Closing the site?

It’s been quite a long time since anyone contacted me regarding DVD Studio pro. I am not sure what use this site is now, given the way content is being deployed on the web or through web based services. I’m happy to keep it open as an archive, of course, but since I no longer author DVDs for anything other than the occasional gift, I don’t think there will be any further updates.

Please let me know what you need – if this site is of no further use then let me know. If you still refer to the information here then that’s fine – as long as it is helping at lease one person now and then it’s worth keeping it online.

Seasons greetings to you all – have a good New Year!

Hal

Using the number pad on a handset

A recent dialogue on the Apple support forum for DVDSP has raised an interesting point about using the remote control handset numbers to activate menu buttons. DVDSP is able to handle this from a programmatical perspective, and the user manual is quite clear:

Number Pad: Defines which buttons are directly accessible by a DVD player’s numeric keypad. Choose All, None, or a button number from the pop-up menu. When you choose a button number, that button and all buttons less than that number are accessible via the numeric keypad—buttons greater than this value are blocked from direct access.
Important: This feature is based on the button order as shown along the top of each button’s Button Inspector, and not the button names you see in the Menu Editor. See About Button Numbers for information on verifying and changing the button numbers.

Btn Offset: You can use this setting to offset button numbers so they make sense to a viewer who wants to select a button by entering its number. For example, you may have a set of scene selection menus with numbered scenes. One of the menus may have scenes 23 to 34, with the button for scene 23 being the first button on the menu. If you enter an offset value of 22 for this menu, when the viewer enters 23 on the remote control, 22 is subtracted from it, with the result being 1—the button’s actual number.

However, whether it actually works or not on your DVD player is not certain. I have made many discs and always leave the number pad option set to ‘All’. However, I’ve never bothered to try out using a number pad on a remote handset… Without checking the build using DVD After Edit I am not certain it works as advertised, but will do some checks and see what can be found out.

ProKit Update breaks DVDSP?

Some users of the Final Cut Suite are reporting that the latest ProKit update from Apple is causing them issues. Typically, DVDSP is not burning properly, odd events are happening to prevent the system working at all, and in some cases the whole FCP suite is unstable.

I’m not sure why this is, and so far no news has come from Apple, however the way back to usability might be to replace the new ProKit files with the earlier version. This is actually easy to do if you’ve got a copy of the right files… and there is a set attached to this post for you.

Go to your System/Library/Private Frameworks folder and then on to ProKit.framework folder. Back this up to your desktop and zip up the resulting folder… then replace the contents with the earlier version files. Re-boot and you should be back to version 5.1 again.

ProKit.framework 5.1

Remember, be careful with your system whenever you mess with the library files. We can take no responsibility for system errors or instability introduced by using these files or following this guide.

Blu-Ray Authoring

It’s an almost relentless question… can DVD Studio Pro create Blu-Ray discs?

Nope. DVDSP is a standard definition authoring tool, or HD DVD authoring only. Since HD DVDs are effectively dead in the water (the winner in the high definition DVD battle was Blu-Ray) there is pretty much no point creating them. There are no players that will play them, apart from a few computers here and there.

Some people have had success with HD content on a standard def disc – the principle is that you create the HD material and encode at HD bitrates, but write it to a SD disc. This works in some players, but not all. The sadder news is that DVDSP just won’t create Blu-Ray at all…

Steve Jobs has been quoted to say something along the lines of Blu-Ray licensing being a ‘world of pain’. I guess this means we won’t be seeing anything like a Blu-Ray authoring environment from Apple anytime soon. For now, then, any HD content you want to make into Blu-Ray will cost you big bucks to get done through a bureau, however there are more and more Blu-Ray burners appearing on the market, and thus some attempts at Blu-Ray authoring applications. All of them on PCs.

And I’ve just noticed that this post is exactly one year on from the previous! I really ought to get a few more tutorials done soon!

Keycode Access to play clips

image of the keypad used in the sample project

image of the keypad used in the sample project

An interesting thread on the Apple Discussions recently talked about whether it is possible to use a menu screen with a number pad graphic so that users could type in a clip number to play a clip. In the thread, the requirement was for 550 clips, and the original poster referred to them as ‘tracks’. Clearly, you can only have 99 tracks, so you always put all of your material into a single track and use markers to set the start/end points between the clips. The only other constraint is that a track can only have 99 markers in DVDSP. With 550 clips you’d need 6 tracks, and to keep the number of markers lower, you’d put just 50 clips into each of the tracks you use.

So then came the scripting – how do you keep track of what the user typed, and send them to the relevant marker? It’s actually a lot easier than you might think, using the button values on the menu to determine the clip value. The harder part comes when you have to do the jumps to the clips. When you write a script you only have 128 commands at your disposal. With a jump statement that includes an ‘if’ clause, you’ll get through those very fast and need quite a few scripts for 550 clips. Additionally, the scripts would go through sequentially, making finding the right clip a chore, and probably creating quite a pause.

The answer is to create a script for each clip that has just a single jump statement to get to that clip. The genius part here is that you use a ‘Jump Indirect’ to get the right script and so massively reduce the time for the player to get from the selection script to the playback. Don’t forget that DVDSP has a pretty hefty abstraction layer and there are lots of ways to slow things down, so anything you can do to help reduce delays is going to be good.

The remainder of the job is to add menu calls and end jumps to the markers – in the sample project I just sent everything through a script that clears the GPRMs and goes back to the main menu. Additionally, I had to add some logic to deal with the user selecting clips that didn’t exist, and to allow them to use a leading zero in their number, for selecting clip numbers 1 through 9.

The sample project file is here. You’ll probably need to reconnect the images I used for the track when you open the project.