- GET INVOLVED
This article assumes at least version 5 of Final Cut Pro, 2 of Compressor, 2 of DVD Studio Pro and 5 of DVD Player (with Mac OS 10.5). Users of older software (especially Compressor) may be better of reading this older article.
This article was created by cobbling together bits from the following 4 articles:
Using Compressor to encode MPEG-2 Files
Encoding AC3 Audio with A.Pack
First Play - a "Bare Bones" DVD
Building Custom Presets in Compressor 2
Feel free to read these source pages for more info.
There are a number of different ways to encode a finished FCP movie for DVD delivery. One common method was to export directly from FCP through QT to MPEG 2, but with the release of QT 7, this option is no longer available. Others methods use the applications iDVD or Toast. However, these produce not very good image quality and we are forced to have a menu from one of the templates. This leaves us with two options. 1) export from FCP as a QuickTime movie, not with Conversion (File Menu>Export > QuickTime Movie) then import into DVD SP for MPEG 2 encoding. 2) export from FCP to Compressor (File Export > Using Compressor). This article describes method 2, which produces the best possible image quality on the Mac.
From Final Cut Pro to Compressor
First, open the Final Cut Pro Sequence intended for DVD. If you only want a portion of the sequence then set In and Out points on the timeline. If you want to convert the entire Sequence to DVD then remove In and Out points on the timeline. Then select File > Export > Using Compressor …
This will launch Compressor and add the Sequence to the Compressor Batch. (Don't let the name "batch" throw you off; Compressor can encode a single file as easily as a hundred).
Final Cut Pro Sequence added to the batch
Each QuickTime file, clip, or Sequence added to the batch is called an Item; in this case, my batch contains a single item called "Sequence 1-My Final Cut Project." Each item can contain one or more "entries," each of which will result in one compressed file. So, if I apply three separate settings to my Item, Compressor would encode the same item into three separate files. The entire batch will be submitted for processing as a unit, no matter how many items or entries the batch contains.
Choosing Compression Settings
The first step in encoding is to choose a setting for your Sequence in the Batch. You should see a “Settings” window below the batch. If you do not see this window, go to the menu and choose Window > Settings. With the Settings tab active we see a number of encoding presets including some for DVD encoding. The idea is to find the appropriate setting. Unfortunately, the options vary according to the version of Compressor used. Older versions of Compressor may have within the settings a choice between 4:3 and 16:9 (widescreen) aspect ratios. If so, choose the aspect ratio that matches your Final Cut Sequence. Also, older versions of Compressor listed “MPEG-2” instead of DVD. There will be settings offered based on the maximum duration of our movie, 150 minutes, 120 minutes, and 90 minutes. Choose the shortest possible duration. If, for instance, my video (Final Cut Sequence) were 105 minutes long, I would choose the 120 minutes setting. If my video were 5 minutes long I would choose the 90 minutes setting. The last option is for Best Quality or Fastest Encode. The Best Quality setting will produce better looking video, but will take longer to encode. Once you’ve found the appropriate settings, you will see that there is actually a folder containing 2 settings 1 setting for the video (MPEG-2) and 1 for the audio (Dolby 2.0).
Settings appropriate for best quality DVD up to 90 minutes
We will be choosing the MPEG-2 setting and the Dolby 2.0 setting. Drag these 2 settings onto the Sequence item in the Batch window and they will be added to the that item.
Settings applied to the Sequence item in the Batch Window
Adjusting the Applied Setting
The Dolby 2.0 entry applied to our item in the batch needs to be adjusted. To do so, double-click the Dolby Digital Professional 2.0 entry / row in your batch. This will open the Inspector window loaded with the settings for this entry.
The Audio tab contains the most basic settings for your AC3 file. Leave Target System at the default setting of DVD Video. Leave Audio Coding Mode set to 2/0 (L, R) unless you have mastered surround-sound (5.1) audio. Leave Sample Rate at 48kHz.
Data Rate determines the file size and the amount of information in your AC3 file. The data rate defaults to 192 kbps. While this is good quality audio, we can push it up for just a little better audio quality output by selecting 224 kbps. Moving this setting higher than 224 kbps will not produce a discernible increase in audio quality, but would take up additional space. Keep Bit Stream Mode set to its default value of Complete Main.
Setting the Data Rate in the Inspector Window
Set Dialog Normalization to -31 dBFS. Dialog Normalization determines whether the audio level will be raised or lowered in the DVD player. Setting Dialog Normalization to -31 turns off Normalization completely.
Setting Dialog Normalization to -31 dBFS
Nothing needs to be adjusted within the second tab, Bitstream; you can safely leave all settings in this tab at their default values.
