Features Summary for FAB Platinium + Merge Mode

Using Merge Mode

This great new feature was introduced recently in the V3.0.7.5 beta for DVDFab Platinum, and is a powerful addition to your DVD toolset. What can it do? Here are a few examples:

Put a two-disc movie onto a single disc; say goodbye to “flipper” discs forever!
Make a special disc with titles from many sources, like a cartoon carnival disc for the kids.
Put two versions of the same title on one disc.
Make a disc of just “Extras” and “Making Ofs”.
Make you own “Night at the Movies” disc, with feature, cartoon and extras.
Interleave material from different sources with chapter length control.

The First Step(If you’re in a hurry just read the boldface type +Tips at the end)

is to decide what sources to use for your project. Valid sources are DVD discs (but you must have an optical drive for each disc source), DVD folders and ISO files. The merge process runs faster if you copy the merge sources to your HDD before starting. All sources must be continuously available until the merge process completes—you can’t pop a DVD out of a drive and put in another; if you do, the Merge entries from the disc you remove will be deleted from the Merge list. In practice this means that you’ll be copying to HDD for some sources anyway, unless you have lots of optical drives or a project with few sources.

when you’ve decided on the sources and copied them to your HDD if necessary, Open DVDFab Platinum and click on “Merge”. The first of two screens will appear, which I’ll refer to throughout as Merge1 and Merge2. Merge1 is used to select the title sources for your project. If you start with a DVD in Fab’s default drive it will appear as the first source. The window should populate and look similar to the Customize mode screen.

Sources can be added in any order since Merge2 lets you re-arrange them much like the “Advanced Title Options” button in the standard DVD-to-DVD modes, but it’s easier to keep track of the Merge process if you’ll add the sources in the order you plan to use them. Add your sources using the Source drop down (to select optical drives) or the Folder or ISO Source buttons.

As As each is selected it will be analyzed and added to the Merge list which is displayed on Merge2. As each source is added, select the title, audio stream and subpicture you want to include.

click Next to bring up the Merge2 screen. If you’re just converting a flipper disc or putting a two-sided movie onto one disc, you will only see two sources listed. If you’re making a “favorites” compilation you may have several. Verify the order of the titles and included chapters, make any changes, select DVD5/9, select a target, and click Start to begin the merge. The text window will give you a running progress report much like the other modes. You will get the same successful completion chime (hopefully) and boxes the other modes produce when all goes well.

Example: Favorites Disc
Here is a sample merge project that illustrates the flexibility and power of this new feature. For the test I made a kid’s cartoon compilation of titles from the Looney Tunes Golden Collection Volume 2 using discs one and three, and two episodes from Pinky and The Brain Volume 1. First I copied all necessary elements to separate HDD folders. Since there were lots of titles from Looney Tunes disc 1, I did a Full Disc copy of that one, but copied only the desired titles from everything else to save time. The titles from the first source, the full disc copy, are spread throughout the compilation. To spread them out like this you can either re-select the source using the drop down in Source, re-load the source using the Folder/ISO source button, or select all the titles at once and move them around using the UP/Down buttons. It doesn’t seem to make much difference, but if you use the drop down DVDFab will remember and display with checkmarks the titles you’ve already used from that source. Just check the one(s) you want to add. They will appear in the proper order on the Merge2 screen. This Merge completed in a little over 7 minutes reading and writing using two hard drives. Discs will be slower. For converting a flipper or two-disc feature to a single, you can copy the 2nd side/disc to the HDD and use the original disc as the source for the first half of the movie.

Think the merge through before you start. Don’t wind up ready to push Start and realize you need to burn another source to the HDD.

Merge mode will not allow you to re-use or duplicate a title on the merge list using the drop down source selector. This can be accomplished if necessary by re-loading the source using the folder or ISO Source buttons. You can, as I did in the Example above, re-use a source using the drop down selector as long as you select a different title from the one already on the merge list.

There are no menus on merged volumes.

DVDFab makes the same default title selections in Merge that it does in Main Movie, so be sure to UNcheck that title if you don’t want it.

You can go back and forth between the two screens as often as necessary.

The Preview window is your friend like never before. Remember that it updates the Title and Chapter numbers just above the viewer window in real time while running and will be a tremendous help in setting chapter begin and end points if you need to do that.

