DVDAuthor is a set of tools to help you author the file and directory structure of a
DVD-Video disc, including programmatic commands for implementing interactive behaviour.
It is driven by command lines and XML control files, though there are other programs that
provide GUI-based front ends if you prefer (see below).
Things DVDAuthor does not do:
- Make a disc image or burn the disc: this is left to tools like mkisofs and dvd+rw-tools.
- Assemble the video footage and convert it to the right format: there are various utilities,
editors etc for doing this (see below).
- Edit your footage into titles and convert them to the right MPEG format. Make a note of
chapter points as desired. DVD-Video allows for up to 8 alternative audio tracks, which you
can use for different languages, or surround-versus-simple-stereo etc.
- Design your menu graphics, position the buttons and decide which one links where.
- Possibly create subtitles as well, for alternative languages not covered by the audio
tracks, or the hearing-impaired, or whatever. DVD-Video allows you to have up to 32
“subpicture” tracks, as it calls them (they’re stored and rendered as graphics, not text).
- Use spumux (part of the DVDAuthor suite) to “multiplex” the subpicture tracks
onto the video and also create the menus.
- Use dvdauthor to actually put together the complete directory structure,
including defining what the buttons do and marking the chapter points.
- Test the structure using a software player (see below).
- Once you’re confident it’ll work, actually burn the result to a DVD and try it in a
See the download pages for
A ChangeLog is accessible here.
Alpha releases are obtainable from GitHub.
The commit history may be tracked here.
To report bugs, request feature enhancements etc, join the
If you're a distro package maintainer, or otherwise feel the urge to hack the code, submit
patches etc, then join the
mailing list. I'd recommend developers also join the dvdauthor-users list, to keep an eye on bug
reports and feature requests from the users.
The ever-evolving book is located online here.
- FFmpeg is probably the easiest tool nowadays for
generating an MPEG file in the right format: just specify “-target pal-dvd”
or “-target ntsc-dvd”, and it will preset all the appropriate options.
It also has a great AC3 encoder. AC3 and raw PCM are the only two audio formats guaranteed to be supported by every DVD player. North American DVD players may or may not support mpeg 1 layer 2 audio.
- Mjpeg Tools has the best multiplexer around. Others will often throw warnings with dvdauthor. It also has an mpeg2 video encoder.
- Toolame is a very good mpeg 1 layer 2 audio encoder, useful for generating mpeg audio streams. While mjpegtools also has an audio encoder, they don't recommend using it.
- There is a range of video editors for Linux, in various stages of development. For example,
- It helps to be able to test an authored DVD-Video structure to have some confidence that it
will work before going to the time and expense of burning a disc. For checking menu and command
logic, the best Free Software program still seems to be
Ogle, even though that has seen no
development since 2006. It can be flaky in other respects, and many distros don’t even
offer packages for it any more, so you will have to build it from source.
- Other players that seem to make some effort to deal with DVD-Video menus are
VLC and Xine.
- Q DVD Author is a powerful QT-based GUI front
end to dvdauthor.
- DVD Styler is the same, but uses wxWindows,
which should port nicely to Windows.
- DeVeDe is another one that is
portable to Windows.
- Bombono is a newer front-end for Linux.
- DVD Menu Animator relies on the
Inkscape drawing tool to design menus and lay out buttons.
- Polidori promised to be a great GTK based
front end, but seems to have been left in an extremely pre-alpha state
for many years now.
- VideoLink takes HTML pages, with links, and turns them into a DVD menu structure.
- Videotrans is a set of scripts for converting movies into VOBs for dvdauthor. It also has some menu generation abilities.
- Tovid is a set of command-line
tools to automate various parts of the DVD-Video authoring process.
- DVDWizard is another set of scripts
to aid in authoring.
- Ben Hutchings gave an excellent high level overview of DVD authoring in general on Linux.
- Gentoo has a forum thread regarding dvdauthor.
- James Pattie has some nice menu generation scripts and an online tutorial that he gave to the St. Louis Linux Users Group.
- James Tappin has a tutorial on using dvdauthor.
- Jens Gecius has another tutorial on dvdauthor.
- MPU Coder's DVD Reference has been invaluable in the development of this program.
- DVD Replica hosts the unofficial DVD specifications.
- VStrip is located under the 'code' section. It can remove unwanted audio or subtitle streams from an existing DVD/mpeg stream.
The following information is obsolete.
Alpha releases can be downloaded via source control, which uses darcs. The repository URL is
http://dvdauthor.sourceforge.net/darcs For those new to
darcs, the quick way to get started is to type:
darcs get --partial --repo-name=dvdauthor http://dvdauthor.sourceforge.net/darcs
This will pull a partial repository; you will not be able to examine
history before the most recently released version of dvdauthor. If
you want a full repository, omit --partial, but it may affect the
reliability of the download. Sourceforge is not set up for
repositories of this nature.
Some (optional) patches I have collected:
- libdvdread-0.9.4 patch which shows the mnemonics for the various VM commands in the IFO and VOB files, also includes a VOB dumper.