Convert video to DVD – the original of MobileMate

MobileMate is an Open Source project for converting video/audio, it is customized based on TinyCore Linux, use bash to glue some open source tools to finish its job. The detail see its home page: MobileMate: . There are many softwares for converting video/audio, why create a new one? Briefly, MobileMate is a demo project for easy customizing your own automatical coverting tool. Let’s see the original idea of this project below.

The requirement

A friend of mine, he want convert thousands of low resolution videos(about: 352×288) into DVD.

Seek the existed tools

We tried famous Nero, and Devede(GUI tool), DVDWizard(bash scripts), etc..

Nero and Devede need add videos into a DVD manually, and there are some limitation, such as can’t exceed 7 hours’ video in one DVD, can’t use all the DVD volume, etc..

DVDWizard uses command line parameters to convert exist DVD format videos(mpg) into a DVD automatically, but, it need you calculate every files’ size to ensure the total DVD size will not exceed DVD volume, need convert videos to DVD mpg format first. And, it will generate a screenshot for every video automaticlly, this will slow down the converting speed in our use case.

I estimated the time needed for this converting job, it is about 2 years’ spare time of this friend. So I decided write a tool for this job inspired by DVDWizard.

The work process and effect of my customized tool

At last, I wrote a tool using bash to glue some open source command line tools in the spare time of a month, install it into Ubuntu. And my freind used about 3 months to finish his job successfully.

First, put all videos into a folder, the order is decided by their file name. The tool will read the information of video, calculate the duartion and choose proper bitrate, put them into a DVD with acceptable quality and utilize the maximum volume of the DVD disc. As a result, a DVD can contain about 18 hours’ video. The tool will convert these videos into DVD iso image files into another folder. This process didn’t need the involving of human.

Burn DVD image file into real DVD disc need manual operation yet, just single click on a iso image file, the burning will done.

The technique overview

As said above, this tool use bash to glue some open source command lines to finish the job. They are: FFmpeg, Mencoder, Mplayer, ImageMagick(convert, composite), spumux, dvdauthor, mkisofs, growisofs, vlc, etc..

FFmpeg and Mencoder, Mplayer detect video information and convert video to DVD format mpg file.

ImageMagick make the DVD GUI menu.

Spumux and dvdauthor make the DVD menu, navigation, DVD data structure.

Mkiosfs make DVD data into a DVD iso image file.

Growisofs burn iso onto real DVD disc.

Vlc is good at playing DVD iso image file directly.

Then install a Linux onto machine, setup the tool in operation system. End.

The whole process is no need of manual operation except burn to real DVD. A lightspot is tool can read the information of original file, decide put how many files into a DVD with proper quality automatically. For the common burn software, you need put the files into DVD manually, if total size exceed DVD volume, then you need reduce some files back. This is a very annoying thing.

Install a fresh OS onto machine is a heavy way, so I choose customized a video/audio converting tool based on the TinycoreLinux Live CD as a use case demo. And also create VMWare and VirtualBox virtual machine version. In fact, I recommend use the virtual machine version.

The end

This is an article about how to use Linux and Open Source treasure house make our life ease. And, also the original of MobileMate open source project:

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