-diameter DVD disc format, especially for use in portable camcorders. The disc diameter is 8cm (80mm), compared to 120mm (12cm) for full-size DVD discs.
motion menu -- A DVD menu that incorporates motion video as the background image and/or in the thumbnail buttons to link to video tracks. The video is typically a short clip that repeats until a menu selection is made.
MPEG audio -- A multichannel, digital audio format created by Moving Picture Experts Group. One of the three required formats for PAL DVD-Video players. See also Dolby Digital, PCM.
MultiAngle video -- DVD tracks can contain multiple video streams that can be switched between seamlessly. These tracks allow the user to choose from several different viewing angles when watching a concert. The DVD-Video format supports one main video track and up to eight alternate video streams. See also video stream.
multichannel audio -- Audio stored in more than one component, typically representing different spatial positions, to be played on different speakers. Includes stereo (two-channel) and surround-sound audio.
multilanguage DVD -- The DVD-Video format supports discs that can be played in multiple languages. Discs can contain different versions of material; each is tagged with an associated language code, including audio streams, subpicture streams for subtitles, and even menu paths for different languages. The user then can choose the desired material to view, or can select a language preference in the player setup menu.
multiplex -- To combine multiple data streams into a single stream, typically by interleaving sequential elements from each stream. In DVD authoring, often used to describe combining the separate DVD content files and navigational data into finished DVD format. See also format, layout.
multi-story DVD -- A DVD production with an alternate version of the same program material, accessed through user- and program-controlled conditional branching.
multistream audio -- DVD presentations can contain multiple audio streams that can be switched between seamlessly. These are intended for uses such as multiple language support and commentaries. The DVD-Video format supports up to eight parallel audio streams. See also audio stream, multilanguage.
navigation -- The flow of playback through different elements of a DVD production - including menus, tracks, and chapters within video clips. Navigation can be explicitly controlled by the viewer by menu selections, can be defined when the production is authored (such as returning to a menu after playback reaches the end of a clip), or can be controlled dynamically by navigational commands. See also link, path.
navigation command -- Programming instruction that can be authored into the DVD production and executed dynamically by the DVD player. These can be used to examine the current playback state; calculate, store, and retrieve values; and then alter the playback by selecting different streams and tracks based on user input, or even randomly. See also script.
non-seamless playback -- A noticeable break or interruption during playback. DVD playback can have visible brief pauses in playback when moving between different tracks. For example, this can occur when the laser needs to move to a different portion of the disc or refocus on the second layer of the disc, or when the player needs to execute a navigation command. See also seamless playback.
NUON -- An extension to DVD players with enhanced entertainment or game content.
optical disc -- Removable storage medium, such as DVD and CD, that is read (and written) with laser light. See also magnetic disk.
palette -- In DVD-Video, a set of 16 colors available for use in subpictures. Can be defined for each program chain. Subpicture and subtitle images must be defined with only four colors, but these can be mapped to a palette color and contrast level (transparency) when the subpicture is displayed.
pan and scan -- A technique used to crop a widescreen film (with a 16:9 aspect ratio) to store and display it at standard 4:3 aspect ratio. Instead of just cutting off the two sides of the widescreen image, an operator pans a 4:3 window within the full widescreen frame in order to show the most important speaker or action. See also aspect ratio, letterbox.
parental controls -- The DVD Video mechanism that permits a parent to prohibit a DVD player from playing DVD discs with more mature material. This feature depends on DVD discs being properly marked with an appropriate ratings level and then using the Setup menu in the DVD player to restrict playback of movies above a specified level. See also content protection.
path -- A flow of playback through different elements of a DVD production. Also, the order in which buttons on a menu highlight as the viewer presses the up, down, left, and right buttons on the DVD Remote Control. See also link, navigation.
PCM -- Acronym for Pulse Code Modulation. An uncompressed (lossless) digital audio format. The format used for CD-Audio and one of the required audio formats for DVD-Video Players. See also Dolby Digital, MPEG audio.
playlist -- Typically, a list of songs to be played in a specified order. Used to organize collections to download to a portable audio player or burn to a CD.
premaster -- The process of preparing the disc image format ready to record to a DVD disc or to transfer to a replication facility for manufacturing. See also format, layout.
program (PG) -- The DVD Video data element within a program chain that typically contains a sequential piece of material such as a video chapter. See also cell.
program chain (PGC) -- The DVD Video data element within a title that is the basic unit of playback used for both playback and navigation. A PGC can define a list of materials to be played in a specified order to present alternate versions of the same program material. The basic navigation of a DVD consists of playing each program chain (that is, a video clip), and then specifying pre- and post-commands to control the navigation between PGCs.
record -- For DVD or CD, to burn data to a recordable disc.
regional management -- The DVD Video anti-piracy mechanism that marks a disc as playable only on players in specific geographical regions of the world. See also content protection.
replication -- To manufacture DVD (and CD) discs in large quantities in a dedicated factory. Also includes mastering. See also duplication, premastering.
