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This article gives an overview of how to use the command-line tools of tovid; see the manpages for more detailed usage notes.

If using the command line does not sound like your cup of tea, you may choose the tovid GUI instead.

Quick start Edit

To encode VIDEO to PAL DVD format, saving the output as NAME.mpg:

$ tovid mpg -pal -dvd -in VIDEO -out NAME

To create an NTSC VCD menu with three titles, saving as MENU.mpg:

 $ tovid menu -ntsc -vcd "First title" "Second title" "Third title" -out MENU

For more detailed instructions, see How to make a basic DVD.

How it all fits together Edit

The tovid script has a number of commands that each perform a specific task relevant to authoring a video disc. One command converts video, another makes menus, another generates the disc navigation structure, etc. Each command has certain inputs and outputs; for example, the mpg command takes any multimedia video file as input, and produces (S)VCD or DVD-compliant MPEG video files as output. The output of mpg then becomes an input to the vcd or dvd commands, and so on.

  • tovid id identifies video files, telling you the duration, resolution, codec, and other useful information. Perhaps most important, it can tell you whether a given video file is compliant with (S)VCD or DVD.
  • tovid mpg converts arbitrary multimedia video files to (S)VCD, DVD, or KVCD-compliant format.
  • tovid postproc does post-processing on an encoded/compliant MPEG video. It can shrink the video stream by reducing quality, and it can adjust the audio/video synchronization.
  • tovid menu create an MPEG menu, for navigating a video disc.
  • tovid xml generates an XML description of video disc content, compatible with vcdxbuild or dvdauthor.
  • tovid dvd authors and optionally burns a DVD.
  • tovid vcd authors and optionally burns a VCD or SVCD (not yet complete)

Five steps Edit

Creating a video disc using the command-line tools boils down to five steps:

  • Plan ahead. Decide what videos you would like to include on the disc, and whether you want to make an (S)VCD or a DVD. If you have lots of videos, you may want to have navigational menus to select them for playback. Sketch out an outline of what menus you want to have, and what videos they will link to.
  • Encode the content. Almost all video sources need to be converted to an (S)VCD or DVD-compliant format. The tovid mpg command does this for you; use it to convert all the videos you want to include. You can use tovid-batch to convert several videos at once.
  • Create menus (optional). If you want your disc to have interactive menus for navigation, use tovid menu to create them. This is where you will specify video titles, as they will appear on the menu.
  • Layout the disc. This is where you specify exactly how your disc will be organized. Provide the names of all your video and menu files, and tovid xml does the rest.
  • Author and burn. When you reach this step, you should have several .mpg files (menus and videos), along with an .xml file containing the disc layout. Give the .xml file to tovid vcd or tovid dvd to author and burn your disc.

Configuration files Edit

The tovid script implements the use of configuration files, allowing you to customize tovid's behavior and specify default encoding options. As of this writing, configuration files are not implemented for any other scripts in the suite.

Configuration files are plain ASCII text. The first line of the file begins with a script name (tovid); the remainder of the file consists of command-line options appropriate to that script. Whitespace is ignored, and comments may be included on lines beginning with #.

# sample tovid configuration file
# This is a comment; it will be ignored by tovid.
# Always use NTSC format by default
# Run in "parallel" mode for faster execution and
# reduced disk usage
# Run in "debug" mode, so when something goes wrong
# it's easier to diagnose
# Always overwrite existing output files.

This format makes editing a snap, especially if you are already familiar with tovid's various command-line options. You may find configuration files useful, if you get tired of entering the same options by hand for a bunch of videos, or if you want to customize your bitrates, menus, or formats for a certain project.

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