Working w/video in the menu
Okay, newbie here, can't figure this out.
Have the initial menu, put video into it, and set a loop point where my buttons appear in my menu. Now I need to identify those buttons so they'll be active. But how can I do it when all I can see is the first frame of the video where no buttons appear??
How can I roll the video in that menu forward to the loop point where those buttons appear so I can map them?
I made a video opening/menu. The first 30 seconds is a one-time play, then I have the menu come up on the same video. The buttons appear on the menu 30 seconds in (in the video I created).
Now, I want to add functionality to those buttons, and I don't know how. I assume I can outline where each button is on the page and make them links to features in the DVD. I set the loop point for where the buttons appear, and it loops correctly back to that point.
1) How do I get those buttons to be active? I need to somehow map out where they are on the screen and what they link to, so that when it hits the loop point, they'll work. I can't see the buttons in the menu editor, only the first frame of the video which doesn't have any buttons in it. (I can create the button position in photoshop -- is this what I do? And if so, what do I create since the text and click area in in my video, and hence I don't need to add any text if I create it in photoshop?)
2) How do I make it so that when someone completes viewing a selection, it comes back to the loop point of my firstplay menu, and not to show the first 30 seconds again? Is this clear what I'm asking here? The firstplay menu isn't a timeline, I've put the video into the menu, so I don't know how I would set a Chapter marker to say "play from Chapter 2" in order to not replay the first 30 seconds each time. Is this possible? Or do I need to make my main menu separate and not have the first 30 second piece on the same video?
This program looks like it has a lot of promise, but I'm having trouble with the Help section, can't find clear answers to what I'm seeking.
Remember that the background video doesn't contain any buttons, so you have to design the actual button functionality somewhere. You can do it in Photoshop or in Encore. (The usual workflow is to start in Photoshop, design all your buttons and the background they'll sit over, then take the whole thing into After Effects where you animate the background. In Encore, you combine the buttons in the original PSD with the motion background.)
Your buttons don't need to have any visible content, you can create buttons that contain only highlight layers- the ones with the (=1), (=2), and (=3) prefixes. These layers only show up when the user selects a button, so all you need to do is match their shapes to the areas in your motion menu you want to highlight. Or not even that (nobody said your buttons have to highlight something on screen); you could just create new shapes that only appear when the button is selected. It's up to you.
Regarding your second question, the only way to do it is to create two menus- one with the intro and one that starts from your current loop point. Linking to a motion menu will always start it at the beginning, not at the loop point.
Okay, thanks. This is very helpful. Still have a couple questions just to make certain I understand.
I understand that I need 2 menus -- a first play timeline and then the menu itself. That was question #2.
But on question #1, I have the video and I put the text links into the video. Do I need to remove those text links from the video and do them in photoshop? Or can I use the video menu and somehow put a layer for each link that I have in there? I'm still not clear on this.
The first way I did this is I set up a video background and built the links menu in photoshop. When I put that in, the links were showing up even before the loop point, so it looked weird to have the links sitting there, obviously, while it played up to the point where they were supposed to appear.
So assuming I can use the video the way I have it now -- with the links moving into position, how do I create a clear layer or whatever in photoshop which I can use as markers for where those links are on the screen? (I'd rather not bring after effects into the equation if I don't have to, trying to keep it simple, though if that's the only way...)
The first way you did it was the right way. However, what you need to do is turn off the visibility of any non-highlight layers.
All that a button requires is one or more highlight layers- the layers with (=1), etc. in the name. You don't have to have anything that shows up normally; for all intents and purposes your buttons can be invisible (this is how "easter egg" buttons are created!).
The problem you had the first time is that you had some text that was visible in the buttons, and that's going to show up before the loop point as well as after.
Here's a real simple test to demonstrate what I'm talking about:
1. Create a new menu in Photoshop.
2. On this menu, add two lines of text. "Button 1" and "Button 2", or whatever.
3. Put each button into it's own layer set, and name the layer sets as Encore buttons: (+)Button1, (+)Button2.
4. Rename the text layers so that they are highlight layers instead. (=1)Button 1, (=1)Button 2.
5. Save the PSD file, then import it into Encore as a menu.
Preview the menu, and notice how while the buttons are there, they don't show up until they are highlighted (or until you press the "show subpicture highlights" button at the bottom of the menu editor window). If you want, add a motion background to this menu, and see how it works then.
All this comes from using buttons that only have highlight layers in them, and no layers otherwise that are visible. It sounds like you've already got some PSD files going for your menu, all you should need to do for that is turn off the visibility of any non-highlight layers.
If this still isn't clear, it might help if you watched the video "Highlight Colors: The Low-Down on Subpictures" at the Adobe Evangelists site:
Many thanks, Timothy. Very helpful.
Now for another question. I have a long piece with 10 chapters and want to have a submenu which lets you play only each individual chapter and not the whole thing. I know how to set a link to start at, say, Chapter 3, but how do I tell it to stop playing at Chapter 4 and return to the menu? Do I have to just shorten the timeline, and thus make a new timeline for each one that I want to have end before the full show? (In other words, make Chapter 3 one start at chapter 3, and then shorten the timeline so that it ends at the chapter 4 marker?)
That's exactly what you need to do- each chapter must become it's own timeline. There's no way for Encore to tell the DVD to "stop playing at the end of this chapter".
Thanks again. Okay, is there an easier way to do this? I'm copying my timeline and then chopping off everything to the right which isn't part of the current chapter. To do this, I have to click on the end of the timeline and drag it to the left and try to land right where the keyframe is, to make the out point correct. This is tedious and hard to do, especially with a 2-plus hour timeline. I get close, then have to adjust the video and sound numerous times to get them on just the right frame. Is there an easier way that I could just put in the timecode somewhere and make the end of that timeline exact? Or is there a "cut" procedure by which I could just trim off the end of the timeline, rather than this cumbersome dragging thing?
Afraid not. Easiest way is to go back to your editing application and export individual segments from there.
Ouch. Since the piece in question is nearly 3 hours long, that's a lot of re-rendering time...
But maybe I don't have a choice? I went and split this up into chapters by shortening the main piece, and suddenly my project is 30 GIGS in size! Before doing that, it was right around 8.5 gigs. So each time I make a new timeline with the same mpeg, it's counting that as NEW footage? Oy...! The chaptering thing is SO easy in DVD Architect. Here it's a real challenge.
How is it that my project grew to 30 gigs when I didn't add any more footage?