Make DVDs or video CDs from slideshows of photos

Q I would like to make video CDs of some of my photos. At the moment I just want to get the photos on to video CD so that they can be played on a simple DVD player and TV. Later, I will want to add a soundtrack. It appears that there are various tools out there, but I haven't found a clear description of how to perform this simple task. Using FFmpeg, for example, I can create a movie from my JPEG files that takes about 0.4 of a second to run. I'd like to be able to show each frame for three seconds (for example) but can't find a way to add a delay between frames. Convert looks promising, but I just get errors about mpeg2encode with it. I'm using Ubuntu Dapper. Thanks in advance for any pointers.

A DVD would be better than video CD. Not only can you fit a lot more photos on one disc, but the quality is much higher. The main part of the process is much the same whether you're making DVDs or video CDs, although most of the tools are set up for DVD creation, so will need some tweaking to create video CDs. The most straightforward way to put a slide show on to a disc is to use the slide show plugin in DigiKam or KPhotoAlbum (both programs use the same plugin) to create a DVD slide show from an album or selected photos. These are quite limited, as you can only adjust the length of time that an image appears for and the length of its fade - and these have to be the same for all images.

If you want more control, DVD-Slideshow (its homepage is at http://dvd-slideshow.sourceforge.net) is a better choice. This is a set of scripts to generate DVDs from images and sound. The main script, dvd-slideshow, uses a text file listing all images and effects to create a DVD VOB file. Use dir2slideshow to generate a DVD-Slideshow input file, which you can pass directly to dvd-slideshow or edit to change the timings or effects. Then use dvd-slideshow to create the slideshow and add music. You can use MPlayer to view the resulting VOB file to check it before putting it on to a disc.

Finally, dvd-menu will create (no surprises here) a DVD menu for one or more slide shows, and you have the option of calling dvdauthor to write everything to an ISO image ready for writing to a DVD. Assuming you have a directory called pics that you want to make into a slide show, the commands are as follows:

mkdir slideshow
dir2slideshow -o slideshow -t 5 -c 1 -n
myslideshow pics
# edit myslideshow.txt if you want to change timings or efects
dvd-slideshow -a somemusic.ogg myslideshow.txt
dvd-menu -t "My slide show" -f myslideshow.xml -iso

This creates a slide show with each image shown for five seconds with a one- second fade, and writes it to an ISO file ready for burning to a DVD. It is also possible to generate a DVD with a single slide show that plays immediately, without going through a menu. The programs default to NTSC output; for a PAL DVD you should add the -p option to each command or put

pal=1

in ~/.dvd-slideshowrc. If you want to create a video CD-compatible MPEG, you can use FFmpeg to transcode the VOB file that you created with dvd-slideshow, like this:

ffmpeg -target pal-vcd -i dvdslide.vob vcdslide.mpg

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