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VTS Allocation in DVD Studio Pro 4

The basics of working with the new VTS Editor By Dave Nagel
The contents of any DVD you author are allocated to video title set (or VTS) blocks. In DVD Studio Pro, you've never before had the ability to customize how these blocks are allocated; nor have you had any control over video title sets whatsoever. But DVD Studio Pro 4 has introduced a new feature called the VTS Editor, which brings some of that control to you.

But why should you care? Well, in general, you don't really need to concern yourself with it simply because DVD Studio Pro itself does a decent job of allocating elements automatically. However, there are two cases in which DVD Studio Pro's VTS editor can come in handy. In the first place, it allows you to spread your menus over multiple video title sets, which, in effect, eliminates the 1 GB menu barrier that previous versions of DVD Studio Pro had. In the second, it also allows you to create new video title sets and place elements in them as you see fit (mostly), which can be helpful for reducing the lag time experience by end users when jumping from one element to the next.

Familiarizing yourself with the VTS Editor
The VTS Editor in DVD Studio Pro 4.0 is, by default, tucked away in top left corner of the main interface. You won't see it at first because it actually shares space with the outline of your project in the Outline tab. But you can access it in one of two ways. First, you can click the icon in the top right of the Outline tab to alternate between outline and VTS views. Second, you can view the outline and the VTS views side by side by pulling the VTS drawer open, as illustrated in the movie below.

(I'm showing you this because I remember having trouble locating it my first time in DVD Studio pro 4.)

Once you have it open, you'll see just a few elements if you're working on a fresh project. These include the VTS 1 folder, the default Track 1 and a "Menus" folder containing the single default menu.

Then, as you add elements to your project, these will be added to the elements listed in the VTS Editor. By default, any new menus and scripts will be added to VTS 1, while any subsequent tracks will be added to newly created video title sets, as in the screen shot below.

Note that the order of elements in the Outline view has no bearing on the order of elements (or allocation of elements) in the VTS Editor.

VTS allocation
So you can now see all of your elements in the VTS Editor. But what can you do with them? Basically, just move them around. And why would you want to do that? Because it's better to keep related items together in the same VTS folder in order to decrease the lag time when jumping from one to the next.

In the example above, I had one track, two menus and 10 scripts stored in VTS 1. But these elements aren't exactly where I want them. I'd like to keep my "Lead-in" track with Menu 1, since it jumps straight there, and I'd like the lag minimized. However, my main track ("Dave's First track") is sitting out there in VTS 2 all by its little lonesome. And I don't really want that. I actually want menu 2 to be located with that track. So I simply grab Menu 2 and drag it down into VTS 2.

I also happen to have seven scripts that are connected to Menu 2. So I'm going to drag Scripts 1 through 7 down into VTS 2 as well.

And now I have my elements all nice and tightly packed in their own relative VTS folders. And this, with a little luck, will help boost the performance of my disc where it matters to me. (Incidentally, if you have a menu that jumps to multiple tracks, it's better to keep that menu in VTS 1.)

When you move things to a new VTS, they get a little "pin" icon placed on them, indicating that they have been moved from their default positions. These elements are then "pinned" to the VTS where you have placed them. If you would like to "unpin" them, you can do so by right-clicking the element and unchecking the option called "Pin [element] to video title set." If you do this, the element will be automatically moved to the location where DVD Studio Pro would have placed it automatically (VTS 1 in the case of menus and scripts).

Incidentally, you don't have to rely on DVD Studio pro to create video title sets for you. You can also create new ones--up to 99 total--manually by clicking the "Add Video Title Set" button up in the top right of the Outline tab. (You can also simply right-click in the VTS area and add a new video title set from the contextual menu.)

What else do you need to know?
Now, there are some limitation in terms of how you can allocate VTS blocks. Each block may contain only one track, although this track my itself contain multiple stories.

With menus, of course, it is possible to place many of them in the same VTS block. However, you need to keep in mind that menus containing unlike elements must be placed into separate VTS folders. DVD Studio Pro itself will allow you to mix incompatible elements, which will cause your build to fail.

So what are incompatible elements? These are, specifically, menus whose assets do not match in format, which include:

? Background audio encoded at differing sample rates, formats and other settings
? Video of differing formats, aspect ratios and resolutions.

And while we're on the topic of menus, it should be noted that each VTS block can contain up to 1 GB worth of menus. If you need more space than that, you can break out your motion menus into multiple VTS blocks, as described above.

So those are the basics of VTS editing in DVD Studio Pro 4. If you have any further questions, be sure to visit me in DMN's DVD Studio pro forum by clicking here.

And, as always, if you want to find past articles covering scripting and other authoring topics related to DVD Studio Pro, you can do so by following the links below.

DVD Studio Pro Scripting, Series 1
DVD Studio Pro Scripting, Series 2
Other scripting articles
General design and authoring topics

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Related Keywords:apple dvd studio pro, vts editor, vts editing, video title set


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