In this article, I'm going to tell you how to download a movie, convert it into a format that your DVD player can read, and then author it.
To do this we will use three pieces of software: a BitTorrent client to download the movie with, software to do the conversion to MPEG2 format, a process called transcoding, and authoring software to create the menus and file structure for the DVD. Technically, you also need a program to burn it to DVD as well, but the authoring program recommended here will do that for us.
For a BitTorrent client I use KTorrent
. It should be available from your package manager, or the KTorrent website has packages or the source code for download
. For Ubuntu or Debian users you can use Synaptic or Adept to install it, or type sudo apt-get install ktorrent
from a terminal.
The transcoding software we use will be Avidemux
. Again, packages or the source code are available for download
, but your package manager probably has it available. sudo apt-get install avidemux
will do the trick for Ubuntu or Debian users who don't want to use Synaptic or Adept.
is the authoring software we will use. This one isn't currently available in the Ubuntu repositories, but the Debian package on the downloads page here
works fine. There is also a package for Fedora Core, and source code for those who wish to compile. Your package manager may have this available to make things easier for you.
For Ubuntu Linux users: Dapper users shouldn't need to change anything, but because I'm running Edgy Eft I did have to change an option in the settings of DVD Styler because it kept throwing me an error about "jpegtopnm". To fix this you have to go to Configuration -> Settings, and in the Core tab change the first line to:
jpegtopnm "$FILE_IN" | ppmtoy4m -n 1 -I t -L $FRAME_RATE -S 420mpeg2 | mpeg2enc -f 8 -b $BITRATE -o "$FILE_OUT" $VIDEO_NORM
Don't worry, it's not as scary as it looks. Just copy and paste it in, you don't have to know what it means. I don't.
We are ready to get a movie that we can burn to a DVD. A great source of free, public domain movies is Public Domain Torrents
. For this example I've chosen to download Night of the Living Dead
. It will take a few hours, perhaps overnight or longer, to download a movie depending on your connection speed and the size of the movie.
Now that the movie has been downloaded it needs to be transcoded with Avidemux.
Open the movie, select Auto -> DVD
, hit Save
, and relax for a couple of hours while it converts the movie. Have a nap, talk on the phone, go out for a walk. Or stare at the progress bar for a while. That can be fun too.
When you see the progress bar hit 100% the movie is ready for authoring. DVD Styler has a lot of abilities, but I won't go over everything it is capable of doing. There are some excellent manuals
and a wiki
to help you get started, but I'll go over the basics.
First thing we are going to do is choose a background for the menu. It comes with a bunch of backgrounds, but you can import your own if you like. Click the Backgrounds
tab on the left and select the one you want.
Now select the Directories
button on the left and navigate to the directory you saved the converted movie to. Only valid MPEG2 files will be available to select. Select your movie.
Now let's click the Buttons
tab. Drag the "button1" image to the right, right click it, and select Properties
. Since there is only one video on this disc the only thing we have to change is the button label, and the font if you wish.
Now you can select File -> Burn DVD
from the main menu. Select Burn
if you want to burn a disc right away, or you can Just Generate
the file system or Create ISO Image
if you want to burn the DVD with another program such as K3B.
After a few minutes you should be able to watch your shiny new DVD movie.
There are some other great resources for making video DVDs. The Internet Archive
is another great source for public domain movies. Files are downloaded directly from their servers, so you don't need a bittorrent client, but sometimes can be slow. The video quality of the movies is also less, but there are a lot of them.
For authoring DVDs there is also DeVeDe
which converts and authors the DVD, eliminating the need for a program like Avidemux. It is simple to use and can automatically divide a movie into chapters. It doesn't create menus though, but is great for quickly making simple movies. On my system, though, it sometimes creates faint bands across the image.
is a program that also converts movies and authors DVDs and allows you to create simple menus. I've had occasional weird issues with the sound not syncing. I can correct this by fast forwarding through part of the movie. It may be an issue with my DVD player. Well worth a try.