Category Archives: Multimedia

Making Photo Slideshow DVD’s under Linux

As there are no simpler graphical tools available under Linux for this purpose, I’m explaining the method to create a slideshow video DVD of images/photos using a commandline tool called dvd-slideshow. Don’t be scared. It’s not that hard 🙂

It can be installed via Synaptic under Ubuntu OR you can fetch the latest from here.

Preparing your slideshow

Before generating a slideshow, you need to produce an input file which specifies which pictures to use, how long each picture stays on the screen and which transition effect is applied.

The simplest way to do it is to put all of your pictures in one directory and run dir2slideshow. This will create the input file for the next step. Although there are many configuration options, this command should give you acceptable defaults:

dir2slideshow -n 'test slideshow' -t 5 -c 1 slideshow_pictures

This asks to take all the (JPEG or PNG) pictures from slideshow_pictures, show them for 5 seconds and then crossfade to the next picture for 1 second. It generates a test_slideshow.txt input file. Pretty standard defaults, but the link above gives you a description of all the options available.

An interesting switch is -p if you want to generate a PAL slideshow instead of default NTSC.

You have then a file describing your slideshow’s characteristics. Its syntax is fairly straightforward; you can hand-edit it if needed.

Generating the slideshow

Once you are happy with your input file, generating the slideshow is something as simple as typing:

dvd-slideshow -n 'test slideshow' -f test_slideshow.txt

If you add the switch:

-a audiotrack.ogg

it will add an audio track to the slideshow. The result will be 2 files: test_slideshow.xml and test_slideshow.vob. You can try playing your slideshow with mplayer:

mplayer test_slideshow.vob

If you are happy with it, you can move to defining the menu. The thing which this tool amazes me is that it took only 22 minutes to render 580 photos to a DVD video with 10 mp3 sound tracks. In Windows media player, making a video of 100 images with audio backgrounds will surely take more than half an hour 🙂

Making DVD menus

You can use the tool “DVD Styler” for this purpose. (Availabe in Synaptic)

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Video Encoding made easy

There are several video/audio encoders available in Linux like Ffmpeg and Mencoder. But not everyone like the commandline version very much. But there are also GUI  front-ends for both these encoders. Avidemux and Vive are the GUI front-ends for Ffmpeg. And GMencoder is the GUI frontend for Mencoder. I built a deb package for these to install them on Ubuntu.

In order to use these tool you must install the Ffmpeg/Mencoder through Synaptic.

[Download Vive]

[Download GMencoder]

Also if you don’t want the GUI’s and stick with the commandline version. This page helps you to create custom commandline arguements for Mencoder.

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Useful bash commands

Here are some handy bash commands that are needed most.

  • Merging multiple PDF’s into one
    gs -q -sPAPERSIZE=letter -dNOPAUSE -dBATCH -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -sOutputFile=Out.pdf file1.pdf file2.pdf file3.pdf
  • Converting wav to mp3
    lame -h -b 192 in.wav out.mp3
  • DVD Creation Script [DOWNLOAD]
  • m4a to wav
    mplayer -ao pcm in.m4a -aofile out.wav

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Filed under Linux, Multimedia, Scripts, Tips, Ubuntu