Linux Recipe for DVD Creation

I love open source software. I use an entire suite of open source applications every day, to do everyday tasks.

I love open source software. I use an entire suite of open source applications every day, to do everyday tasks. I really like the price tag of $0, but more importantly the actual freedom it provides. No activation, no invasion of privacy, etc. And, there are a lot of titles that are equivalent to proprietary software, that are compatible (i.e. using OpenOffice.org in place of Microsoft Office).

One thing that's taken me a while to find is a suite of programs to create video DVDs from scratch for home videos. From capturing, editing, authoring, and burning to a DVD. Finally, I've found a solution that is 100% done on Linux from start to finish, and it works better than the proprietary products I've used in the past that cost hundreds of dollars. Here's what I have found to work very well:

Capturing - Kino. Kino is a great and lightweight program. It works flawlessly and can capture to AVI, DV, or Quicktime DV. It integrates perfectly to my video camera that is connected by firewire (Kino can preview and control the video camera right within its own interface). I can even do other tasks while it is capturing, which I could NOT do in Windows programs like Adobe Premier.

Editing - OpenShot Video Editor. OpenShot Video Editor is a new but very promising non-linear video editing program. The current version is available as a package for Fedora 12 so it's very easy to install. There are packages for other Linux distributions as well, and of course the source code. It supports multiple timelines and is very intuitive to use. It also has some filtering and effects. It's a young program, but shows a lot of potential. I used it to edit the captured AVI from Kino, and export to Mpeg2 video. The really nice thing I like about OpenShot is the huge number of export formats available. There are tons. And, it has presets that you can easily tweak to your liking, simply type in the bitrate for example, and press Export and away it goes. One thing that I hope they bring later is batch encoding, where multiple export jobs can be queued and processed in one step.

Authoring - DVD Styler. DVD Styler is a really neat program, with powerful features for creating DVDs. Its interface is simple to learn, but has many powerful features if you choose to use them. I've used ULead DVD Movie Factory in the past when I used to use Windows, and DVD Styler works way better. DVD Movie Factory was very picky and would re-encode video and take hours, while DVD Styler is very quick and efficient. DVD Styler will let you create custom menus, add video, choose the method they play, and then you can either burn it directly to a DVD, or create an ISO. It also has a Preview feature however it did not seem to preview the menus and everything. So I created the ISO, then used CDEmu to mount the ISO as a virtual disc and play it with VLC to see the full menus and everything.

Burning - K3B. CD/DVD burning in Linux to me has been lacking for a while, but K3B has filled that void. K3B is a very powerful yet simplistic program to use. It works flawlessly every time. I use this to burn the ISO created by DVD Styler to the DVD-R media.

I could go into much more detail on how to use these programs, but my purpose is to provide the titles as a solution that really works. If you have used these types of programs before, then they should be easily to pick up on. They're all very intuitive and easy to use, but provide very powerful features. I've created flawless DVDs that play in even my super cheap DVD players. Well done once again, by the open source community.