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Making a DVD with thumbnail menus

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This page demonstrates how to use tovid to create a DVD with animated-thumbnail menus, like those you often see in commercially-produced DVDs. tovid takes a collection of video files, encodes them for compliance if necessary, and generates a DVD Video filesystem structure suitable for burning to a disc. For this job, tovid uses the todisc script, which does much of the background work in tovid after the video files are converted.

In addition to a main menu pointing to each video, todisc can also make a chapter submenu for each video included on the disc.

Note: If you are using 0.32 tovid or newer, then you must use the command 'tovid disc' instead of just 'todisc' as it was previously. Also note a few of the option names have been changed below to reflect changes in the todisc script.

Simple example Edit

Creative commons lrg

Sample of a menu created by todisc, with custom background image and menu title

At minimum, todisc requires a list of video filenames, and a list of titles associated with them (the -files and -titles options, respectively). Provide an output name via -out. Here's a minimal example:

$ tovid disc \ 
  -files \
      Degroot.mpg \
      Popocatepetl.mpg \
      Yellowstone.mpg \
  -titles \
      "Degroot Market" \
      "Popocatepetl" \
      "Yellowstone" \
  -out dvd_dir

This creates a DVD filesystem in dvd_dir; when complete, you can preview it with gxine:

$ gxine dvd://path/to/dvd_dir

todisc supports a wide range of customizations, allowing you to configure the style, fonts, and effects applied to the menu. For example, -background includes a background image or video, and -menu-title controls the title displayed on the main menu:

$ tovid disc \
  -menu-title "My Creative Commons\nVideo Collection" \
  -background yellowstone.avi \
  -files \
      Degroot.mpg \
      Popocatepetl.mpg \
      Yellowstone.mpg \
  -titles \
      "Degroot Market" \
      "Popocatepetl" \
      "Yellowstone" \
  -out dvd_dir

This is the command used to create the sample image above. For a complete list of available options, see the todisc manual page.

Main menu layouts Edit

todisc has three basic layout formats for the main menu: thumbnail, showcase, and text only.

Thumbnail Edit

The thumbnail layout was the first to appear in todisc, and is the default. It is the layout used in the simple example above.

Showcase Edit

The showcase layout creates smaller thumbnails, but also uses a larger centerpiece thumbnail to "showcase" an image or video. Use -showcase IMAGE or -showcase VIDEO, and todisc will automatically detect the input filetype and use it accordingly.

The showcase layout has several unique options that change the appearance of the showcase thumbnail. The examples here use all of them:

  • -rotate DEGREES
  • -wave default
  • -showcase-framestyle
  • -showcase-titles-align west | east
  • -showcase-seek SECONDS

An image Edit

Showcase image

-rotate 5 -wave default

Watch this menu on YouTube.

In addition to showcasing an image, this example illustrates the effects of using -rotate 5, -wave default, and -showcase-titles-align east. This (admittedly long) command also makes static chapter submenus, each with their own background audio. Click on the screenshot for links to these submenus.

Read the full explanation of this menu and DVD system.


$ tovid disc \
  -menu-title "My Favorite YouTube Videos" \
  -menu-font DieNasty \
  -menu-fontsize 36 \
  -title-color '#ff7700' \
  -stroke black \
  -bgaudio monkey.wav \
  -files \
      amateur.mpg \
      caliendo.mpg \
      monkey.mpg \
      poppin.mpg \
  -titles-font DieNasty \
  -titles-fontsize 22 \
  -titles-color '#ff7700' \
  -titles \
      "Amateur" \
      "Frank\nCaliendo" \
      "Code\nMonkey" \
      "Korean\nBreakers" \
  -submenus \
  -submenu-titles \
      "Amateur by Lasse Gjertsen" \
      "Frank Caliendo on Dave Letterman" \
      "Code Monkey music video" \
      "Poppin in the Streets of Korea" \
  -submenu-title-color '#ff7700' \
  -submenu-stroke black \
  -submenu-audiolength 20 \
  -submenu-audio \
      amateur.wav \
      caliendo.wav \
      monkey.wav \
      poppin.wav \
  -showcase monkey-highlight.png \
  -showcase-titles-align east \
  -rotate 5 \
  -wave default \
  -out MyFavoriteYouTube

A video Edit

Showcase video

A video showcase

Watch this menu on YouTube.

This example shows how a showcase DVD looks without any special showcase options. However, the showcase is not a still image, but a video. This long command also generates animated submenus, each with the same background audio. Click on the screenshot for links to these submenus.

Read the full explanation of this menu and DVD system.


$ tovid disc \
  -menu-title "A Few Great YouTube Videos" \
  -menu-font SudburyBasin3D \
  -menu-fontsize 32 \
  -title-color '#0010c3' \
  -title-stroke '#90b3ff' \
  -bgaudio poppin.wav \
  -files \
      amateur.mpg \
      caliendo.mpg \
      monkey.mpg \
      poppin.mpg \
  -titles-font SudburyBasin3D \
  -titles-fontsize 24 \
  -titles-color '#0010c3' \
  -titles \
      "Amateur" \
      "Frank\nCaliendo" \
      "Code\nMonkey" \
      "Korean\nBreakers" \
  -ani-submenus \
  -submenu-title-color '#0010c3' \
  -submenu-stroke '#90b3ff' \
  -submenu-audio batida-urbana.mp3 \
  -submenu-titles \
      "Amateur by Lasse Gjertsen" \
      "Frank Caliendo on Dave Letterman" \
      "Code Monkey music video" \
      "Poppin in the streets of Korea" \
  -showcase poppin.mpg \
  -showcase-seek 0 \
  -out GreatYouTubeVideos


Nothing Edit

Showcase nothing

A showcase of nothing

Watch this menu on YouTube.

This menu showcases nothing (no image, no video), leaving the majority of the frame clear. To take advantage of the unused screen real estate, the menu includes a background video with -background VIDEO.

Read the full explanation of this menu.


$ tovid disc \
  -menu-title "My YouTube Gallery" \
  -menu-fade \
  -menu-font Airmole \
  -menu-fontsize 40 \
  -title-color '#2e9900' \
  -stroke lightgray \
  -background poppin.mpg \
  -files \
      amateur.mpg \
      caliendo.mpg \
      monkey.mpg \
      poppin.mpg \
  -titles-font Airmole \
  -titles-fontsize 20 \
  -titles-color '#2e9900' \
  -titles \
      "Amateur" \
      "Frank Caliendo" \
      "Code Monkey" \
      "Korean Breakers" \
  -showcase \
  -showcase-titles-align west \
  -text-mist \
  -text-mist-color gray85 \
  -text-mist-opacity 70 \
  -out showcase_nothing

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