Linking Media to Your Menu Buttons to Make Your Project Flow

With your menus and media in place, it's time to connect the dots?create the links between your menus and media to ensure everything works together.

This can be a bit tricky. The object is to avoid creating a situation where your DVD viewers get "stuck" deep into your DVD project with no escape. You need to see to it that all buttons are, in fact, actual links that will take viewers somewhere. When viewers press Menu or Next on their remotes, your project actually should take them to a menu or to the next item on the DVD.


This is where you'll see why I suggested giving your movie placeholders descriptive names. In DVDit!, the means to link movies to your menu buttons is a bit counterintuitive. Instead of using the placeholder windows as you'd expect, you create links by dragging the movie names from the drop-down list below the playback window.

Task: Link Media to Buttons

Your first task is to link all your media?videos, stills, and any associated audio?to their respective menu buttons. Follow these steps:

  1. Open a menu by clicking its placeholder image in the Menu column.

  2. Click the Movie drop-down list, highlighted in Figure 22.13 and located at the bottom-left corner of the playback window, above the timeline's start button. Select the movie you want to link to a menu button.

    Figure 22.13. To link a movie to a menu button, first select a movie from this highlighted drop-down list.


  3. Roll your cursor over the tiny "chapter" triangle, highlighted in Figure 22.14. The word Chapter will appear (by default, the first frame is always Chapter 1, even though DVDit! LE does not support chapters). Click that triangle and drag your mouse to the button link.

    Figure 22.14. Create the link by dragging the highlighted "chapter" triangle to the appropriate menu button.


  4. Do the same for every movie on every menu.


    If you create a button and place text on it, when you later drag a movie (or menu) to that button, you may make a link only with the text portion of the button, not the entire button. To ensure you've created a link with the entire button, drag the movie (or menu) to the edge of the button, away from the text portion. Alternatively, you can drag the movie to both the text portion and the button.

  5. If you want to use a clip from the video as a button, simply drag that tiny triangle to an empty space on the menu. DVDit! is supposed to select the first frame as the button image but instead uses a frame a few seconds into the clip.


To see all links, right-click any button and select Show Button Links. As shown in Figure 22.15, the graphics disappear and text info about the links appears in their place. You'll notice that DVDit! automatically numbers each button. If you create four buttons and then apply text to each, the buttons will be numbered 1 to 4 and the text will run from 5 to 8.

Figure 22.15. Right-click a button and select Show Button Links to get text info on each button's link.



By design, the quick-and-easy buttons, created by dragging menus and movies onto a menu, are 3D beveled-edge rectangles. Although you can resize them, change their shape somewhat, alter the drop shadow, and adjust the colors, you're stuck with that beveled button look. If you want something else, the best option is to go back to Premiere, grab stills from your videos, open them in Photoshop, and create buttons there.

    Part II: Enhancing Your Video