No matter how cheap blank DVD media gets, it’s always a bit defeating to throw away a disc after realizing the DVD you’ve just created isn’t quite perfect. Perhaps your disc menu doesn’t look exactly like you want it, or maybe you used the wrong image in a particular spot in your show – either way, you now have to re-render and burn another disc. I’ve always felt it’s a good idea to have a rewritable DVD-RW disc around for instances like these, but those discs have slower write speeds, which can make testing out your DVD a longer process than it needs to be.
Fortunately, both ProShow Gold and ProShow Producer allow you to skip the disc writing process and create an ISO image file. This file contains the entire DVD disc structure, and with the right software, you can use this to proof your final product before you actually commit to a disc. There are several ways to do this, but today I’ll be focusing on using the free VLC media player.
Creating an ISO image file in ProShow Gold or Producer
When you’re in the Create DVD window, click on the Burning tab at the top. The “Disc Writer” option will show the name of your burner by default. Click this box and choose “ISO Image File” instead. Next, click the Create button at the bottom as you normally would. When prompted, choose a save location for the ISO image file; you can choose the same folder in which you saved your slideshow. Once it’s created, now you’ll need a way to view this ISO file.
VLC Media Player
VLC is a free multimedia player that supports playback of almost all common video and audio formats. It also supports playing both DVD discs and DVD ISO image files. Here’s how to use it:
- Download the software here: http://www.videolan.org/
- During the installation, you’ll be given the option to make VLC the default media player for certain file types. I prefer to use the original media players for most formats, so I like to set it up by choosing the “Minimum” configuration then checking the “Context Menus” box” at the bottom of the list.
- Once installed, open the VLC player by clicking on either the desktop shortcut or the Start Menu entry that it creates.
- By default, the player is not fully optimized for DVD playback, so we’re going to change a few of the playback options. Go to Tools > Preferences, then click on the Video section on the left. We’re going to uncheck “Use hardware YUV->RGB conversions”, then set the Deinterlacing to “Automatic” and the Mode to “Bob”.
- Click the Save button at the bottom of the Preferences window, then close and reopen VLC player.
- From VLC’s Media menu, choose “Open File”, then find the ISO image file you created with ProShow.
You should now be able to play your full DVD in VLC player and make sure it’s set up just like you want it.
One thing that is important to note is that menu highlights will disappear after 5 seconds in VLC, even though the areas are still clickable/selectable. When the menu loops (typically 30 seconds), the highlights will be restored.
Burning Your ISO File
If you’ve proofed your ISO file and want to go ahead and burn your slideshow to disc, you can easily burn the ISO file without having to go back into ProShow. For Windows 7 or Windows 8 users, simply right click the ISO file and choose “Burn disc image”. This will bring up Windows Disc Image Burner. All you have to do next is click the Burn button.
If you’re using Windows XP or Vista, Windows Disc Image Burner is not going to be available, but there are other free options. Instructions for using the free ImgBurn application can be found here.
- If you’d prefer to watch your DVD in Windows Media Player or any other player, you will need to mount your ISO file as a virtual disc first. This can be done with Virtual CloneDrive, Daemon Tools Lite, MagicISO, and various other programs.
- Unchecking “Use hardware YUV->RGB conversions” in VLC’s preferences works around a problem with Nvidia graphics card drivers that makes some videos look washed out, however, performance may suffer after it’s unchecked. It may be better to leave the option checked in VLC and address the problem in your Nvidia Control Panel instead (see this post).