Friday, November 18, 2011

Making a DVD with a Menu in Linux

As a follow up to my previous post about transfering VHS tapes to computer, I thought I would show the next part of the process, authoring your own DVD's with menus.

Before doing anything, I had to go through my video files with Virtual Dub and set the frame rate to 25 fps and resync the audio and video.  The sync problem was caused mainly by dropped frames when I did the initial capture.  Because the video was poor quality in a few places, the capture card couldn't record a frame.  This is a dropped frame.  The audio however doesn't come with that problem.  Because the audio is just an analog signal with no structure, it is just recorded as is.  As time goes on, the audio starts to lag the video.  Most of the videos only had a couple of dropped frames, and by luck were only short videos, so the problem wasn't evident.  A couple of clips required a bit more attention.  All I had to do was copy some frames and insert them back into the movie in the static to lengthen the vision and re-sync it with the audio.  Now onto authoring the DVD.

After looking around for a while I settled on Bombono DVD, which is available for Windows and Linux.  At first I tried to use it in Windows, but I didn't really get anywhere, so I just went back to the Linux version.

The interface is pretty simple, you start by adding media on the "Source" tab.  This can be audio, still images or video.  After all media is added, switch to the Menu tab.  From here you can create all the different menus you want and create links to media items and other menus.  The links can be either text, static images or movies.  I did have a little trouble lining up my links and images but I just altered the resulting xml file by hand.

After you set all this up, go to the output tab and select the output method.  I choose to have a disc image created that I could then burn to DVD later.

I had one problem though.  The image quality was pretty crap.  This was because Bombono had to transcode my video files, and without knowing more about them, all it could do was use the default options.  So by doing the transcoding myself I could tailor the options to my video.  This was pretty easy with WinFF.  Set "convert to" to DVD, and "preset" to PAL DVD HQ Fullscreen.  To get the best quality and specify that the video was interlaced, the following line is added to the FFmpeg tab.

-flags +ilme+ildct+alt -top 1

Once the AVI's had been transcoded to MPEG's and used as the media in the Bombono project, the output was perfect.  You may want something a little more flexible and powerful, but for something free it was perfect for my use and I highly recommend it.

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