New Projects - Fresh from the Labs

Videoporama—Slideshow Video Sequencing (www.videoporama.tuxfamily.org)

If you're chasing a picture and music slideshow maker with a decent interface, you may find yourself at home with Videoporama. According to the Web site: “Videoporama is an application for the creation of video sequences established by images or by photos, fixed or livened up. These sequences are assembled in a slideshow by means of transitions of sequence to produce complete videos.”

Here I am using Videoporama to brush up on my kana to the soundtrack of Alice in Chains.

You can add captions to any frame of a slideshow.

My kana video working independently of Videoporama.

Installation

A binary package is provided for those using Debian or Ubuntu, but lo and behold, the package was corrupt when I downloaded it. I'm having a bad month with packages! Still, the all-purpose source package is available, and thankfully, it isn't a pain to use. I was lucky when it came to installing Videoporama, as I had all of the needed libraries installed and didn't encounter errors. Nevertheless, it's unlikely you'll have the same luck. The documentation says you need the following libraries:

  • Python: version >= 2.5 but not yet 3.x.

  • Qt: version >= 4.4 (best to use Qt 4.6 and above).

  • pyqt: version >= 4.x.

  • pil: version >= ? (Python Image Library).

  • mjpegtools: version >= 1.8.

Videoporama also makes use of the following external programs: ffmpeg, sox, ppmtoy4m and mplayer.

Head to the Web site and grab the latest source tarball. Extract it, and open a terminal in the new folder. If your distro uses sudo, enter the command:

$ sudo python setup.py install

Otherwise, enter the commands:

$ su
# python setup.py install

To run the program, enter:

$ videoporama

Usage

When started, a status screen appears telling you what features will and won't be available, especially in regard to the use of certain codecs. If any crucial codecs are missing, you still can add them post-compilation, and the extra sox libraries are a good place to start, especially with MP3 output and the sox ffmpeg package.

Once you're inside the main screen, if you look to your right, there is a section with three tabs. This is where most of your file tweaking will take place—you can select things such as aspect ratio, what audio track to use, overlaid text, zooming options and so on. The default ouput format is VCD/SVCD, but you'll probably want to change that. I chose AVI (XVid/MP3) myself.

Let's make a slideshow. If you look at the icons below the main menu, there's a green box with a + sign on its bottom-right corner. This will add an image, and once something's added, simply repeat the process to add more.

To add a sound file, look in the tab Montage options, where there's a sound file field. Further below is the output section where you can choose the previously mentioned codecs, as well as specify where your video file will end up.

Timing always will be an issue with a slideshow/music combo, and if you want to edit the timing of an individual frame, look in the Zoom and travel tab where there is an option called Time display fixe (presumably a typo).

I've got room for only one more feature, so I'll go with text. The Overlaid text part of the Montage Options applies text to the entire file. If you want to add text to an individual frame, the Image tab's Background text button will do exactly that, and both feature options like placement, font size and so on.

Ultimately, this is a fairly intuitive program after the first five minutes or so of usage. The project could do with some features like auto-syncing the timing of frames with the length of an audio track. And personally, I'd change some of the GUI methodology, but it's a new project, and things may change by the time you read this. At the end of the day, I still recommend Videoporama, and it's been a pretty pain-free ride so far, which is a good sign with OSS projects.

______________________

John Knight is the New Projects columnist for Linux Journal.

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