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DVD Authoring Under Linux? 427

phorm asks: "After getting a much-awaited DVD-burner for Christmas, I've yet to use it to actually burn a video DVD. The main reason thus far: I've yet to find decent DVD-authoring software (either for Linux or Windows) that does what I want and doesn't have a high pricetag. So far, Freshmeat projects seem to be extremely alpha/beta quality, with not much support for buttons, animated menus/backgrounds, and all the other things that make commercial DVD's truly beautiful. Does anyone know of any affordable/free DVD authoring software that has these features? Preference to open-source or Linux software, but Windows software will do if there's nothing better." phorm is not alone in this quest, read on for another query on this topic.

To add on to phorm's query, smz420 asks: "A few months ago, I acquired a DVD burner and have had a lot of fun creating discs. While they come out well, they're very much cookie-cutter, due to the software I've been using to create them. There just doesn't seem to be a lot of flexibility built into the consumer level authoring systems out there, and I'd like to take my discs to the next level. Can anyone in Slashdot-land recommend books, links or software packages that could lead me down the road towards 'prosumer' DVD authoring? I'd like to be able to take full control over authoring: design my own button shapes and structures; place text where-ever I want on a menu page; create custom navigation structures, and possibly plant an easter egg or two. So far, I've tried Pinnacle Studio 8, Sonic MyDVD and Nero on Windows 2000. While each had very good aspects to them, all of them fell short of enabling 'next level' DVD authoring. Any advice would be most appreciated."

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DVD Authoring Under Linux?

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  • by agm ( 467017 ) * on Thursday March 11, 2004 @09:45PM (#8538637)
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 12, 2004 @12:02AM (#8539606)

      Trick out home videos with a fun, featureful menu system that viewers can navigate from a regular DVD player.

      Traditionally, DVD authoring has been an expensive affair. Full-featured professional applications can cost thousands of dollars, while cheaper products, such as Apple's iDVD, have arbitrary restrictions that significantly reduce their usefulness. A new open-source effort, dvdauthor, is bringing the possibility of low-cost, professional-grade DVD authoring to Linux. Although it doesn't yet support all the features of the DVD specification, development is proceeding at a fast pace, and new features are being added with each release. Together with a more established open-source toolkit, mjpegtools, this article explains how to construct a relatively complex DVD application, a photo album, with dvdauthor. We also illustrate the various features that dvdauthor currently supports and how to use open-source tools to construct a DVD-R that can play on almost every DVD player.

      How a DVD Works (Quick Version)

      A DVD is comprised of one or more video title sets (VTSes), which contain video information in the form of MPEG-2 video streams. Each disc can have up to 99 VTSes, and each title set can be subdivided further into as many as 99 chapters, allowing DVD players to jump to a certain point within the video stream. Within each VTS, a DVD can have up to eight different audio tracks and 32 subtitle tracks that the viewer can switch between at will. A menu system can be included within a title set, allowing the viewer to select between the different subtitle and audio tracks. An optional top-level menu, known as the video manager menu (VMGM), is used to navigate between the different title sets. One VTS may contain a feature film and another may contain a documentary on the film, and the VMGM allows viewers to select which one they want to watch.

      The DVD format doesn't eliminate the differences between the two competing broadcasting formats, NTSC (primarily used in America) and PAL (the standard in Europe and Japan). I live in Britain, so the frame information and resolution details used in this article are for a PAL system, but I point out the differences you need to be aware of when they appear and offer appropriate settings for an NTSC disc.

      The DVD specification includes advanced features, such as the concept of region coding, the possibility of viewing different angles of a video stream and simple computations using built-in registers provided by a DVD player. I don't know much about these features, and they aren't discussed in this article. The dvdauthor mailing list is a good source for further information.


      Before we rush headlong into creating menus, subtitling and multiplexing, it's a good idea to sketch out the structure of the DVD with paper and pencil. Proprietary DVD tools offer GUI systems for creating this type of structure, but no such tools are available yet for DVD production on Linux. As you'll soon see, the command-line tools have a lot of different options, so having your ideas on paper is preferable to trying to keep everything in your head.

      The DVD application I'm creating is a photo album, using pictures that I took while studying abroad at UNC-Chapel Hill this past year. For simplicity's sake, I have only six photos in each category. On paper, I decide that the main menu (the VMGM unit) should have five buttons, four of which are simple text buttons (one for each different photo category), plus a secret link unlocking extra pictures (secret extra features are a common occurrence in commercial DVDs) and a music track playing in the background. The four regular buttons link to one of four menus, one for each different section. The menu system for each section consists of two menus and an audio track, with selectable preview images of the slideshow, a button to move onto the next set of preview images and two buttons that allow the viewer to watch the complete slideshow or go back to the main menu. To keep things simple, the photo s

      • I found this article interesting and educational, until I went to look at the recommended dvdauthor [sourceforge.net] site. What your article says dvdauthor supports and will support bears little relation to what I found. Was that the package that you were talking about or is there another dvdauthor package?
        • Annoyingly, the dvdauthor team changed to an XML specification the week before the article was published 8-). The dvdauthor site now has some half-decent documentation to describe how the new format works, so it's not too hard to translate my article into the new version.

