creating dvd

Creating a DVD with Ubuntu using OpenShot, DVDStyler, and InkScape

I began by testing LiVES, which is a powerful video editing system. It has features galore, but was a bit extravagant for a novice like myself. It was very fast and the developers are actively improving it every day.

While browsing Reddit one day I noticed a link for VLMC. This is from the developers of VLC and it seems very easy to use. The problem is, it’s not out at the moment. So the search continued for an easy to use interface that could handle a large video.

I found OpenShot. This program is very user friendly and I was able to pick it up within a few minutes.


In my previous article I describe a process to convert video files from a JVC Everio camera to mpg files with the correct numbering. The JVC Everio camera stores files using hexadecimal numbering, but most video editing systems will import the files in numerical (decimal) order. WinFF was used to convert the files to MPG, while a custom script was included to renumber the files. These processes can still be used, but with OpenShot you no longer need to perform this conversion, as long as you are familiar with hexadecimal order.

Using OpenShot

First, I imported the video files into OpenShot. The imported videos showed up in the Project Files tab. Dragging them to the timeline was very simple. When creating a timeline, it’s best to separate the files on separate tracks. I placed later files on a track above the previous video because transitions point up by default. You can always change the direction of the transitions however.

OpenShot included many different transitions, but I found the most useful was a simple dissolve. The others seemed too much like Powerpoint. It also includes several effects, which I did not have a chance to play with.

To create credits, I simply imported a PNG image with the text and added it to the timeline as a separate track.

Cropping the videos was made very easy with the razor tool. I previewed the video, marked where I wanted to cut, then sliced the pieces with the razor, which broke up the video, then deleted the piece I didn’t want. Once that piece was removed I could shift the remaining videos over.

When I was done editing the video I exported it with the following options:

DVD Menu with DVDStyler

The next step was creating a DVD menu. Creating a DVD menu is a bit like creating a webpage on a WYSIWYG app.

I first added my video as Title 1 by dragging it from the file browser.

To create the menu I added a vmMenu item by right-clicking in the timeline area (bottom section) and choosing Add – vmMenu. Apparently a Menu and vmMenu give you different options but are somewhat similar.

If you right-click on the vmMenu item, or the preview, you can modify the properties to add a background image and music. I chose “At Last” by Beyonce and a picture of a guy chasing a cake through a black hole, to signify a wedding.

To add the button titled “A Wedding to Remember” I clicked on the Buttons menu on the left-hand side and chose an appropriate button. Once positioned, I double-clicked on it to view the properties window and modify the settings.

The last step was burning it to a disk. DVDStyler includes a burn option, so I didn’t have to export the ISO or do any fumbling with another program. All I had to do was tell it how to burn the DVD and it did the rest.

DVD Labels

Ubuntu doesn’t include a clearcut method for creating DVD labels, so I had to invent a way to make a nice looking label using standard Avery 8696 CD paper. I decided to use Inkscape since it included a page layout system similar to Adobe Illustrator.

I’ve included my template file here so you can use Inkscape yourself to create labels.

Avery 8696 CD Template (right-click, save)

This is what the template should look like in Inkscape. The images may be missing. The top image goes inside the inner square guides. The bottom image goes in the outside square. On the left are several extra guides if you wish to add text to the jewel case edge.