I’m sure this new mode will evolve and change over time, so check back. I’ll keep this updated as time permits. My #1 request for Merge is an additional column on the merge2 screen that shows the Source number (1,2,3,4 etc.) based on the order in which the sources were added (or parse the source paths differently so that something besides DVD_VOLUME shows).

That’s All Folks!

DVDFab Platinum is one of the most powerful and flexible DVD processing programs available anywhere. Here is a condensed summary of the operating modes, updated through v3.0.9.0 beta. This is designed as a starting point for new or prospective users. Remember that you can try DVDFab Gold or Platinum free for 30 days and can order registration quickly and securely with a link from the CD Freaks DVDFab forum:Use this linkto purchase through CD Freaks and help support the forum.


Full Disc copies everything. Menus, extras, FBI Warnings, all audio streams, all subtitles. This mode will compress the content to make it all fit on a DVD5 or use a DVD9 at your option. It will also write decrypted/compressed files to a playable/burnable hard disc folder or as an ISO image file. If you want a quick copy with a minimum of button pushing, this is the mode for you. The only options are to choose DVD5 or DVD9 (if required) and to leave out the DTS audio track to save space and minimize compression.

Main Movie selects (usually correctly) only the files containing the movie itself for processing. You can choose the audio/subtitles to be included or excluded. The output of Main Movie mode contains no menus. This mode helps a given title fit on a DVD5 with less compression, and in addition to DVD disc backup, will also write to a HD folder or ISO, DVD5 or 9, your choice. This mode and Customize are also useful with movies/discs that have read problems or new protection schemes and may work for copying a disc that Full Disc cannot. This mode and Customize/No Menus allow the user to select any available audio tracks as the default that will be played automatically when the movie is played.

Split allows you to split a DVD9 original into 2 DVD5s letting the user avoid the expense of a DVD9 blank but still get a high quality backup copy with little or no compression. There are many options in terms of split position, menu availability on disc 2, and which titles to include on each half of the split. Since many of these options interact, it may take some practice and advance planning to get the split you want. Customize mode (below) can be used to make “manual” splits without the automatic option selection of Split mode.

Customize is the favorite of many experienced users because it gives detailed control over the backup process. You can easliy, for instance, choose to play the studio logo opening, then the main movie, then one or more (or less) extras in any order, plus you have the option of retaining or discarding the original menus. It offers the same options as the modes above for input/output type and destination. If you are writing to a HD folder or ISO and want it UNcompressed, you must choose DVD9 with any of the first four modes unless the original fit on a DVD5. Customize with the No Menus option, like Main Movie mode, allows any available audio track to be designated as the default.

Clone makes an identical copy of the original disc, minus copy/region protection. The source must be a DVD, the target can be a DVD or ISO but not a VOB folder. Retains the original layer break if the source has one, regardless of whether that box is checked in Common Settings. This mode will notify the user to insert the proper media to suit the size of the original. It does not provide compression. It does offer the option of copying only the video content of the original disc.

Merge is a powerful tool that allows users to rearrange titles from as many as 64 sources into new compilations. Applications include “favorites” discs of music videos or cartoons, or converting older 2-sided or 2-disc DVD titles to a single disc for continuous viewing. With the power of this mode comes complexity, so Merge Mode is the subject of a multipage description with instructions and examples.

Write Data is a utility mode that allows you to burn an existing ISO or DVD folder from your hard drive without any further procesing. The source must be your HDD, not a DVD drive; the target can be a blank DVD or you can use this mode just to convert a DVD folder to an ISO by clicking on the ISO icon in the target area, again without further processing. This mode calls the burning engine immediately, so all files must be completely processed with copy protection removed for it to succeed.


Generic mode produces MPEG-4 compresssed files from DVDs that will play on most portable media players. Options include title/audio and subpicture (subtitle) selection, audio type (audiocopy from original, or MP3 encoding) and choices for frame rate, screen resolution, audio bitrate and video bitrate. The processing optons are controlled by files called profiles, that can be edited and changed to meet the requirements of a particular player. Output files from this mode are AVI or MP4 formatted depending on the profile chosen and the requirements of the player.

iPod mode works in a similar manner to Generic mode, but with profiles and defaults tailored for this specific device.

PSP mode like the above, has defaults and options preset for this device. Both of these last two modes still allow you to fine tune the process on the Configure screen.

A complete guide to the DVD and Mobile modes is being prepared.