10 February 2006

DVD Authoring Under Linux

Posted under: at 00:26

The birth of my daughter had produced several videos in DV tapes. Now it is time to make a DVD or two from them! Since this is my first time making DVD video, I will document the steps I’ve taken.

First step would be having a lot of disk space. One DV could easily occupy more than 10 GB of space, making DVD out from them would need probably at least twice of that. Easy enough, I managed to free up at least 40 GB of space.

Next I need to transfer the video into my computer. In my case, there are two methods of doing that: using Firewire and using A/V input of my TV tuner and sound card. Using Firewire has the obvious advantage: because it does data transfer digitally, there should be minimal or no loss of quality. On the software side, Kino is probably the best DV capturing program under Linux. Kino is a very stable and polished software. It even automatically splitted incoming DV data into several scenes. After transfer had finished, it is very easy to merge, split or trim scenes. When done, it took about 2 hours on my computer to convert all scenes from a single DV tape into DVD format.

Kino

Now I have several MPEG files suitable for DVD. From here, it is not hard to proceed into creating a DVD from them. But because I wanted to create DVD menu, I took my time to research which DVD authoring tool is the best for me. From what I’ve gathered from the Internet, the most popular DVD authoring software are probably DVD Styler and QDVDAuthor. However those two are a bit too low level for my taste. I could spend a whole day or two with QDVDAuthor, Gimp and mencoder but probably the result won’t be pleasing (I’m not a graphic artist). What I really need is an easy to use wizard driven DVD authoring program, preferably with preset themes, effects and cliparts to choose from. I found two programs which probably fit my requirement: KDE DVD Authoring Wizard and KMediaFactory.

KDE DVD Authoring Wizard

KDE DVD Authoring Wizard is simply a shell script and a Kommander GUI. Very impressive, we really need more of this kind of application :). As with its name, KDE DVD Authoring Wizard is a wizard. I only need to do what it tells me and click next, repeat on the next screen, again, and so on until it finishes the job. KDE DVD Authoring Wizard can be very fast or very slow depending on the option I choose. This time I’m aiming for maximum eye candy: I used a video for menu background (this took an extra step because it won’t process videos not already in MPEG format), chose to create fully animated menu and enable thumb decoration.

It took about two full hours just to create the DVD menu, but the result is stunning:

My DVD Menu

In the end, KDE DVD Authoring Wizard created a DVD ISO image and offerred me to burn it using K3B. Unfortunately, my DVD writer is failing with clicking noises :((. So, still no DVD for me yet, but at least all the hard work has been done.

Because I’m overwhelmed with KDE DVD Authoring Wizard’s output, I haven’t got a chance to try KMediaFactory or any other tools.

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