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Man Pages

Manual Reference Pages  -  TOVID (1)


tovid: Make DVDs from video files


     General Options
     Menu style
     Thumbnail style
     Burning the disc
     Advanced usage
     Menu Style
     Style options specific to showcase/textmenu arrangements
     Thumbnail Style
     Dvdauthor options
     Usage notes
     Basic options
     Television standards
     Advanced options
     Aspect ratios
     Video stream options
     Audio stream options
     Other options


tovid is a command-line tool for creating DVDs. It can encode your video files to DVD-compliant MPEG format, generate simple or complex DVD menus, author and burn a ready-to-watch DVD, with just a few shell commands. A graphical interface is also provided to make the process even easier.

NOTE: As of tovid 0.35, the legacy scripts makemenu and makexml have been removed and no longer appear in this manpage. All of their functions and more can be done with the ’tovid disc’ command, (todisc script). See Command:disc and the wiki ( for more info.

Also note that as of tovid 0.32, this is the only manual page provided by tovid. There is now a single executable frontend to all functionality in the suite, so if you were expecting to find manpages for todisc, idvid, makempg and their kin, they can all be found in the tovid manpage you are reading now. And yes, this makes for a pretty large manual page. If you are viewing this manpage from the command-line man utility, which normally pages through the less utility, you can skip to a section by searching with the / key, followed by a ^ to match the given section name. For example, to skip to the mpg command, type /^Command:mpg. See man less for more on how to navigate.



Where COMMAND is one of the following:

Main Commands

disc Encode, make menus, author, burn. (was todisc. See Command:disc)
gui Start the tovid GUI (was todiscgui. See Command:gui)
  A GUI wizard for multiple titlesets. (new: See Command:titlesets)

Helper Commands

mpg Encode videos to MPEG format (was tovid. See Command:mpg)
dvd Author and/or burn a DVD (was makedvd. See Command:dvd)
id Identify one or more video files (was idvid. See Command:id)
  A GUI using mplayer for setting chapter points. It will return a string of chapter points to the terminal, in a format recognized by ’tovid disc’ (todisc) or by ’tovid gui’, for the -chapters option.

The OPTIONS differ for each command; run tovid <command> with no further arguments to get help on a command, and what options it expects.


Two configuration files are created the first time you run tovid:

  Defines working directory for all scripts. You can define the output directory for makempg here. The ’ffmpeg’ executable can be set here: ffmpeg or avconv (TOVID_FFMPEG)
  Includes command-line options that should be passed to the various tovid sub-commands. Note: each sub-command has its own section, starting with the line [sub-command], for example:
    ; -no-warn

Edit these files if you wish to change your configuration.

The following environment variables are also honoured:

    TOVID_HOME (directory containing preferences: ~/.tovid)
    TOVID_WORKING_DIR (working directory for all scripts).
    TOVID_OUTPUT_DIR (output directory for the makempg script).
    TOVID_FFMPEG_CMD (the ’ffmpeg’ executable to use: ffmpeg or avconv)

These will override ’TOVID_HOME’, ’WORKING_DIR’, ’OUTPUT_DIR’, and ’TOVID_FFMPEG’ if set in ~/.tovid/preferences.



tovid gui [OPTIONS]

tovid gui starts the graphical user interface (GUI) for tovid. This is the easiest way to start creating DVDs with tovid. The optional arguments OPTIONS are any option used by todisc (’tovid disc’) which will save entering it manually, OR the full path to a saved script from the GUI. You can also combine these, but the script must be the FIRST option directly after tovid gui . (This option to save the contents of your project allows you to use it as a bash script later, or to reload the project to continue working with it at another time.)

tovid gui will also take the option --position, which denotes the screen position that the GUI will start at, in the form ’+X+Y’, similar to this part of the Xorg -geometry string.

All help is integrated in the form of tooltips. You can also see **Command:disc ** for more detail about the options. Note: if you wish to use a GUI to make multiple titlesets on the same DVD use *tovid titlesets*, which is a wizard that uses the the ’tovid gui. See *Command:titlesets*.

Please note that although the interface may seem complex with so many options, you can create a fully functional DVD with only a few options on the opening tab of the GUI (select video files and an output name).


tovid titlesets will assist in making a DVD with multiple titlesets. It can be started without any options, or you can feed it the path to a saved titleset script as an option. The option to save a script is also useful as the resulting script can be run later from a terminal.


tovid disc creates a DVD file-system with optional menus, from a list of multimedia video files and their titles. As todisc can function as a master script, calling other scripts as it needs them, it is the easiest command line program for creating a DVD from start to finish, including automatically converting non-compliant videos and prompting to burn at completion. It can do animated menus, static thumbnail menus, text-only menus, or author with no menu. In addition, it can do slideshows, using images as input, and even combine slideshows with videos. It supports sub-menus for chapter breaks, configurable menu style, animated backgrounds and transparency effects. From simple (no menu) to complex (switched menus and titlesets), you should be able to do what you want with ’tovid disc’.


 tovid disc [OPTIONS] \
    -files <file list> -titles <title list>
    -out mydvd

For example:

 $ tovid disc -files File1.mpg File2.mpg File3.mpg \
      -titles "Episode 1" "Episode 2" "Episode 3" \
      -out Season_one

The number of -files and -titles must be equal, though if you do not include any titles tovid disc will use the basename of the included files as titles. If you are doing a slideshow or multiple slideshows, use -slides rather than -files for passing in the images. You may use -files and -slides more than once to create an ordering in a mixed slideshows/videos menu. See Slideshows part of Usage section, below.

If the input files are not mpeg, you will have the option to auto-encode them.

General Options

At present there are 2 display arrangements or "templates":

A. (Default)
  Thumbs will be centred, and as large as space restraints allow.

B. -showcase IMAGE|VIDEO
  Produces an arrangement with small buttons on the side and the showcase image/video in the centre. If no IMAGE or VIDEO argument is supplied, the central thumb will be omitted.

Note: -textmenu, -quick-menu and -switched-menus are all types of showcase style menus. See descriptions under Menu style section.

The -titles arguments should be double or single quoted, or have the spaces backslash-escaped. Special characters (like ", !, *, &, ?) may need to be backslash-escaped. To include a quoted string within a title, backslash-escape the quotes. These titles are used for labelling thumbnails on the main menu, and for the submenu title for that video. ( see also -submenu-titles )

The -showcase styles can use longer titles than the default arrangement. With a showcase style, use: -showcase-titles-align west to give more space for the title, or use -showcase-titles-align east to allow titles of more than one line.

The default style can only show about 16 characters (depending on the number of thumbs, and what -titles-font and -titles-fontsize is being used). If your titles are too long to fit in the label area, you may try using sub-menus, which can display longer titles, for example:

 $ tovid disc -submenus \
      -files file1.mpg file2.mpg ... \
      -titles "Short 1" "Short 2" \
      -submenus \
      -submenu-titles "Long Title One" "Long Title Two" \
      -out foo

The -align argument will position both titles and thumbs either south, north east, west, southwest, northwest, southeast, northeast, subject to certain constraints of each arrangement. For example a showcase style with a showcase thumb can only do north|south|center.

More Examples:

A text-only menu:

 $ tovid disc -textmenu ...