          (my article was written with dvdauthor 0.5.3 in mind)
    • I found this link by Ross Bernheim when I acquired my DVD-RW:
      http://linuxmafia.com/faq/Apps/AV/consumer-video-t o-dvd.html [linuxmafia.com]
      Also, I was also looking into LVE as an editor. I haven't tried it yet, but it looks promising.
      http://lvempeg.sourceforge.net [sourceforge.net]
  • iMovie (Score:2, Funny)

    works great. Oh linux or windows? Nevermind. =)

    • Re:iMovie (Score:3, Interesting)

      With MOL (mac on linux) you can run imove and idvd it works great and it runs in linux! It doesn't run on X86 though, LOL and you still need to buy a mac to use OS X (legally)
  • by wo1verin3 ( 473094 ) on Thursday March 11, 2004 @09:48PM (#8538668) Homepage
    I'm pretty happy with this, although it was a bit on the pricey side (59.99 after 20 dollar rebate at best buy). the dvd builder app allowed me to add images or video clips (quicktime, mpeg1/2, etc) to my project, has a selection of 10+ themes I can use, you can choose your own background, button style from pre-defined themes, move the buttons anywhere you want on the main page, resize the buttons, create chapter menus by defining chapter points. When I created a longer movie, the auto detect scene automatically created chapter points at scene changes which was pretty sweet...

    It's just damn cool :)
    • by AresTheImpaler ( 570208 ) on Thursday March 11, 2004 @09:52PM (#8538713)
      you might want to see the gentoo forum (specially the "Documentation, Tips & Tricks" part.. of interest: http://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic.php?t=117709 http://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic.php?t=141710 http://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic.php?t=71032
    • > although it was a bit on the pricey side (59.99 after 20 dollar rebate at best buy)

      $60 is pricey? Jesus, man, no wonder so many IT jobs are being offshored if that's too much to pay for software.

      • Cause and effect (Score:3, Insightful)

        by RomulusNR ( 29439 )
        $60 is pricey? Jesus, man, no wonder so many IT jobs are being offshored

        No, $60 is pricey because we're all forced to take cheaper jobs since our last decent paying ones got offshored.
    • That sounds a lot like the Rioxio Easy Media Creator 6 I have... which is adequate for a DVD n00b, but the OP was asking about the next level. Unless there is some phenominal improvements in version 7 over v6, which there apparently isn't [roxio.com], then there's no way I'd recommend it.
      • by wo1verin3 ( 473094 ) on Thursday March 11, 2004 @10:06PM (#8538835) Homepage
        easy cd 6 stuck you to 6 items on a main menu and you couldn't move the items around.

        Now you can put as many as you want, move them anyway, resize them. That was a big seller for me.

        Also, you can now attach as many music files as you want to slides, add a bajillion different transitions, add special effects (like so the movie looks like it's playing in a camcorder view finder) or other cool things. you can add great text effect to it.. it really is leaps and bounds over verison 6. i also like the export to divx they now support..
  • Grab DVD Shrink while you can. BTW, I love DVD Shrink. The latest version will burn on its own if you have Nero installed, so you don't even have to switch apps. The drag-and-drop reauthoring lets you cut out DVD extras so you can often fit just the movie on a 4.7GB DVD*R without recompression (but it has adjustable recompression built in, too). However, I don't believe the author is adding any new features--just bugfixes. (Wait, aren't "features" and "bugs" interchangeable words? Maybe there's hope yet! ;-
  • - ask about any subject X and include 'Linux' and it'll get your answers posted to slashdot.

    Frankly the best I've seen is for the Macintosh, which is unfortunate due to my high investment in PC hardware.

    I currently make wedding 'dvds' from photographs using Studio 8.1 and, recently, have been experimenting making AVIs and converting them to MPGs. Just doesn't work well tho.
    • by hayden ( 9724 ) on Thursday March 11, 2004 @10:56PM (#8539174)
      - ask about any subject X and include 'Linux' and it'll get your answers posted to slashdot.
      You need to ask the question where "Linux sucks because Windows can do X" where X is something you want to do under linux. Trolling is far more effective than actually asking for help.

      (Probably stolen from a bash.org quote. Free karma to person who posts the link)

      • by wanion ( 94098 ) on Friday March 12, 2004 @05:59AM (#8541487) Homepage
        #152037 [bash.org] +(940)- [X]

        <dm> I discovered that you'd never get an answer to a problem from Linux Gurus by asking. You have to troll in order for someone to help you with a Linux problem.
        <dm> For example, I didn't know how to find files by contents and the man pages were way too confusing. What did I do? I knew from experience that if I just asked, I'd be told to read the man pages even though it was too hard for me.
        <dm> Instead, I did what works. Trolling. By stating that Linux sucked because it was so hard to find a file compared to Windows, I got every self-described Linux Guru around the world coming to my aid. They gave me examples after examples of different ways to do it. All this in order to prove to everyone that Linux was better.
        * ion has quit IRC (Ping timeout)
        <dm> brings a tear to my eye... :') so true..
        <dm> So if you're starting out Linux, I advise you to use the same method as I did to get help. Start the sentence with "Linux is gay because it can't do XXX like Windows can". You will have PhDs running to tell you how to solve your problems.
        <dm> this person must be a kindred spirit of mine
  • "Prosumer" (Score:5, Funny)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Thursday March 11, 2004 @09:50PM (#8538678) Journal
    Prosumer? Come on now.
  • Ask your mac friend (Score:4, Informative)

    by tedshultz ( 596089 ) on Thursday March 11, 2004 @09:51PM (#8538690)
    Author the DVD on your mac friend's computer, and then duplicate it on your own ;) IDVD and Imovie come free with Macs, and have a nice simplicity/power trade off. I know this is not useful for the person who posted, but is maybe something you want to think about when buying a new computer (plus, you know, chicks dig the mac).
  • Try DVD-Lab (Score:5, Informative)

    by pcidevel ( 207951 ) on Thursday March 11, 2004 @09:51PM (#8538691)
    I recommend checking out www.vcdhelp.com [vcdhelp.com]. They have tons of links and guides and howtos on various tools. Here [dvdrhelp.com] is a link to their authoring page.

