This document applies to PAL format VCDs 352 pixels wide, 288 pixels high at 25 frames per second. The published audio standard for VCD 1.0 is 44100Hz, 16 bit stereo, 224kbits\sec. If you use NTSC or Secam then please consult VCD Helper or the VCD specification for the resolution and frame rate requirements.
For protection the raw MPEG2 video data is encrypted in .VOB files on the DVD using the CSS algorithm. Most DVDs are Macrovision protected making it difficult to transfer to VHS without special hardware, unlock codes, internal modifications, firmware upgrades or other means.
It is impossible for an ordinary CD drive to read the entire contents of a DVD disc!
VCD can provide better than VHS video quality depending on the source, if written from a video capture card there may be lip-sync problems, and shearing. The Voodoo 3-3500 video capture card, for instance, with the last released beta video drivers can capture straight to VCD compatible resolutions but it exhibits these problems. Not ideal for mass transferring VHS video tapes to VCD. Excellent results can be achieved when transferring from DVD sources.
At the time of writing in the UK PC DVD recorders are expensive and the blank media costs are prohibitive. For example a Pioneer DVD-R drive (SCSI) costs £460, media costs are £10 per blank disc roughly. Set top boxes are also available but the prices start at £1200. This makes it too expensive for most folk. It is simply CHEAPER to rent or buy original DVD discs! That is a good anti-piracy policy.
If you have a DVD that you wish to backup in whole or in part you can use personal computer software to extract the video. Conversion software can convert the decrypted MPEG2 stream to the VCD standard. A CD Writer is required to write the VCD data to cheap CD recordable discs. There is a loss in visual quality converting to VCD and the conversion time is long, but this document describes how to do it.
DVDs are split into chapters. SmartRipper is easy to use but I always extract only one chapter at a time with it. The same VOB file name may be used and overwrite
previously written ones so it is safer to do a whole disc systematically one chapter at a time.
Each chapter may be 1Gb in size, do not be alarmed the MPEG encoder will reduce this dramatically.
General note: VOB decrypters may fail if it cannot find the decrypt key in a reasonable amount of time. Usually they can and will extract with no problems but newer DVD released in 2001 seem to be more powerfully encrypted. If this happens there is nothing you can do about it... Rising Damp has better protection than Robocop (ahem).
When the VOB data is extracted, probably in several 1Gb chunks, the whole movie must be converted to MPEG1 for VCD. This can be done using the tools identified below.
1. Load FlasK,
2. Goto File\Open Media,
3. Select the input filename and press "Open",
4. On the Options menu select "Select Output Format", select bbMPEG encoder,
5. Press configure. On the Audio tab select decode audio, 44100Hz. On the Video tab select Width=352, Height=288, Time Base 25. On the General tab you may want to specify a small number of frames to convert rather than whole file to test that the output is correct before doing the whole file.
6. Press FlasK it! on the main form,
7. On the bbMPEG form ensure that Audio Tab settings are stereo, layer 2, 224 kbits\sec. Other formats will work on most VCD players but this is the published standard.
8. On the Video Stream Tab settings are VideoCD. Frame rate must be 25fps - PAL (625/50) video frame rate.
9. On the "Load and Save Settings" Tab these settings can be saved as default or to a .PAR file.
10. On the bbMPEG form press "Start".
It is possible that FlasK will be unable to decode some audio formats. In this case try using TMPGEnc, if that
fails then the file may contain identifiers that are unreadable by these programs.
TMPGEnc will not combine multiple VOBs into a single output file but it is an extremely powerful convertor, ideal for small or single chapter clip conversion.
1. Load TMPGEnc,
2. Select input filename by pressing the 'Browse' button next to 'Video Source' (.vob),
3. Select output filename by pressing the 'Browse' button next to 'Output File' (.mpg),
4. Press the 'Configure' button,
5. Select the 'System' tab,
6. Select 'MPEG-1 Video-CD' in the 'Stream Type' combo box,
7. Select the 'Video' tab,
8. Enter 352 x 288 in the Size edit boxes,
9. Select the Audio tab,
10. Select 'sampling frequency' of 44100Hz,
11. Select 'channel mode' of Stereo,
12. Select bit rate of 128 kBits/s (or whatever you prefer),
13. Press OK,
14. On the main form press Encode.
NOTE: In some cases the audio track will not be recognised by TMPGEnc. I think this is caused by discs with surround sound tracks, in this case install and use FlasK to convert. FlasK is very similar in terms of performance and usability to TMPGEnc.
Then wait! It takes a very long time to convert these files. On a P3-800 with 256Mb of RAM, 20Gb UDMA-66 hard disk, and Windows 98 it took 36m7s to encode a clip of 8m31s using TMPGEnc beta 12a (4.24 times the length of the clip). Be patient, the results are worth it.
Note: The conversion settings must be manually reset for EVERY loaded file otherwise the output clip will not work. In the freeware TMPGEnc it is not possible to save the settings for a conversion to a project file. Better to test part of the file before waiting for hours for the files to encode then finding out it doesn't work in Nero...
1. In TMPGENC use File\MPEG Tools to select the Cut\Join features.
2. Press the Add button and select the input file,
3. Set the Type to MPEG-1 Video-CD in the combo box,
4. Press Edit and set the start and end markers using the [ and ] buttons respectively then press OK,
5. Specify the output file. Press the "Browse" button and enter the filename in the file dialog,
6. Press the start button.
This should take a few minutes. Repeat the steps until the whole file is edited to fit onto the
required number of VCD or so that chapter breaks occur at the correct places.
Note: if you forget to select "MPEG-1 Video-CD" Nero will fail and say that this is not a VCD 1.0 compliant disc. Use File\MPEG Tools and Basic multiplex to turn the input file into a VCD 1.0 compliant output file, then burn that file using Nero.
Some DVD Players will not accept multi session discs, please check with your DVD manual if you wish to try using multi session discs.
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TMPGEnc English Home Page
FlasK MPEG Home Page
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