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DVD authoring is one area where open source software has typically lagged far behind commercial alternatives. It is however possible, to create a simple DVD containing menus, sounds and animations using 'Q' DVD Author. 'Q' DVD Author is a GUI (Graphical User Interface) frontend to several well known Linux command line utility's and was created by Varol Okan due to a lack of anything else similar available.
In this simple eight step tutorial I will show you how to make a basic DVD containing menu's, sounds and multiple video files using only the GUI. 'Q' DVD Author and its required tools can be found on the homepage http://qdvdauthor.sourceforge.net/

Initial Screen

Step One

The First step is to set up the global settings for your project. Select 'File > New' and the wizard will appear. The Wizard will set up a temporary file location and name for your project as well as a destination for the final DVD directory. Then select 'tools > setup > paths' and click 'Scan System', this will show you if you are missing any required tools. If you are follow the links on the info buttons to get the tools.


Step Two

Next we need to select a background image for our main menu, click on the 'Add Background' button and navigate to the picture you want to use. The resize dialog will appear which converts the image to a suitable format for your DVD, select the format which corresponds to the DVD standards in your part of the world and click 'OK'.

Step Three

Now we can select a song to play during the main menu. Click 'Add Sound' and select an audio file from your file system

Step Four

Next we need to make our buttons, buttons can be pictures or text. For this example we will use text buttons. To add text to a menu, right-click anywhere on the background and select 'Add Text'. This will turn the pointer in to a cross, drag a square with this cross and the left mouse button to the size that you want your button. The 'Text and Font' dialog will appear where you can enter your text and select the font, size and colour of your text.Once you have made your text you need to right click on the text and select 'define as button'. The 'Button Dialog' will appear which we will just exit for now by pressing 'OK'.In the example I have made the button 'Episodes' which will later link to the page containing my video files.

Step Five

Next we will create a sub-menu containing our episodes. Select 'DVDAuthor > Add Menu' and you will be presented with a new blank menu called Sub-Menu1. You can toggle through the menus using 'control+tab' or by selecting the tabs along the top. We will need to add a background and audio file for this menu repeating steps two and three. We also need to create the buttons, repeating step four, which will point to our episodes.

Step Six

Now we need to add the videos which we want to be on the DVD. Click the 'Add Movie' button and select the video, or set of videos that you want the first button to point to. Repeat this for each button.

Step Seven

Now that we have all our videos, buttons and menus we need to tie them all together. First we will make the button on the first menu point to the second menu. To do this 'right-click' on the button and select 'edit button'. The button dialog will appear again but now beside the 'jump' action the drop-down box will be full of options. Select 'Sub-menu 1' like in the example and click OK.

Next we will do the same for the episode buttons but point them at our videos that we added in step six as shown in the diagram below.

Step Eight

The Eighth and final step is to make the DVD, click on the large DVD button and you will be presented with the 'Command Queue Dialog'. This menu will show you the command line tools and parameters that it is going to use to create your DVD. You will notice that it defaults to making everything NTSC, if that is not your local format then you will need to convert the project to PAL under the main 'File' menu. In many instances there will be options as to what tool it is going to perform each task, I have found that changing any video processing to transcode and leaving the rest as default worked well for me so we will go with this. Leave 'Don't Execute Burn DVD' unticked as this feature isn't stable yet. Click OK and the program will go to work. If you are using .avi or other video files that need to be converted for a DVD then this process will take a very long time. Once it is finished, assuming all went according to plan, you will have a DVD directory in the location you selected in step one. This directory will contain two folders, 'audio_ts' and video_ts', burn these two folders directly to a DVD disc using your favourite burning application.


Conclusion

You should now have all the tools and knowledge required to build nice looking functional DVDs with Linux. There is much more advanced functionality within the 'Q' DVD Author program and more planned so have a play around and see what you can do.

Note. The video and audio files used in this article were originally ripped from DVDs and Cd's belonging to the author. No illegally downloaded files were used in the making of this article.
 
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Comments about this article
Ms
writen by: Pat Williams on 2008-01-01 02:24:54
I liked your site.
RE: Ms written by Pat Williams:
please give link
writen by: geoff on 2008-01-05 08:28:52
i wish you had a link to that software 'Q' DVD Author. i have no trouble making dvds but i cant put an audio stream with the opening menu
RE: please give link written by geoff:
Link
writen by: Tom Kiley on 2008-01-20 13:04:50
RE: Link written by Tom Kiley:
Wonderful
writen by: CH on 2008-08-14 20:01:53
This is a wonderful and really useful howto. Many thanks!
RE: Wonderful written by CH:
Download Site
writen by: Alex on 2008-10-03 10:15:22
RE: Download Site written by Alex:
writen by: SP on 2009-01-25 06:38:15
qdvdauthor is useless on ubuntu hardy heron. Cannot see thumbnails of video; instead, there is a little blue "error" thumbnail. When you try to "play" the thumbnail qdvdauthor crashes. No matter what menu options I try, I cannot add video. I get the option to pick a video, which I know works, but I only get the little blue thumbnails. Oh, and in this version there is no "add movie" button. Sadly, I went back to my M$ application which works...
RE: written by SP:
writen by: Anonymous on 2009-02-05 06:05:33
RE: written by Anonymous:
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RE: DVD Rip Software written by :
E
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RE: E written by asangbetty:

Comment title: * please do not put your response text here