How To Create a DVD With Menus Using Free Software

DVDStyler is a simple but powerful DVD authoring software. It lets you create DVDs and add menus, sub-menus, closed captions, buttons, video thumbnails and even background music. This makes DVD Styler the perfect solution to port your home movies to DVDs, make them look less boring and more professional. DVDStyler comes in Windows, Linux and Mac versions.

In order for DVDStyler to work, it needs video to be in mpeg-2 format and its corresponding audio to be in either ac3 or mp2 format. If you want to learn how to edit and transfer your home videos to mpeg-2 format, read my previous article, Edit and transfer home videos to DVD using free software.

 

DVDStyler Instructions

Adding Video And Chapters

1) Download and install DVD Styler.

2) Open DVDStyler; at the beginning it will ask you the setting you would like to use for your video. Make sure you choose the correct “Video Format” and “Aspect Ratio”.  NTSC is for the United States, South America, Japan and PAL is for  Europe and pretty much the rest of the world. Under aspect ratio choose whether your home video was shot in Widescreen (16:9) or the old standard (4:3). You can leave “Audio Format” with its default setting.

3) Drag your video (or videos) to the bottom of the main screen (where menu 1 and menu 2 are).

4) Right click on the video you just dropped, click on “Properties”and set the time where your all chapters start. To determine these times, you can open your video in any video editor (like Avidemux), fast forward and write down the time where each chapter starts, then, enter them in DVDStyler, each separated by a comma with no spaces.


Customizing Text, Links And Menu Background

Add Background Image

DVDStyler already comes with preset background images. However, if your prefer to add your own, all you have to do is drag it and drop it on the DVDStyler screen, and then grab the picture by the corners to resize it so that it fits correctly.

Adding Text

1) To add text: Right click on the screen -> Select “Add” -> Click on “Text”.

2) To modify the text: Right Click on the text -> Click on Properties -> Click on Font. Then in the same screen choose font size, color, etc.

If you notice, all menus have a light transparent white frame around them. You are not supposed to place any items in that area since TVs may or may not display it. Stretch the background image to cover everything, but try to place all menu items inside, not touching the white frame.


Customizing Chapters In Sub-Menus

1) Click on Menu 2 to display it on the screen.

2) You will see that the first thumbnail (Chapter#1) is already populated, and if you already configured the times where your chapters start, the others should be populated as well.

3) If you have more chapters than thumbnail frames on the screen,  you can create additional ones by right-clicking on one of the existing ones and copying and pasting it on the same screen, then right-click on your new thumbnail frame, click on it’s  “properties” and set it to jump to the correct chapter.


Configure Remote Control Navigation

Right-click on each thumbnail and click “Properties”. The properties in the picture down below are the properties for thumbnail #1; if you notice it is set to jump to chapter one when clicked. Next, take a look at the section below named focus. We have 4 buttons arranged in circular order, those buttons are arranged in the same positions the navigation buttons on a remote control. As you can see, the “top” and “left” buttons are set to the default setting “auto“, since you cannot jump to anything from button #1 on those directions. The “right” button is set to 2, which means that whenever you click the navigation button on your remote control to the right it will go to thumbnail #2. Same goes with the “down” button; every time the down button on the remote control is pressed, it will go to thumbnail #3 which is the one right below #1.


Adding Background Music

DVDStyler will only accept music in mp2 or ac3 format. If the background music you will like to add is not in any of these two formats, you are going to have to convert it. To do this, we are going to use another free utility called Audacity.


– Convert music to mp2 format with Audacity:

1) Download and install Audacity.

2) Open your music in Audacity, edit it if you have to. You can make the clip shorter and fade it out at the end for example.

3) Click on File -> Export -> Select mp2 format and save.


– Add Background Music File To DVD Styler:

1) Once your file is converted to mp3 format, right click on “Menu 1” and click on “Properties”. Then go to the “Audio” section, select your mp2 file and check “Loop”, so that your music files keep playing indefinitely as long as that menu is displayed.

2) Repeat the previous step for all other menus you have on your project.


Start Recording

Click on File -> Burn DVD -> Select whether you want to create and ISO image or burn it directly to DVD. (it’s your choice)


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