Create graphics for DVD and Blu-ray menus in Final Cut Pro X, Motion, and Compressor

Learn how to add custom graphics to DVD and Blu-ray disc menu backgrounds.

You can add still images to DVD and Blu-ray menu backgrounds in Final Cut Pro X, Motion, and Compressor. You can prepare the still images in a graphics application such as Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop. 

General Guidelines for Creating Still Image Menu Backgrounds

Final Cut Pro X, Motion, and Compressor support a variety of graphics formats for still images, including JPEG, TIFF, PNG, BMP, and Photoshop PSD files. For best results, follow these guidelines when creating still image menu backgrounds:

  • Make horizontal lines at least three pixels thick to avoid flicker on TV screens. For the same reason, avoid using typefaces with narrow lines. Flicker might be more noticeable when using serif fonts.
  • Make vertical lines at least two pixels thick to avoid color shifts from encoding and decoding. Also avoid using thin vertical lines at the left or right edge of your image.
  • Use colors from the standard TV palette (Rec. 601 or Rec. 709). Extremely bright or highly saturated colors might not display correctly when viewed on a TV screen.

Create DVD still image menu backgrounds

DVD video is displayed in either a 4:3 (full screen) or a 16:9 (widescreen) aspect ratio, and most often uses either a 720 x 480 pixel (NTSC) or 720 x 576 pixel (PAL) color encoding format. These formats don't match either aspect ratio. As a result, a DVD player scales the video appropriately to play it in either the 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratio. This is known as anamorphic video. Because of this scaling, you have to prepare your still images properly.

To make sure your still images appear in the menu correctly, follow these steps and use the table below:

  1. Determine the aspect ratio and format for the main video of your DVD.
  2. In a graphics application, do the following:
    • Prepare your image using the dimensions in the "Starting frame size" column in the table below that correspond to your target aspect ratio and format.
    • Scale your image to the dimensions in the "Final image frame size" column that correspond to your target aspect ratio and format. When scaled, the image might appear distorted (squeezed or stretched horizontally). However, it will look proportional on the final DVD or Blu-ray disc.
    • Choose the color space for the image that corresponds to your target aspect ratio and format, then save the image.
  3. Add the final image into your Final Cut Pro, Compressor, or Motion project as the menu background for your DVD. When you play back the DVD, the aspect ratio of the menu will match the aspect ratio of the main video.

DVD aspect ratio and format

Starting image frame size

Final image frame size

Color space

16:9 NTSC Video

853 x 480 or 720 x 404 pixels

720 x 480 pixels

Rec. 601 NTSC

16:9 PAL Video

1024 x 576 pixels

720 x 576 pixels

Rec. 601 PAL

4:3 NTSC Video

640 x 480 or 720 x 540 pixels

720 x 480 pixels

Rec. 601 NTSC

4:3 PAL Video

768 x 576 pixels

720 x 576 pixels

Rec. 601 PAL

In the past, DVD authoring applications added additional corrections for "non-square" pixels on TV screens, so images displayed correctly on older analog NTSC and PAL televisions. Newer high-definition televisions use only square pixels, so no additional corrections are necessary for the values in the table.

Create Blu-ray still image menu backgrounds

Blu-ray discs support standard-definition video and high-definition video up to a frame size of 1920 x 1080 pixels. Menus are most often authored in high-definition, with an aspect ratio of 16:9 in the Rec. 709 color space. Because high-definition video doesn't use anamorphic video, you don't need to scale your image.

To make sure your still images appear in the menu correctly, follow these steps:

  1. Prepare your images with a 1920 x 1080-pixel frame size, the standard size for high-definition video with an aspect ratio of 16:9.
  2. Add the image into your Final Cut Pro, Compressor, or Motion project as the menu background for your Blu-ray disc.

About DVD and Blu-ray menu elements

Final Cut Pro X, Motion, and Compressor automatically include menu elements such as disc title, length, and menu buttons. You can also add custom title images and custom logos. These menu elements overlay the background image.

The following table shows the menu elements and where Final Cut Pro X 10.3, Motion 5.3, and Compressor 4.3 place them on-screen when you share to DVD and Blu-ray.

Menu elements Blu-ray DVD NTSC DVD PAL
Disc title and length Occupy a 92-pixel wide band placed 100 pixels from the top, left-justified Occupy a 54-pixel wide band placed 36 pixels from the top, left-justified Occupy a 66-pixel wide band placed 102 pixels from the top, left-justified
Menu buttons Occupy a 78-pixel wide band placed 861 pixels from the top, left-justified Occupy a 39-pixel wide band placed 373 pixels from the top, left-justified Occupy a 39-pixel wide band placed 469 pixels from the top, left-justified
Optional custom title image Scaled to fit in a 960 x 540 pixel box, centered on screen Scaled to fit in a 360 x 240 pixel box, centered on screen Scaled to fit in a 360 x 288 pixel box, centered on screen
Optional custom logo
Scaled to fit in a 350 x 160 pixel box, placed 1378 pixels from the left and 108 pixels from the top Scaled to fit in a 108 x 72 pixel box, placed 522 pixels from the left and 40 pixels from top Scaled to fit in a 108 x 86 pixel box, 522 pixels from the left and 40 pixels from the top

All sizes and positions in the table above are relative to the final image frame size.

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