Using Roxio Easy Media
The holidays have come to an
end. It seems like just yesterday thanks were being given, wrapping paper was
being torn to pieces and you were nursing that New Year’s hangover. Through it
all, you've probably snapped dozens, hundreds—maybe thousands—of digital
pictures. Now you've got a hard drive full of snapshots, all dressed up with no
place to go. Some of your family and friends have dial-up accounts, so you
can't send a slew of pictures that way, and you can't expect them all to come
to your house to view the pictures. Heck, maybe some of them don't even own a
computer. What to do?
Why not create a disc that
will play in a DVD player, with your images as a slideshow and maybe some nice
holiday background music? With a CD burner, you can create a VCD—a CD which
will play in most newer DVD players. (Our DVD player is at least four years
old, and it plays VCDs). Roxio Easy Media Creator 7 (about $80 from Roxio's online store)
makes it a simple and relatively painless process. So grab a blank CD, your
favorite digital images and an mp3 of your favorite Christmas carol, and follow
these instructions for creating a VCD of your digital photos to play in your DVD player.
You can open Roxio's DVD Builder in one of two ways. Open Roxio Easy Media Creator Home from your Programs list, then
click on Create New DVD in the DVD menu. This will open the DVD Builder.
Or, click Start, Programs,
Roxio, DVD Builder to open the DVD creator directly.
The DVD Builder interface is
relatively simple in terms of interaction. Some of the commands are a bit
confusing at first, but once you work with the program even briefly, you
quickly get the hang of it. Our first step in creating your slideshow is to
choose the type of project you want to create. After you've clicked on Create
New DVD, choose Video CD at the "What type of project do you want to
create?" prompt. If you have a DVD burner and DVD-R discs, you may want to
choose DVD format instead, since the resulting quality is somewhat better.
After you choose your project
type and click OK, a DVD Builder project window will appear. Roxio makes
available a task pane (similar to that found in newer Office products) but it
doesn’t seem to be nearly as intrusive as Microsoft's "pains". The
two other available windows are Media Editor, which allows you to edit text and
layout of images for the project's "home" page and Production Editor,
which allows you to change the timing, sound and transitions in your project.
On the Edit tab in the Task
Pane, click Add New Title.
A Windows Explorer-type
window will appear, allowing you to navigate to the images you want to include
in your slide show. You can choose to include entire folders or select images
from folders. Make your selections in that window, then click Add.
A new title will appear in
the Media Editor window, with a thumbnail of the first selected photo as a
preview. Double-click in any text area to edit the text to reflect the titles
you want for your project. Each time you click Add New Title, a new selection
will be added to the Media Editor window, numbered and showing a thumbnail as a
preview. Once you've selected all of the pictures you wish to include, you can
move on to edit the contents, add sound, and preview your project.
The next step, after adding
your title(s) and adjusting the Menu layout, is to add sound to the Menu. Bear
in mind that the Menu is the first thing that appears when you put the VCD into your DVD player. While a default sound is included with all new projects, you may wish
to change it to Christmas or other holiday music. To do so, click Background
Audio in the Task Pane.
Navigate to a sound file,
select it, then click OK.
Click the Preview tab in the
Task Pane, then click the Play button to preview your Menu with the audio you
Hang in there—we're almost
done! You can add sound to your slideshow in addition to adding sound to the
Menu itself. In the Production Editor window, click the Add Background Audio
icon (a music note with a plus sign).
Navigate to an Audio file,
select it, then click OK to add it.
One more step—page
transitions. These allow for effects as transitions, rather than simply showing
the pictures in succession with no segue. In the Production Editor window,
click the Transition Themes button. For a simple show, choose one of the
presets such as Simple Transitions. Click OK. You will be warned that this
action will remove any existing transitions—simply affirm that you want to
add transitions as selected.
Note: You can also select
page transitions for each individual member of your title by right-clicking the
transition placeholder to the right of each photo and selecting Add/Change
Transition as depicted below.
Next, preview your slide show
by clicking on the Preview Tab in the task pane and clicking the Play button.
Your Menu should appear with the audio you added. Click the number of the title
you want to view in the Task Pane, and your slideshow should begin, complete
with audio and transitions as you set up in the previous steps.
Once you preview your show,
click the Burn icon in the upper right corner of the window (it's a CD with
Make sure you have a blank
recordable CD in your CD burner drive, choose options for burning the CD, then
click Burn. For a simple show, the default options Roxio offers are okay.
That's it! If you'd like, you
can save your project.
This is helpful for several
reasons, one of which is the ability to add to it later. For example, I created
a VCD of my son's first three Christmases (and he's only 2—lucky bugger!).
Next year, I can add the pictures from his fourth year into the project from
the third year and create a VCD of all four years.
These instructions will
produce a basic VCD with audio and your digital pictures, but the possibilities
are virtually limitless. Roxio Easy Media Creator 7 offers a host of other
tools and options which you can discover and tweak on your own, to make your
show that much better. One of those tools is the Sound Editor. Using Sound
Editor, you can string several songs together to create a soundtrack for your complete
VCDs make great gifts for
family and friends who have a DVD player. Keep in mind that not all DVD players can play VCDs, and that the quality of a VCD will not match the quality of a DVD. If you need professional-grade shows, invest in a DVD burner. If you just want to share the
memories of a holiday season, why not create your own VCD today?
Editor's Note: For more information about dealing with all those photos, be sure to also check out these related photo and video articles: