Make a DVD Slideshow Using QDVDAuthor
Last weekend a family member asked me if I knew how to create slideshow on a DVD and it got me thinking. I had seen programs that indicated they could do it, but I had never had a reason to try because my TV is already directly attached to a computer. After browsing the apps in the DVD Authoring category I settled upon QDVDAuthor and decided to give it a try.
QDVDAuthor is a multi-purpose DVD program that allows you to create menus, slideshows, or movies. For this exercise I focused on creating a simple slideshow without a menu.
Get setup by selecting New Project from the File menu.
Add a slideshow by clicking the aptly named Add Slideshow button in the left middle part of the window. Select the images to use and then click Continue. If you want to adjust how long each picture is displayed for, you can do that by adjusting the General delay.
Set the timeline. The Filter dialog imports all of the pictures and shows them in a timeline format. It starts with a fade in, followed by a picture, a crossfade, and another picture. That sequence repeats until all of the pictures have been shown. This is also the point to add a sound track to the slideshow. When you are done click OK.
You are now back to the Slideshow dialog box that was shown in step 2. Select Export Slideshow when you are ready. Pick the filename and location to save it to, along with any other setting preferences, and click Generate Slideshow.
I found QDVDAuthor to be very simple and mostly intuitive. The only confusing bit was after I opened the program and selected Add Slideshow. It immediately jumped to the New Project wizard, but without ever notifying me that a project must be created as a first step. I quickly figured out that I needed to go back and click Add Slideshow a second time to really do it, but a new user shouldn't have to be frustrated for something so simple.
I did have some issues with the program crashing at first, but I'm not sure if it was an issue with QDVDAuthor or my setup. I'm running Kubuntu Edgy in VMware Player and only later did I realize the points where delays were being cause by high CPU utilization. My laptop has a 1.86GHz Core Duo processor, but the virtual machine is only capable of using one of them. FFmpeg and mpeg2enc are the helper programs that use most of the CPU. Creating a DVD is very CPU intensive and the system response was slow. I suspect this would be better if I wasn't running in a virtualized environment and had access to both cores.
In the end, QDVDAuthor got the job done well and the end result was a .vob file that could be burned to a DVD without leaving the program, but was also easily transportable to another burning app. I'll definitely use QDVDAuthor again the next time I need to create a DVD.