DVD to VCD with DVD2AVI and TMPGEnc RRS feed

  • Question

  • Requirements

    First of all, you definately need a DVD-ROM drive -- regular CD-ROM drive doesn't do the trick, sorry guys. Secondly, you need helluva lot of free HDD space, appx. 5 to 10 GBs. This is needed only for a short period of time, the actual VCD you're going to get out of this process, is 800MB - 1.3GB. And finally, you need bunch of useful tools that you can download from here:

    DVD2AVI (note: you should try this new version first, but some users have had problems with it, so if you have problems opening the .d2v project with TMPGEnc, try version 1.76 from here)

    ...and finally, if you want also to burn the VCDs to CDs, you need to have CD-R drive and some recording software that supports VideoCDs, like Ahead's NERO or Easy CD Creator Platinum.

    To process CSS encrypted DVDs you will also need a DVD ripping software.

    DVD ripping

    Sorry, this section of the guide had to be removed by the AfterDawn administration to comply with Finnish Copyright Laws that went into effect on 1 January, 2006. For more information please see this link -> http://www.afterdawn.com/guides/archive/afterdawn_guides_copyright_law.cfm


    DVD2AVI is a tool that can convert VOB files into AVI files. But we don't use it for this purpose (actually we use, but not exactly in the old-fashioned sense) because it doesn't allow certain filters etc to be added to the decoding process. Instead, we use DVD2AVI as a frameserver for TMPGEnc. In this guide, we downmix the audio to 44.1kHz because most of the soundcards don't handle 48kHz very well and we want to create PC compatible VCD as well.

    Creating a DVD2AVI project

    Open DVD2AVI and select from File menu option called Open. Now you should see the file dialog, navigate yourself into the directory where you ripped your VOB files and select the first one (as they are named continuously, DVD2AVI understands to select the other ones as well). Now click OK and you should see the first frame of the actual movie in the main window.

    Hit F5 and DVD2AVI starts previewing the movie. Just let it run for few seconds -- you should see a statistics box to appear next to the main window and information should appear in the boxes soon after this. After you see text in most of the boxes, click Esc in order to stop the previewing. Now, write these things down to a paper: Video type (PAL, FILM or NTSC), Frame type (progressive, interlaced, etc), Aspect ratio (16:9 or 4:3) and Frame rate (29.97fps for NTSC, 25fps for PAL and 24fps for NTSCFilm).

    DVD2AVI audio settings

    Ok, ok.. This is a part that some people will whine about, but this my opinion is that this is the easiest way to deal with the audio ripping, although there are methods that produce better-quality sound, but as said: I'm not going to make this an experts guide, but just a very brief and basic DVD->VCD guide. Ok, now go to Audio menu and select Track number -- this normally selects the language of the movie. To ease your pain in here, you can watch the VOB files with your software DVD player (like PowerDVD) and check the language selection list -- the order is exactly the same as in here, normally English audio track is the Track #1. Select the correct audio track from the list.

    Now, still from Audio menu, select 48 -> 44.1 and choose High or UltraHigh. After this, go to Dolby Digital menu and select Decode and Dolby Surround Downmix.

    Save the project

    Now you just go to File menu and select Save project and choose the destination -- note that this destination should have appx. 1.5GB of free HDD space because the decoded WAV is going to be stored in that directory. Decoding and creating the .d2v project file takes about an hour with P3/800.


    TMPGEnc is an excellent and free (!) MPEG-1 / MPEG-2 encoder and we're going to use it for the VideoCD encoding in our project. After you have completed creating your .d2v project file, you should open TMPGEnc (note! You need to have VFAPI plugin installed with your TMPGEnc -- it can be downloaded from TMPGEnc's homepage).

    Hit the Browse button next to Video source box in the bottom of the TMPGEnc's main window. From the file dialog, choose the d2v file that you created with DVD2AVI. After this is done, click the Browse button next to Audio source box (just below the video source :-) and select the WAV you created with DVD2AVI.

    Note! If you can't open the .d2v file, go to Options / Global Settings / VFAPI Plug-Ins tab and check if you can see DVD2AVI Project File Loader (or something like that) in there. By default, it's priority is either -1 or -2. Change the priority to 0. If you don't see the plugin in the list at all, your DVD2AVI is missing a file called dvd2avi.vfp. Re-install DVD2AVI and start it and close it (launching it will register the .vfp file to system) and return back to here.

