DeVeDe is a software that falls under the oldies category, but with features that makes it useful even by today's standards. It may not be the most complete DVD authoring program, but it gets the job done, with minimal hassle and accessible options for everyone. Installation
Sergio Costas, the developer of DeVeDe, has provided users with a source package (the software can be compiled on any system), a .deb file for Debian based distributions, and a GIT repository for anyone who wants the latest testing versions.
If users choose to compile the source package, then they should know that DeVeDe comes with quite a few dependencies. According to the developer, these are: Mplayer, Mencoder, DVDAuthor, VCDImager, Mkisofs, PyGTK and Pyglade. It shouldn't present any problems as they are quite small packages and can easily be found in your OS' repositories.Usage
The developer says that DeVeDe is an application to create Video DVDs and CDs (VCD, sVCD or CVD), suitables for home players, from any number of video files, in any of the formats supported by Mplayer. So we put that to the test.
First window has all the modes the software can operate in: Video DVD, VideoCD, Super VideoCD, China VideoDisc (I actually had to look up this one as this is the first time I've seen it) and of course DivX / MPEG-4.
Every category has it's own options, specific to each format, but some of them share various similarities, so we will detail them first.
All these similar editable parameters are grouped under the “Advanced options”. First one is Video Rate and Audio Rate, and in certain projects, depending of the DVD format, it can be edited.
The second option is Video Format. Here, users can choose several predefined resolutions and which aspect ratio to utilize, 4:3 or 16:9. There is no support for the 16:10 resolution or any other exotic ratios, at least not yet.
The third shared feature is “Video options.” Users can rotate the movie, with 90 degrees increments, mirror it, and there's even a Scaling mode, for fitting 4:3 movie in 16:9 format (with black bars of course).
The fourth common option is “Quality”. In this category there are several important options like “MacroBlock decision algorithm and Trellis search quantization” and “Two pass encoding,” for those users with more refined demads. There are also a few Deinterlacing options, with three separate parameters.
The fifth feature is Audio, with some interesting options such as Audio Delay. This can be used if there is a delay between the soundtrack and the movie itself. There are also options for creating DVDs with 5.1 audio channels, and to skip the decompression process if the audio file is already in AC3 format.
The last feature is Misc (miscelaneous). Here are gathered other useful options such as repacking without encoding (for VOB files) of some extra parameters that can be defined for Mencoder.
We had no problems in creating DVDs (sVCD and CVCD as well), as the interface is really simple and intuitive. We could have used more options, but DeVeDe is quite spartan. There is a preview function for the Menu of the DVD, but there are very few options to customize it. The only accesible ones are predefined positions for text and other controls.
Users can also choose between a PAL and NTSC format, and there's even support for multi-core processors, which is a nice and useful feature to have, especially with such a demanding type of software.
Subtitles can be encoded right into the movie, but only for MPEG files. In the DIVX / MPEG-4 mode this option cannot be used and most probably will never be available.
There is also a preview capability which permits users to check if the sound and image are in perfect sync. Unfortunately, this procedure cannot be used to check if the chosen resolution is a good one or if the aspect ratio is correct.The Good
We liked the simple and straightforward interface which makes DeVeDe a tool that can be used by almost anyone. There are also features for those more technically inclined, but they are hidden away, so everyday users don't have to meddle with too many knobs and switches.The Bad
DeVeDe proved to be really stable and there are no major bugs to speak off. We can however say that being simple and easy to use can sometimes be a double-edged sword. There are too few options to use DeVeDe for professional tasks.Conclusion
DeVeDe is a reliable software and as long as users don't require too many features, it should prove more than enough for the average user. It's regularly maintained (although no updates were issued in the last six months) and it integrates great with the Unity interface of Ubuntu 11.04.
We have no choice but to recommended it. However. we would like to see more options integrated in what could be a great software and not just a good one.