iDVD was Apple’s own DVD authoring program or creation program, released on July 11, 2011 and shipped with Macs as part of the iLife suite. It’s icon was located in the Dock or in the Applications folder. iDVD was an excellent program for the home user that made the whole process of creating a DVD extremely easy. It burned QuickTime movies, MP3 music, and digital photos to a DVD that was then played on a commercial DVD player. Besides it was complete with fancy menu screens. This application operated under OS X. The application was discontinued in 2013 (n fact, it was no longer preinstalled on Macs shipping with OS X 10.7 Lion. iDVD was, however, available in the boxed copy of iLife ’11, until the release of iLife ’13.
Initially available for Macs with a SuperDrive, the app was later included with all new Macs. Starting with iDVD 6, Apple supported the ability to burn projects with third-party optical drives.
This app included over dozens of Apple-designed themes for DVD menus and sub-menus. Each theme included “drop zones,” onto which movies or pics could be placed.
iDVD integrated with the rest of the iLife suite, as well as with Final Cut Express and Final Cut Pro. It could import iMovie projects and iPhoto slideshows.
For iMovie projects, scene selection menus were automatically created in accordance with chapter markers. The application had a Media panel that provided access to the user’s iTunes library, iPhoto library and Movies folder.
Among other features, let’s mention the ability to hide or show an approximation of the ‘TV-safe area’ (as old televisions generally cut off some of a video’s outer areas). iDVD included a ‘One-Step DVD’ function, which would automatically rewind the currently connected DV camcorder and burn a DVD of the video footage stored on the tape.
iDVD shipped with fonts, located at Applications – iDVD.app – Contents – Resources – Fonts. But the fonts were not installed, to prevent them from being available to other applications by default.
Creating a DVD
To create a DVD with iDVD, the user had to follow these steps:
- To pick a theme: Click Create a New Project. Choose between standard and widescreen formats, then pick from a selection of bundled themes (many of which are widescreen-only) for the menus.
- To add some content: Click the Media button to pull in audio, pics and video files. The user could also drag files from Finder or click File – Import.
- To customize: Most of the theme were relatively tasteful, but the user could select and delete elements he or she didn’t like.
- To add extra menus: You can only have six items on your main menu, if you want more items than this, you’ll have to create sub-menus. To do this, click the + button and choose Add Submenu. Each sub-menu, when clicked, will lead to another customizable menu, complete with a back arrow for returning to the main menu screen.
- To map things out: Click the Map button to see a tree diagram of the whole disc, and delete any unwanted bits (select the media in question and hit Backspace).
- To add sync files: You can add regular files to your DVD, which will be accessible if someone puts the disc in a computer. Choose Advanced – Edit DVD-Rom Contents…
- To get burning: Hit the Burn button and insert a blank disc when instructed. Or, to burn it later, or on another machine choose File – Save As Disc Image…
- To save: Save your project so you can open and edit it later.
It was possible to click Buttons and experiment with the alternatives on offer.
With the first versions of the app, if the user didn’t have a SuperDrive, but he knew someone who did, the user could create DVD projects on his or her own Mac using iDVD, save the projects as a disk image file when the user was done, and move the file to his or her friend’s Mac later for burning to DVD.
If the user burned to rewritable DVDs, they needed to be blanked before each new use. This could be done using OS X’s Disk utility (in Applications – Utilities).
It was also possible to buy more themes in the form of the third-party DVDPak (but expect more fun rather than anything stylish or serious).
Note: Obviously, there are no limitations on duplicating home-made DVDs. Keep in mind however that duplicating a copyrighted DVD may be illegal, depending which country you live in and what you intend to do with the copy. In general, it’s fine to make a backup for your own use, but not to distribute it to anyone else.
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