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 set 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 in to 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; and text or graphic content from related interactive features or print materials. Remember, anything on a DVD will be viewable as a television experience, even if it is viewed through a computer. 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, and 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 with a remote control, not a mouse. Consider user testing a paper or Flash prototype to ensure that the navigational path is clear and intuitive and that 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 does. 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, keep in mind that the quality assurance-testing component of a DVD project is an important, demanding, and repetitive process. Industry standards are still in development, and behavior still varies greatly across hardware, depending on age and manufacturer. If you're working with an outside production house, take its location into account, inquire about its 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, consult the DVD Demystified site.