Authoring Photo Slideshows with iDVD

by Charlie Miller

Today let's look at a workflow that enables fast and easy authoring of photo slideshow DVDs. We'll access our Aperture library from iDVD and create an interactive DVD project that we can burn to disc and distribute as a rich media portfolio.

The tool that will ease our trip from Aperture to iDVD is the iLife Media Browser. If you read my last post on iWeb you'll remember that the Media Browser makes our entire Aperture library available as high-resolution JPEGs that can be dropped into other applications on our Macs. So let's start by launching iDVD, creating a new project, and picking a theme. Select the Media tab at the lower right of the window and choose the Photos tab from the top. You'll see that you have access to your entire Aperture library for drag and drop into the iDVD project. Before you start dropping images into iDVD, one thing I recommend is to select the Menu tab and click the Edit Drop Zones button. This gives you a handy floating palette that shows all the available Drop Zones for your project. Go ahead and drag some photos from the Media pane onto the Drop Zones to begin customizing your DVD — you can also personalize the title text by double-clicking on it.

The next step is to create your slideshow. Click the "+" button at the lower left and choose Add Slideshow. Double-click on the "My Slideshow" text in your project window and iDVD will take you into the slideshow editor. Drag your images into the window and arrange them into your desired play order. Choose a slide duration and transition — I'm partial to the Fade Through Black transition. Be sure to click the Settings button to turn on or off the "Show titles and comments" setting. Another useful setting here is that you have the option to "Add image files to DVD-ROM". This will add the full-quality JPEG previews to the DVD-ROM portion of the disc. You should consider the pros and cons of this option, weighing any concerns about rights management.

When you've finished personalizing your DVD, you can preview it in simulation mode by pressing the Preview DVD Playback button, or burn it to disc by pressing Command-R.

iDVD is one of the easiest ways to author interactive slideshows, but keep in mind that this is only a quick overview. Once you've created a project it can be customized and personalized as much or as little as you choose. For an online tutorial on iDVD, check out Apple's iLife Multimedia Tutorials.


Brent Jilly
2007-04-06 09:23:56
I can't believe it's that easy to author a disc. Is the best way to author a disc of my images, or just the easiest? Thanks for the post Charlie, it's just what I've been wondering.
Brent Jilly
2007-04-06 09:26:43
Sorry for the typo in the last post. What I meant to say was... Is this the best or just the easiest way to author discs? Thanks again!
Charlie Miller
2007-04-06 11:03:31
Brent, there are many ways to author DVDs on a Mac; iDVD is just the simplest way to get a DVD created with a minimum of involvement. Stay tuned to this blog... I'll probably be looking at the more advanced features of DVD Studio Pro in the future.
Bob Fugate
2007-04-06 18:59:34
Charlie, great article. Don't have iLife '06, so a question. Does this work if I haven't generated jpeg previews in Aperture -- does the iLive Media Browser show RAW files in Aperture and when dragged to iDVD are they converted automatically? Or do I have to generate the previews in Aperture first? Thanks for the article and keep them coming.
Charlie Miller
2007-04-08 10:48:13
Bob, for this to work you will need to generate JPEG previews in Aperture. You can control the quality and size of the previews in Aperture's preferences.
David Morrow
2007-04-11 10:16:32
For a faster DVD experience when building slideshows, simply drag a folder or smart folder onto the top level menu in iDVD - it will automatically build a slideshow containing the images in that folder (including the name of the folder). If you have already done the work in Aperture to sort photos this way, then you can build a slideshow with one click and drag. From there, double-click on the slideshow title and set the transitions, etc.