HOWTO Make a video DVD

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It has not always been easy to make a DVD on a GNU/Linux system. However, it is possible and tools are available. Many of them are for various reasons (under heavy development, etc) not included in many distributions, but they can be installed. This is rapidly changing, so consider upgrading your Linux distribution to a newer version, as you'll see more of the multimedia tools becoming available in those newer distribution's software repositories.

Available tools

  • Mjpegtools 1.8.0
  • Latest ffmpeg 0.4.9_pre1 (masked)**
  • Latest transcode 1.0.2 (masked)**
  • Latest dvd+rw-tools
  • Mencoder (comes with the mplayer package), 'USE="encode" emerge mplayer'
  • Avidemux 2.3.0 (non-linear video editor)
  • GOPchop 1.1.7 (simpler, 'chop-out' video editor)
  • Kdenlive 0.5 (non-linear video editor)
  • The GIMP Image Manipulation Program
  • Dvdauthor 0.6.11 (masked)**
  • DVDStyler 1.4


There are various 'DVD authoring' programs for GNU/Linux. We have found 'DVDStyler' to be VERY easy to learn and use.

K3B involvement indicated

[It appears to have been developed by the author of 'K3B', which is also very easy to learn and use.]


The key concept is to start out first, choose 'Directories' and just 'drag/drop' a video-file (e.g. MPEG, M2V, etc?) into the very bottom of its window (down next to the default 'Menu 1'), and then hit the 'burn' button (the 'gear' icon).

(Hint: Select 'create iso image' from that burn-dialog, rather than the default of actually doing the burn. This allows you to defer or externalize for later, actually burning a DVD-media, until you iterate thru a few times and are happy with the output and the detail-msgs.)

Now sit back and relax (maybe go get a bite to eat). Processing time is LONG...approx 10-20 minutes for a 2-hour, 2-GB movie-file on a modern computer. Watch for the lower-right-hand button to finally change from 'cancel' to 'close' when it's done, and there will (hopefully) be some green-text saying '...successful' when processing is done.

You can optionally get a 'preview' viewer ('xine'...package name 'xine-ui') invoked near the end of DVDStyler's processing, so that you can view the result BEFORE you commit to burning.

To do the actual burn (when you're ready), you can just use 'K3B' (or your favorite burning-software) to burn the resulting .ISO file that gets created.]

Once you've mastered that much, you can go back and double-click on one of the backgrounds (if you're bored now with default 'black' for your menu background). And, of course, you can add textual titles and some buttons, if you want to fine-tune the user-behavior for the person playing your new movie-DVD. Don't forget to tweak the 'chapter' breakdown, as the default-values only breakdown the FIRST hour, into 4 chapters, which is not what you'll want for a typical 90-120 minute movie.

'DVDStyler' has a support-forum (and other info) at: There is both a start guide and a detailed manual at: [As always, RTFM before posting questions in their forum...the coverage there seems quite spotty, so reading the docs is highly recommended.]