Previous 1 2 Next 15 Replies Latest reply: Mar 25, 2007 12:42 PM by F Shippey
John Beatty1 Level 6 (12,015 points)
Since Ken Tidwell stopped updating the iDVD Unofficial FAQ page, it seems as though there's not a place that many new users find for troubleshooting iDVD....

So here's my take on troubleshooting iDVD. And Ken's site (though for iDVD4), still has lots of good advice!

My philosophy on iDVD troubleshooting, largley based upon my experience here at this forum, with heavy doeses of input from Ken Tidwell, Len Goff, Old Toad, F Shippey, with more recent input from SDIllini, Hui Cheng, and Beverly M.......

#0 - always use "Save as Disk Image" instead of burning when troubleshooting iDVD

#1 Try the easy usual suspect fixes first! After all if these don't work you can always try the hard fixes!
Check the list on this download:
But here are easy solutions IMHO:
Get free space on the startup drive -20GB recommended
Delete the iDVD plist file
Repair Disk Permissions
Clear Cache Files (CacheOutX, TigerCacheCleaner, Onyx)
Do you have 12 bit audio - check your camcorder.......if not 16 bit you will have problems
Fix Chapter Markers-don't put one at the beginning in iMovie (iDVD will do it for you)
Chapter Markers - don't put one at the end.
Chapter Markers - don't put one within 2 secs of a transition
Delete other corrupt preference files (try using Preferential Treatment)

#2 When the easy fixes don't work, you need to divide and conquer. The suspects are your a) your project media, b)your hardware, c)your system/user preferences, d)iDVD.

A good test for a&d is to build a simple test project with other photos/movies/themes/audio and see if you can "save as disk image" the test project. The iDVD4 tutorial project is great if you've ever had iDVD4 installed on your machine. If this works it suggests that iDVD is working OK, and that something in your project is causing the hiccup.

The most common problems in projects are CMs, audio and transitions. One way that sometimes clears them up is to export to full quality DV (or to tape!) and re-import into iDVD. In slideshows, funny JPEGs can bring iDVD down. The only method here is to try different groups to find the bad actor.

OK let's assume that you can't burn (I mean "Save as Disk Image") the test project or the tutorial. This suggest that your hardware/system/iDVD is having problems and your project is probably fine. Then what?

c) Hardware: if you can make a disk image but can't burn it, or it plays badly, then try creating a data DVD - if you can't do that I'd suspect your DVD drive. Try different brands of DVD-R (and I'd stick to -R, not +R nor +RW), I like Verbatim. Next on the suspect list is RAM. iDVD is the best test for RAM known to mackind. Try pulling non-Apple supplied modules and try again.

OK, let's assume you can make data DVDs, but you can't make a good disk image, and you've tried pulling all non-Apple RAM. What next?

Try creating a new user. New users have more limited sets of fonts and all new preference files and caches, not only for iDVD but for everything, and few (if any) third party plug-ins installed.

Finally try reinstalling iDVD.......

If you've done all this, a new system install might be in order, but come here first for advice from others before going that far!

john b

G5dual2GHz, MacBookPro 2GHz, 550TiBook, 9600>G3Upgraded, Mac OS X (10.4.6), 1TB+ Storage
  • Karsten Schlüter Level 7 (32,190 points)
    didn't recognize, that Ken stopped working on his website... but I'm stucked in historic hard- and software, so doesn't matter..

    to add to you list:
    * iDVD expects a folder "Movies" on start-up disk... some ... letscallthem "n3rds" love to mix up the fragile file system of a UNIX machine by installing and deinstalling all kind of stuff... sometimes, that folder gets lost... iDVD too...
    * best-practise is, to store anything internal - so, after finishing a project on an ext. firewire MacOsExtended HD, I copy it back onto internal...- no hazzl so far ever...
    * a very basic rule: iDVD is NO all-purpose-burn-anything-to-videoDVD-thingy.. it is part of iLife, meant (my magic word is concept) to work with the other iApps.. so, if the video does NOT come from a miniDV camcorder, but from somewhere, if the music wasn't imported via iTunes but has some audio codec, if the pics.. you got the idea....
    * and, last word: iDVD is a consumer product - don't expect wonders as multi-angle, language selection, easter eggs, switchable subtitles..
  • John Beatty1 Level 6 (12,015 points)
    didn't recognize, that Ken stopped working on his website...

    Ken actually authored an iDVD5 site (now offline), but his new job and some differences with the Apple Mods have certainly curtailed his input. Too bad, as I enjoyed his postings and learned quite a bit.

    I usually keep all my movies on external drives (not in the movies folder) and it hasn't caused me problems so far.......but those externals do need to be HFS+ ! ! ! !

    John B.
  • Len Goff Level 6 (17,905 points)
    Too bad, as I enjoyed his postings and learned quite a bit.

    Same here!
  • SDIllini Level 6 (16,670 points)
    Hi John:

    Don't know how I missed this post!! Anyway, good information here and - yes, you guessed it - I have it in my "Library" and will use it when needed and the credit will be passed to you!

    Thanks for taking the time.

  • Beverly Maneatis Level 5 (7,150 points)
    Great summary, John!

    I did notice that Ken's site wasn't working, so your troubleshooting information is very needed.

    You have always been so good at helped me save my first iLife 5 project when it seemed to be stuck at multiplexing and burning!


