Well, it's that last weekend before school starts. We've been keeping busy. I have been going through some of those things that need to be done before school restarts. I've also had a fun project to work on, and I'm so proud of my results I'm going to tell you about.
Linda has some episodes of the old Family Channel Zorro series on DVD. They don't sell (this) Zorro, so for years she's been playing VHS tapes that she made of the show when it was still on. But tapes wear out, and hers are. So, we had some episodes converted to DVD by a woman who has one of those DVD-recorder machines.
Unfortunately we had some problems with the DVDs. There were some problems with the menus. There are 4 episodes per disk, but we could only start the first one then play straight through. Fast forward and rewind were quirky so it was hard to get to the place you wanted quickly.
I decided that I would re-author the DVDs. My goal was to remake the menus and digitally cut out the commercials, hopefully without having to re-encode the video streams. Every time you re-encode, it reduces the quality of the copy. I had my first prototype ready on Thursday, and my first disk done on Friday.
It was hard. Surprisingly difficult. There were spare, barely helpful directions scattered around the Internet. There were directions that were just plain incorrect on at least 6 different authoritative-looking sites. That's why I'm so pleased. I figured it out anyway.
I'm particularly proud of my menus. When you start the disk, the first title is highlighted. After you play that title, I made the menu smart enough to highlight the second title, and so on. I also made a "Play All" selection which plays all 4 episodes straight through. It works great.
I also understand what some of those buttons on the DVD remote do, like the difference between "Title (menu)" and "Root (menu)".
Oh, and I should mention: I used Free Software to do all of the authoring.