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Old 13 Sep 2009, 07:23 AM   #1
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Default Two "can this be done" questions from a noob to vid editing


I have two questions that I have spent a considerable amount of time trying to find the answers. I'm more than happy to read the answers if your have a link, but I'm hoping someone with experience can tell me IF it's possible and what software to use.

1. I would like to create some interactive videos; simple videos that have a icon or gif image embedded in the video that links to another clip. I can't afford a $700-1200 program to create them and that is all I can find.

Is there away to accomplish this with open source or less expensive software?

2. This question is more related to menu creation, actually editing. After a DVD has been created with menus, is it possible to go back and edit the menus without doing a complete conversion from the original avi, mgp, etc?

I'm taking about changing fonts, color, etc. Are the menus dynamically created from code on the DVD, or are these created during the conversion?


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Old 13 Sep 2009, 10:05 AM   #2
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Not too sure about creating icons and gifs within vids but #2 is easy. Get PgcEdit (donationware) and VobBlanker (freeware) - see links in my signature.


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Old 14 Sep 2009, 03:01 AM   #3
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You must understand that the menus are made of two things: the background still image or animated video, and the button highlights (plus an optional audio stream). The buttons you see are part of the background, and therefore cannot easily be modified without recreating and re-encoding the video. On the other hand, the highlight changes when you use the remote to select another button. Therefore, it has to be independent of the background. For that reason, the subpic stream holds the button highlights. They are made with the same technology than the normal subtitles, but there is some additional information in the IFOs to inform the player of the position of each button, the command to execute when the button is activated, the adjacent button to select when the user presses an arrow on the remote, the color and transparency of the highlight, etc...
As you imagine, the buttons are essentially static things, even if they are authored over an animated background. You cannot change their behaviour when the DVD is playing (although you can program them to react differently in different circumstances.)
The menus are usually authored in the menu domains.

What you want probably to do for your point 1 is called BOV (Button Over Video). The BOVs are menu button highlights, just like the buttons of a normal DVD menu, but they are authored in the Title domain (hence the name "over video").
There are some limitations, though. It is difficult, if not impossible, to display BOVs and normal subtitles at the same time. The BOVs, just like real buttons, are limited to 3 colors (+ 1 color usually full transparent). Of course, you can draw a button over the video itself, and use the BOV only to highlight it, but you will need to hardcode them in the original video stream, and that requires a compositing program such as Encore.
If you can live with just button highlights, you need an authoring program that can do BOVs. (Most of them are limited to normal menu buttons.) The White Rabbit in Matrix is a good example of BOVs over the main movie.

With PgcEdit, VobBlanker and DVDSubEdit, you will be able to change some aspects of the menu buttons, and even create new buttons, but none of those programs are authoring tools, so you will not be able to draw the button backgrounds. You can do that easily with a good paint program (such as The Gimp, freeware), if you use only still images for your menu backgrounds, but I guess you want to author real BOVs over animated video. Unfortunately, I think there are no free programs to do that.
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Old 14 Sep 2009, 01:40 PM   #4
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Default thanks

thanks, blutach, I'd already spotted your signature with the load of great links and had copied them for later looking over.

I'll take look at those two you suggest first.

I guess I'll keep looking for info about the interactive video stuff.



Last edited by GeoNOregon; 14 Sep 2009 at 01:41 PM Reason: stupid sentence formation
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Old 14 Sep 2009, 02:25 PM   #5
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Default r0lZ <<<<< thank you

Thank for a cogent and informative explanation. One of the things I find lacking on the Internet is knowledgable explanations of how something works or an overview of a process.

In the few short paragraphs you wrote, I understand, (and have confirmed some of my suppositions), more about menus and interactive video than I have from reading pages and pages of other stuff.

IF I understand you correctly, (that's always a BIG if with me), BOV's are exactly what I was talking about when I referred to icons / GIF's in my question.

My immediate learning need is to turn these avi's back into interactive video, (btw, subtitles are not an issue). The avi's I have show the buttons when you view them - so you are right on with your assessment.

