AVI to DVD MPEG Conversion

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Needed tools: mjpegtools, ffmpeg, transcode, dvdauthor, dvdrtools, dvd+rw-tools, K3b, file manager, and a terminal.

You need to use a file manager and Konsole/terminal in order to follow the steps below. You can do all the steps below as user without having to type su to become root as long as the avi file has its permissions set to your username as user and users as group. Plus create a folder in your home to work out of, move or copy the avi file you want to convert, into the work folder. Then in the terminal type cd /home/username/work-folder-name so that you can run the steps below. You would replace the word "movie" in the instances shown in the steps below with the name of the avi file you wish to convert. Don't use the .avi extension in the name except for the first step where it has movie.avi, all other parts just use the name of the file without the .avi extension behind it.

Steps for making a DVD movie from an avi file

1. Split the audio and video from the avi into an audio file and a movie file. Choose the right commands below according to where you live. For most of Europe & Australia, use PAL; for America, use NTSC. If you aren't sure what format to use, look at the chart on this site:

  • For NTSC type:
transcode -i movie.avi -y ffmpeg --export_prof dvd-ntsc --export_asr 3 -o movie -D0 -s2 -m movie.ac3 -J modfps --export_fps 29.97
  • For PAL type:
transcode -i movie.avi -y ffmpeg --export_prof dvd-pal --export_asr 3 -o movie -D0 -s2 -m movie.ac3 -J modfps --export_fps 25
  • This first step takes the longest time to finish.

2. Merge the audio and video into one mpg file.

In terminal type:

mplex -f8 movie.ac3 movie.m2v -o movie.mpg

3. Create a file in text editor called dvdauthor.xml. Put what is shown below in the file and save the file. This is for a movie without a menu. If you want a menu or want to create more than one movie on a DVD disk, see the first link at bottom of this guide.

<dvdauthor dest="dvd">
<vmgm />
<vob file="movie.mpg" chapters="0,0:30,1:00,1:30,2:30,3:00,3:30,4:00"/>

4. Create a directory in your work folder called dvd and then run the following command in terminal:

dvdauthor -x dvdauthor.xml

5. Make the dvd iso. In terminal type:

mkisofs -dvd-video -udf -o dvd.iso dvd/

6. Open K3b and from the menu at top choose Tools > DVD > Burn DVD ISO Image. Click the browse button on the window that comes up and find the ISO file you have created. When it is finished checking the md5sum, click the Start button and it will start burning to your DVD disk. When it's finished you should have a DVD movie that can be played in any type of DVD player.

The above guide is for simple conversion of avi file to mpg and then making an iso of it and burning it to DVD disk. If you wish to do more than the basics covered above, see the guide that I used to come up with this guide shown here.


I compiled the source of mjpegtools, ffmpeg and transcode in order to have the full programs and to fine tune them to be able to use certain plugins needed for conversion and encoding. You can also just get them and the other tools listed as needed above, with synaptic, kpackage or apt-get, but the ones I compiled will work the best. And if you get errors by using the ones that come from debian repo then just get the ones I made and install them.

You can get these three programs I compiled in deb format from here. Just download the three deb packages to a folder by themselves in your user's home directory and open a terminal/konsole and type su to become root then type

cd /home/username/folder-name-you-put-debs-in 

and then type

dpkg -i --force-overwrite *.deb to install them.

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