I am making a DVD for a client and he wants to have a bonus section where people can play a number of music tracks in similar fashion to a music player app. As far as I can tell, there is no easy way to do this within DVD Studio Pro. Ideally, the music player would be a standalone "bonus content" menu item, where the user would select the "music" button, and a separate menu screen would appear with the music player containing about nine tracks of music. I was not able to make this, so my work-around has been to create duplicates of the track selection page for each track (9), and then set each page with the corresponding music track as the background music.
So it functions like this:
Person clicks "Music" bonus content button, Music menu appears with 9 tracks (buttons) and a button linking back to the main menu. If the person selects one of the tracks, they are sent to another menu page that looks exactly the same (the person cannot tell its a different page), but the track they selected is now playing (as the music linked to page). So for each of these 9 pages, I had to link each corresponding button to the correct page with the corresponding track, as well as a link back to the "main menu" (it all was a huge pain in the butt).
The problem I'm having now is that some of these tracks are fairly long (10 mins +), and they take up a vast amount of space on the DVD. I have checked, and the space is not being taken up by the music track itself, but rather the "video" content that is visible in the menu while the track plays. The thing is, the menu picture is just a .jpg, but DVD Studio Pro seems to render this as a video file regardless. Is there a better work-around for this issue I am having? I was hoping that there might be some kind of plug-in or option within DVD Studio Pro that would either give me a music player option, or at least reduce the amount of space the menu "video" is taking up.
In order to play audio (music, in your case) on a DVD-Video, there has to be video playing as well. Your trick is an excellent solution, except for the space problem you describe.
The only alternative is to play the music with black video. In that case, you would encode each song + black video as a separate video asset (separate VOB) but in order to save space, you would be free to use the tightest compression permitted by the DVD specification. I don't have reference material with me, but I believe 1 or 1.5 Mbps is the smallest allowed. A digitally black video (a slug from your video editing software) should compress with no artifacts even at such low data rates.
The downside is of course, people would be watching blank video.
If black video is not satisfactory to your client, you could recreate the same image you're using now with the menu, but instead of "trusting" your authoring software to encode each menu video, you do it yourself as video assets (one for each song). Again, a perfectly static image needs only the I-frame to describe it, and subsequent frames simply say, "No changes here," permitting super-low bit rates.