How to backup your DVD to VCD (with TMPGEnc)

How to backup your DVD to VCD

This is a great method to backup your DVD's to the best quality VCD's possible. This guide will help you produce VCD's that can be played on PC's, PSX with Movie adaptors and all standalone VCD & DVD players that can play VCD's as CDR(W)'s. This method does not support the inclusion of sub-titles, refer to another posted Tutorial for that. While this method can also produce SVCD's I strongly suggest you follow the other Tutorial DVD to SVCD if you wish to make a SVCD.

Only 4 software titles need to be installed and all are relatively small in size. The best bit of all is that the software is Freeware or Demoware with results better than commercially available software. The final VCD is better quality than most Original VCD's, equal or better than Video Tape and the sound is CD quality.  

Although this guide uses SmartRipper to rip (remove the movies encryption and transfer to your Hard Drive) the movie off the DVD, other freeware rippers can sometimes be used. These include DVD Decrytor and CladDVD. DVD2AVI is used to strip out the Dolby Digital AC3 Audio as a WAV file and the actual encoding of the DVD Video MPEG2 to VCD MPEG1 standards is done by TMPGEnc. It also multiplexes the Audio with the Video at the same time for a perfect lip-sync.

This guide is based on using Nero to burn the final VCD although other software can be used, such as  WinOnCD, NTI, EasyCD Cremator and others. Only Nero offers a free fully functional Demo version and is the easiest to use, so that is what I have used here.

I have now extensively tested this method with PAL Region 4 & 2 DVD's and many NTSC Region 1 DVD's and still produces some of the best quality VCD possible.

[b]Software you will need:[/b]

There may be other software titles needed if problems occur, but this is what is needed as a minimum :-

1. SmartRipper 2.41 or latest DVD Decrypter (d/l from or )
2. DVD2AVI 1.76 or 1.77.4 ONLY! Do NOT use version 1.8x ! (d/l from )
3. TMPGEnc Pro 2.521 or later (d/l from )
4. Nero or 6.0.x (d/l latest fully functional demo from )

[b]You will also need a Computer with:[/b]

* Windows 98, 98SE, ME, 2000 or XP installed (Windows 2000 preferred as it speeds up conversion by 10-15%)
* A Pentium 400 MMX or equivalent as a minimum. 900+ prefered.
* At least 64meg memory.
* An internal DVD Rom player (any speed).
* Hard drive with at least 4 gb, but preferably 10 gb FREE space in one partition.
* A CDR(W) Burner to produce the VideoCD and a box of good quality CDR's or CDRW's
* A sound card to check the finished product.

[b]Tips before we get started:[/b]

* Turn OFF your Screen Saver, it will simply slow the conversion down by hours.
* Do not run any other program in the background while DVD2AVI or TMPGEnc are running, especially if you have a slower computer.
* Turn the screens colour depth to 16bit colour or better.
* Re-boot the computer BEFORE you start the conversion.
* Turn OFF DMA for your DVD-Rom. This will slow the rip, but guarantee a perfect transfer of the VOB files to your HD. If you continue to have no problems, then leave it ON.

So you have downloaded the software and checked that you have the right stuff in your computer.  Sounds good, then lets get stuck into it!

[b]Step 1:  Getting Ready.[/b]

1. Install SmartRipper or DVD Decrypter.
2. Install or copy TMPGEnc to it own folder, depending on the version you have.
3. Copy DVD2AVI.EXE and DVD2AVI.VFP to the same folder where you copied TMPGEnc. [b]NOTE:[/b] Its essential that DVD2AVI.VFP be in the TMPGEnc folder.
4. Install Nero.

[b]Step 2:  Copying DVD files to hard drive.[/b]

1. Put the DVD movie into your DVD Rom player. It doesn't get much easier than this!
2. Make a directory on your Hard Drive called VIDEO_TS (same as it appears on the DVD).
3. Run SmartRipper and select the Target Folder to point to the VIDEO_TS directory you just made.
4. Select Settings and for Key Check set Every VOB File. For File Splitting, set Every VOB File and for Options select Unlock Drive, DeMacrovision and Copy IFO File.
5. Click on Stream Processing tab and check which audio stream is English or the language you wish to rip. Also, if you enable Stream Processing and unselect the langauages and subtitles you DONT want, then the final conversion can be sped up considerably.  The VOB files will now be smaller on your HD than they are on the DVD.
6. Click on Start to start ripping the VOB files of the DVD to your hard drive. This can take up to 30 minutes depending on your computer setup and the DVD.
7. If you are limited to 4 gig of hard drive space, then just rip the first 2 VOB files, which is about 2 gig, by selecting Decrypt Files and highlighting the first two 1 gig files only.

