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)



Filed under Applications, Linux, Multimedia, Tips, Ubuntu

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.


Filed under Applications, Linux, Multimedia, Ubuntu

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

Video Editors for Linux

A few days ago one of my friend Abhilash asked me if he can use any Video Editors under Linux so that he can put an alternate sound track instead of that comes with the actual video. As I haven’t done anything like video editing under my Linux box, I began a search over the internet. The results were amazing. I was using the Avidemux for some video encoding purposes, but was unaware that I could do the job he asked; using the Avidemux itself. But there are several other video editors for Linux they are.


Avidemux is a free video editor designed for simple cutting, filtering and encoding tasks. It supports many file types, including AVI, DVD compatible MPEG files, MP4 and ASF, using a variety of codecs. Tasks can be automated using projects, job queue and powerful scripting capabilities. Avidemux is available for Linux, BSD, Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows under the GNU GPL license. The program was written from scratch by Mean, but code from other people and projects has been used as well.


Heroine Virtual Ltd. presents an advanced compositing and editing system for native Linux at no cost to users. Cinelerra does primarily 3 main things: capturing, compositing, and editing audio and video with sample level accuracy. It’s a seemless integration of audio, video, and still photos rarely experienced on a web server. Cinelerra is the most advanced non-linear video editor and compositor for Linux. It is developed by Adam Williams (formerly known as Jack Crossfire) at Heroine Virtual Ltd.. To know more see the official Cinelerra home page and the SourceForge project page.


LiVES mixes realtime video performance and non-linear editing in one application. It will let you start editing and making video right away, without having to worry about formats, frame sizes, or framerates. It is a very flexible tool which can be used by both VJ’s and video editors – mix and switch clips from the keyboard, trim and edit your clips, and bring them together using the multitrack timeline. You can even record your performance in real time, and then edit it further or render it straight away as a new clip !

NOTE: You can install them via Synaptic Package manager.


Filed under Applications, Linux, Multimedia, Ubuntu