On returning from a vacation with friends, everyone said ‘Well, now you can do a nice DVD with all our photos, right? ”
Certainly, work in IT means I need to know anything about computers, let’s say I used this opportunity to learn a bit about this topic in Linux.
I found myself with about 3000 photos from five different cameras, to put in order and select for a slide show of about an hour, to accomplish all we need:
- Software to move from camera to PC the images
- Software for storing photos and process them
- A software to create a slideshow from images, perhaps with some effect
- Software to prepare a DVD with interactive menus and music.
- A burning software
Excellent, let’s start
Move photos from camera to computer
If you have a card reader for SD/miniSD, and you can move photos directly on your hard drive, skip to step 2, otherwise connect your camera via USB and be ready to learn gtkam.
gtKam is a graphical application that lets you interact with your digital camera. gtKam works directly with your digital camera, allowing you to view, save and delete images. You can also download images on your computer and make changes with image manipulation programs, such asGIMP.
Before you start using gtKam, you need to configure it so that it can work with your digital camera. Choose from the menu Camera => Add Camera… From the popup window, you can choose your camera from the list, or let gtKam automatically choose, selecting Detect. In my case (Coolpix L20) was not automatically detected and I had to put the generic module USB PTP Class Camera, but then I saw the pictures correctly.
Once you have added your camera, it will be shown as an icon on the left pane of the main window gtKam. You just need to configure gtKam your camera for the first time.
Select the directory where you stored your images and pictures stored will be immediately loaded as thumbnails in the main panel. From this panel, click on the images you want and save them to disk by choosing File => Save selected photos. If you want to save all pictures, click Select => All, then save the images to disk, at this point my advice is to save everything, in the next step we will select them more easily.
Here is a list of supported cameras (gphoto is the library used by gtKam)
At the end of this point we have all our photos, not arranged, in one or more directories.
We have to sort and edit photos.
By this point we have all our photos, randomly arranged, in one or more directories. We now have to sort and edit them, so we need software to view them, put them in order, select them and make minor changes. There are many excellent packages that perform this work; my choice fell on Shotwell.
For a start, this software is able to do exactly what gtKam does, so if you don’t need to use gtKam for other things, you can ignore the preceding paragraph altogether, Start Shotwell, connect your camera to the USB port and select it as the data source for loading images. Shotwell also uses Gphoto so supported machines are the same as for gtKam (use the link above).
The first thing to do is to import photos, Go to File => Import file from Folder this will open a new window where you can select one or more directories. Note that the default action is to copy the pictures into a directory called Picture; if you do not want this, uncheck the option in the lower left.
After this import you will have the dates on the left panel, auto-detected from your photo and on the central panel the gallery with all photos; you can select a number of photos and match them to a new event (you can choose the name). In this way we have not only dates but also significant events in the left panel (e.g. the stages of a trip). Shotwell can give also create labels (tags) for each photo, and you can specify how many tags you want. This will give us an additional search criterion and classification method for our photos.
Using one of these options we can split our vacation into chapters or thematic sections; this will be very useful for what we do when we create the DVD.
While selecting the photos for the various chapters you can also make minor changes; with Shotwell you can rotate, crop, reduce red eye, adjust exposure, saturation, hue and temperature of each picture, and if this is not enough it is possible to use an external editor (eg the Gimp).
And if you are not yet convinced of the value of this software, let me add that it can also publish the photos directly on three of the most popular sites that deal with online photos: Facebook, Flickr and Picasa Web Albums.
By this point we have all our photos sorted and divided into multiple directories. these will become our “chapters”.
It’s time to use another very interesting package: Imagination.
This one is a real gem. You can create slideshows from a picture gallery, and add many professional options. Let’s see how.
Well, we have our photos sorted into directories representing the chapters of our DVD. We begin with Slideshow => Import Pictures go to the directory and select all the images. At this point we have a screen like the one in the figure: a big panel to the left that represents the image you’re working on, a smaller panel on the right with a number of options to be applied to the image you’re working on, including:
In this area we can choose the Transition Type, or how the image comes into the scene; the program provides more than 60 different effects.