    PS. Thanks for mentioning me, but I would know nothing if not for all the rest of the ones you mentioned, and Karl Peterson and Karsten also!
  • John Beatty1 Level 6 (12,015 points)
    Karl Peterson

    Without Karl and Dan Slagle my early iMovies would not have been worth burning to iDVD
  • John Beatty1 Level 6 (12,015 points)
    a) your project media

    Should add for iDVD6, that MP3 files seem to cause trouble for some users.

    I've used MP3s in iDVD6 with no problem, in iMovies, in iDVD menus, etc., but it seems as though other users have gotten past audio encoding issues by removing them and replacing them with AIFFs......
  • Len Goff Level 6 (17,905 points)
    other users have gotten past audio encoding issues by removing them and replacing them with AIFFs......

    I had no trouble encoding with an MP3 on the main menu. I just couldn't turn on the Motion button:
  • Len Goff Level 6 (17,905 points)
    A post to refresh the Topic.
  • Ric Getter Level 1 (10 points)
    Posting a follow-up to the obvious guru's here..
    I've been trying to get a Keynote 6 presentation to burn in iDVD and have been getting those nasty "Error During Track Initialization" messages just before the disk is set to burn. This came from the direct export feature new to Keynote 3 and iDVD 6 (all updates in place). The Keynote presentation is set to run automatically with everything timed the way it should. But it alwasy craps out just before the actual burning phase starts.

    I also exported it as a QuickTime file (29.97 fps, Animation codec, no keyframes) and it works and looks beautiful. But I am just bugged as to why I can't get it to work the RIGHT way. Any ideas??

    Also, does anyone know what encoding/codec Apple is using for it's Keynote to iDVD automatic exports? In preview, they look beautiful!

  • Overweight GF Griller Level 1 (20 points)
    I just started struggling with this error.
    I like our list and will do the plist deletion. However, I thought that it might be bad source video, for example, with a transistion w/in 2 seconds of the begining or a transition. Wait, that can't be the case. I just burned one DVD and it was fine, then, I switched the graphic behind a menu and am burning another DVD and it won't work. Obviously, that means the graphic sohuld be suspect, but it's not working anyway. I've got 3x the recommended bootup drive space and a Movies folder, cleared cache, repaired permissions, 16-bit audio. So, chapter markers aren't the issue.

    This post is just to share the experimental data with anyone else struggling.
    I'll try the plist first and let it run again while i'm at church. If that doesn't work, then I'll remake the new menu background graphics (which are 720x540 png's. The graphics for the previous burn the other day were 720x480 png's and it resized them fine). I'll repost after one or both attempts.This source video burned once and there were no problems. I haven't touched it.
  • F Shippey Level 7 (21,500 points)
    If that doesn't work, then I'll remake the new menu background graphics (which are 720x540 png's. The graphics for the previous burn the other day were 720x480 png's and it resized them fine).

    iDVD expects to see square pixel still images in the 4:3 aspect ratio like 724x540 (unless you are making a 16:9 HD disc). I'm a little surprised the 720x480 pixel image worked well (unless it had rectangular (thin) pixels). DVD SP is happy with just about anything.
  • Overweight GF Griller Level 1 (20 points)
    Yes, I'm in SD, NTSC. Sorry to have left that out.

    My images are still frames exported from video, of course. Because they are scenery, not people, and rather clear from lack of movement, I liked them distored a little wide. It allows the menu item titles to fit more nicely on this specific project that I'm re-producing.

    I made the 720x540 images because that's a 4:3 ratio (unlike 724x540). Instead of matting the graphic in the background (letterbox) like iDVD 4 & 5 did, iDVD 6 sees fit to squash the 3x2 image to a 4x3 ratio. So, what I did was take the 720x480 image and center it on a larger 720x540 black background. That way, when iDVD re-sized it, it would retain proportions. I tried shrinking that image back down to 640x480, but it didn't look as good as letting iDVD do it. This was just a style preference issue specific to this project.

    It used to be that iDVD would retain the proportions of the original image and just letterbox it. That's how I accidentally discovered that these specific pictures looked better this way on the menus. Now, "Applosoft" is getting more automatically obnoxious (like MS is in Office) and not giving us the ability to turn the "helpful" feature off. It's nice to have things done for the end user, but not always. New features or automations should come with an off switch in the preferences. Besides, the graphics were not the issue.
  • Overweight GF Griller Level 1 (20 points)
    Ok, the error message suggests that you delete encoded assets. I've done that already with the previous failures over the past few days on both machines. So, this last time, I didn't bother deleting before getting help and searching this forum. After all, the error was after the encoding finished. I'm glad I didn't because that would waste time. I looked for the iDVD.plist files and found 2. On was in the system library and one in my user library. I deleted the user on and change the name on the system file, just because I wasn't sure if losing the one in the system's library woudl be detrimental. It turns out that the one in the system library was not needed and might have been left over from iDVD4/5. When I opened the project, I have to reset all my preferences, of course (e.g. uncheck the apple logo option, quality instead of performance, etc.). I told it to burn ot an image and it use the already encoded assets to mux and make the disk. It was finished in twice the time it took me to shower.

    The graphics were not an issue at all, but the plist. This same error happened on two computers simultaneously on the same project, so I think the preference corruption must have come from something in the project. Either way, it's cleared up now and I'll fix the other computer too.

    Thanks John for the list. I'm not sure about that 2 second rule on tranistions and chapter marks. I'll check out that Preferential Treatment program to see what else is there.
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