A typical VIDEO_ST folder of a DVD is similar to :

VIDEO_TS BUP          16,384
VIDEO_TS IFO          16,384
VIDEO_TS VOB          43,008
VTS_01_0 BUP          77,824
VTS_01_0 IFO          77,824
VTS_01_0 VOB       1,695,744
[b]VTS_01_1 VOB   1,073,565,696\
VTS_01_2 VOB   1,048,565,696 \ <-- This is the Main movie
VTS_01_3 VOB   1,048,565,696 /
VTS_01_4 VOB     589,365,248 /[/b]
VTS_02_0 BUP          18,432  
VTS_02_0 IFO          18,432
VTS_02_0 VOB          43,008
VTS_02_1 VOB       6,014,976

[b]Step 3:  Audio File[/b]

1. Run DVD2AVI. Click on FILE, click OPEN and then browse to your *.VOB files you just ripped by pointing to the first VOB. All the others will be added to the list, then click OK.

2. The DVD2AVI window will now expand to the size of the movie frame size. Hit F5 key and the movie will start playing (no sound though!) ESC will stop it. The picture is normally distored so dont worry. An Information Box will pop up. Remember the value in the Aspect Ratio box( normally 4:3 or 16:9) Also, remember the Video Type of your movie, be it PAL, NTSC or FILM. NTSC and FILM only differ in their Frame Rate, 29.97 or 23.976 fps. The Audio Format will also describe the audio track that has been selected, either MPEG or DD (Dolby Digital).

3. For FILM video type ONLY (or NTSC with >95% FILM), click on Video and tick Field Operation. Select Forced Film. Select None for all other formats.

4. Click on Audio. For Track Number, select Track 1 or the track where the English DD audio was found in SmartRipper, 90% of the time it is Track 1. Click Audio again and for Channel Format, select Auto Select. Click on Audio again and for Dolby Digital, select Decode. Click Audio then Dolby Digital and set Dynamic Rang Control to Light or preferably OFF. Click Audio again and set MPEG Audio to Demux. Click on Audio again and for 48 -> 44.1KHz select Off (TMPGEnc does a better conversion).  Click Audio again (last time!) and click Normalize and set the slider to 100%, tick the small box top right corner and exit. Leave everything in Video set to default. You will only need to do all this once as all settings are saved to a file for next time you use the program. The only thing you may need to change is the Audio Track number.

5. If for some reason there is no DD sound track (like in some early DVD's or Audio DVD's), when you save the Project (next step) you do not get a WAV file, but an *.MPA file. The later versions of TMPGEnc will now accept this file and so no need to convert it. Do not select any DTS or SDDS audio tracks, DVD2AVI cannot convert them.

6. Click on File and then Save Project (not Save AVI). Browse to your directory, give the file a name (no extension needed) and hit Save. This can take 5 to 30min depending on the Movies length and your computer setup.

7. You should now have 2 files saved to your hard drive, a *.D2V file (approx 400 to 600 Kb) and a *.WAV or *.MPA file (approx 900 Mb to 2 Gb). These two files should be similar to (for example):
	 gladiator AC3 T02 3_2ch 384Kbps 48KHz.wav
8. Do NOT delete or move your *.VOB files yet as the *.D2V file is only a pointer to your ripped VOB files and not an encoded Video file.

[b]Step 4: Conversion.[/b]

1. Run TMPGEnc. Click File, New Project then OK. This will clear out all settings that may have been there and set it ready to start a fresh conversion.

2. Click the Video Source Browse button and select your *.D2V , then click the Audio Source Browse button and select your *.WAV or *.MPA file. Change the Output File name if you wish.