    I use DVDLab to author dvd's myself, which you can find here [mediachance.com]. It works in most cases, but sometimes I use ifoedit [kewlhair.com] to do really advanced things. However, Ifoedit is not for the feint of heart.
    • by Cthefuture ( 665326 ) on Thursday March 11, 2004 @10:31PM (#8539003)
      That's what I was going to suggest for Windows.

      DVDLab is one of the few apps that let me easily burn 480x480 mpeg streams. They work fine in most DVD players I've tried.

      That's actually one of the few reasons I ever boot to Windows. I haven't found any easy to use Linux software. I hear dvdauthor works but until it's integrated into K3B with a menu builder or something then I'm out of luck.

      I see a lot of posts in here about iDVD. I might give it a shot since I have a Mac sitting here that I hardly ever use. Thank goodness for firewire DVD burners.
    • I second DVD-Lab (Score:2, Informative)

      by mr_zorg ( 259994 )
      It's an awesome program for a very reasonable price tag. Does everything you could want and doesn't treat you like an idiot. However, be aware that it is NOT an MPEG encoder or editor.
      • Re:I second DVD-Lab (Score:2, Informative)

        by Frodrick ( 666941 )
        "be aware that it is NOT an MPEG encoder or editor"

        They do, however, have a deal where one can buy DVD-Lab and TMPGEng DVD Encoder as one bundle for a still-reasonable price.

        • however.... (Score:4, Informative)

          by bani ( 467531 ) on Friday March 12, 2004 @02:35AM (#8540585)
          tmpgenc isnt very good, especially for interlaced source material. it has a lot of bells and whistles and blinky lights though.

          Cinemacraft Encoder Basic (http://www.visiblelight.com/mall/productview.aspx ?sku=CCEB) is probably the best mpeg2 encoder you can get for under $2000. And its only $60. it is also miles, miles faster than tmpgenc.

          when it comes to absolute quality, eg converting out-of-print laserdiscs which will never be released on dvd, i use cinemacraft basic to encode the video.

          disclaimer: i have purchased both tmpgenc and cce basic and used both extensively for years.
  • Licensing problems (Score:2, Interesting)

    by RenHoek ( 101570 )
    I believe the problem with DVD authoring is, that to write a decent program for it, you'll have to pay like $50.000 to get the specs.

    Otherwise you'll have to painstakingly reverse the entire format. There is already great progress with this I presume since there are some nice open source programs.

    But no professional grade software under Linux as far as I know..

  • I haven't been able to find a decent car for free, either.

    There's commercial software that does what you want, but you can't find anything for free. You could a) pay b) code c) whine to slashdot.

  • DVDRHELP and VCDHELP (Score:5, Informative)

    by jonconley ( 749447 ) <[ten.sulpeihcet] [ta] [yelnocj]> on Thursday March 11, 2004 @09:57PM (#8538757) Homepage
    http://www.dvdrhelp.com/ There are the guides, there are also several links to tools that you can use. You can go very expensive (scenarist, dvdmaestro), cheaper trialware (tmpg, spruceup) , or freeware tools (dvdauthor, ifoedit). Granted freeware isn't quite at the level of the others, but definitely a powerful improvement over the software that you have been using. You will probably learn alot more about the DVD format by using these guides/tools also.
  • by Siniset ( 615925 ) on Thursday March 11, 2004 @09:59PM (#8538774) Homepage Journal
    Yes, we are all aware of how much better the mac is at dvd authoring, but for various reasons many of us are tied to x86 win/linux world. Many of us can only afford one computer, and have to work on that to get all our work done. If someone knows of some websites or programs that might be useful for someone using windows or linux.

    mark me as -1 troll, but I get tired of this sort of thing on slashdot. He did not ask about what operating system would be best for dvd authoring, he's just looking for some software that'll work with his current OS.

    • by AaronD12 ( 709859 ) on Thursday March 11, 2004 @10:37PM (#8539048)
      He did not ask about what operating system would be best for dvd authoring, he's just looking for some software that'll work with his current OS.

      Do you realize people are not telling him to change operating systems? They're saying the best solutions are iDVD and DVD Studio Pro, which just happen to run only on the Mac.

      I know what you're saying, but they're not telling him to switch to Mac because it's a better operating system, they're telling him to switch because these applications are only available on Mac.

    • by ThousandStars ( 556222 ) on Friday March 12, 2004 @03:09AM (#8540775) Homepage
      If someone wrote in asking "I need a reliable server for my small to medium-sized business, and I don't have a lot of money -- just for e-mail, host my database-driven website and little else. I haven't bought Windows, but that's all I really want. What should I get?" Everyone would scream LINUX because that's probably the best solution for the situation.

      I use Windows on a day-to-day basis, but I've met lots of people who swear by iMovie, FCE and FCP.

      He didn't ask for OS advice, but if the poster wants to make great DVDs in as little time as possible, I've heard only positive things about one OS and a few programs.