You can see some examples on this page. You can also select the duration of each transition (slow, normal or fast) and for how many seconds the slides must remain.
Through this section you can achieve special effects (eg. The Ken Burns Effect), Decide that in a certain place there is a zoom to a certain area of the photo, then zoom out and zoom to follow a different area (this is just an example). To add this effect do this:
- Click Add to add a stop point, choose the zoom level, and how many seconds it should last; if you go to the picture and hold the left mouse button pressed you can move the photo to select the area to enlarge.
- Click on Add again and add another effect to zoom in or zoom out
- Repeat as desired. You can also update or delete individual stop points.
Here you can add text to the picture and choose where to store it, and if it will appear with some special effect.
Finally in the bottom of the screen you will see the sequence of your photos, asthey will be shown in the slide show. In this area you can change the order of slides, delete those you do not need or add blank slides, through the menu Slide => Add Empty Slide,so that you can add slides with comments or explanations. You can also select more than one slide and apply all the same changes, for example, you can select all the slides and decide that the duration is 5 seconds, or that the transition type is random for all photos.
But I forgot some buttons with interesting options at the top, it is possible to rotate the image, save and delete pictures and also import music. We can combine our slide show with a .ogg or.mp3 file (not all distributions allow this). We match the first slide an audio file that covers all our slideshows, in case there are no longer problems will be made final on fade out if it is too short … well the music will end before the slide show, but you can also put more music file one after another.
Now we do a preview of our slide show and, if we are satisfied, get ready for export. Export => VOB (DVD Video), choose the name for (.vob files are added automatically) and select the most suitable type of TV (this operation can be a bit long, so time for a break). At the end of this process we have a .vob file representing the chapters of our CD.
At the end of this point we have .vob file representing the chapters of our CD.
Here’s a nice demo of what you can do with this great product:
Prepare the DVD menu
I did some tests with graphics programs, but nothing left me really satisfied at this point and so there will be no nice screenshot, because I used a command line tool dvd-menu.
It is pretty easy to use. I recommend using these options:
dvd-menu -p -n ‘Nome del DVD -b Start.jpg -c -fadein -fadeout -theme default -t “Chapter 1 ” -t “Chapter 2” -t “Chapter 3” -f chapter1.vob -f chapter2.vob -f chapter3.vob -a /home/myuser/mp3/the_man_who_sold_the_world.mp3
Explanation of options:
-p = pal (Do not put anything for NTSC)
-n = DVD Ttile.
-b = Background image for the menu.
-c = continuous mode, will start automatically next chapter when one end.
-fadein/-fadeout = graphic effects to embellish when you enter and exit the menu
-t = chapter title, there must be a -f option for every -t
-f = vob files to match the corresponding text, there must be a -f for each title.
-a = Indicates a sound file
With these options it will create a directory dvd_fs, containing all the audio and video files; Check its size with the command du -hs dvd_fs -> 1.9G dvd_fs; in my case I have 2GB of space, I could create a directory EXTRA and put the originals of photos, videos or other extra things, then everything will end up on the DVD. We can preview of our results through
xine -g -u 0 dvd:”`pwd`/dvd_fs/”
We should have the exact output with menus, music and everything working. If this preview does not work, do not burn! Go back and check the steps; burning now would just waste a DVD. Once we got our results we create a .iso file with the command
mkisofs -dvd-video -udf -o dvd.iso dvd_fs
This will create a file dvd.iso with the size you saw with the du command, so check beforehand that you have the space available.
We created the DVD menu, we have tested it and generated a .iso file ready to be burned.
If you want a graphic alternative try to look at this Q DVD Author.
Burn the file .iso
Now we just have to burn the .iso file to disc. There are so many programs that will do this. I use Brasero as it is already present in my laptop with Ubuntu and Gnome.
Just launch Brasero, choose Burn Image and select our .iso file, all done.
However if you would like to do it from the command line, try::
wodim dev=/dev/hda driveropts=burnfree fs=14M speed=10 -dao -eject -overburn -v image.iso
You finally have your DVD, put it on TV, the largest you can, and good vision; once again you have not disappointed your friends.
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