Create a video slideshow from images automatically


Vinh Nguyen


November 30, 2010

On a Mac, creating a video slideshow with some pictures is easy with iPhoto and iMovie. I haven't found similar programs on the Linux side (yet). I mean, there are many photo manager apps such as F-Spot and Shotwell that can create a quick slideshow from the selected pictures, but they don't export the slideshow into a video format that can be played anywhere (platform-indepedent). Also, they don't have nice transitions between pictures. digiKam supposedly supports these features, but I think they've been taken out.

I found dvd-slideshow that lets me create a video slideshow with transitions from the command line. On ubuntu, install by

sudo apt-get install dvd-slideshow

Suppose I copy all the pictures I want in a directory. Run the following commands to create a vob (dvd) file:

dir2slideshow -t 5 -c 1 -n "Title" -r /path/to/pics/ ## title should be ascii only ## generate some files (txt file contains instructions)
dvd-slideshow -n Name.Of.VOB.file -a /path/to/mp3/song Title.txt ## select name of out file, add audio to be played, and point to txt file with instructions
## for multiple audio files, add multiple -a /path/to/song; songs do not repeat, so add multiple -a if you want songs to repeat

## let's convert to avi:
mencoder out.vob -ofps 30 -ovc xvid -oac mp3lame -lameopts abr:br=128 -srate 48000 -vf scale -zoom -xy 720 -xvidencopts fixed_quant=4 -o out.avi

UPDATE 12/24/2010: dvd-slideshow-editor

My example above is very basic. You can actually modify the generated text file to modify the way the picture is presented (cropping and ken burn effects). You can also create a dvd-menu for your dvd. See this post for one person's overview. See the wiki for a more complete overview.

Note that there are many GUI frontends to dvd-slideshow, the simplest of which is probably dvd-slideshow-editor. To install on Ubuntu,

sudo apt-get install python-wxgtk2.8 python-wxtools wx2.8-i18n
## now download the python script of dvd-slideshow-editor.

I can imagine using this program to add ken burn effects to my slideshow.