  • dvdauthor (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 11, 2004 @10:00PM (#8538782)

    it's lowlevel but you can do virtually anything you want -- custom nav, animated menu, etc. it'll even let you do some things that are illegal according to the spec. It works on many Unices and there's even a Cygwin port.

    disclaimer: I wrote it.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 11, 2004 @10:36PM (#8539041)
      > disclaimer: I wrote it.

      thank you
    • Re:dvdauthor (Score:5, Interesting)

      by PCM2 ( 4486 ) on Friday March 12, 2004 @03:37AM (#8540924) Homepage
      Aha! Awesome to hear from you. I've used dvdauthor under Mac OS X (yes kids, recent versions compile just fine) but I've observed some weird artifacts at the same time.

      May as well own up to what I'm doing: I suck a bunch of chapters off a commercial DVD, filtered through a DeCSS algorithm. Then I ran all the resulting VOB files through dvdauthor, to create a disc image with no menus.

      The artifacts I mention are in the chapter stops. Sometimes there's a very brief pause as my player goes from chapter to chapter, and fast forward and rewind behave really crazy.

      I'm not so much asking when you're going to fix that, though (in fact, I think it's already been fixed) -- I'm just wondering about the DVD format itself. How complicated is it?? How can things like this show up ... I mean, isn't it simply a mechanism for playing MPEG-2 streams? If so, why should commercial authoring software be able to create discs that traverse chapter stops with no problem, but dvdauthor-authored movies have trouble?

      I'm just really curious about this format and why there should be so many hurdles in creating DVDs with open source software (since after all, unlike CD audio, a data DVD uses the same filesystem as a movie DVD).

      Go to my Web site and grab my email address if you're willing to talk about it in private.
  • dvdauthor (Score:5, Informative)

    by skippy13 ( 174383 ) on Thursday March 11, 2004 @10:02PM (#8538798)
    A few links:
    http:// dvd-slideshow.sourceforge.net/
    http://www.pcxperi ence.org/james/dvd/presentations /20031016/medres/text0.html
    http://www.tappin.me. uk/Linux/dvd.html
    http://pol idori.chapelperilous.net/
    http://qdvdauthor.sourc eforge.net/
  • DVD-Lab (Score:2, Informative)

    by sparkie ( 60749 )
    The best tool I've ever used for creating videos. Even supports making SVCDDVD's so I can burn my TV Episodes 5 at a time to a DVD can be found at http://www.mediachance.com/dvdlab/
  • by Ann Coulter ( 614889 ) on Thursday March 11, 2004 @10:02PM (#8538800) Journal
    Cinelerra [heroinewarrior.com](video editing)
    Transcode [uni-goettingen.de](video encoding)
    Gear Pro [gearsoftware.com](not free)
    mkisofs [fokus.gmd.de] (for making images with the -dvd-video switch)
    linuxvideostudio [debian.org] (gooey)
    lsdvd [thirtythreeandathird.net] (for listing dvd contents
  • by dspisak ( 257340 ) on Thursday March 11, 2004 @10:02PM (#8538806)
    Okay a few things to get out of the way.

    First, most consumer oriented DVD authoring apps are absolute garbage and not worth your time if your looking to make something unique that is your own and you don't need templates written in stone to guide you.

    On the PC side Ulead DVD Workshop was a decent app with some flexibility but it has its limitations. If you need something more powerful then DVD Workshop I would recommend Adobe Encore.

    If you need something more advanced then Encore you are now entering the realm of Sonic Scenarist which is what is used by a lot of the pros for Hollywood movie DVDs. It comes with a very high pricetag depends on which version you opt for.

    On the Mac side of things you've got iDVD 4 which is very nice for non-technical people. It has some nice features and flexiblity. If you need more then iDVD 4 skip ahead to DVD Studio Pro 2 which is IMHO one of the easiest to use fully featured DVD authoring apps I've had the pleasure to use. There are a very few things that DVDSP2 doesn't do that Sonic Scenarist does support and if you need them your usually in a postion to afford the cost of Scenarist.

    Personally, if your going to be making money off DVD authoring I'd have a Mac around just for working in DVDSP2 and then use something like CinemaCraft SP on a very fast PC for MPEG-2 encoding (unless G5 encode speeds are fast enough for you, depends on your projects and turnaround time).

    DVD authoring on Linux I have yet to try but this stuff is non-trivial to do even under Windows. DVDSP2 is great because it helps hide some of the underlying complexity, just enough so its not overwhelming but you do need to know a few things about the DVD spec. I suspect part of Linux's problem when it comes to DVD authoring packages is the mutli-application aspect of such a program. Remember an authoring package has to understand multiple media types for assest, be able to composite both 2D images and moving video as well as deal with sound, editing, compositing, not to mention DVD scripting and other things if it intends to allow you to do anything allowed withing the DVD-Video spec.

    Keep in mind that some of these higher end authoring packages like Scenarist are so complicated that you have people whose whole job description can be summed up as "Sonic Scenarist Specialist" when it comes to DVD authoring.
    • Adobe Encore is a great package. It's got 2 major drawbacks... First, it will only run under WinXP. (I had to install XP. grr) Secondly, its $549. That right there is enough to stop mostly anyone from buying it.

      On the other hand, the DVDs you can make with Encore are absolutely phonemonal. I tried a bunch of windows software before Encore (cause I didn't want to install XP) and most have some major flaw or another. Nero wouldn't let me use an intro movie before the menu. Roxio wouldn't recompress t
  • Developers first need to see how successful ideas are implemented. Note Apple's iDVD page [apple.com] and the features [apple.com] that are provided. Note the attention to motion themes (demo requires QuickTime) [apple.com], chapter marking [apple.com] for scene selection, and slideshows [apple.com]. I'm sure linux developers know how to code this stuff. They just need a handle on what people WANT from an app, and implement it in a logical format.
  • by GiMP ( 10923 ) on Thursday March 11, 2004 @10:04PM (#8538823)
    First, please realize that the DVD menus are simply MPEG files. You can create a static menu with the gimp, or if you're into motion, use Cinelerra or another video editing program like MainActor, Final Cut Pro, or Adobe Premier.

