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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Working with Drop Zones

Here are some tips for working with drop zones.

Drop Zones Versus Menu Buttons

It’s important to understand the difference between drop zones and buttons. A drop zone is merely an area of imagery within a DVD menu—it isn’t a clickable button that your viewers can use to watch your DVD. A drop zone is a piece of eye candy; a button is a navigation control that plays a movie or slide show, or jumps to another menu.

How to tell the difference. As you drag items into the menu area, how can you tell whether you’re dragging into a drop zone or creating a button? Easy: When you’re dragging into a drop zone, a dotted-line pattern appears around the edges of the drop zone, as shown on the previous page.

If you don’t see this pattern, you aren’t in the drop zone, and you’ll end up creating a button or changing your DVD’s background image. If that happens, head for the Edit menu and choose the Undo command.

Navigating Dynamic Drop Zones

In most themes, drop zones are dynamic—they move around on the screen or they appear and disappear as a motion menu plays.

How do you add items to a drop zone that’s behind another drop zone or not even visible?

(If you don’t see the motion playhead, choose Show Motion Playhead from the View menu.)

movies to drop zones by dragging them into the editor.

You can also display the drop zone editor by choosing Edit Drop Zones from the Project menu.

Autofill. Want quick results? Let iDVD do the work. Choose Project > Autofill Drop Zones, and iDVD fills all drop zones with images from the media in your DVD. You can fine-tune the results if you like.

Older themes. Both the motion playhead and drop zone editor also work with iDVD’s older themes.

Introductory Animations

Many iDVD themes provide introductory animations. For example, in the Vintage Vinyl theme, the stack of album sleeves slides into position before the menu buttons become visible.

These animations are cute, but you might not always want to use them. They’re fine on a DVD’s main menu, but on a submenu (such as a scene selection menu for a movie), they slow down your DVD’s users, who must wait for the animation to finish before they can access the menu’s buttons.

Solution: Turn off the introductory animations when you don’t want them. Just click the little check box at the left edge of the motion playhead. Or, display the Menu Info window and uncheck the Intro or Outro boxes.

Other Ways to Add Items

You can also add items to a drop zone by dragging them from the Finder: simply drag the items’ icons into the drop zone or drop zone editor. And you can drag photos from iPhoto and other programs directly into a drop zone.

Another way to add items is from the shortcut menu: Control-click within a drop zone, and choose the Import command; or, choose Fill with Content to grab media used elsewhere in the project.

Removing and Rearranging Items

To remove the contents of a drop zone, drag the item out of the drop zone. When you release the mouse button, the item disappears in a puff of smoke. As an alternative to dragging, you can also Control-click within the drop zone and choose Clear Drop Zone Contents from the shortcut menu.

You can also use the drop zone photos editor to rearrange the order in which items in a drop zone are displayed: just drag the items around. And you can add items to a drop zone by dragging them into its editor.

Adding Movie Clips from iMovie

In the Media pane, click the Movies tab and select an iMovie project that’s been shared to the media browser. Drag the shared movie into a drop zone.

What if you want to use just part of a video clip in a drop zone? You can’t use iMovie’s cropping or trimming features to indicate which portion you want to keep. That’s because these features don’t actually delete any video; they simply tell iMovie which parts you want to use. If you drag a cropped clip into an iDVD drop zone, the entire clip plays in the drop zone.

Browsing a Drop Zone

If you have a drop zone that contains multiple items, you can quickly scan through the drop zone’s contents without having to open up the drop zone editor. Click on a drop zone, and a small slider pops up; to scan through the drop zone’s items, drag the slider back and forth. If, while browsing, you decide to rearrange the drop zone’s contents, click the Edit Order button below the slider.

Preview Glitches?

When you’ve added movies or high-resolution photos to a menu’s drop zones, you may see and hear some problems when you preview the menu: the drop zones’ motion may appear jerky, and the menu’s background audio may break up as it plays.

Not to worry—these problems won’t occur on your final DVD. Indeed, the problems often go away once the menu has had a chance to play through once.

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