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Selection of DVD Authoring Software

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Neal Walters
Selection of DVD Authoring Software
on Jan 11, 2010 at 6:51:39 pm

I recently bought a language book that came with two DVDs. They ran on Windows computer under the Media Player, but I noticed they were very similar to TV videos. I actually popped it in my TV's DVD player and found it worked there. I could actually "run" and navigate the tutorial with my remote control.

I was rather shocked that language tutorials could be made that would run totally on DVD (and thus also Win and MAC and probably Unix compatible).

For instance, they have a series of menus, then they display several words in Arabic. When you click on the word they play a sound file and you hear it pronounced. On other menus, you click, and they have a video of a guy writing the Arabic letters.

This is extremely useful for teaching non-Latin alphabets like Hebrew, Chinese, or some of the other Asian languages. In the past, I've used Click2Learn's Toolbook and Flash to build such tutorials. Toolbook was Windows-only, and even Flash (before AIR) required building separate installers from Win vs Mac).

My question is what software programs are available to build such tutorials (paid or open source)? Which ones are easiest to use for this type of development?

Requirements would be to build screens, make clickable hot-spots, play sound files, and play videos. Videos must also be able to play in a small window (for example, they show a letter and then show a close-up video of a person's mouth saying the letter).

Not sure if they did all the screens in a graphic program and then just added the clickable hotspots.

Also - are there limitation to how many menus or levels of menus are supported? Any other major limitations I should know about?

Thanks in advance!
Neal Walters



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Roman Melekh
Re: Selection of DVD Authoring Software
on Jan 11, 2010 at 7:34:09 pm

[Neal Walters] "Any other major limitations I should know about?"
99 VTSs -> 99 Titles -> 99 PGCs -> 99 chapters per PGC





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eric pautsch
Re: Selection of DVD Authoring Software
on Jan 11, 2010 at 11:22:33 pm

Something like this is pretty simple once you know how DVD works and its limitation. The main issue is the time and planning involved. There are several DVD authoring tools allow this kind of functionality. DVD Lab, DVD Studio Pro and Scenarist are 3 that come to mind. One thing needs to be mentioned - menu design needs to be done outside the authoring app in tools like Photoshop, After Effects, ect.

You can literally have close to 10,000 menus on a disc. The menu domains can hold 1 gig each.

Personally, Flash is a better platform for these kind of educational titles. The only reason you would want to go to DVD is if the end user absolutely needs to watch it on a TV. Since most have computers that's really not necessary. Remember, DVD is 20 yr old technology...way before Flash was around.




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Neal Walters
Re: Selection of DVD Authoring Software
on Jan 12, 2010 at 6:49:05 pm

Good points. I guess what I liked about the DVD was that:
1) a non-programmer or lower-level staff could develop it,
and no source code to maintain, and theoretically no bugs to fix.
2) it would immediately run on DVD player or Win/Mac/Unix without having to create multiple installs and get three machines to test the installs. I've heard good things about Adobe "AIR" for installer, but haven't had time to learn it yet.

Neal


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eric pautsch
Re: Selection of DVD Authoring Software
on Jan 13, 2010 at 3:32:23 am

1. DVD is programming and yes...like all programming, there are bugs to fix :) No one without an advanced understanding of DVD and the 3 tools listed would be able to author a title like that. Unless it is super basic which it doesn't look it is. You would hire a DVD expert for this kind of work...someone who just does DVD. If you were to go the Flash route...then you hire a flash designer.

2. "DVD", "Immediately Run" and "computers" can't live within the same sentence :)



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