BOOT CAMP 506 (01/01/08

Digicam to PC to TV part 3


It’s now time to make a start on your photo slideshow disc and the first task is to compile the photographs you want to include on the disc. I suggest copying them to a new folder though you could just note down their name and file locations. We’ll also be putting a number of other components on the DVD and these include an on-screen menu, so the viewer can choose between multiple albums, start and stop the slideshow or jump to a particular image. You may want to add a title and some subtitles and possibly some background music or if you are feeling ambitious, a spoken commentary.


In order for your photographs to be readable on any DVD player they must be converted into a form the player understands. Regular DVDs are encoded using the MPEG 2 compression system, which is designed for moving video but is equally at home displaying static images.


As I have said before there are plenty of slideshow programs in the shops but we’ll be using DVD Slideshow GUI and DVD Author for GUI, which is completely free. The only small drawback is that it cannot on its own write or ‘burn’ DVDs, but that’s not a problem because it integrates with a number of free and paid-for DVD authoring programs, but more about that next week.


Download and install both programs on your PC and when DVD Slideshow opens the first thing you see is an empty window but don’t worry, we’ll soon fill that up. However, first we need to check some configuration settings. Go to Presets on the Options menu (press F7, or click the Preset icon on the toolbar). The top drop-down menu is set to ‘PAL 720 x 576 4:3’ but you may need to change the aspect ratio if you want your slideshow to display on a widescreen TV, if so select PAL 720 x 576 16:9’. If you are making a DVD for friends or relatives that live in the USA, Canada or Japan then choose one of the NTSC options. Leave the Safe Area settings on its default unless you later find that you have problems with the picture over-filling the screen, check ‘Border’ if you a white border around your photos and click the Font button if you want to use something other than Times New Roman for titles and subtitles.


To add background music or a pre-prepared commentary to your slideshow click the Music button and locate the audio file (see also this week’s Top Tip). To change the graphic behind the pictures click the Background image but this is something you can fiddle with later.


You can also leave the MplayerC, HcEncoder and Import settings on their defaults. For the record Transition is what happens when the first picture appears;  ‘Exposition’ time is how long each image remains on the screen. By default it is set to 100 frames, which at 25 frames per second comes to 4 seconds. If you have made any changes click Apply and you’ll be returned to the main screen.


Go to File > Import and on the dialogue box that appears click ‘Change Dir’ and navigate your way to the folder where your pictures are stored. If there’s a lot of them you might find it easier to click the Thumbnails button, so you can see what you are selecting (though they are very small). Hold down the Ctrl key to select images one by one, or press and hold Shift and use the cursor up/down keys to select blocks of files. When you have finished click OK and the previously empty main window is populated with your chosen images, along with settings for Exposition, Animation, Transition, Duration and space for an optional Subtitle. The animation feature is fun to play with; you can zoom, pan and do all sorts of things to your pictures but I would leave that until you have mastered the basics


Check through the images and delete any that you do not want. You can also change the order they’ll be shown by highlighting the one you want to move and use the Up/Down arrows on the menu bar


To change the settings for an individual image right click on it and the Slide dialogue box opens; you can add a subtitle, alter the display time and change the transition effect. Keep it simple and avoid mixing too many fancy effects, it can become tiresome. When you are happy with it click the Preview icon on the toolbar and after a minute or two (depending how many images there are) your slideshow will start playing in your default media player.


To finish off click the Export button on the Toolbar (or File > Export), select or create a new folder to store the files in, give the slideshow a name and on the drop-down Save As Type menu select ‘gui for dvdauthor’ then click Save. The file conversion and compiling process can take several minutes and during that time various windows will open and close, so let it get on with it and when it has finished you will be ready for the final stage.


Next Week – Digicam to PC to TV pt 4





The shape of an image or display screen, defined by the relationship between its height and width, i.e. 4:3 (normal or ‘Academy’) or 16:9 (widescreen)



Moving Pictures Expert Group -- one of a set of technical standards for compressing video into digital data, used on DVD and digital TV broadcasts



Phase Alternate Line, 625-line colour TV system used in the UK, throughout much of Europe, North Africa, Australia and New Zealand




This program works best with a simple background music track; it is possible to add a running commentary is possible but it takes planning as there is no provision to link individual slides to audio tracks. You can either keep the commentary fairly general, or try to time your words to coincide with the slides. You might have to do a couple of dummy runs to get it right but by altering the ‘Exposition’ time of each track it should be possible to synchronise the soundtrack to the slideshow.


Don't forget, there's a full archive of previous Boot Camp Top Tips at



© R. Maybury 2007, 0512


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