QUICK AND EASY DVD AND VCD CREATION UNDER LINUX/UN*X AND KDE
By Dan MacDonald, 20th October 2005
EDIT - 21st Feb. 2006
DVD authoring under Linux has become significantly easier since DeVeDe was released last month. Unlike the method I describe below which involves using 3 different programs and is a bit messy if you are converting more than one video, you can now batch convert multiple videos onto a DVD using just DeVeDe and the burning program of your choice. DeVeDe doesn't support the creation of menus at the time of writing but it does support exporting the file structure and separate MPEG2 files so you can easily import them into a menu creation tool such as Varsha or qdvdauthor. You can download DeVeDe from its homepage at:
It worked without problem for me under Ubuntu, but under Debian unstable I was getting an error (when I tried running it from the promt) that ended with 'ImportError: No module named subprocess' which I fixed by issuing this command
cp /usr/lib/python2.4/subprocess.py /usr/lib/python2.3/site-packages/
DeVeDe is very easy to use and really doesn't require a guide at all but it comes with instructions regardless. All you really need to know is that any videos you put into one title will be played consecutively as one film so, seeing as DeVeDe doesn't create menus, you will need to know how you skip through titles on your DVD player if you put clips into any title other than the first (and you don't then create a menu in a separate program for that disc).
If you're only interested in creating video DVDs on Linux thats pretty much all you need to know now but the following method could still be of use if mencoder chokes on your video (you want to try ffmpeg instead) or if you want an easy way to make VCDs.
This document describes how to quickly and easily convert different video formats into a DVD or VCD under Linux. Once you have followed these instructions you will be able to complete the whole process with a few mouse clicks- no tricky, long command line inputting- and entirely with free software!!
With the popularity of both DVD players, computers with DVD burners and the ever-increasing popularity of Linux I presumed that the task of making a video DVD from an .avi (xvid, divx etc.) mpeg or quicktime file would've been well documented and thoroughly sorted on the software side of things too. Unfortunately that wasn't the case, until now!
This document assumes that you already have a fully working Linux/*BSD computer with a DVD or CD burner and at least 5GB of free space in your home directory. You will need to have basic Linux knowledge (installing programs, editing text etc.) and the following programs installed:
Konqueror (aka the KDE file manager) - http://www.kde.org - comes with all Linux distributions
mencoder (the MPlayer video converter) - http://www.mplayerhq.hu/
Varsha (a Java-based tool to convert .mpg DVD files to a burnable .iso image) - http://varsha.sourceforge.net/
Java Runtime 1.5 (aka j2re- so you can run Varsha) - http://www.java.com
dvd+rw-tools and dvduthor - these are needed by Varsha and will come with your distro
Finally, either k3b or Nero (or just mkisofs) to burn the DVD or VCD image
If you're not currently running Linux or your thinking of changing your distro with an eye to doing video with it, I would personally recommend installing the latest version of Debian or Mandriva. Personally I'm not a big fan of spending hours compiling software (which is what it can be with video tools and their many supporting libraries) but these distributions have all but put an end to that for me.
For Debian, you can get almost all the tools needed (except Varsha) from the marillat repositories. Just follow the instructions at:
Instructions for Mandriva:
I recommend using the 'compressed index' option as the package lists download MUCH faster then. You can then download and install all these video tools and many more (like Cinelerra, transcode, avidemux and mjpegtools) with a few clicks under the Mandriva Control Centre. Debian users can do the same with the synaptic package manager.
OK, so you have all those programs installed- what next? Install konqkonv, a handy service menu I put together to add basic video conversion funtions, PAL/NTSC DVD and VCD mpeg generation, to Konqueror:
Follow the simple install instructions on the konqkonv page, restart it and then when you right-click on a video file under Konqueror and look under the 'Actions' menu you should see 6 new options offering to convert your video file into a DVD Widescreen/Fullscreen or VCD compliant MPG file, PAL or NTSC. Try this out and a console window should open displaying information on the video and the conversion process. When its finished you should have an MPG file in the root of your home directory i.e if your user name is dan it will be under /home/dan.
If it was a DVD MPG you made, you now have to use Varsha to convert that into an .iso file before you can burn it. If it was a VCD MPG you made you should be able to just open k3b, choose 'New Video CD Project', drag, drop and burn, although I've not tried that yet to be honest. Varsha couldn't be simpler to use and requires no explanation really but there is installation and useage instructions on its homepage if needed.
Once you have your DVD .iso file you can just use the 'Burn DVD iso image' option under the k3b tools menu or the 'Burn image' option under the recorder menu of Nerolinux. I personally use Nero (which sadly isn't free software) at the moment for burning DVDs as the current versions of k3b doesn't record at any faster than 4x on my DVD burner (an NEC 3520A).
If you know how to improve on this method then please reply below.
Hope that has helped, have fun!
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i like it ...i dont use kde but this still helped a ton as far as seeing/learning the commandline options :->
...i might make a port to gnome ...then again i gotta lil bit of learning to do first huh