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Apple DVD Studio Pro 3

DVD design, authoring and encoding suite
It also includes several "Alpha Transitions," which are multi-component movies that allow you to perform various tricks. You can also create your own Alpha Transitions, a process I'll explain in some detail in a forthcoming tutorial. Here's an example of one of the pre-defined Alpha Transitions.



And, finally, if you're too old-school to put up with a crutch like this, you can still use the transition feature to simplify your life a little bit by specifying your own custom track as a transition. The only advantage of this that I can see is that it will alleviate the need to set end jumps and track parameters, as you would have to have done in DVD Studio Pro 2.



The other major functional enhancement is new support for the DTS 5.1 surround format. DVD Studio Pro continues to support Dolby Digital 5.1, and, of course, it still includes A.Pack for encoding to the AC3 format. But now you can also include DTS files in your project.



There are two limitations to this, however. The first--a minor issue, depending on how you plan to work with DTS--is that the DTS file must be in the .cpt format. DVD Studio Pro will not understand what to do with a DTS .wav file, and your final project will produce nothing but noise if you do try to use one. For the Macintosh, there is but one DTS encoder (as far as I know) that can output to the .cpt format, and that's Steinberg's Nuendo. However, if you're not doing the audio mixing yourself, this shouldn't be too much of a problem for you.

The other problem, a bit more nagging, is that there's no DTS decoder for the Mac at present. And this means that you can't preview the DTS audio in Simulator. There is a solution to this, though I don't particularly like it. You can build and format your disc to your hard drive and then play the DTS audio through Apple's DVD Player software. DVD Player allows for audio passthrough, and the Toslink port on your G5 allows you to send out encoded digital audio to your receiver (which will presumably have a DTS decoder). Since I already happen to have my Mac set up as my secondary home theater, I was able to get this to work with no additional adjustments whatsoever. So I'll provide you with a quick tutorial for this within the next few days. It's not difficult. If you don't have a digital receiver hooked up to your Mac, as I'd imagine most of you don't, then you'll simply have to burn your project to disc and "preview" it in your regular DVD player.

Other functional enhancements include support for color profiles in still images to help alleviate the problem of color shift between still and motion graphics; expanded MPEG video resolution support; and support for jacket pictures.

Workflow and ease of use
Like its predecessor, DVD Studio Pro 3 provides three modes of operation: basic, intermediate and advanced, each showing more or fewer options, depending on your needs. (I must say I've never understood why anyone would use anything but the Advanced mode, but that's just me.) Here, for example, is the advanced view, showing all of the available functions tucked away in adjustable windows and tabs.




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