    Finally, you can add buttons to the menu with dvdauthor. There aren't many frontends for dvdauthor, but it is easy to use manually or you can kludge together your use of a video editor and qdvdauthor.
  • try this (Score:5, Informative)

    by snakattak ( 592921 ) on Thursday March 11, 2004 @10:05PM (#8538827)
    Using Linux only...look here [gentoo.org]
    • Re:try this (Score:4, Informative)

      by fireboy1919 ( 257783 ) <rustypNO@SPAMfreeshell.org> on Friday March 12, 2004 @04:32AM (#8541134) Homepage Journal
      In my extensive search for things that did this in Linux, this was the best guide available.

      HOWEVER, the problem remains that transcode can only work with AVI files reliably, and even then it doesn't deal with any of the MPEG4 codecs, such as DIVX.

      The other thing that I found out was that mplayer [mplayerhq.hu] people have decided to build an output system into mencoder (their file-reencoder) to do DVD-compatible mpegs as an output format.

      This is a big thing, because it is also something that gives Linux an edge over Windows encoding solutions, and probably over all proprietary solutions, since mplayer can decode more than any other video player. So you could take old cartoons you downloaded from the net in wmv format, add a video in mjpeg format from your camera, and put them both on the same DVD.

      Best of all, I think, is that it's about twice as fast, or more, than any other processing solution I know about.

      I imagine that the reason that there is no good Linux solution for this at the moment is that video re-encoding isn't up to the standard such that making GUIs to do things for it is too complicated to be really useful. This may change that issue.
  • Ulead DVDWS (Score:3, Informative)

    by agslashdot ( 574098 ) <`sundararaman.krishnan' `at' `gmail.com'> on Thursday March 11, 2004 @10:15PM (#8538901)
    I've been using Ulead DVD Workshop [ulead.com] under Win2K, and I would heartily recommend it. Has customizable menus, buttons, text placement anywhere...works like a charm. Burned 50+ DVDs so far. Burns VCDs & SVCDs too. Cost - I got it free when I purchased my Pioneer DVR-A06 burner, maybe the cost is factored in the h/w. Dunno about easter eggs, I'm sure there must be a bunch of catholic folk at Ulead who can cater to that department :)
  • Some suggestions: (Score:3, Informative)

    by Doppler00 ( 534739 ) on Thursday March 11, 2004 @10:16PM (#8538912) Homepage Journal
    Ulead VideoStudio is about the best consumer grade DVD authoring application I've used on Windows. That's not saying much, but I think it's the best option. You can customize quite a few settings that more simplified programs don't have (such as bit rate, codec choices, etc). Roxio has DVD builder which is much simpler and you can't customize as much.

    I've heard nothing but good things from my co-workers on DVD authoring on the Mac. I would consider buying one if I spent a lot of time doing DV video editing and such.

  • DVD-lab (Score:2, Informative)

    by PyrotekNX ( 548525 )
    This software will make a compliant DVD with motion menus, slideshows, tranitions, etc etc that Scenarist also does. DVD-lab is mid range as price. Probably under $500. (Scenarist is about $45,000)
  • Easy (Score:2, Informative)

    Adobe Encore DVD + eDonkey = Problem Solved!
  • Did anyone else besides me notice that "Cliff" posed the question, "DVD Authoring Under Linux?"
    and NOT

    DVD Authoring Under Windows?


    DVD Authoring Under Mac?

    JFCOAPS!! All the Mac and M$ suggestions are really helpful to the Mac and M$ users but the poor dude needs an answer for Linux..

    We now return you to your regularly scheduled troll...

  • dvdauthor (Score:5, Informative)

    by Gadzinka ( 256729 ) <rrw@hell.pl> on Thursday March 11, 2004 @10:31PM (#8539004) Journal
    dvdauthor [sf.net] is a very good software.

    It certainly isn't point&click dvd creator, everything has to be written in xml files defining dvd structure. But it has support for buttons, multiple menus of all types (i.e. root, title, subpicture etc). It also allows to write programs running on DVD Player virtual machine.

    dvdauthor also contains software to multiplex graphical and textual subtitles into mpeg2 stream (spumux) as well as software to extract subtitles from existing mpeg2 stream, such as VOB files (spuunmux).

    You will need lots of other programs to create your dvd videos, like mplex from mjpegtools, some mpeg encoder (transcode or mencoder from mplayer), toolame and/or ffmpeg for creation of proper mpeg2 audio tracks, sox for occasional resampling of audio (dvd needs 48kHz sound whereas audio is often available in 44.1kHz).

    If you think it looks cryptic, you are right: it is. But after a while one manages to handle this whole mess and with the help of several scripts make his own video dvds with separate audio tracks, chapters, multiple subtitles and much, much more.

  • DVDLab (Score:2, Informative)

    by JoeyLemur ( 10451 )
    DVD-Labhttp://www.mediachance.com/dvdlab/index.htm l -- Windows shareware software. $99, $128 if you get the TMPGEnc engine with it.