No menu:

 $ tovid -nomenu -files file1.mpg file2.mp4 "file 3.avi" -out mydvd


A word should be mentioned here about titlesets, which is really just a hierarchy of menus. You need to use titlesets, for example, if you have videos of different resolutions, or otherwise want to arrange videos on separate menus. If you want to have titlesets you need to put all the options for each titleset menu you would like to have between -titleset and -end-titleset options.

Additionally, for the main menu (the opening menu that will let you jump to each titleset), you need to put options between -vmgm and -end-vmgm. You do not use -files for the opening menu options (-vmgm), but you will need as many TITLES after -titles as you have menus.

Any options outside the -titleset -end-titleset and -vmgm -end-vmgm areas will be global options applying to every titleset. If a global option is duplicated inside a -titleset or -vmgm area, the global option will be overridden.

Note: you do not need titlesets for a single menu with chapter break menus, for that just use -submenus or -ani-submenus

Example of using tovid disc with titlesets:

 $ tovid disc -static -out MY_DVD \
   -titleset \
   -files 1.mpg 2.mpg 3.mpg \
   -titles "Title One" "Title Two" "Title Three" \
   -end-titleset \
   -titleset \
   -files 4.mpg 5.mpg \
   -titles "Title Four" "Title Five" \
   -background foo.jpg \
   -showcase bar.png \
   -end-titleset \
   -vmgm \
   -titles "Season One" "Season Two" \
   -background bg.jpg \
   -bgaudio foo.mp3 \
   -titles-fontsize 20 \

See also -titleset and -vmgm


You can also use tovid disc to make slideshows. This can either be a single slideshow, or multiple slideshows on the same menu. Remember to use -slides rather than -files for passing in the images. Images can be any filetype that imagemagick supports: for example JPEG, PNG, GIF, TGA BMP etc. For a single slideshow do not use -titles: use -menu-title to set the slideshow title.

For a single slideshow the default is an animated menu that transitions from slide to slide. The default transition type is ’crossfade’, which fades each slide into the next and loops back to the first slide at the end. If instead you use -static, then a static ’polaroid stack’ menu of all the slides is created, with a single spumux’ed button for navigating with the enter key. You may have to experiment to find out which DVD remote button advances the slides. Try the ’next chapter’(skip ?) button and the play or enter buttons. If you want to limit the number of slides in the menu to a subset of all files entered with -slides, then use -menu-slide-total INT. Be sure to use a long enough audio file for -bgaudio or set -menu-length so the menu is long enough to support the slides plus transitions.

You can also put multiple slideshows on one menu. To do this, use -slides IMAGES for each slideshow desired. You can even mix videos with slideshows by using -files -slides -titles multiple times.

Example of a single slideshow with an animated menu with transitions:

 $ tovid disc -menu-title "Autumn in Toronto" -slides images/*.jpg \
    -menu-slide-total 20 -slide-transition crossfade -bgaudio slideshow.wav \
    -out myslideshow

Example of multiple slideshows on one menu:

 $ tovid disc -menu-title "Autumn in Toronto" \
   -slides photos/september/*.jpg \
   -slides photos/october/*.jpg \
   -slides photos/november/*.jpg \
   -tile3x1 -rotate -5 5 -5 -align center \
   -bgaudio background.wav \
   -out myslideshow

Example of mixed videos and slideshows:

 $ tovid disc -menu-title "Autumn in Toronto" \
   -files \
   -slides  photos/september/*.jpg \
   -files harvest.mpg \
   -slides photos/october/*.jpg \
   -titles "Fall Fair" "September" "Harvest" "October" \
   -background autumn.png \
   -bgaudio bg.mp3 \
   -out myslideshow

See the other slideshow options in the Slideshows options section.

Encoding Options

These are options for reencoding your non-compliant videos. They are passed directly to the tovid mpg command which is invoked by tovid disc when non-compliant files are found. For details, see the Command:mpg section. Here is a list of possible options you can pass:
-config, -ntscfilm, -dvd-vcd, -half-dvd, -kvcd,
-kvcdx3, -kvcdx3a, -kdvd, -bdvd, -704, -normalize,
-amplitude, -overwrite, -panavision, -force, -fps,
-vbitrate, -quality, -safe, -crop, -filters,
-abitrate, -priority, -deinterlace, -progressive,
-interlaced, -interlaced_bf, -type, -fit, -discsize,
-parallel, -mkvsub, -autosubs, -subtitles, -update,
-mplayeropts, -audiotrack, -downmix, -ffmpeg, -nofifo,
-from-gui, -slice, -quiet,
-fake, -keepfiles

    General Options

-keep-files, -keepfiles
  Keep all intermediate/temporary files (helps with debugging)
-no-ask | -noask
  Skip all interactive questions. No preview, automatic re-encoding with tovid if needed, no interactive option to use background video for bgaudio.
-no-warn, -nowarn
  Don’t pause after outputting warning or info messages
-jobs By default, tovid disc starts a parallel job for each processor detected. With this option you can manually set the number of jobs. For example if you have a computer with 2 CPUs you can set "-jobs 1" to keep one processor free for other things. At present this applies to the time consuming imagemagick loops: you will notice a substantial speedup now if you have a multi-cpu system.
-grid Show a second preview image with a grid and numbers that will help in finding coordinates for options that might use them, like -text-start
  This option is for when your DVD contains images for a slideshow. Slideshows are an experimental (but well tested) feature. Todisc is unlikely to overwrite your personal files, but you should take precautions and backup your images, as you would with any beta software. Todisc will prompt you to backup your files normally. If you have already backed up your images, use this option to disable the prompt.


-ntsc 720x480 output, compatible with NTSC standard (default)
-pal 720x576 output, compatible with PAL standard
  Create a sub-menu with chapters for each video (default: no sub-menus)
  Create an animated sub-menu with chapters for each video (default: not animated)
-no-menu | -nomenu
  With this option todisc will just create a DVD file system, ready for burning, with NO MENU, just the supplied video files. These do not need to be compliant, as non-compliant files will be encoded as usual. The -out option is not required. Each video will be a chapter unless -chapters OPTION is passed. The -chapters option is a number indicating the chapter interval in minutes, or a HH:MM:SS string indicating chapter points. See -chapters
  This option was originally meant for the GUI, to allow it to be used for just encoding rather than making a DVD structure. But it works well from the command line as well as it has the added advantage that you can input a list of files. Remember any makempg (’tovid mpg’) options you use will be passed on to the makempg script when encoding.

    Menu style

-showcase IMAGE|VIDEO
  If used without an argument, use showcase style without a central thumb. This is a different arrangement of images for the menu: small thumbnails go at left (and right) side of screen, with a larger image in the centre. Maximum of 10 videos. If the provided argument is a video file, the central thumb will be animated (regardless of whether -static is part of the command line). Only 4:3 or 16:9 videos and images are accepted for for the showcase file: if not one of these todisc will assume it is the aspect ratio as the videos in the titleset.
-textmenu, -text-menu NUM
  If used without an argument, create a textmenu out of the supplied titles The optional argument specifies how many titles are in the 1st column, i.e. giving 4 titles and using "-textmenu 2" would make 2 columns of 2 titles. The default is to put all titles up to 13 in the first column before starting a second column. Maximum: 2 columns and 26 titles. Note that column 2 titles are justified to the left unless you add -edge-justify to the command line. The menu will be static if no video files are supplied with either -background or -showcase options.
  If you are using ffmpeg 0.8 or newer you can use this option. This will make a very quick menu by using ffmpeg instead of imagemagick. There are two choices: you can either use ’-showcase IMAGE|VIDEO’ or or -rotate available for it, but it is extremely fast. It will be a text-menu style of menu, with no video thumbs, and a central showcase IMAGE(static) | VIDEO(animated). (i) see -bg-color if you are not using a -background and want to change the default. (default is dark blue for -quick-menu arrangements). ) (ii) Note: todisc will still work with ’vhooks’ if you have an old ffmpeg with vhooks compiled in.

