For goodness’s sake, will the people at Apple responsible for iLife go talk to the Pro Apps folks so that iDVD and Final Cut Pro actually works together? You’d think that Apple would ensure both their video applications work seamlessly together, especially when such interoperability is […]

idvdFor goodness’s sake, will the people at Apple responsible for iLife go talk to the Pro Apps folks so that iDVD and Final Cut Pro actually works together? You’d think that Apple would ensure both their video applications work seamlessly together, especially when such interoperability is touted in the Help section of both applications. Well, you’d be surprised at how broken it is.

I learnt that the hard way earlier this week, when I had to master a DVD for a client. My intention was to export five segments from the timeline, each of which would have chapter markers, while the segment would itself become a ‘Play All’ clip. 

Having finished the edit in Final Cut Pro, I placed the necessary chapter markers in the timeline and exported each segment of the timeline as DV PAL 16:9 Anamorphic QuickTime clips. I chose this format since it was what the acquired footage was shot in. 

Once I’d imported the clips into iDVD, two problems surfaced: the 16:9 clips remained anamorphically squashed in the 4:3 ratio, and iDVD could not see the chapter markers in any of the clips. After some Googling, it turned out that the problems I was facing are known issues, according to two Apple support articles. 

In the first, Article TS2179, titled “iDVD: DV widescreen 16:9 workflow from Final Cut Pro”, warned that “if you export an anamorphic 16:9 DV sequence from Final Cut Pro with the intention of burning a DVD-Video of that sequence in iDVD…. Final Cut Pro does not include the widescreen aspect ratio information that iDVD looks for.” 

Great. Prior to discovering the support article, I had figured iDVD would be smart enough to unsqueeze 16:9 clips back into their original anamorphic aspect ratio since QuickTime Player did exactly that. 

The second problem is acknowledged in Article TS1233, titled “Final Cut Studio: “All Markers” option does not include DVD Chapter Markers”. The symptoms described in it goes: “When you export a QuickTime movie from Final Cut Pro, choosing the “All Markers” option does not include chapter markers that will function in DVD Stidio Pro or iDVD.” 


Look at the screenshot of Final Cut Pro’s export dialog box above. You can see various types of markers listed. Any user would naturally assume that choosing “All Markers” would include all the types of markers. Why this is not the case for DV clips is a mystery only the FCP or iDVD folks at Apple would know, since the support article offers no explaination. 

If your editing workflow comprises exporting 16:9 clips from Final Cut Pro for DVD mastering in iDVD, you’ll have to avoid using the DV Widescreen format until this is fixed in a future release of iDVD or Final Cut Pro. In the meanwhile, if your workflow involves DV Widescreen, I recommend that you export your clips as ProRes 4:2:2.

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By Clayton Lai

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  1. Do you think you could have used DVD studio pro? I have been using Apples pro software for a couple years and it makes sense that Apple has their software work the way it does.

    iLife apps are simple for consumers. Pro apps have 100 fold more settings and options.
    So when you go from Final to iDVD there will be mishaps.

  2. mDVDEdit is the interim solution to the 16×9 issue.


    Export your clip from FinalCut with Chapter Markers as 16×9. Import into iDVD, complete DVD, Save as VIDEO_TS folder. Once that is complete open the VIDEO_TS folder with myDVDEdit and change the one problematic indicator from 4×3 to 16×9. It takes about a minute to correct. Once corrected I just burn the VIDEO_TS to disc with Toast.

    Alternatively you can save a Disk Image from iDVD – you just need to change the permissions before opening the VIDEO_TS with myDVDEdit.

    1. Chris,

      I’m editing a video at the moment in Final Cut Express 3.5, where the source clips and the final sequence are 16:9 anamorphic. The problem is that I can export a FCE movie, which preserves chapters but not anamorphism, or I can convert it to QuickTime or MPEG4, with which I can force the resolution but which (amazingly) doesn’t keep the chapters.

      Workaround: Convert to QuickTime, use iMovie or GarageBand to re-insert the chapters, re-encode the movie as MPEG4, and feed that into iDVD.

      Better workaround: Export as (4:3) FCE movie, use iDVD to make a DVD image (or VIDEO_TS folder) complete with chapters, and use myDVDEdit to change the main video title from 4:3 to 16:9. That last step took less than three minutes on an 86-minute movie.

      Anyway, I just wanted to thank you in advance for how much time this is going to save me on this project. I’d never heard of myDVDEdit before, and I don’t understand all of its features yet, but the anamorphism problem is a real pet peeve and I’m glad to have something that works for me so easily.

      Many thanks,


    2. Yer welcome! It was a problem that was driving me crazy and after some exhaustive googling I found it. As with you, I still don’t understand many of the features of the program but for the issue we have it works great.

  3. This is what DVD Studio Pro is for. You’re mixing apples and oranges.

  4. I have to agree with #1 and #3. Although one would expect that all applications made by Apple would play well together, in this case we’re talking Pro applications working well with consumer applications, which understandably was never Apple’s intention as they target different audiences. I use both sets of applications, but don’t remember ever having the need to ever mix them.

  5. Pike – I would’ve gone that route if not for the fact that DVD Studio Pro had problems interpreting my HDV 1080 file correctly.

    BK – Nothing wrong with having both apples and oranges if they’re all there on the table…

    Chris – Thanks; I’ll look into that.

  6. Allen Huffman Monday, January 12, 2009

    I don’t have the link with me at work, but Googling should show a solution to the widescreen video issue. You just open the file in QT and make a width/height change then save it back, then iDVD will see it just fine.

    I run in to the same thing all the time, but going to Final Cut Express, and sometimes the DVD markers work fine, and sometimes they don’t. I haven’t noticed any correlation (video imported from HDV to Apple Intermediate).

  7. In fear of sounding too snarky, I totally agree with Clayton.

    If FCP’s drop down says ‘all markers’, then all markers should be included. If iDVD is supposed to work with widescreen material, then it should recognize an anamorphic movie regardless of the app or camera that created it.

    @Allen, I believe the solution you’re referring to is mentioned above as Knowledge Base Article TS2179,

  8. I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one having this problem. I can publish a DVD with either chapter markers in a distorted 4:3, or a DVD with no chapters and 16:9. Either way the software is not fulfilling the purpose that i purchased it for.

  9. Whatever happened to a MPEG2 export option, drop into a menu and burn. How simple is that. Macintosh have their arms so up quicktime. Go and buy DVD studio Pro. Why the hell should I when I’ve spent enough on an editing package that cannot even export to DVD without a separate software platform. I use both Macs and Pcs every day. Macs the friendly platform. Horse shit. I work with people nearly every day who use Final cut Express. Where are the codecs to work with DVD studio Pro, oh oka then i’ll export to IDVD, shit there goes my Widescreen. Yea i’ll go in and fix your binary code settings, oh admin lockout. Nedver been so disapointed in an overpriced, underfunctioning piece of crap software that cannot even perform a basic function like burning to DVD. Oh i’ll just do an MPEG 4 conversion and stick it on YOU TUBE. Ohh feel the quality.!!No i’ll spend more cash on DVD studio Pro!!

  10. #9, you’re an idiot. You think iLife is an editing package? You get it for free with a new mac, or can buy the upgrade for $99. You get what you pay for. If you want to do professional stuff, get FCS. If you want consumer grade stuff, stick with iLife or Final Cut Express.

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