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Still images play a vital role in DVD projects both as content and menu backgrounds. Digital cameras are a convenient way to create those images, but this new technology has too many drawbacks for it to replace film cameras. Consider buying a digital camera only as a supplement to your film camera.

Following some basic photo-shooting tips will ensure your images are of top quality.

Owning a scanner is a must. For $100 or so, you can get an excellent model that does everything you need.

Creating consistently sharp-looking and distortion-free images for a video or DVD project takes some extra effort. The process begins by scanning images using the proper dpi settings for the original image size. While scanning, you should crop your images to remove borders or unwanted areas around the edges. When creating projects for NTSC, compensate for overscan by calculating the scanner dpi using the NTSC safe zone 650x490 size resolution.

You need to create an image background template that fits your local TV standard: NTSC or PAL. You then can use image manipulation software—I recommend HyperSnap—to do some final cropping and size resolution adjustments to your images and then drop them onto the template.

This somewhat detailed process guarantees your images will maintain their aspect ratios and quality, which would be lost if the DVD-authoring software had to expand or shrink the images to fit its screen. If you want to ramp up your image editing skills I suggest you give Photoshop Elements a trial run.

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