Specifying the IMAGE|VIDEO argument to -showcase is mandatory for this style of menu, unless used in conjunction with -switched-menus in which case the videos passed with -files automatically become the showcase videos. If -quick-menu is used in combination with -switched-menus it really speeds up an otherwise time consuming process.


    -quick-menu -showcase /home/grepper/showcase.mpg

See -switched-menus for example of making switched menus with -quick-menu

-bg-color, -bg-colour
  The color to use for the menu background. (default: ntsc-safe black) Note: use a color a great deal darker than you want, as it appears quite a bit lighter in the video version. You can use hexadecimal (’#ffac5f’) notation or named colors (’Lime’). convert -list color will show them. See colors ( for more details.
-submenu-bg-color, -submenu-bg-colour
  The color to use as background for the submenu(s). (default: ntsc-safe black) See -bg-color
-static Main menu will consist of static thumbnail links. (default: animated) If you use a video for -showcase or -background then it will still be a ’moving’ menu, in spite of the static buttons. This option also does double duty for the -switched-menus option, and will create static "switched" images. See also -switched-menus
-background IMAGE|VIDEO
  Menu background. This can be a image file or an video file. If it is a video file the background will be animated. Pick a file of correct aspect ratio: i.e. it should still look good when resized to 4:3 aspect ratio. It will be resized to fill the entire background.
-submenu-background IMAGE
  Submenu background. This can be only be an image file. Pick a file of correct aspect ratio: i.e. it should still look good when resized to 4:3 aspect ratio. It will be resized to fill the entire background.
  Title for the root menu - may be longer than thumbnail labels Also if you use \n in the title, you can use multi line titles, but you would need to adjust -title-fontsize to something smaller than default for example:

    $ tovid disc ... -menu-title "A\nMultilined\nTitle" -title-fontsize 24

-title-font, -menu-font FONT
  Font to use for titles, either by ImageMagick font name (ex., "Arial") or explicit pathname (ex., "/full/path/to/arial.ttf"). To see a complete list of acceptable ImageMagick font names, run convert -list type, and refer to the leftmost column
-title-fontsize, -menu-fontsize
  Font size for main menu - best to -preview if you use this
  Font to use for the sub-menu main titles. See -title-font
  Font size for the sub-menu main titles
  Fade the menu in and out The background will fade in first, then title (and mist if called for), then the menu thumbs. The fadeout is in reverse order. ’BACKGROUND DURATION’ is an integer denoting the amount of time the background will play before the menu begins to fade in. This can allow you to do a ’transition’ to the menu: if you supply a -background VIDEO it will play for the indicated time before the menu fades in. Leave the optional argument empty (just -menu-fade) to get the default behavior of showing the background for 1 second before fading the menu in. To disable the fadeout portion, use ’-loop inf’. See also: -transition-to-menu and -loop
  This option goes with the -menu-fade option above, which must be enabled for it to have effect. It is a convenience option for animated backgrounds: the background will become static at the exact point the thumbs finish fading in. This menu does not loop unless you pass -loop VALUE. See also: -loop
-bgaudio, -bg-audio* FILE
  An file containing audio for the main menu background. For static menus the default is to use 20 seconds of audio. You can change this using the -menu-length option.
-submenu-audio FILE(S)
  List of files for sub-menu audio backgrounds. If one file is given, then it will be used for all sub-menus. Otherwise the number given must equal the number of submenus, though the keyword "none" in this list may be used for silence. See also -submenu-length
-titleset . . . -end-titleset
  If you have more than one titleset, put options for each titleset between -titleset and -end-titleset. A separate menu will be created that can be accessed from the main menu (VMGM). You can create this main menu using the -vmgm -end-vmgm options. See -vmgm below and TITLESET paragraph opening Usage section.
-vmgm . . . -end-vmgm
  The VMGM menu is the root menu when you use titlesets. Put your VMGM menu options between -vmgm and -end-vmgm. You only need -titles "Titleset One title" "Titleset Two title" Any other options can be used, but the menu will be a textmenu style by default. Hint: use -showcase IMAGE/VIDEO to create a fancier VMGM menu.
-no-vmgm-menu, -no-vmgm
  This will skip the creation of a VMGM ( root menu ) for titlesets. The DVD will start with the first titleset. You can not use this option unless also using -quick-nav as you would not have a way to get to other titlesets.
-skip-vmgm Start DVD from the first titleset instead of the VMGM ( root ) menu.
-switched-menus, -switched-menu
  This will make a "switched menu": there will be a central image where the showcase image would go, and text menu titles along the menu edge where textmenu titles go. As you select a video title with the down or up arrow on your DVD remote, the image in the centre will change to the image or video made from that selected video. Do not use -showcase IMAGE/VIDEO with this option.

This can be a time consuming process for making animated menus as you need to make a separate menu for each video provided with -files. The process can be greatly sped up by using -quick-menu in conjunction with this, though you will lose fancy options like -rotate and -wave.

Note that if you want to just have a static rather than an ’animated’ image, add -static to the command line.

Example for using with -quick-menu:

    -switched-menus -quick-menu

    Thumbnail style

-titles-font FONT
  Display thumbnail or textmenu titles in the given font
-titles-fontsize POINTS
  Font size to use for thumbnail or textmenu titles
  normal|oval|vignette|plectrum|arch|spiral|blob|star|flare Apply a shaped transparency mask to thumbnail videos. These "feathered" shapes look best against a plain background (or used in conjunction with -thumb-mist [COLOR]). For this rectangular semi-transparent misted background for each thumb: see -thumb-mist. Note: if you wish to make your own mask PNGS you can put them in $PREFIX/lib/tovid/masks/ or $HOME/.tovid/masks/ and use them on the command line using the filename minus the path and extension. (i.e ~/.tovid/masks/tux.png becomes -thumb-shape tux) No frame is used for shaped thumbs.
-thumb-frame-size INT
  The size (thickness) of the thumb frames in pixels. This will also set the thickness of the raised "frame" of thumbs when you use -3d-thumbs. See also -showcase-frame-size and -thumb-frame-color
-thumb-frame-color, -thumb-frame-colour COLOR
  The color of frames for video thumbnails. Use hexadecimal or named colors notation. Remember to quote if using hexadecimal! ( ’#ffac5f’ ).
-3d-thumbs, -3dthumbs
  This will give an illusion of 3D to the thumbnails: dynamic lighting on rounded thumbs, and a raised effect on rectangular thumbs. Try it !


-slides IMAGES
  Use -slides IMAGES to pass in images for a slideshow. The default is to make an animated menu of the slides, moving from one slide to the next. If you use -static, a ’polaroid stack’ montage is created. This composites the slides onto the background in ’random’ locations with random rotations. -slides IMAGES can be used multiple times if you wish to make a menu with multiple slideshows. You can also make a menu of mixed videos and slideshows by using -slides IMAGES, and -files VIDEOS multiple times. For such a menu, the number of -titles needs to match the number of -files passed in plus the number of slideshows. (Each time you use -slides counts as one title.) To use a transition between the slides, use -slide-transition crossfade|fade. See -slide-transition -menu-slide-total

-menu-slide-total INT
  Use INT number of the slides that were passed in with -slides to make the animated or static slide menu. The length of the menu is determined by 1) -menu-length NUM if given, and by 2) the length of the audio from -bgaudio. For submenu slideshows, it is determined by 1) -submenu-length NUM if given, and by 2) the length of the audio from -submenu-audio FILE(S).