Return key -- A dedicated key on DVD Remote Controls that is typically used to return back to the most recent menu from which the current menu was accessed. The action of this key is defined by the DVD author. See also Menu key, Title key.
rip -- To extract data from a removable disc. Typically, to copy songs from a prerecorded CD-Audio disc to hard disc in order to organize a collection, and play and burn personalized playlists.
SACD -- Acronym for Super Audio Compact Disc. A high-quality, audio format promoted by Sony and Philips in competition with DVD-Audio. Typically manufactured as a dual-layer disc, with a CD-Audio layer with a version of the album that can be played in standard CD players. Targeted to
Scene Index menu -- A DVD menu screen or linked set of screens that contains thumbnail buttons to link to each chapter or key scene within a video sequence. Commercial movies on DVD typically contain a Scene Index to jump directly to a specific scene; then play from that point to the end. Automated DVD authoring tools typically create Scene Index menus to access each clip included on a DVD. Also called Chapter Index menu.
script -- A list of programming instructions to be executed dynamically by the DVD player to change the playback behavior of the disc. See also navigation command.
SDDS -- Acronym for Sony Dynamic Digital Sound. A multichannel, surround-sound audio format used for cinemas. An optional format for DVD-Video. See also Dolby Digital, DTS.
seamless playback -- Continuous play without noticeable breaks or glitches. The DVD-Video format is designed to permit the user to switch seamlessly between alternate video, audio, and subtitle streams while playing a track because the streams must be authored in compatible formats. See also non-seamless playback.
set-top DVD player -- A consumer electronics hardware product that plays back DVD movies. The player box can connect to a television set, to an advanced digital or widescreen display, and/or to a surround-sound audio system. See also DVD player application, DVD recorder.
Setup menu -- For set-top DVD players, a menu built in to the player hardware to access global system parameters such as the preferred language and parental controls. For commercial movies on DVD, a menu that typically provides access to alternate audio formats such as Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound, alternate audio tracks with different languages, and subtitle text.
simulate -- To preview the graphical look and interactive navigation of a DVD project. DVD authoring tools typically provide a built-in simulator to test the design before exporting to DVD format.
single-sided disc -- A DVD disc with data on one side. The second side is typically used for a label, like a CD disc. The storage capacity of DVD formats is 4.7GB (actually billion bytes) per side. Also called DVD-5. See also double-sided disc, dual-layer disc.
slide show -- A presentation of a sequence of still images that advance automatically after a specified duration, and can have an accompanying audio track. See also still show.
still show -- A presentation of a sequence of still images that must be advanced manually by the viewer by pressing a key on the Remote Control; does not have any audio track. See also slide show.
subpicture stream -- Each DVD track can have accompanying subpicture streams that display along with the track. These are four-color graphics overlays used for button highlights on menus and for subtitles for video tracks. The DVD-Video format supports up to 32 subpicture streams per track. See also subtitle stream.
subtitle script -- A timed list of subtitles to be displayed during the playback of track, synchronized to the video and audio streams. Typically contains the subtitle text (actually a graphics file), and the start and stop time within the track timecode.
subtitle stream -- Each DVD track can have accompanying subtitle streams that display along with the track. Intended for uses such as allowing the user to choose from several different text translations of the audio dialog. Subtitles are actually implemented as subpicture streams of overlay graphics, so they can contain images as well as text. See also subpicture stream.
subwoofer -- Dedicated speaker for low-frequency effects such as rumbles and explosions. See also surround sound.
Super Video CD. See SVCD.
surround sound -- Multichannel audio material designed to provide the effect of being in the middle of a collection of audio sources. Typically designed to be played through four or more speakers - placed to the left, center, and right - and in front and in back of the listener. See also Dolby Digital, Dolby Headphone, virtual surround sound.
