Authoring SVCD with cinelerra and mplayer/mencoder
Note that all the tools mentioned here come on the dyne:bolic live CD from http://www.dyne.org, which turns even fairly tired PC's into multimedia workstations as long as they have a few GB spare disk space.
In cinelerra set the project format up for 4:3 – For quick working you can use 320x240 (quarter PAL) which gives similar quality to video phones etc and enough definition for simple titles and captions. Avoid the borders marked out by cinelerra in the compositor window – the SVCD format loses quite a bit of those areas.
Once you have the video ready to render, set up as follows:
- Render to Quicktime for Linux (none of the other formats in cinelerra seem to work as well)
- Set Video to: H.264, 2M, fixed bitrate, quantize around 5 (H.264 was the only video setting that worked well)
Set Audio to: Two's complement, 16 bit with dithering. (fairly fast render, fairly big output file (approx 400MB for 15mins video at 320x240), MPEG 4 audio works well too – smaller output files, slightly longer render time)
That gives you a mov file which can be played in xine and mplayer. It will also play on Windows with quicktime or realplayer.
The next step is to convert it to an mpg file. This serves two purposes: firstly as an input to k3b to burn the SVCD and second as one of the few kinds of media file that Windows Media player can actually manage to play. I'm sure transcode can do the trick but I used the mencoder command from the mplayer package.
It's a magic incantation I got from http://www.mplayerhq.hu/DOCS/HTML/en/menc-feat-vcd-dvd.html with a couple of tweaks:
mencoder input.mov \
-oac lavc \
-ovc lavc \
-of mpeg -mpegopts format=xsvcd \
-vf scale=480:576,harddup \
-srate 44100 -af lavcresample=44100 \
-ofps 25 \
You can also add -quiet if you don't want to see the 'missed frame' warnings but then you lose the progress report as well.
Hand the output.mpg to k3b and ask for a video CD project; k3b will do the rest, correctly assuming you want an SVCD because of the mpeg2 video in the stream.
Put the resulting CD into a domestic DVD player and it should play the video at reasonable quality.