-submenu-slide-total INT
  This option is the same as -menu-slide-total except that it is for submenu slideshows.

-slide-transition crossfade|fade [crossfade]
  The type of fade transition between slides in a animated slide menu. Be sure the menu length is long enough to support the 1 second transitions between the slides. The length is determined by 1) the length of the -bgaudio AUDIO 2) the length given with -menu-length NUM. For submenu slideshows, it is determined by 1) -submenu-length NUM if given, and by 2) the length of the audio from -submenu-audio FILE(S).

See -menu-slide-total , -bgaudio , -menu-length , -submenu-length, and -submenu-audio.

The ’crossfade’ transition fades from one slide to another. The ’fade’ transition fades in and out from and to black. If you don’t use this option, the default is to use a ’crossfade’ transition.

-slideshow-menu-thumbs FILES
  Use the FILES instead of the 1st image in each slideshow as the thumb that shows on the menu. This option is for multiple slideshows or mixed slideshow/video menus only.

-slides-to-bin FILES
  FILES will be resized to 640x480 using a ’box’ filter - this is called ’binning’. It will reduce the ’signal to noise’ ratio for the image in the animated slide menu. Use this if you get some unwanted effects for certain images, such as pixels shifting in what should be a static image. See also -slides-to-blur and -slide-border

-slides-to-blur FILES
  FILES will be blurred a small amount - which will help on slides that still have noise even after ’binning’ with -slides-to-bin. The default blur is 0x0.2 - you can increase this with -slide-blur ARG. See also -slides-to-bin and -slide-border

-slide-blur VALUE or LIST of VALUES [0x0.2]
  The argument to use for blurring files. It will be passed to imagemagick: convert -blur ARG. The format of the arg is {radius}x{sigma} and the default is 0x0.2. Using values between 0x0.1 and 0x0.9 is probably the best range. Use a single value for all, or a list to have a different blur for each file passed with -slides-to-blur. You must pass in -files-to-blur FILES to use this option. Blurring can help ’noise’ problems in the video. See also -slides-to-bin and -slide-border

-slide-border WIDTH [100]
  Pad the slides with a border for the animated slide menu. The default without using an argument is 100. Using this option can also solve some noise/ringing effects if used alone or in conjunction with ’binning’ (-slides-to-bin) or blurring (-slides-to-blur).

-slide-frame WIDTH [12]
  Frame the slides for the animated slideshow menu. The default width without using an argument is 12. See also -slide-frame-color

-slide-frame-color, -slide-frame-colour
  The color of the slide frame if passing -slide-frame. The default if you don’t use this option is a color-safe white: rgb(235,235,235).

  If doing multiple slideshows or mixed videos and slideshow(s), then use the animated slideshow as a showcase video. It will be composed of slides from each slideshow in the menu. The thumb for each slideshow button will be static. If you used with a mixed menu of videos and slideshows, then the video thumbs WILL be animated, so you may wish to use -static or -textmenu with the option in that case. If you want to use the **-switched-menus option with a mixed menu leave this option out.

-background-slideshow, -bg-slideshow
  If doing multiple slideshows or mixed videos and slideshow(s), then use the animated slideshow as a background video. See -showcase-slideshow for additional details.

  Slideshows are an experimental (but well tested) feature. Todisc is unlikely to overwrite your personal files, but you should take precautions and backup your images, as you would with any beta software. Todisc will prompt you to backup your files normally. If you have already backed up your images, use this option to disable the prompt. See General Options

-use-dvd-slideshow CONFIG (FILE)
  If you pass this option without an argument, tovid will use the dvd-slideshow program to create the animated slide menu, assuming you have this program installed. The optional argument is the dvd-slideshow configuration file - if you don’t use this argument tovid will create it for you. If you want to use the ’Ken Burns effect’ - then the configuration file argument is required. Note: the configuration file will override many of the above options for slideshows.

    Burning the disc

-burn Prompt to burn the DVD directory on completion.

-device Device to use for the burning program [ /dev/dvdrw ]

-speed The speed to use for burning the disc.

    Advanced usage


  The desired animated main menu length in seconds
  The desired submenu length. This will also affect the length of submenu audio for static submenus. (Assuming that -submenu-audio was passed in). The default is to use 10 seconds of audio for static menus.
-submenu-stroke COLOR
  The color for the sub-menu font shadow
-submenu-title-color, -submenu-title-colour
  The fill color used for sub-menu title fonts
  You can supply a list of titles here for sub-menus without the length restrictions found in thumb titles. Must equal number of videos
-chapters [ NUM | CHAPTER POINTS in HH:MM:SS ]
  The number of chapters for each video (default: 6) OR the actual chapter points in HH:MM:SS format. Chapter points will be used for generating the submenu thumbs, and for seeking with your DVD player. You can pass in just one value that will be used for all videos, or supply a list of values (number of chapters) or time code strings.

If you just pass an integer for ’number of chapters’, then tovid will make the chapter points for you by dividing the video length by the number you supply. If using the -no-menu option, the INT passed in will be the chapter interval in minutes, rather than the above formula.

If passing HH:MM:SS format you need to pass the string of chapter points for each video and each string should have comma separated values. Additionally, the first chapter should always start at 00:00:00 as dvdauthor will add that if it is not there already.

To get your time codes, you can play your videos in mplayer and press ’o’ to see them on-screen. I have found these to be very accurate in my short tests. For greater frame accuracy you could try loading the file in avidemux and find the time codes for the frames you want.

If passing grouped chapters you need to join the chapters from all the videos in a group with a ’+’ separator. If you want to skip creating chapters for a video in the group use ’0’ for its chapters.

Note: chapters for grouped videos should probably be passed in using the above HH:MM:SS format. (Arbitrary chapters using just an INT for the # of chapters is not guaranteed to work reliably in all cases for grouped videos at the moment.)

Example for passing just number of chapters ( 4 videos ):

    -chapters 5 2 4 8

Example of passing chapter points ( 4 videos ):

    -chapters 00:00:00,00:05:34.41,00:12:54,00:20:45 \
    00:00:00,00:04:25.623,00:09:12,00:15:51 \
    00:00:00,00:05:10,00:13:41,00:18:13.033 \

Example of passing grouped chapters using the ’+’ separator:

    -chapters 00:00:00,00:05:34.41,00:12:54,00:20:45+00:04:23,00:09:35 \
    00:00:00... etc.

-chapter-titles LIST
  If you are using submenus, you can pass a list of titles for the chapters. Each title must be quoted, and the number of titles given must equal the total number of chapters for all videos. In other words if you use -chapters 4 6 8 , you must give 18 chapter titles, in the same order that the videos were passed in. Note: if you are passing in options on the command line to the ’tovid disc’ GUI, you must repeat the option -chapter-titles for each video, accompanied by its respective chapter titles. (you can also choose to use this syntax for the todisc script.)

-chapter-font FONT
  Use FONT as the font for submenu chapters.