There is only one crucial setting in the Preprocessing tab: Compression Preset. You MUST override the default value and choose None. The default value of Film Standard Compression is used only when the AC3 file will accompany a theatrical film print not a DVD. The other values in this tab can be left to their default values.
Choosing a Destination and Output File Name
The second parameter to set is the Destination, or where the encoded files will be saved. Select both entries (Dolby and MPEG-2) in the Batch Window then in the menu choose Target > Other to specify a new location to save the encoded files. (Alternately, one can right-click on the Source column in the batch window to choose a destination).
Specifying a destination for both entries
The third parameter is the Output File Name, or what the encoded files will be called. This is optional. If you wish to change the default name for the output file name, then double-click on the existing name and type a new name.
Renaming an output file name
When you are satisfied with your items and presets, click the Submit button at lower right. This will prompt another window confirming the choice. Click Submit again. The History window will then automatically open. Refer to this window to check the progress of the encoding job.
Viewing the progress of the encode job
DVD Studio Pro
This simple DVD will not display a menu, but will immediately play your video in an endless loop.
Launch DVD Studio Pro. First import the 2 files output from Compressor, the .m2v file (Compressor created MPEG-2) and the .ac3 file (Compressor created Dolby 2.0). There are several ways to do this: such as clicking the Import button of the Assets window and navigate to the 2 files or finding the files via the Mac OS Finder and drag them into the Assets window of DVD Studio Pro (as shown below).
Dragging into Assets window
To add your imported video and audio to Track 1, simply drag the 2 files from the Assets window into the V1 channel of the Track Editor.
Adding an Asset to a Track
This is a bare-bones DVD, so you don't want any menus. However, DVD Studio Pro not only creates a blank menu called Menu 1, but it sets this Menu as the First Play of the DVD. The First Play is the first thing that will happen once your DVD is inserted in the player. So you want to do two things: get rid of Menu 1 and set the First Play to your Track.
For these tasks, you will use the Outline Tab. The Outline tab shows you the structure of your DVD project and all of its elements. This is an essential tool in working on your DVD, because it lets you view and modify all the elements such as Tracks and Menus. To get rid of the Menu, select Menu 1 in the Outline Tab and hit the Delete key on your keyboard. That 's it, the menu is gone!
Deleting a menu
Next, select the UNTITLED_DISC icon at the top of the Outline Tab. You will use the Inspector, a floating window which typically lives at the extreme lower right of the screen. The window's title bar should read "Disc:" the Inspector will constantly update to display the properties for any item selected in the Outline tab or anywhere else for that matter. At the top of the Inspector is the Name of the disc. Click here to edit the name of your DVD. Below the Name field is the First Play pop-up menu, which should currently read "not set." (However, if you did not delete Menu 1 in the Outline Tab, then First Play will read "Menu 1".)
To set the First Play of your DVD, click the First Play pop-up menu and select "Tracks and Stories > Track 1 > [Track]." Now your Track will be the first thing that plays when you insert the DVD into a DVD player.
Setting the First Play of your DVD
Finally, the only thing left to do is to set the End Jump of Track 1. A Track must lead somewhere when it is finished playing, or the DVD player will freeze. In this bare bones DVD, you will set the Track to loop. First, select Track 1 in the Outline Tab. The Inspector will update to show the properties of Track 1.
To set the track to loop, you will set the End Jump property of the Track. Click the End Jump pop-up menu and set it to "Tracks & Stories > Track 1 > [Track]." This sets the End Jump to lead back to itself.
Setting the End Jump of Track 1 to itself
You are done authoring.
You now have a choice: you can either go straight to burning a DVD or you could first test in Apple’s DVD Player then burn a DVD. For the former method read this paragraph; for the latter skip to the next paragraph. DVD Burning is a simple one-click step that creates a DVD from your project. You simply click Burn in the toolbar or in the menu choose File > Burn to start the process. Your system’s DVD burning drive is checked to see if suitable recordable media is present—if not, a dialog appears, prompting you to insert a blank disc. And that’s it, Done.
To test in DVD Player before burning, you first you will create “build” files on the hard-drive that can be accessed via DVD Player. The process for this is as follows: Choose File > Advanced Build > Build. You will be prompted to “Choose a Build Folder” where to put completed files (VIDEO_TS and AUDIO_TS folders). Within the dialog box create a new folder called “BUILD” and choose that folder.
Choosing a build location Test in DVD Player by opening the BUILD folder created in the step above. First launch DVD Player. Then choose File > Open DVD Media.
Then press the Play button within DVD Player and test. Once it tests fine go back to DVD Studio Pro. Choose File > Advanced Build > Format. In the dialog box that is presented just leave everything as is making sure that the Output Device is set to the DVD-RW device.