An enhanced DVD production team generally consists of a producer, writer, designer, production assistant, copyeditor, and programmer (to do DVD "authoring"). Production deadlines may be several months before broadcast to allow time for authoring, testing, manufacturing, and delivery.
Your educational goals, budget, and production schedule will influence the decisions you make about DVD enhancements. Here are some general considerations to take into account:
- What kind of enhancements might serve the educational goals of your project? Typical DVD enhancements include:
- "bonus" video, such as interviews with the producer or director, or a behind-the-scenes look at the film's production. These extra video features may repurpose unused footage from the main program or be produced specifically for the DVD project;
- chapterized access to segments of the program that relate to a particular theme;
- text or graphic content from related interactive features or print materials.
Remember, anything on a DVD will have to be viewable as a television, not a computer, experience. Note that these materials may require additional clearances for DVD use.
- How many discs will your set include? Many factors influence this decision: the length of the program, the kind of enhancements you envision, formatting issues, budget. If the program itself is very long, you might consider breaking it into parts across discs, with enhancements on each disc, or perhaps feature the full program on one disc with a second disc of bonus materials.
- How can you make your disc easy to navigate? Remember, your audience will navigate the interface by remote control arrows, not a mouse. Consider user-testing a paper or Flash prototype to ensure that the navigational path is clear and intuitive and all features are appropriately named.
- Will your disc work for people who are deaf, hard-of-hearing, blind, or visually impaired? The DVD format supports captioning, additional audio track for description, and audible menus.
- Who will encode the video programs? This currently involves digitizing the video and compressing it in the MPEG2 digital video format. Your post-production facility may or may not have this capability.
- What quality audio will you include? DVDs have many more audio options than standard video. Inquire about how the program itself will be encoded, and be sure that all enhancements are produced similarly.
- Who will author the discs? Will you work with an in-house developer or an outside production company? When you make this decision, bear in mind that the quality assurance testing component of a DVD project is an important, demanding, repetitive process. Industry standards are still in development; behavior still varies greatly across hardware, depending on age and manufacturer. If you're working with an outside production house, take their location into account, inquire about their review process, and adjust your schedule based on shipping times as required.
- What educational information, such as teacher guide excerpts or questions for classroom discussion, might you include in the DVD packaging materials?
For more detailed information on DVD production, you might consult the DVD Demystified site.