-chapter-fontsize SIZE
  Use SIZE as the pointsize for the chapters font.
-chapter-color COLOR
  The color for the chapters font.
-chapter-stroke COLOR
  The color for the chapters font shadow

-seek NUM | "NUM1 NUM2 NUM3 . . ."
  Seek to NUM seconds before generating thumbnails (default: 2.0 seconds) If a quoted string of values matching the number of videos is used, then each video can use a different seek value If using switched menus, the -seek value(s) will be used to generate the showcase image that displays on switching to another video choice with the up/down arrow keys.
-fast-seek Use faster seek method for ffmpeg. This is not as accurate as the default method, and may produce grey frames.
-frame-safe Instead of seeking and then outputting one frame for
  previews and static menus, output 9 frames and choose the largest. Not frame accurate (may be as much as 9 frames off), but safer. Choose this if you are getting grey frames/thumbnails with some videos. You can also use it to try to get the ’best’ frame. This option has no effect on submenus at present.
-showcase-seek NUM
  Seek to NUM seconds before generating thumbnails for showcase video (default: 2.0 seconds)
-bgvideo-seek, -bg-video-seek NUM
  Seek to NUM seconds before generating images for background video (default: 2.0 seconds)
-bgaudio-seek, **-bg-audio-seek NUM
  Seek to NUM seconds before generating audio for bgaudio (default: 2.0 seconds)
-group N VIDEO1 VIDEO2 . . .
  Allow grouping videos in dvdauthor.xml, so they will play sequentially as a group. The videos passed in after the ’N’ will be grouped with the ’Nth’ video. Example:

    -group 2 2.mpg 3.mpg 4.mpg

will group these 3 videos with the 2nd video given with -files, so that they will play sequentially as one title. Only one thumbnail and/or title will appear on the menu for the group: it will be made from the 1st video in the group. In the above example if you passed:

    -files foo.mpg bar.mpg baz.mpg -group 2 2.mpg 3.mpg 4.mpg

then the group will consist of bar.mpg 2.mpg, 3.mpg and 4.mpg, and only the title and/or thumbnail for bar.mpg will appear in the menu. You can use -group more than once for multiple groups. Be sure to quote video filenames if they contain spaces.

    Menu Style

-menu-title-geo north|south|east|west|center [south]
  The position of the menu title. You may need to use -align as well if you don’t want your title covering other parts of your menu. See -align
-menu-title-offset OFFSET (+X+Y)
  Move menu title by this offset from its N|S|E|W|Center position. You may need to use -align as well if you don’t want your title covering other parts of your menu. See -align
-button-style line|rect|text|text-rect [line]
  The style of button that you will see when you play the DVD. "line" style underlines the title, "rect" draws a rectangle around the thumb when you select it in the DVD player, "text" highlights the video title text, and "text-rect" draws a rectangle around the title text.
-title-color, -title-colour COLOR
  Color to use for the main menu title. For list of supported colors do: convert -list color. HTML notation may be used: "#ff0000". See:
-title-stroke COLOR
  Shadow color for the main menu’s title font. Use "none" for transparent outline (see title-color). Note: this is not a -stroke in the sense that imagemagick uses the term, but a shadow (the font is drawn twice). To get a true imagemagick stroke see -title-font-deco
-title-font-deco, -title-fontdeco "IMAGEMAGICK STRING"
  Sets the font decoration method to FONTDECORATION. It is used by the ’convert’ ImageMagick command to draw the menu text. You can add colored text outlines, gradient fills, and many others. See Usage notes
-titles-stroke COLOR
  Shadow color for the thumb or textmenu video titles font. Use "none" for transparent outline (see -titles-color). Note: this is not a -stroke in the sense that imagemagick uses the term, but a shadow (the font is drawn twice). To get a true imagemagick stroke, see -titles-font-deco
-titles-font-deco, -titles-fontdeco "IMAGEMAGICK STRING"
  Sets the font decoration method to FONTDECORATION. It is used by the ’convert’ ImageMagick command to draw the menu text. You can add colored text outlines, gradient fills, and others. See Usage notes for more info.
-highlight-color, -highlight-colour
  Color to use for the menu buttons that your DVD remote uses to navigate.
-select-color, -select-colour
  Color to use for the menu buttons that your DVD remote uses to select.
-text-mist Put a semi-transparent misted background behind the text for the menu’s title, just slightly larger than the text area.
-text-mist-color, -text-mist-colour COLOR
  Color of the mist behind the menu’s title (see title-color).
  Opacity of the mist behind the menu’s title - see -opacity
  Opacity of the menu title text
  Opacity of the text for video titles
  Opacity of the text for submenu menu titles
  Opacity of the text for submenu chapter titles
  Number of sec to fade given menu audio in and out (default: 1.0 seconds) If you use -menu-audio-fade 0 then the audio will not be faded.
  Number of secs to fade sub-menu audio in and out (default: 1.0 seconds). See -menu-audio-fade
-intro VIDEO
  Use a introductory video that will play before the main menu. At present it must be a DVD compatible video at the correct resolution etc. Only 4:3 aspect is supported: 16:9 will give unexpected results.

    Style options specific to showcase/textmenu arrangements

-text-start N
  This option is for -textmenu menus. The titles will start at the Nth pixel from the top of the menu ( Y axis ).
-title-gap N
  This option is for -textmenu menus. The gap is the space between titles vertically ( Y axis ).
-rotate DEGREES
  Rotate the showcase image|video clockwise by DEGREES. (default: if used without options, the rotate will be 5 degrees). Note: this will not turn a portait image into a landscape image!
-showcase-geo GEOMETRY
  The position of the showcase image. ( +X+Y position ) For example: -showcase-geo +300+200
-wave default|GEOMETRY
  Wave effect for showcase image|video. Alters thumbs along a sine wave using GEOMETRY. (default: no wave) "default" will produce a wave arg of -20x556, which produces a gentle wave with a small amount of distortion. See: if you want to try other values.
-showcase-shape egg|oval|plectrum|arch|spiral|galaxy|flat-tube|normal
  Apply a shaped transparency mask to showcase videos or images. Note: if you wish to make your own mask PNGS you can put them in $PREFIX/lib/tovid/masks/ or $HOME/.tovid/masks/ and use them on the command line using the filename minus the path and extension. No frame is used for shaped thumbs.
-showcase-framestyle none|glass
  For -showcase-* style template only "none" will use the default frame method, using "convert -frame . . ." "glass" will use mplayer to make frames, which gives an interesting animated effect to the frames, and can be much faster ( especially if you don’t use -rotate or -wave as thumbs will not need to be processed again after mplayer spits them out. Note: you need to be using either -showcase IMAGE or -showcase VIDEO for this "frame style" to work.
-showcase-frame-size PIXELS
  The size of the showcase frame. This value will be used for both width and height for the ’thickness’ of the frame. This will also set the thickness of the raised "frame" of the showcase thumb when you use -3d-showcase. See also -thumb-frame-size and -showcase-frame-color
-showcase-frame-color, -showcase-frame-colour PIXELS
  The color of the showcase frame. Use hexadecimal or named colors notation. Remember to quote! ( ’#ffac5f’ ).
-3d-showcase, -3dshowcase
  This will give an illusion of 3D to the showcase thumb: dynamic lighting on rounded thumbs, and a raised effect on rectangular thumbs. Try it !