    I use this for making my DVDs, and I'm quite happy with it... well worth the money.
  • How about multiple camera angles? I never see that advertised in any DVD authoring software I've looked at. Does that mean it's so easy that they all do it by default? Or does it mean it's not easy and only professional grade tools can do it?

    Come to think of it, I don't think I've seen any movies that utilize it (or I just didn't notice if they did). How does it work exactly? Do you have multiple sychronized video streams that you can seemlessly switch between without interrupting the flow of time?

    • Basically, yeah. it just switches to a second video stream. Not hard to implement, but rarely used. Its kind of like bullet time. It was neat the firs time you saw it, but it gets old really fast.

      Now, I wish more DVDs would put in the option to add the deleted scene back into the movie where they should have gone. its really a simple run time script that would barely add any size to the dvd.
  • Panasonic DMR-E80 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by swb ( 14022 ) on Thursday March 11, 2004 @10:48PM (#8539117)
    No, I'm not kidding. It plugs into anything in the house that makes video, does almost frame-accurate editing, 80GB HDD and stores to either -R or -RAM discs. Never drops frames, asks for software updates, gets the audio out of sync with the video, and the discs play on anything that will play -R media.

    I have a DVD-R in my PC as well, and I know I'm probably a total loser but I found that video editing on the computer was more of a PITA than it was worth. DV bridge, hundreds of dollars worth of software, and a shitload of time to do compression or transcoding. The PC drive mainly comes in handy for duping DVDs I made on the E80 (DVD Decrypter) or making backups of stuff I've bought (DVDShrink).

    For $480 I got a DMR-E80 and spent the rest of my time doing something more productive. I know it's not the right answer for someone who HAS to do 'fancy' editing (TV or Movies), but for most anything else it's sooo much easier and reliable, and less money to boot.
  • Encore (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SlamMan ( 221834 ) <squigit AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday March 11, 2004 @10:52PM (#8539143)
    First off, I'm a video editor, and yes i use macs all day. yes, DVD studio is the best thing since sliced bread. and no, that doesn't answer the question. The best PC program I've found for DVD authoring is Adobe's Encore. At $550, its not free, but you get what you pay for with AV stuff.
  • by Roguelazer ( 606927 ) <Roguelazer@nosPAM.gmail.com> on Thursday March 11, 2004 @10:52PM (#8539149) Homepage Journal
    This guide was posted on the Gentoo Forums by shiznix. Find it here: http://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic.php?t=117709 [gentoo.org]

    I know you Slashdot users hate Gentoo, but this is actually an excellent guide that features animated menus and all!

  • Place to begin (Score:5, Informative)

    by the_Skunkworks ( 628155 ) on Thursday March 11, 2004 @10:53PM (#8539157) Homepage
    I found doom9.org was a good place to begin in creating DVD's they have a great tutorials and some damn good programs (only windows).
  • growisofs (Score:2, Informative)

    by max born ( 739948 )
    Check out:

    man growisofs

    or go to [chalmers.se].

    If you're new to the command line try this tutorial [hrp.com]

    Good luck.
  • Adobe Encore! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by inburito ( 89603 ) on Thursday March 11, 2004 @11:01PM (#8539200)
    Personally, I think that there is no substitute for Adobe Encore. Sonic Foundry Dvd Architect (i think it's owned by sony now) comes as a somewhat distant second. It is $599, but easily worth the money.
  • Not freeware, but... (Score:3, Informative)

    by davmoo ( 63521 ) on Thursday March 11, 2004 @11:18PM (#8539324)
    I've used a *lot* of software for DVD authoring, and my favorite and current applications for doing so are the products from Ulead. They aren't free, and they are Windows only, but they do the job, and there are 30 day demos on their web site. I've even used them for commercial work, and am very happy with them.

    I also regularly use and like Adobe Premier Pro. But this is a high-dollar solution ($700), so its probably not one you're interested in.

    Most of the time, I still will select Ulead Visual Studio over Premier anyway.

    Again speaking as someone who has done DVD authoring commercially, I regret to say that I find the Linux applications for this to be woefully lacking. DVD authoring is the *one* thing that keeps me on a dual-boot machine as opposed to a Linux only box. I'd love to dump Windows entirely, especially after hearing that Bill Gates and Darl McBride are secret homosexual lovers, but I like being able to get my video work done in a timely and professional fashion.

    Now that I've tried to answer the posted question, I'm going to chime in agreement with something a few others have posted. I've looked all over the original posting, and nowhere in it can I see the term "Mac" or any variation of it. When someone asks a PC question, "get a Mac" is not an appropriate answer. I'm sure the Mac users would get just as riled if someone posted a Mac question and only got PC answers. I would also go so far as to say that anything you can do in regards to DVD authoring with a Mac, I can do it just as well on a PC. The Mac used to be the hands-down winner in any type of multimedia application. Sorry kids, but those days are over.
  • Reading the post and some of the comments reminds me of similiar discussions redundantly repeated on websites all over the net. Other people have already mentioned many excellent sources of information for DVD authoring/burning for windows AND linux(my favorite is doom9.org).

