DVD Ripping + Burning to DVD-R with Subtitles for Optimal Quality?



Here’s the situation: I want to buy some foreign DVDs that don’t have English subtitles. I’ve found some English subs online for the films (.srt files), but the image quality of the uploaded movies is atrocious. What I’d like to do is rip the DVDs to my PC, and then integrate the .srt subtitle files into them, and burn them back onto a CD-R while maintaining optimal image/sound quality (I want to burn them because the image quality on my Oppo BDP-83 is better than any online player/renderer I’ve tried).

How can this be done and what’s the way to go about it? I’ve never done anything like this so consider me completely ignorant.


“uploaded movies…” eh?!


People had uploaded the movies online along with English subtitles, but the audio and visuals are really bad quality (compressed to hell, you know), so I’d prefer if I could just buy the original DVD releases (only available in Greece) and match the .srt files from the online versions to the official DVD versions. See?


Downloading the .srt files is a bit of a gray area, as far as discussions go on this forum, but we do support people who wish to work with dvds that they have purchased.

To do this process, you’ll need to decrypt and rip the original dvds to the hard drive. I suggest using either AnyDVD or DVDFab for this. There are free trials for either of them.

Once you have the movie and the subtitles on the hard drive, you’ll need to import them both into an authoring program. This is where it gets a bit tricky, since many of the free authoring programs want elementary streams from the dvd as input, and won’t accept the .vob files seen in dvd-video.

There are many, many different ways and different tools for this process. I’ll go through one way for you and we’ll see if this gives you an acceptable result. Download Vob2Mpg. http://www.videohelp.com/tools/VOB2MPG You’ll need Net 2.0 as well, if you don’t have it, but there is a direct link to it at that page.

Run the dvd-video through Vob2Mpg to get one big mpeg file from the dvd. It will not degrade the quality of the movie, but you will lose the original menu and all the extras. You’re only getting the main movie here.

Next download AVStoDVD. http://www.videohelp.com/tools/AVStoDVD Install it and open the program. You’ll want to make some adjustments to the settings, so click on Preferences. Click on the Video tab and set [I]DVD Video Standard[/I] to PAL (since you are in Greece). Also, it is very important to place a check mark in the box for [I]Keep Mpeg2 DVD Compliant Video[/I]. Click on the Audio tab and put a check mark in the box to keep compliant audio streams. Click on OK.

Now you have to decide what size to make the dvd. If the original dvd main movie is small enough to fit onto a single layer dvd, you can set DVD Size to DVD5 (4.7gb). If it is larger than that, you can use AVStoDVD to reencode to fit that size, or you can set output to DVD9 and produce a movie without compression that will have to be burned to a double layer dvd. Your choice here.

Look in Output in the main window and make sure it is set to DVD Folder Structure.

You are now ready to import the mpeg2 file you made with Vob2Mpg. Click on the green + sign on the right side of the window in AVStoDVD and navigate to the mpeg2 file. Once it shows up in the main window, click Ctrl S and a new pop up window will appear. This lets you navigate to the .srt files on your hard drive and import them to your dvd-video you are making.

You can make a menu in this program if you want, but not necessary.
Click on DVD Menu, Menu Wizard to do that.

Set your Output folder on the hard drive, make a label for the dvd and then click Start. If you aren’t using compression, this should be a very fast process, and there will be no degradation of the quality of the original dvd. If you need to reencode it to fit a single layer dvd, there will be some quality loss, but you may be hard pressed to see it.


^ Thanks tremendously for the input. I do already have AnyDVD, but I’ve never used it for anything like this (I usually just rip and watch .ISOs that I want to keep). That said, why is downloading .srt files a “gray area” if the original DVDs don’t have subtitles?

Also, a slight clarification: I’m from the USA, the movies I’m wanting to buy/watch are only sold in Greece. But I’ve found a seller who’s willing to export them to the US.


Uploading and downloading copyright protected material without permission of the copyright holders is not a subject for discussion in these forums. Since you own (or will own) the original dvds, this puts us into murky waters regarding fair use rights and obtaining the English subtitles.

If the dvds are made for the Greek market, they are probably encoded to PAL standards. Does your Oppo dvd player have the ability to playback PAL dvds? If not, you will have to reencode them to NTSC standards. AVStoDVD [B]should[/B] be able to do this, but it may cause some issues. You’ll just have to try it.

Edit: By the way, use the built in ripper within AnyDVD to rip as files, not as an ISO.


I do think common sense is sometimes needed in these issues: Nobody would say there’s anything morally wrong with what I’m doing. If the original DVDs had English subtitles, or if I could download the subtitles without the movies (I actually did this for several) then I would obviously do it. I’m pretty sure any company would prefer I give them my money to obtain their products and then obtain the subtitles on my own rather than me NOT buy their product because I can’t understand Greek.

Anyway, yes, my Oppo can decode PAL. It’s also region free. I have many DVDs I’ve bought from overseas. One of the main reasons I bought it was its flexibility for playing anything you throw at it, because I’m a cinephile and there are many films by many great filmmakers that aren’t available in the USA.


[QUOTE=solrage;2566967]I do think common sense is sometimes needed in these issues: Nobody would say there’s anything morally wrong with what I’m doing.[/QUOTE]

Morality and legality do not always walk hand in hand. As a moderator here I am not concerned with the morality of anyone’s actions, only how their comments and questions conform to the voluntary rules we have enacted for the forum. If I believed your posts to be completely out of bounds, I would have shut down the thread before this. But as I said, this is a gray area in regard to our forum rules, treading a fairly tight line, close to the edge of what we allow. This is just my opinion, but I have to make these calls all the time anymore on what is allowed here in the Newbies regarding copyright protected material. So far you are within what I will tolerate, but I am not the final word around here you know, the admins and management can overrule me on this type of thing if need be.