    Thumbnail Style

-user-thumbs IMAGE(S)
  Supply your own images for menu buttons, rather than relying on todisc to generate them from the video. They must be the same aspect ratio as the videos in the titleset (4:3 or 16:9), as todisc will resize them without checking and cropping. There must be on image for each thumb that will be displayed on the menu (ie. one thumb for each video in a titleset).
-opacity [0-100] (default 100)
  Opacity of thumbnail videos as a percentage (no percent sign). Anything less than 100(%) is semi-transparent. Not recommended with dark backgrounds.
-thumb-blur, -blur NUM
  The amount of feather blur to apply to the thumb-shape. The default is 1.0 which will more or less keep the shape and produces transparency at the edges. Choose float or integer values between 0.1 and 2.0. 3D thumbs are set to a tiny blur, so this option doesn’t affect the -3dthumbs option.
-showcase-blur NUM
  The amount of ’feather’ blur to apply to the showcase image/video. Choose values between 0.1 and 2.0. This option has no effect on -3d-showcase. See -thumb-blur for more info.
  This will align thumbs/titles in DIRECTION, which is a compass direction as used by imagemagick: ie. north|south|east|west|northeast|northwest etc. If -align south then menu title will align north, unless you manually set one or both of -menu-title-geo or -menu-title-offset. Only -align north|south|center has any effect on showcase with thumb, or with the default montage arrangement of central thumbs. The most apparent changes with be with textmenu, though with 2 column arrangements only the north* and south* changes will show an effect.


. northwest north northeast .
. .
. west center east .
. .
. southwest south souteast .
-thumb-mist [COLOR]
  Use a mist behind thumbnails. The optional argument is the color of the mist. This option helps with contrast. Be sure to set the font color to an appropriate color if using a colored mist, and/or use a bold font.
-titles-color, -titles-colour COLOR
  Color to use for the thumb or textmenu titles. If your titles are not clear enough or look washed out, try using a -titles-stroke that is the same color as used with -titles-color (see -title-color)
-showcase-titles-align west|east (default: center [centre])
  The default is to center the text above the thumbnails. This option will align the titles either to the left (west) or right (east). Aligning west gives more space to the titles. Aligning east also does so, and as well will facilitate using \n in your titles to achieve multi line titles.
-tile-3x1, -tile3x1
  Use a montage tile of 3x1 instead of the usual 2x2 for 3 videos ie.

[movie1] [movie2] [movie3] instead of:

[movie1] [movie2]


This option only comes into play if the number of videos supplied equals 3 Otherwise it will be silently ignored. Not used for -showcase-* style.

-tile-4x1, -tile4x1
  Same as -tile-3x1 above, except use tile of 4x1. (one row of 4 videos)
**-thumb-columns 3|4
  Same as -tile-3x1 and tile-4x1** above, except it accepts either ’3’ (1 row of 3 thumbs), or ’4’ (one row of 4 thumbs) as an argument. This alternative was added to help compact the gui layout.
-rotate-thumbs DEGREE LIST ( list of degrees, one for each thumb )
  Rotate thumbs the given amount in degrees - can be positive or negative. There must be one value for each file given with -files. If the values are not the same distance from zero, the thumbs will be of different sizes as images are necessarily resized *after* rotating. With the default montage template - this will also resize the titles; with the showcase template the titles will remain the same size. Example:

    -rotate-thumbs -10 10 -10 10 -10  (for 5 files)

**Note: this option will not turn a portrait image into a landscape image!

    Dvdauthor options

-loop PAUSE
  Pause in seconds at end of menu. Use "inf" if you wish indefinite pause. Note: using "inf" with -menu-fade will disable the fadeout portion of the fade. (default: "inf" for static menu, 10.0 seconds for animated.)
-playall This option will create a button on the main menu that will allow going right to the 1st title and playing all videos in succession before returning to the main menu. If doing titlesets you can use this within the -vmgm ... -end-vmgm options to allow playing ALL titlesets. (If you want also to have a playall button in each titleset you could use this option between each -titleset ... -end-titleset option or put it outside of the vmgm and titlset options as a global option.
  A button will be made on the main menu for each video, which you can use as a chapter button. Selecting any video will play them all in order starting with the selected one.
-chain-videos NUM | N1-NN
  Without options this will chain all videos together so they play sequentially without returning to the main menu, except for the last, which will return. You can also specify which videos you want to behave this way by number or by a range. ( ie. -chain-videos 1 2 4-6 ).
-subtitle-lang "lang1 lang2 . . ."
  This allows selectable subtitles in the DVD, assuming you have optional subtitles muxed into your videos. Use 2 character language codes.
-audio-channel "Video1_track Video2_track Video3_track . . ."
  "VideoN_track" is the track number to use in a multi-track (multi-language) mpeg: usually something like -audio-channel "1 0 1". The 1st track is 0, 2nd is 1 . . . etc. If the tracks are 0. English 1.French, then the above would make French the audio language on Video1 and Video3, and English the audio language on Video2. You can check the mpeg with "mplayer -v . . .".
-audio-lang LANGUAGE CODES
  Identify the audio tracks on the DVD. These language codes are used for each video in the titleset. When you use the audio button on your DVD remote the language name is displayed. Example: -audio-lang en fr
-aspect 4:3|16:9
  This will output a <video aspect WIDTH:HEIGHT /> tag for the dvdauthor xml file. It will affect all videos in the titleset. Example:

    -aspect 16:9

-widescreen nopanscan|noletterbox [nopanscan]
  This will output a <video widescreen=nopanscan /> tag (for example) for the dvdauthor xml file. It will affect all videos in the titleset. Use in conjunction with -aspect if your dvd player is cropping your videos. Example:

    -aspect 16:9 -widescreen

-quick-nav This option will allow navigation of a menu with more than one titleset by using the left and right arrow keys of your DVD remote. When you press this key the highlight will go the next or previous title. If you are at the end of a titleset the right key will go to the next titleset. If you are at the beginning of a titleset, the left key will go to the previous titleset. If no next or previous titleset it will cycle to the end or beginning of the titlesets.
-outlinewidth, -outline-width WIDTH
  For spumux outlinewidth variable. If there is a large gap between words in a text button, this option may help.
-video-pause PAUSE (single value or list)
  The pause in seconds after playing a video title. This is useful for slideshows: the ’slide’ will remain on the screen for this length of time. If you have grouped videos you should probably not pause the videos that have a grouped title after it, but instead see -grouped-video-pause. Note: if you provide a list of values they must be one for each video.
-group-video-pause PAUSE (single value or list)
  The pause in seconds after a grouped video plays. If you wish to pause after the whole group finishes, then only use a value greater than zero for the last video in the group. If providing a list of values they must equal the number of grouped videos.

    Usage notes

The argument given to various *-font options that set the font to use must be one of the fonts listed by the command ’convert -list type’. Please note that many of your installed fonts may not be available; if you want to maximize the number of fonts available to todisc, download and run Anthony Thyssen’s ( imagick_type_gen ( script and run it like this: imagick_type_gen > ~/.magick/type.xml. If that doesn’t work, try imagick_type_gen > ~/.magick/type.mgk.

Or you can specify a ttf font file directly to the *-font options if you don’t want to install fonts to ImageMagick.

