BOOT CAMP 507 (01/01/08)

Digicam to PC to TV part 4


You are now one short step away from creating your first slideshow on DVD. We’ll be using two programs, the most important one being GUI for DVD Author, which integrates with the DVD Slideshow program we used last week to compile the disc. The second program is needed to do the actual recording or ‘burning’ and if you have a copy of Nero 6 or 7 on your PC you are good to go. If not don’t worry, there’s an excellent free program called ImgBurn, which you may recall we used a few weeks ago in Boot Camp 499, to create the Linux Puppy disc boot disc. If you didn’t download it then you will find a link to it, along with all of the other programs we’ve be using on this project on the Software page of the PCTopTips website.


Download and install the program or programs on your PC and once that’s done you can launch DVD Author. The program desktop is divided into three main sections; most of it is taken up by the image editing screen, above that are four groups of quick access menus and down the left hand side is a standard split pane Widows directory tree.


The first job is to tell the program where to find your DVD writer drive and the burning program you’ll be using, so go to Settings > Permanent and select the Project tab. At the bottom select NeroCmd (if you have it) or ImgBurn if that’s what you’re using. If you are familiar with your DVD writer drive and it’s working properly then leave the Write Speed drop-down on Max; if you are not certain select a more conservative speed (1x, 2x, 4x etc.). Under General settings make sure that PAL has been selected (or NTSC if you want the disc to be playable on DVD players in North America, Canada, Japan etc.). To finish off select the Permanent tab and select your DVD Writer drive letter from the ‘Drive’ drop-down menu, click OK and you’re ready to begin.


We can now make a start by loading the files you created last week, so go to Open on the File menu and navigate your way to the folder where you saved your slideshow. There you will find a file with the extension .gfd. Click on it and the first slide will appear in the main editing window.


You will notice that in the lower part of the directory pane the Main Menu at the top is the opening screen you are looking at and below that are folders containing the title screen and galleries of your images. The numbered TS2SubMenu folders represent each slide and contain sub folders for the various ‘properties’ (background, buttons, labels, animations and so on) that you will probably want to experiment with once you have mastered the basics


Back now to the editing screen and the Main Menu is overlaid with four boxes. The top one is for a title for your slideshow and you can drag this to any point on the screen and edit it by double clicking on it. The text editing dialogue box that opens has all of the usual font, size, colour and style options.


The other three boxes represent DVD menu buttons, for starting the slideshow, changing albums and selecting individual photos and these can also be repositioned and edited in a similar fashion. You can also add extra buttons – more on that in a moment – but for now just stick to the defaults. 


We could continue with the guided tour but everything is ready to go so at this point I suggest that you dive right in and burn a test DVD. By all means have a quick fiddle with the title and move the buttons around but don’t waste too much time on it, there will be plenty of opportunity to get creative once you’ve made sure that everything is working properly.


Pop a blank DVD into your drive and click the Create DVD button, if you want to preview your disc, otherwise click Burn DVD button, you will be asked to confirm the action. ImgBurn (or your chosen DVD burning application) will now leap into action and do its stuff so you can sit back and relax for a few minutes. When the burning process has finished remove the disc and load it into your DVD player. If all’s well it will open on the menu page (if not see this week’s Top Tip for some trouble shooting suggestions) and you’ll have a fully functional slideshow DVD.


Now you can go back into DVD Author and get to know some of the many useful features and to start you off try editing or adding extra buttons to the Main menu. This is a good way or personalising your DVD and you can even turn your own pictures into buttons. Press the 'Pict' button on the Insert group menu above the preview window to choose an image. You can make buttons do all sorts of interesting things as well; click the Button button on the Insert group menu and this opens the Edit button dialogue box. There you will find a drop-down called ‘Action’ and this contains a long list of editable commands that tell a DVD player to ‘jump’ to other sub menu or select an audio track. You’ll find details of how to create and define buttons in the program’s Help files. Next week in the final part of this series we’ll look at putting multiple slideshows on a DVD.


Next Week – Digicam to PC to TV part 5





Reference to the way data is stored on a recordable CD or DVD, using a laser beam to change the optical properties of chemicals sandwiched between the layers of blank discs 



Popular CD/DVD writer and authoring program, often bundled with new PCs



The rate at which data is written to a hard disc drive or optical disc




If you fall at the first hurdle and cannot find or load your ‘gfd’ slideshow files, make sure you use Open on the File menu, rather than searching for it from the directory tree. Otherwise you probably didn’t complete the final step in last week’s episode, which was to save your completed slideshow as a ‘gui for dvd author’ file in the Save As Type drop-down menu). If you experience any problems a the burning stage nine times out of ten it will be due to a faulty blank (avoid cheap unbranded discs), or a dirty drive – give it a run-through with a good quality cleaner kit.


Don't forget, there's a full archive of previous Boot Camp Top Tips at



© R. Maybury 2007, 0512


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