    But my comment is, what happened to doing some research? A five minute google would find thousands of useful hits. It seems lately, and not just at slashdot, more and more people cannot be bothered to do even the most basic of searc
  • by Linuxathome ( 242573 ) on Thursday March 11, 2004 @11:32PM (#8539412) Homepage Journal
    Shortest answer I can give you:
    1. Use kino [schirmacher.de] to do the video editing, and output/export (i.e. save as) an MPEG-2 (DVD format). To get this to work you will most likely need Mplayer [mplayerhq.hu] installed because you'll need the mplex commandline tool to "multiplex" your audio and video files. Some like to use transcode [fh-weingarten.de], but I like Mplayer much better. Split the MPEG into multiple MPEGs if you want to have different chapters -- the best way to do this is to use a commandline tool called mpgtx [sourceforge.net]. Or just save different MPEGs from kino. BTW, if you need to get video footage to edit in the first place then use dvgrab to get video from your DV camcorder -- it should be a part of the kino suite of tools, but if it's not, get it from one of the pages in kino.
    2. Once you've gotten your MPEGs all created, now you can author. I use dvdauthor [sourceforge.net]. What you have to first do is create a XML text file to list the MPEGs you want to burn into the DVD. And example of such a file is found here [sourceforge.net]. The easiest method is to create a new chapter for each MPEG file. Then you run dvdauthor like so:
      dvdauthor -o DVDdir -x xml-filename
      DVDdir is the name of the output you want -- name doesn't really matter; xml-filename is the name of the text file you created.
    3. DVDdir will be a directory from which you then need to create a video ISO. You need the commandline tool mkisofs. Example is:
      mkisofs -dvd-video -o fileoutput.img DVDdir
    4. Now you just need to burn fileoutput.img with your DVD recorder. I use dvdrecord (yes, it's a commandline tool):
      dvdrecord -v -eject speed=4 dev=0,0,0 -dao fileoutput.img

    Yes, I'm a glutton for punishment. There are lots of steps involved to do it in Linux, but it's quite powerful once you've gotten the basics down and have written shell scripts to automate the tasks.

    If you find it difficult to install all these tools on your Linux box (as many do), may I recommend installing Debian linux? Best way to do this is to do a hard drive install from the Knoppix Live Linux CD [knopper.net]. The scripts to do this are built-in the cd: knx-hdinstall or knoppix-installer. Why do I recommend it? Installing all the tools I have listed above are a simple apt-get away -- i.e. "apt-get install kino" or "apt-get install mpgtx" or "apt-get install dvdauthor" -- I mean how much easier can it get?

    Lastly, allow me to plug my blog that has documented this and a number of other linux tips ages ago: linuxathome.com [linuxathome.com]
  • by mattweidner ( 725563 ) <mattweidner@NoSpAm.webmail.co.za> on Thursday March 11, 2004 @11:38PM (#8539454)
    I use a set of shell scripts collectively called dvdwizard created by Wolfgang Wershofen:


    dvdwizard [wershofen.de]

    It's not GUI, but it does the trick with minimal effort, is mostly automatic, and has produced excellent results that fit my needs.

    Once you have your .vob files created (one .vob for each chapter) invoke the dvdwizard script and provide it with the following information:

    1. vmgm background image (static)
    2. vtsm background image (static)
    3. DVD title
    4. path to .vob files

    First, it creates a root vmgm menu with the DVD title specified above and the vmgm background image specified above. The two menu options provided are: "Play All" and "Chapter Select" menu.

    The script then extracts a thumbnail from each chapter and creates a chapter selection menu using the screenshots in a button matrix.

    It concatenates all your seperate chapters into one "movie" so you have the ability to play from beginning to end without returning to the "chapter selection" menu after each chapter finishes. It also drops in chapter markers for easy scene-to-scene navigation, just like a commercial DVD.

    It uses dvdauthor to then create the DVD filesystem. It would be trivial to add an automatic burn at the end, but I like to preview everything with xine first.

    Seemingly the only thing these scripts do not handle is animated menus.

    Since the author lives in Germany, it is hardcoded for PAL format video, but I have converted them for my NTSC needs.

    The scripts are GPL'd and my intention is to make the process as automatic as possible. I'd like to create a simple GUI for specifying the numbered items above and possibly add support for animated menus for my parents to use to archive all their old VHS tapes.

    I use Cinelerra for video editing, dvgrab and Kino for capture from a Canopus ADVC-50 or my JVC GR-500 Mini-DV camera. I use dv2dv, transcode, mplex, (or tcmplex) and ffmpeg to transcode the Quicktime .mov files used by Cinelerra to DVD compliant .vob files. Then, I use growisofs to actually burn the DVD.

    As a side note, by first converting my Quicktime files to raw DV with dv2dv from the dv_utils package first, I can transcode with ffmpeg to DVD compliant MPEG-2 format at a blistering average of 15 fps!!

    I've been very happy with this arrangement as most operations after the actual video editing is complete can be scripted.

    Hope this helps!

    --Peace be with you.
  • DVD authoring (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ralph Spoilsport ( 673134 ) on Thursday March 11, 2004 @11:53PM (#8539553) Journal
    Echoing some people here:

    1. for windows: Scenarist if you have $ is simply the poop. Most ordinary citizens don't have the $, though, and if that's the case:
    2. for windows: Adobe Encore. It's fairly simple - more complex than iDVD, but somewhat easier than DVDSP2, and - it's WINDOWS ONLY. This does not bode well for Apple, as Adobe is carpet bombing all those "advertise on Daytime TV Art Schools" with the Adobe Video Solution, but that's a discussion for another day.

    There are other apps, but they're not as good as the two abbove. The above will cost you $, Scenarist more than Encore (by a lot). Deal with it.

    For Linux? Nemmind that stuff. None of it is as competent as Scenarist, and none of it is as easy to use as Encore. Sure: you save a few hundred dollars, but when you're sitting there QA testing your XML scripts and praying that the new DVD urner drivers work, your time will be worth MUCH more money than what you saved.