SVCD -- Acronym for Super Video CD. A higher-quality format for video on CD discs than Video CD. The SVCD format uses the same MPEG-2 video compression format as DVD, although at a lower resolution, in order to fit around 35 minutes of "near-DVD" quality material on a CD. Because many set-top DVD players do not support SVCD format, it is also not supported by some DVD authoring tools. See also Video CD (VCD).
System Parameter (SPRM) Registers -- 24 built-in variables in DVD players that contain the current player settings. These can be used with scripts and navigational commands to program interactive behavior. See also General Parameter (GPRM) Registers.
title -- The DVD Video data element within a title set (VTS) that contains a logical group of program material. Also used to describe the entire DVD production. See also program chain (PGC).
Title key -- A dedicated key on DVD remote controls that returns playback to the Top or main menu for the disc. The action of this key is defined by the DVD author. See also Menu key, Return key, Video Title Set.
Title menu -- The menu in a DVD production designated as the Top or main menu for the disc. The Title menu is typically displayed when the disc first starts playing (sometimes after an introductory sequences), and contains navigational links to the contents of the entire disc. The viewer can access this menu at any time by pressing the Title key on the DVD remote control. See also First Play.
Top menu -- See Title menu.
track -- In DVD authoring, typically used to describe a single sequential piece of material, such as a video clip or slide show, in a DVD project that is then connected by navigational links. A track contains a main video stream plus additional streams, including alternate MultiAngle video, audio, and subtitle streams. A track also can act as a menu, with subpicture button highlights.
UDF (Universal Disc Format) -- The file system used for DVDs (technically, the condensed micro-UDF). Designed to be uniform across all DVDs and be flexible enough to support a wide variety of uses of DVD. See also ISO-9660, UDF Bridge.
UDF Bridge -- A DVD file system combining the older ISO-9660 file system for CDs and micro-UDF for DVDs to provide backward compatibility for DVD players and computers.
USB (Universal Serial Bus) -- A digital data interface standard providing a Plug-and-Play interface for personal computers. Typically used for lower-speed peripherals such as mice, keyboards, printers, and scanners. Also used for interfacing to digital cameras. The existing USB 1 standard provides up to 12Mbps (million bits per second) data rate. The new USB 2 standard supports up to 480Mbps data rate. See also FireWire.
Video CD (VCD) -- A consumer format for storing video presentations on CD discs. VCD can fit 74 minutes of "VHS-quality" video on a CD, but at lower video resolution than DVD using the older MPEG-1 compression format. The VCD format is especially popular in Asia as format for distributing commercial movies and videos. Many DVD authoring tools provide the option to author to VCD format, and most DVD players can play the format. This provides an inexpensive option for sharing productions with most computers. Many set-top DVD players also can play VCDs. See also DAT, DVD on CD, SVCD.
Video Manager (VMG) -- The DVD Video data element that contains the global information and directory for the disc, including domains for multiple languages and regional and parental control settings. The VMG also typically contains the main title menu for navigating the entire disc, any introductory video clips, such as copyright notices. See also Video Title Set (VTS).
Video Object (VOB) -- A MPEG video program stream with multiplexed video, audio, subpictures, and control information. See also DVD Volume.
video stream -- Each DVD-Video track is based on a main video stream, which can be motion video, a still image, or a series of stills. The track also can contain additional alternate video streams. The DVD-Video format supports one main video track and up to eight alternate video streams. See also audio stream, MultiAngle video, track.
Video Title Set (VTS) -- The DVD-Video data element that contains a group of program material that shares the same menu hierarchy and basic data formats. Professional tools support multiple VTSs in order to organize the contents of a DVD into logical groups, and to include different kinds of material and formats on a single disc. See also title, Video Manager (VMG).
VIDEO_TS -- The root directory of a DVD-Video production as stored on a DVD disc. See also AUDIO_TS, DVD Volume.
virtual surround sound -- Audio processing that creates a simulated surround-sound effect by converting a surround-sound signal into a stereo signal, either for playback on two speakers or especially for playback with stereo headphones. See also Dolby Digital, Dolby Headphone, surround sound.
VOB file -- Video Object file in the DVD-Video disc format. See also DVD Volume.
VTS file -- Video Title Set files used to store the video contents (VOB files) and navigational information (IFO files) for each title in the DVD-Video disc format. See also DVD Volume.
Web DVD -- A general term for a DVD-Video disc with web-enhanced DVD content. May include web pages that combine local DVD video with current online content, or dynamic links from the DVD playback to online web content. See also DVD@ACCESS, enhanced DVD.