Despite my web research capabilities, I'm having a hard time getting a handle on which software would best be suited to me. Perhaps you can provide some feedback. Here come my requirements:
1. Dual-Layer support for DVD+R format. (NEC ND3520A DL burner)
2. Fully customizable DVD menus, backgrounds and buttons with alpha-channel support. Scenario: I have a 30 second video to be used as a background for the menu. The scene has 2 snapshots laying on a table. I wish to size 2 "empty" frames with alpha-channel as the buttons around the snapshots shown in the video backround to serve as the buttons to launch the chapters. (hope that made sense)
3. This one is a "nice to have" but not a show stopper. I'd like to be able to create menus that are intelligent enough to know their launching point. Explanation: Think "music video compilation" not a "movie with chapters." I have a compilation with 32 music videos. On my Main Menu I'd like to have a "Play All" button which plays all the tracks. So far, it's simple. The "Choose Track" button links to subsequent menu pages that allow me to select a SINGLE track. Here's the clincher; after playing the selected track, I want to return to the menu it came from NOT continue on to subsequent tracks.
All the authoring packages I've seen would require me to lay the video down twice. Once for the "Play All" with a "return to menu" marker. Then all 32 tracks again with a "return to menu" marker after each video. That's a pretty big waste of DVD space vs. having an "intelligent" menu marker system that recognizes which button got us there and knows the "return to menu" marker isn't from Menu1/Button1 and should be ignored. Besides, fitting all the video twice won't be possible.
Hopefully, several of you have encountered these needs already and know which products measure up. Again, #3 above isn't a show stopper, but if you know a product that can handle it along with my other criteria, that would be great! Keep in mind I'm a home user with a home user budget.
Sonic Scenarist and Producer should be adding DVD+R9 support after NAB. DVD Studio Pro can do everything you need right now.
As far as alpha channel support goes, DVD authoring programs use still/motion menu art + overlay art or, alternatively, layered Photoshop files. For motion menus, you might want to build them in After Effects or directly in DVDSP.
Building "play all" discs and tracking menu navigation requires you to be able to create the scripting or programming needed and to use GPRMs.
I am not quite sure what you want to do in "2" (with the alpha channel), but I believe that either Adobe Encore DVD or MediaChance DVD-lab Pro could do the job. Encore has direct DVD+R DL burning support, DVD-lab Pro requires a workaround for dual layer burning.