Edit: And just to be clear about the rules, here is the set of guidelines we’ve posted concerning copyright protected material: http://club.myce.com/f34/guidelines-copyright-protected-material-316049/

As to your project, I wish you good luck. I hope your .srt files are from a PAL encoded English version of the movie. That would give you the best chance of having the timing of the subtitles match up well to the audio. You want to keep the movie in PAL format if possible. If you have to adjust the timing of the subtitles, that opens up a whole new can of worms.


OK, I can understand about the legal aspect of it. I’ve been a part of other sites that don’t like to touch this topic with a 10-foot pole, but I never considered that since I wasn’t actually using the downloaded movies it wouldn’t be against the rules. Anyway, thanks for all your help. The DVDs should be here shortly and I will try to practice with some films I already own to see how the process works. As for the .srt’s matching up time-wise, this was a concern for me as well, but the total time on the subtitles seem to match the total runtime as listed on the DVDs, so it appears that they were matching to the same PAL source.


The .srt files come from the downloaded movie rips, so they are under the same © as the flick itself. That is just the fact.

The problem will be PAL vs. NTSC, even the subs have to be adjusted…


No, the subtitles DON’T come from the movie rips because these movies have not been subtitled in English before. These are, essentially, fan-submitted subtitles. If the .srt files came from the movies then I could just buy the movies. AFAIK, the subs are timed to PAL versions, which these DVDs will be as well.


^Yes, I’ve seen this before, where people translate the movie and make their own versions of subtitles…then make them available on the net.
This is one reason I’m more lenient on sharing subtitles here in our forum. It is harder to determine their origin, and these home-made subtitles are almost always made with the intent of sharing online.


[QUOTE=solrage;2567219]No, the subtitles DON’T come from the movie rips because these movies have not been subtitled in English before. These are, essentially, fan-submitted subtitles. If the .srt files came from the movies then I could just buy the movies. AFAIK, the subs are timed to PAL versions, which these DVDs will be as well.[/QUOTE]

Read your own words in your first post… :rolleyes:


chef, obviously the srt files were added to poor copies of the film. Solrage wanted the .srt files only, but had to download the whole movies to obtain them. He has now [B]purchased[/B] the original movies and will add the English, fan-made .srt files to these [B]purchased[/B] dvds.

Its really not hard to follow. If they were commercially made subtitles, they would be available on the dvds that he has ordered.

Since he is deleting the downloaded movies and working with the [B]purchased[/B] dvds, he is certainly welcome to discuss the dvds in here. Sigh.


^ Kerry’s got it right. Perhaps my OP was a bit confusing, but I thought the fact that I was buying the original DVDs made it clear they weren’t already subtitled.

For anyone interested, these are the DVDs in question: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=250704475085&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT

and: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=260713843891&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT

It’s a shame because one company (New Star) has released seven of this director’s films with English subtitles (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=230383655938&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT)

but, because of financial problems, they have not been able to release the other five. Luckily, I bought an official Japanese/English subtitle version of one, and Artificial Eye released another in the UK. So after the three from that set I’ll have all of his films. Only two have ever been released in the US, and they’re both out of print.


OK, then that was a misunderstanding.

Fansubs are a completely other thing.


Well, as I expected, there’s a bizarre problem. I got the first disc today in the mail, ripped it and converted it to mpeg. I checked it with the .srt sub file and they don’t quite synch up. The video is faster than the subs, so that would obviously suggest PAL speedup. But, here’s what’s strange; I checked the runtime on the .srt subs and the uploaded version they belonged to and the total time is EXACTLY the same. How is this even possible? if the .srts were timed to a NTSC source (and I don’t see how that’s possible since there’s no NTSC release for this film), then shouldn’t the source last 4% longer? The disc I bought runs at 97 minutes, and the uploaded version runs at exactly the same length. Just to check, I played both side by side and synched up the times and the uplaoded version is definitely running faster. When I checked the .srt times against the corresponding parts of the official version, there’s less than a 4% lag too. At roughly 10:00 in, the .srt is timed for 10:04 while the dialogue happens at about 9:48. If you take 9:48 and add 4% it comes out to 10:12 rather than 10:04 (you can figure this by converting minutes to seconds). The actual difference is about 2.75%.

What could account for this discrepancy and, more importantly, is there any conceivable way to fix it


Edit: Could it be a frame-rate problem? I hadn’t considered this. I discovered that the source ran at 30fps while the DVD runs at 25fps. Is there a way to retime the sub file for the frame-rate difference?

EDIT 2: OK this is getting more confusing by the minute. The total runtime difference between the uploaded and DVD version is 2 seconds. This would suggest that it’s not a PAL/NTSC problem. I downloaded SubtitleCreator which let’s you adjust subtitles to account for framerate differences, but when I click Synchronize -> Convert framerate -> 29.97 to 25 -> apply it still doesn’t fix it. The subtitle at 10:04 I mentioned above moves all the way up to 12:05, which is the OPPOSITE direction it should go to synch to 9:48. So I’m still confused…


I have almost no experence with subtitles.
I’ve been following this thread to learn more.
I found this software that might help you.
I think you would need to use the VTS.vob files you have the out of sync subtitles in to use it.
It seems to have the ability to time each subtitle . It has a manual.

I hope it helps.
BTW What software are you using to add the subtitles ?


^ I’m not quite sure what you’re talking about. I’m using fan-made subtitles to synch to an official DVD release and the subtitle times don’t match the DVD. I don’t think it’s a PAL/NTSC issue, but the framerate issue doesn’t seem to account for the differences either.