    By a similar argument, the Apple Way of Working is great and cheap. For $50 you can get iLife with the latest rev of iDVD, which is more than most people need for some stupid DVD of their cousin's sister's daughter's wedding that was shot on some cheeezy Canon ZR10. 9 times out of 10, you can get away with iMovie and iDVD and *no one* will notice or care. Now, you'll need to get an Apple computer, but most anything built in the past year or two will do fine, and you can pick 'em up at somewhat less than extortionate prices these days...

    I've been doing DVD authoring for years, and back around 2002 I figured that I wasn't going to beat my head against the wall anymore - it was faster, cheaper, and easier to get a mac and get it done than try and get my Windoze machine to jump the hoops at a reasonable price.

    Oddly, and contrary to what some people have posted, this really is a situation where the OS matters.

    So, in short:

    1. Scenarist if you can afford it. It does everything, but it's really complicated.
    2. Encore if you can't or won't do Scenarist.

    Windows isn't the optimal solution for this, so consider a Macintosh.

    1. iLife w/ iDVD is supercheap and very very good.
    2. If you need to do more advanced work, DVD Studio Pro does the job.


    Simply: it's not ready for prime time, and given the complexity of the problem it may never be. Yes, there are solutions out there, but you'll burn a lot of creative time dorking around with code when you could be getting work done. I would LOVE IT if there was an adequate solution out there, though - free or cheap software on a free OS on a cheap computer? Floats my boat. But I'm not holding my breath.


  • by spoonboy42 ( 146048 ) on Friday March 12, 2004 @01:46AM (#8540359)

    Authoring video DVDs on linux is more than a little difficult, these days. That said, with a little command line knowledge and some good old-fashioned ingenuity, you can accomplish much.

    I found this article [linuxgazette.com] to be a good starting point. The beginning of the article assumes that you'll be working with a framegrabber and generating MJPEG video with appropriate resolution/framerate, etc. Unfortunately, we don't live in a perfect world, so you'll actually need to transcode your videos into the MJPEG format before you do the MPEG2 encoding. I find that mencoder is usually the best way to accomplish this:

    mencoder -ovc lavc -lavcopts vcodec=mjpeg -oac copy -vf scale=720:480 -sws 9 your_file.avi -o mjpeg_stream.avi

    Note that the above command assumes you are making a DVD for NTSC (US/Canada/Japan) format. If you use PAL, you'll want 720:576 as your resolution and 25 fps as your framerate instead. If you're encoding from a film (24 fps) source, try applying the telecine filter, as well (add ",telecine" after the scale command, and set "-ofps 29.97). This method of framerate conversion is the standard for cinematic DVDs.

    Now, I know you're asking, why not use mencoder to encode the MPEG2 stream directly and skip the middleman? Well, I've tried this, and it isn't possible for a couple of reasons. The first is bandwidth control. Although mencoder will accept a bitrate option for MPEG2 encoding, it is not conscious of the buffering assumptions of the DVD standard, and will produce streams that will encounter buffer underruns in hardware DVD players. The second problem is that an MPEG2 program stream for a DVD must contain empty navigation packets (these get filled in when you create the actual vobs), which mencoder won't create. C'est la vie.

    It's worth noting that you can get at more advanced bitrate control options for libavcodec's MPEG2 encoder by using lavc's native transcoding application, ffmpeg. At least, theoretically you can. My version of ffmpeg 0.4.7 doesn't seem to include mpeg2 as a possible output format, even though it's accessible through mencoder. Go figure.

    OK, let's move on to our friend mpeg2enc. The first thing you'll notice is that it's slow. Really slow. Especially compared to mencoder. You'll live, though. Take a nap or something. The instructions in the article will give you a stream that's perfectly fine for DVD encoding, but it's definitely worth looking at the manpage as well. One of the most important things you'll learn there is that mpeg2enc takes arguments for both aspect ratio and framerate of incoming movies. Add the option "-a n" to the command given in the article, substituting 2 for n if your video is in the 4:3 aspect ratio (regular TV), 3 if it is 16:9 (letterbox widescreen format, most movies), or 4 for 2.21:1 (cinemascope widescreen, movies shot in panoramic view). The "-F n" command specifies the framerate. IF you are using PAL or SECAM, always use 3. If you are using NTSC, always use 4. Anything else will make you cry. Finally, you can add the "-p" option if you have 24 fps input video that you intend for NTSC viewing, and you didn't already have mencoder apply telecine. I actually prefer to have mpeg2enc do telecine, as that way you are certain to avoid A/V sync problems.

    Moving right along, the article tells you how to use the dvd authoring tools to eventually get an iso file ready to burn. It should be noted that the image you have ready won't have menus or other niceties. For sooth! Lucky for you, you actually can include these things, but it won't exactly be easy. Now that you know the basics of encoding for the DVD format, this guide [tappin.me.uk] can instruct you on how to add things like menus and whatnot. Anyway, once you get the iso file ready to go, I highly recommend you burn it with KDE's excellent K3B [sourceforge.net], unless you have an attachment to the command line too

  • by Jafar00 ( 673457 ) on Friday March 12, 2004 @03:53AM (#8540997) Homepage
    I don't have Mandrake 10 downloaded yet, but according to press releases I have read, they have put DVD writing ability into K3B as of Mandrake 10. I use K3B for all my CD writing on my current Mandrake 9.2 system and I am more than happy with it. If the DVD writing performance is on par with the CD writing in K3B, I'm sure you would like it too :)

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