The *-stroke options in todisc are not a stroke in the sense that ImageMagick uses the term, but rather a font shadow (the text is drawn twice) To get a truer Imagemagick -stroke try something like: -title-font-deco "-stroke black" (or -titles-font-deco "-stroke black"). The -fontdeco option is quite flexible and takes a lot of ImageMagick’s convert options. Please refer to the tovid wiki ( and Anthony Thyssen’s guide [] for further explanation and examples.


tovid mpg converts arbitrary video files into (S)VCD/DVD-compliant MPEG format, suitable for burning to CD/DVD-R for playback on a standalone DVD player.


tovid mpg [OPTIONS] -in INFILE -out OUTPREFIX

Where INFILE is any multimedia video file, and OUTPREFIX is what you want to call the output file, minus the file extension. OPTIONS are additional customizations, described below.

By default, you will (hopefully) end up with an NTSC DVD-compliant MPEG-2 video file; if you burn this file to a DVD-R, it should be playable on most DVD players.

For example:

tovid mpg -in foo.avi -out foo_encoded
  Convert ’foo.avi’ to NTSC DVD format, saving to ’foo_encoded.mpg’.

tovid mpg -pal -vcd foo.avi -out foo_encoded
  Convert ’foo.avi’ to PAL VCD format, saving to ’foo_encoded.mpg’.

    Basic options

-v, -version
  Print tovid version number only, then exit.
-quiet Reduce output to the console.
-fake Do not actually encode; only print the commands (mplayer, mpeg2enc etc.) that would be executed. Useful in debugging; have tovid give you the commands, and run them manually.
-ffmpeg Use ffmpeg for video encoding, instead of mplayer/mpeg2enc. Try this if you have any problems with the default encoding method. Using this option, encoding will be considerably faster. Currently does not work with -subtitles or -filters.

    Television standards

-ntsc NTSC format video (USA, Americas) (default)
  NTSC-film format video
-pal PAL format video (Europe and others)


Standard formats, should be playable in most DVD players:

-dvd (720x480 NTSC, 720x576 PAL) DVD-compatible output (default)
-half-dvd (352x480 NTSC, 352x576 PAL) Half-D1-compatible output
-svcd (480x480 NTSC, 480x576 PAL) Super VideoCD-compatible output
-dvd-vcd (352x240 NTSC, 352x288 PAL) VCD-on-DVD output
-vcd (352x240 NTSC, 352x288 PAL) VideoCD-compatible output

Non-standard formats, playable in some DVD players:

-kvcd (352x240 NTSC, 352x288 PAL) KVCD-enhanced long-playing video CD
-kdvd (720x480 NTSC, 720x576 PAL) KVCD-enhanced long-playing DVD
-kvcdx3 (528x480 NTSC, 520x576 PAL) KVCDx3 specification
-kvcdx3a (544x480 NTSC, 544x576 PAL) KVCDx3a specification (slightly wider)
-bdvd (720x480 NTSC, 720x576 PAL) BVCD-enhanced long-playing DVD

See ( for details on the KVCD specification. Please note that KVCD ("K Video Compression Dynamics") is the name of a compression scheme that can be applied to any MPEG-1 or MPEG-2 video, and has little to do with VCD ("Video Compact Disc"), which is the name of a standard video disc format.

    Advanced options

    Aspect ratios

tovid automatically determines aspect ratio of the input video by playing it in mplayer. If your video plays with correct aspect in mplayer, you should not need to override the default tovid behavior.

If mplayer does not play your video with correct aspect, you may provide an explicit aspect ratio in one of several ways:

-full Same as -aspect 4:3
-wide Same as -aspect 16:9
  Same as -aspect 235:100
  Custom aspect, where WIDTH and HEIGHT are integers.

The above are the intended INPUT aspect ratio. tovid chooses an optimal output aspect ratio for the selected disc format (VCD, DVD, etc.) and does the appropriate letterboxing or anamorphic scaling. Use -widetv to encode for a widescreen monitor or TV.

    Video stream options

-quality NUM (default 6)
  Desired output quality, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 giving the best quality at the expense of a larger output file. Default is 6. Output size can vary by approximately a factor of 4 (that is, -quality 1 output can be 1/4 the size of -quality 10 output). Your results may vary. WARNING: With -quality 10, the output bitrate may be too high for your hardware DVD player to handle. Stick with 9 or lower unless you have phenomenally good eyesight.

At present, this option affects both output bitrate and quantization (but may, in the future, affect other quality/size-related attributes). Use -vbitrate if you want to explicitly provide a maximum bitrate.

-vbitrate NUM
  Maximum bitrate to use for video (in kbits/sec). Must be within allowable limits for the given format. Overrides default values. Ignored for VCD, which must be constant bitrate.

  Do interlaced encoding of the input video (top fields first). Use this option if your video is interlaced, and you want to preserve as much picture quality as possible. This option is ignored for VCD, which doesn’t support it.

You can tell your source video is interlaced by playing it, and pausing during a scene with horizontal motion; if you see a "comb" effect at the edges of objects in the scene, you have interlaced video. Use this option to encode it properly.

If you would prefer to have output in progressive format, use -progressive. If you have a DV camera, use -interlaced_bf since DV footage is generally bottom fields first.

  Do interlaced encoding of the input video (bottom fields first).

-deinterlace, -progressive
  Convert interlaced source video into progressive output video. Because deinterlacing works by averaging fields together, some picture quality is invariably lost. Uses an adaptive kernel deinterlacer (kerndeint), or, if that’s not available, the libavcodec deinterlacer (lavcdeint).

  Attempt to encode an integrated subtitle stream (such as may be found in Matroska .mkv files) in the given language code (eng, jpn, etc.) May work for other formats.

  Automatically include subtitle files with the same name as the input video.

-subtitles FILE
  Get subtitles from FILE and encode them into the video. WARNING: This hard-codes the subtitles into the video, and you cannot turn them off while viewing the video. By default, no subtitles are loaded. If your video is already compliant with the chosen output format, it will be re-encoded to include the subtitles.

-type {live|animation|bw}
  Optimize video encoding for different kinds of video. Use ’live’ (default) for live-action video, use ’animation’ for cartoons or anime, and ’bw’ for black-and-white video. This option currently only has an effect with KVCD/KSVCD output formats; other formats may support this in the future.

  Fit the video within a safe area defined by PERCENT. For example, -safe 90% will scale the video to 90% of the width/height of the output resolution, and pad the edges with a black border. Use this if some of the picture is cut off when played on your TV. The percent sign is optional.

-filters {none,denoise,deblock,contrast,all} (default none)
  Apply post-processing filters to enhance the video. If your input video is very high quality, use ’none’. If your input video is grainy, use ’denoise’; if it looks washed out or faded, use ’contrast’. You can use multiple filters separated by commas. To apply all filters, use ’all’.

-fps RATIO
  Force input video to be interpreted as RATIO frames per second. May be necessary for some ASF, MOV, or other videos. RATIO should be an integer ratio such as "24000:1001" (23.976fps), "30000:1001" (29.97fps), or "25:1" (25fps). This option is temporary, and may disappear in future releases. (Hint: To convert a decimal like 23.976 to an integer ratio, just multiply by 1000, i.e. 23976:1000)

  Crop a portion of the video WIDTH by HEIGHT in size, with the top-left corner at X, Y.

-widetv Always encode to 16:9 widescreen (only supported by -dvd, -kdvd, -bdvd), for optimal viewing on a widescreen monitor or TV.