    TMPGEnc templates

    Now, hit the Load button in bottom-right corner of the main window. This opens a file dialog and allows you to choose TMPGEnc's settings template from the directory that was bundled with the TMPGEnc's installation (you should be in this directory automatically, but if not, try to Find for *.mcf files from your HDD in order to locate the directory).

    Just select the correct template -- VideoCD (PAL) or VideoCD (NTSC) (there is also the NTSCFilm, but that's once again extra-detailed info and I wont explain it in here) -- this depends on the source material; hopefully you wrote down the Video type when we asked you to do that.

    Encoding settings

    Now, in the bottom-right corner of the main window, select Settings. First, from Video tab you should select Motion search precision as High quality (slow) or Highest quality (slowest) -- this setting slows the encoding time significantly, but it produces better quality videos.

    From Advanced tab you should select the video settings like they were in the data you wrote down in DVD2AVI step -- set the video source type (normally something like Interlace or Progressive -- with NTSC videos this might vary) and source aspect ratio (4:3 625 lines PAL, 16:9 625 lines PAL, 4:3 525 line NTSC or 16:9 525 line NTSC). From Video arrange method select Full screen (keep aspect ratio). From Field order normally the correct setting is Bottom field first (at least with PAL). Leave the other values as they were and click OK.

    Encoding with TMPGEnc

    Now, just select the directory and the filename you want to have for the final VCD compliant MPEG-1 in Output filename (in bottom of the main window) -- note! this directory should have appx. 1.5GBs of free HDD space (74 minutes of VCD video takes 740megs -- if you have 3 hour movie (180minutes) you should have 1.8GBs of free HDD space). After this, just hit the Start button in top-left corner and wait for(ever :) 5 to 15 hours -- time depends on the length of the movie, the "complexity" of the movie, your encoding settings and your CPU power.

    Cutting the video into smaller pieces

    The resulting MPEG-1 file is very likely larger than 740MBs and therefor it can't fit into one CD and we need to cut it into smaller pieces. We use TMPGEnc for this process as well. Simply open TMPGEnc again and from File menu choose MPEG Tools option and a new window opens up. Select the Merge & Cut tab from there.

    From Merge&Cut tab, select the Type as MPEG-1 Video-CD and click Add. TMPGEnc opens a file dialog where you select the VCD file you encoded with TMPGEnc earlier. Now you should see the file in the file list. Doubleclick it and TMPGEnc opens an edit window.

    Now, you see the timeline in the bottom of the Edit merge item (the window name is bit confusing as we're actually cutting in here). Move the timeline pointer to appx. 72 minutes and hit the closing brace symbol in the bottom-right corner -- symbol is ) -- and the to value in the timer at the top of the window should change. Now, write this exact value down because you need it later. After this hit OK and you're back in the Merge&Cut window. Now, type the output file name in the box at the bottom of the window -- this is the name of the first CD's movie clip (remember, you need to have appx. 740MBs of free HDD space for this step) and hit Run. Process is pretty quick.

    Second CD

    Now what you need to do, is to split the second CD from the main movie clip as well. This can be done easily. Just follow the instructions you followed for the first CD, but in the Edit merge item window, drag the timeline pointer to the point where you ended the last clip and hit the opening brace symbol in the bottom-right corner -- symbol is (. After this the Range's first value (the beginning of the clip) should show you the exact timevalue. You can modify this manually to match the one you wrote down when you made the first clip -- or actually you can just add a one or two milliseconds to that value, so you don't have one or two frames twice. Then just drag the timeline pointer to the end of the movie (only if the movie is 140-148 minutes or less!) and hit the closing bracket symbol and follow the instructions earlier. If the movie is longer than 140-148 minutes, you might need more than two CDs. In this case, use the instructions and split the movie in as many 72-74min chunks as you need.


    After this is done, you should have VCD-compliant copy of your DVD movie. In order to burn this thing into CD, you need a VCD-compatible CD writer software, such as Ahead's Nero.

    Wednesday, February 28, 2007 4:03 AM