If you’re a DVD producer who’s been waiting to make the switch to OS X, then DVD Studio Pro 1.5 should be welcome news. Though the upgrade offers little in the way of new features, it’s the first version of Apple’s professional DVD-authoring package to be Carbonized.
DVD Studio Pro 1.5 runs under OS 9.2.2 or OS X10.1.3 on any G4 Mac equipped with an Apple AGP graphics-card. Apple recommends at least 512MB of RAM, and you’ll need a SuperDrive-compatible DVD-R drive for recording DVDs.
The user-interface hasn’t changed since version one, and DVD Studio Pro still ships with a QuickTime codec for compressing your video into the MPEG-2 format required for DVD video – and a separate application for creating Dolby-encoded surround-sound audio tracks.
As with the previous version, to create a DVD, users import their media, and then attach it to specific Tracks. All DVD elements – tracks, menus, slide-shows, and so on – appear as tiles in DVD Studio’s main project window. Media are attached to each tile, which are then wired together through a simple series of pop-up menus.
Menus for your project are best created using Adobe Photoshop. DVD Studio Pro provides full support for layered Photoshop documents, which means you can create a single file containing all the necessary button-states and graphics. The program also adds support for the DVD specification’s simple scripting-language.
As with previous versions, there are still interface elements that are a little clunky. For example, the program doesn’t inform you if any original media files have been altered in another program.
In addition to OS X support, DVD Studio Pro’s biggest change for the better is support for chapter-markers created in Apple’s Final Cut Pro. In version one, chapters – discreet parts of a track that can be navigated to on-demand – could be defined only within DVD Studio Pro, using a somewhat obtuse interface. Now,
You can also specify compression-markers, which force the MPEG encoder to insert an I-frame at the chosen location. If you’ve an area of video that isn’t compressing very well, inserting custom I-frames might solve your problem.
Other new features include support for SCSI drives, and the ability to add DVD-ROM data to DVD-video projects for the creation of
DVD Studio Pro 1.5 provides a well-designed, complete authoring-environment for DVD creation. OS X support is the real selling-point for this version, though the ability to define chapter points in Final Cut Pro is a welcome addition.
If you’ve the appropriate hardware (including a graphics-card), DVD Studio Pro is an excellent and affordable choice for DVD authoring.