IF I understand, what I need to do is create BOV's that will align with the existing buttons. I see it as 'overlaying' them on top of the existing avi and it's buttons. (that's what creates the 'glow' or 'highlight' you see on the DVD screen)

As I suspected that is done in a different section of the IFO data than the menu info. So if I can get the BOV's to align, then I can put in the info for what happens when they are selected.

Fortunately, with this project, I "can live with just button highlights". So I'm back to an authoring program.

My menu experience so far has been limited using ConvertX to turn avi's, etc into DVD format and I have gotten somewhat familiar with the options and changes that can be made to the menu before conversion.

I do own a license for AVS4You and have an authoring program installed from them - it's a complicated enough program that I'm not ready to jump into it just yet.

What I've found about the ConvertX is that it's a great app for converting to DVD, (especially MKV format), but it blows up when I use it to burn the DVD. I've found a 99% success rate by converting with ConvertX, then using the AVS burning app to create the DVD.

I've been quite disappointed with the AVS format conversion - maybe it's the nature of the beast, but ConvertX makes superb conversions every time, and I don't have to configure it at all.

When I use the AVS Editor or Conversion app to convert a video's format, all is straight forward except the video bit rate. If I'm trying to make a different format duplicate of a video and want the same bit rate, I have to guess at the bit rate setting and hope it is close to the existing video's bit rate.

ie Let's say, I have an FLV that is 1400kbps bit rate and I want to make an AVI, (or MPEG, or WMV) copy of the exact same quality and specs.

If I set the bit rate in the AVS app to 1400, I'll get 1150 in the finished vid. It's frustrating as hell. When I asked AVS about it, I got some BS from them without a real answer as to why it is that way. Every other setting is duplicated, but not the bit rate.
The other thing I've found is massive file size when I use the AVS Editor or Conversion app to modify or convert a video.

If I have an avi that I want to crop some sections from and I use the AVS Editor to do it, the file can be 4-5 times what the original avi was.

And most of the time, all of the specs of the finished avi are exactly the same, except the bit rate, (which is typically smaller.) Only the finished video is 5:00mins and I started with 20:00 and added no transitions, etc, just straight, blunt cuts. Is there a rational explanation for this, or is it the application?

Thanks, again... I think I can delve into the interactive video project and might even get it to work...

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Old 14 Sep 2009, 03:24 PM   #6
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I'm not a specialist of conversion from AVI to DVD, and even less from FLV to AVI. (BTW, have you tried FLVExtract? It can extract the audio and video streams from a FLV without modifying them.)
Converting the frame rate to the normal PAL or NTSC frame rate, and fixing the Audio/Video sync problems can be a real nightmare. I can't help you on this subject.

Anyway, for your interactive DVD, you need to convert to DVD-Video compliant MPEG2. One-click apps such as ConvertX or DVD Flick are fine, but they are limited. They assume that your AVI is a standard movie, and don't let you create BOVs.

One problem is the need of a subpic stream, even if your movie doesn't have subtitles. (BTW, you are right: the button/BOV highlights are overlays, and the subpic stream should be called "overpic".) Some AVI to DVD one-click programs allow you to specify a SRT file, and convert it to the SUP stream needed for the DVD, but afaik none of them let you import images in the SUP, to be used for the BOV highlights.

You could try to do this:
Create a SRT file containing any dummy text. You will have to manually specify the start and end timecodes, according to the apparition and disparition of your BOVs. Then, author the video, audio and SRT with DVD Flick (or ConvertX if it can import SRT files.) Then, you will have to process the final DVD with PgcEdit's menu editor to define the rectangles over each BOV. If you want a different highlight than a simple translucent rectangle, you will have to edit each subpic manually. (You can extract them from the DVD as BMPs with DVDSubEdit, edit the BMPs with a paint program, and re-import them in the DVD with DVDSubEdit.) Of course, it will be much more rapid and simple to do translucent rectangles as BOVs, or to find a real DVD authoring program that fully supports BOVs.

Note also that you need two different subpic streams if your movie aspect ratio is 16:9, as one subpic is used for the 16:9 TVs, and the other one for the 4:3 letterboxed or pan&scan mode. Only one subpic stream is needed for a 4:3 movie.

Good luck!

Last edited by r0lZ; 14 Sep 2009 at 03:36 PM
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