For a while now, I have been attempting to use the various popular video editing applications to create basic photo slideshows with music. However, I have recently discovered a tool called dvd-slideshow. This blog post is designed to serve mainly as a reminder and reference for myself by documenting what I did, but I hope that other people will also find it useful.

dvd-slideshow is available in the repositories, and you can install it with:

sudo apt-get install dvd-slideshow

First, you will want to use dir2slideshow (installed with dvd-slideshow) to add all of your photos to a txt file. The syntax for this command looks like this:

dir2slideshow -n 'My Slideshow' -t 3 -c 1 /home/me/Pictures

This will create a basic slideshow called ‘My Slideshow’ that contains all of the images in the /home/me/Pictures directory. Each image will be displayed for 3 seconds, and there will be a 1 second crossfade between pictures.

Adding music to the slideshow is simple. For my slideshows, I like to have a playlist of music playing in the background for the duration of the show. I don’t really care when they start and end, I just want them to play one after the other.

To do this, I added a few lines at the top of my txt file before any of my pictures.


This will cause song1.mp3, song2.mp3, and song3.mp3 to play in that order. The ‘1’ in the middle refers to audio track 1 (there are two audio tracks in case you want to include narrations on top of the music). I then have quick fadein/fadeout effects that each last 1 second.

I found that the volume levels of my audio files were quite different. To fix this, I installed mp3gain from the repositories and ran it with the -r option against all of my audio files.

When I created my first slideshow, I found that some of my pictures were rotated sideways even though they appeared correctly on my computer. To fix this, I modified my txt file to instruct dvd-slideshow to rotate the troublesome pictures:


That will cause badrotation.png to be rotated 270 degrees clockwise. The ‘::’ is because I left the optional subtitle parameter blank. You can include some text between the colons if you want a subtitle to be displayed with the image.

Once you have your txt file prepared the way you want, you need to create your video file.

dvd-slideshow -n 'My Slideshow' -f 'My Slideshow.txt'

This will take your txt file and create a vob file called ‘My Slideshow.vob’. This vob file can be played in most Ubuntu media players, giving you the chance to preview your work.

At this point, I chose to use DeVeDe to create my menu and disc structure rather than the dvd-menu utility. My main reason for this was that I had used DeVeDe before and it worked quite well. I also did not want to have to convert the other video files that were being included on the disk to mpeg2. DeVeDe allowed me to create a title and simply specify the path to my .vob file.

You may have noticed that I mentioned that DeVeDe was being used to create my disc structure rather than an iso. The reason for this was that I wanted to create a DVD that people could play in a standard DVD player, but I also wanted to allow them to save copies of the pictures that were in the slideshow to their computer. DeVeDe created AUDIO_TS and VIDEO_TS folders. I simply dragged and dropped these folders to my DVD in nautilus. I then dragged and dropped my picture folder to the disc. After hitting the write button, I was left with a hybrid video and data dvd.

If you think you might be interested in using dvd-slideshow for your own project, I suggest that you check out their website. They have lots of great documentation and example files to help you get started.

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5 Responses to dvd-slideshow

  1. You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be actually something that
    I think I would never understand. It seems too complicated and
    extremely broad for me. I’m looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of

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  3. Rafael Remy says:

    hi, for the rotation “problem” here the cause and the solution:
    when u use a cam and u hold it 90° degree, the picture is made landscape, with a special information in the jpeg-tag that its 90°.
    dvd-slideshow doesn’t look at this information, so what we have to do i to really rotate them in the right order.
    this is possible by a simple stack-command, which reads out the information out of the tag an turn your picture really.

    jhead -autorot *.jpg

    u’ll find this prog ins the main – sources. run it and after that make the dvd-slideshow process.

    have fun

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