    Audio stream options

  Analyze the audio stream and then normalize the volume of the audio. This is useful if the audio is too quiet or too loud, or you want to make volume consistent for a bunch of videos. Similar to running normalize without any parameters. The default is -12dB average level with 0dB gain.

-amplitude NUM[dB]
  In addition to analyzing and normalizing, apply the gain to the audio such that the ’average’ (RMS) sound level is NUM. Valid values range 0.0 - 1.0, with 0.0 being silent and 1.0 being full scale. Use NUMdB for a decibel gain below full scale (the default without -amplitude is -12dB).

-abitrate NUM
  Encode audio at NUM kilobits per second. Reasonable values include 128, 224, and 384. The default is 224 kbits/sec, good enough for most encodings. The value must be within the allowable range for the chosen disc format; Ignored for VCD, which must be 224.

-audiotrack NUM
  Encode the given audio track, if the input video has multiple audio tracks. NUM is 1 for the first track, 2 for the second, etc. You may also provide a list of tracks, separated by spaces or commas, for example -audiotrack 3,1,2. Use tovid id on your source video to determine which audio tracks it contains.

-downmix Encode all audio tracks as stereo. This can save space on your DVD if your player only does stereo. The default behavior of tovid is to use the original number of channels in each track. For aac audio, downmixing is not possible: tovid runs a quick 1 frame test to try to downmix the input track with the largest number of channels, and if it fails then it will revert to the default behavior of using the original channels.

    Other options

-config FILE
  Read configuration from FILE, containing ’tovid’ alone on the first line, and free-formatted (whitespace-separated) tovid command-line options on remaining lines.

-force Force encoding of already-compliant video or audio streams.

  Overwrite any existing output files (with the same name as the given -out option).

-priority {low|medium|high}
  Sets the main encoding process to the given priority. With high priority, it may take other programs longer to load and respond. With lower priority, other programs will be more responsive, but encoding may take 30-40% longer. The default is high priority.

-discsize NUM
  When encoding, tovid automatically splits the output file into several pieces if it exceeds the size of the target media. This option sets the desired target DVD/CD-R size to NUM mebibytes (MiB, 2^20). By default, splitting occurs at 700 for CD, 4300 for DVD. Use higher values at your own risk. Use 650 or lower if you plan to burn to smaller-capacity CDs. Doesn’t work with the -ffmpeg option.

-fit NUM Fit the output file into NUM MiB. Rather than using default (or specified) video bitrates, tovid will calculate the correct video bitrate that will limit the final output size to NUM MiB. This is different than -discsize, which cuts the final file into NUM MiB pieces. -fit makes sure that the file never exceeds NUM MiB. This works with -ffmpeg, but not with -vcd since VCDs have a standardized constant bitrate.

  Perform ripping, encoding, and multiplexing processes in parallel using named pipes. Maximizes CPU utilization and minimizes disk usage. Note that this option simply does more tasks simultaneously, in order to make better use of available CPU cycles; it’s unrelated to multi-CPU processing (which is done automatically anyway). Has no effect when -ffmpeg is used.

-update SECS
  Print status updates at intervals of SECS seconds. This affects how regularly the progress-meter is updated. The default is once every five seconds.

-mplayeropts OPTIONS
  Append OPTIONS to the mplayer command run during video encoding. Use this if you want to add specific video filters (documented in the mplayer manual page). Overriding some options will cause encoding to fail, so use this with caution!

  Do not use a FIFO pipe for video encoding. If you are getting "Broken pipe" errors with normal encoding, try this option. WARNING: This uses lots of disk space (about 2 GB per minute of video).

  Keep the intermediate files after encoding. Usually, this means the audio and video streams are kept (eg the .ac3 and .m2v files for an NTSC DVD). This doesn’t work with -parallel because the intermediate files are named pipes, and not real files.

-slice START-END
  Encode a segment from START to END (in seconds). Only works with -ffmpeg.

-from-gui Put makempg into a fully non-interactive state, suitable for calling from a gui.

-noask Don’t ask questions when choices need to be made. Assume reasonable answers.


tovid id identifies each multimedia video file in a list, and reports its compliance with video disc standards such as VCD, SVCD, and DVD.


tovid id [OPTIONS] VIDEO_FILE(s)

For example:

tovid id foo.avi
tovid id -tabluar videos/*.mpg


-terse Print raw video characteristics, no formatting. Helpful when calling from other scripts.

-verbose Print extra information from mplayer, tcprobe, and ffmpeg.

  Do lengthy play-time estimation by scanning through the entire video file. Use this if the default behavior is giving you inaccurate play times.

-fast Skip lengthy play-time estimation, and go with what mplayer reports as being the video duration. Unlike pre-0.32 versions of tovid, this is now the default behavior, and the -fast option doesn’t do anything.

-tabular Display output in a table format for easier comparison. Most useful when identifying multiple video files.

  Keep temporary directory for debugging.

-isformat [pal-dvd|ntsc-dvd] (same syntax for vcd and svcd)
  Check VIDEO_FILE for compliance with the given disc format. If VIDEO_FILE matches the given format, then tovid id reports "true" and exits successfully. Otherwise, tovid id reports "false" and exits with status 1 (failure). This checks and reports both vcd/svcd/dvd and pal/ntsc.


tovid id -verbose homevideo.avi
  Report everything mplayer, ffmpeg, and transcode can determine about homevideo.avi.

tovid id -isformat dvd homevideo.mpg
  Check to see if homevideo.mpg is compliant with the DVD standard.


tovid dvd takes a DVD directory as generated by tovid with ’tovid disc’ or one of the GUI frontends like ’tovid gui’ or ’tovid titlesets’ and burns it to appropriate media. This will also work if the DVD directory is generated by the dvdauthor backend that tovid also uses.

Running this program may slow down your other applications, due to intense disk activity.


tovid dvd [OPTIONS] DVD_DIR

For example:

tovid dvd /path/to/DVD/directory


-burn Burn a DVD file-system in DVD_DIR (must contain a VIDEO_TS folder). This option is currently not necessary as the makedvd script ONLY burns now that legacy scripts like makexml have been removed. Left for compatibility only.

-eject Eject the DVD tray after burning is complete. By default, the DVD is not ejected.

-device DEVICE (default /dev/dvdrw)
  Burn the disc image to DEVICE, the Linux device file-system name of your DVD-recorder. Common examples might be /dev/dvdrw, /dev/scd1, and /dev/hdc. You can also use a bus/id/lun triple such as ATAPI:0,1,0

-speed NUM (default 1)
  Burn disc at speed NUM.

  Uses DISC_LABEL as the volume ID. This appears as the mount name of the disc on some computer platforms. Must be <=32 alphanumeric digits without spaces.

-quiet Limit output to essential messages.

-noask Don’t ask interactive questions and assume answers that will continue execution.

After burning, the DVD can be previewed by calling:
xine dvd:/path/to/output/directory
vlc /path/to/output/directory


tovid chapters will start a GUI using mplayer to set chapter points in a video. If the video plays through and you want to add more chapters you can press the play button again, but remember that new chapter points will be appended (in correct sequential order). It will display the resulting chapter points, and also output to a terminal (useful for scripts). As well it will give the option of saving the chapters string to a text file.

Note that the ’tovid gui’ now features a similar widget when you press the chapters button on the opening page.


tovid chapters foo.avi

chapters=$(tovid chapters /home/grepper/videos/foo.avi)


For further assistance, contact information, forum and IRC links, please refer to the tovid homepage (

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