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Loop Points in DVD Studio Pro 4

Exploring the new capabilities and scripting end jumps By Dave Nagel
Apple's DVD Studio Pro came packed with some major new features, including HD DVD authoring and a completely revamped compression utility, Compressor 2. But it also included a number of workflow enhancements, some of which are sure to save you time when authoring your presentations. In this new series of techniques, we'll cover these new workflow features, starting today with a look at DVD Studio Pro's expanded menu loop point capabilities.

Basic enhancements
On the most basic level, menu loop points in DVD Studio Pro have been enhanced dramatically. For those who don't know, here's a basic explanation of a loop point. Generally, a motion menu can do one of three things when it ends. It can pause on a still frame; it can jump to a new element in your presentation (such as another menu or a track); or it can loop on itself. Normally a motion menu, when it loop, will start playing itself over from the beginning. However, if you set the loop point to a time other than the beginning of the menu, that's where it will loop to after it finishes playing through the first time.

This is beneficial when, for example, you have buttons that fly onto the screen at the start of a motion menu but don't want to have the buttons fly onto the screen each time the menu loops. In this case, you'd set the loop point of the menu to a time when the buttons are stationary.

However, in previous versions of DVD Studio Pro, there were some severe limitations on how you could use these loop points and when you could use them. You couldn't use them in menus that contained buttons with motion elements; you couldn't use them in menus that contained drop zones; you couldn't use them in menus that contained text elements. Basically you couldn't use them in most situations.

But now this is changed, and you can use loop points in any type of motion menu you'd care to create. The method is still the same; it's just that you can use it in more situations than you could before.

To create a loop point for a menu, simple select the menu in the Outline tab.

Then, in the inspector palette, move the Loop Point slider to the point where you want the menu to loop.

Make sure also that you set the menu to loop at the end, as seen in the screen shot above.

Scripting an end jump to a loop point
Another limitation to loop points in previous versions of DVD Studio Pro was that there was no way to target the loop point in a script. You actually had to build and format your disc, then build in the loop point targeting in a separate editor (such as the useful and free program called myDVDEdit, which you can learn about by clicking here.)

But now in version 4 it is possible to target the loop point with a Jump command in a script. To show you how this works, we'll take a look at a simple script that we'll use as the end jump for a track.

1. Begin by choosing Project > Add to Project > Script.

2. Now double-click the script in the Outline tab to open it up in the Script Editor. By default, the script will contain one Nop command (which does nothing).

3. Select this command in the Script Editor. Then, in the inspector palette, switch it to a Jump command via the Command pull-down menu.

4. When you do this, an option will become available for the jump target. Set it to a menu that contains a loop point. (In my case, that's "Menu 1.")

5. Then simply check the box labeled "Start at Loop Point."

And that's the script in its totality. Now all you need to do is to connect this script to the end jump setting for a particular element in your presentation. In my case, I'll set the script as the end jump for my track called "first track." So I'll select the track in the outline tab. Then, in the Inspector palette, I'll set the track's End Jump to "Script 1" (which is the script I just created targeting Menu 1's loop point).

And that's really all there is to it. Now whenever I play this track, when it finishes, it will jump to the loop point in Menu 1, rather than playing the menu from the beginning.

Next time around, we;'ll take a look at DVD Studio Pro's new GPRM partitioning capabilities. In the meantime, if you have any further questions, be sure to visit me in DMN's DVD Studio Pro forum by clicking here.

And remember, if you want to read any of our previous tutorials on DVD Studio Pro, including design and authoring topics covering everything from basic button creation to advanced scripting, you can find it all by clicking on 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, loop points, menu loop, scripting

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