3. Click Load and from the TMPGEnc/Templates folder, select the appropriate VideoCD template for your PAL, NTSC or FILM movie and click Open. For example, for a R2 or R4 PAL movie, select VideoCD(PAL).mcf

4. Click Setting and under Video tab change the Motion Search Precision to Highest Quality (Very Slow). This will give a significantly better quality picture than any of the other selections. However, if your processor is less than 900MHz, then select the High Quality (Slow) setting as encoding will now be much quicker, but expect a fall in picture quality.

5. Click the Advanced tab. Change Source Aspect Ratio to the Video Type and Aspect Ratio you noted back when you ran DVD2AVI. For example, select 16:9 625 Line (PAL) for a normal wide-screen PAL movie or 4:3 625 Line (PAL) for a full screen PAL movie. Make sure Video Arrange Method is set at Full Screen (Keep Aspect Ratio).

6. If you want to convert a 16:9 movie into a full screen 4:3 movie by removing the black bars at the top and bottom of the picture, we have to clip off the left and right side of the picture. Leave Source Aspect Ratio at 16:9 625 Line (PAL) ( or 16:9 525 Line (NTSC) for NTSC or FILM movie) and Video Arrange Method is set to No Margin (keep aspect ratio). This will keep the movie at the correct aspect ratio but at full screen.

7. If you want to convert a 2.3:1 wide-screen movie to a 16:9 movie, then set as per Point 6 above.

8. Click the GOP Structure tab and change the GOP structure to read 1 4 2 for PAL and 1 5 2 for NTSC or FILM.

9. Do not change any of the other settings, leave at their default. Hit OK.

10. Click on Options and then Task Priority. Change to When Active - High Priority. This will help to speed up the conversion.

11. We are now ready to start the conversion, so hit the Encode button. All the hard work is done, now we just have to wait for it to finish.

12. Let it run for 4-5 min and then note the Remaining Time. This is approx how long its going to take to complete the conversion process. This will vary depending on your computers processors speed, hard drive speed, etc. and the length of the movie. Most movies can be converted in 3 to 8 hours  with a "reasonable" late model computer.  So let it do its conversion while your asleep, at school or at work. That's the bit I like the best!

13. Click on Option, then Preview Option, select No Preview. Again, this can help speed up the conversion. Then turn off the monitor and go to bed, school or work.

14. Wake up Neo! It should now be finished and you will have a large *.MPG file on your hard drive (approx 600meg / hour of movie).

15. Now play the new mpeg file with Windows Media Player (or any other VCD playing software) to see if it is okay, checking for Video & Audio synchronization (lip-sync) near start and end of the movie. Also check the aspect ratio is correct, round objects should be round, not oval. You have now made your first VideoCD movie file. Easy, wasn't it!

16. If all is well, you can safely delete your *.VOB files now if you need the Hard Drive space.

[b]Step 5: Cutting.[/b]

1. For those short on HD space and only converted 2 VOB files or the movie is not longer than 73min or 79min, you skip the cutting process and go straight to Step 6: Burning.

2. If you converted the whole DVD movie into a single mpeg file and the movie is longer than 73min or 79min, you will need to cut it to fit onto a 74min or 80min CDR (or even 90 or 99min CDR's if your burner supports them). Most movies tend to be 1 1/2 hrs to 2 hours long so just cut it in half to fit onto 2 CDR's. You can get 73min of VCD onto a 74min/650meg CDR and 79min of VCD onto a 80min/700meg CDR.

3. Run TMPGEnc, from Files select MPEG Tools. Then select Merge&Cut Tab. Click Add and load in your new mpeg file. Double click on its name (or click Edit) and a new window opens. Use the [ & ] to mark the Start (lead-in) and End (lead-out) of each clip. So click [ to mark Start, then slide the Pointer to approx the mid-point in the movie. Click ].  You can fine tune the positions by altering the times in the Range box's by using the small up & down arrows. Click OK to return to original screen. For Type, select MPEG-1 VideoCD for a VCD or MPEG-2 SuperVideoCD(VBR) for a SVCD. Do NOT leave it set at MPEG-1 System (automatic) as it does not work! Give an Output name (eg. disk1.mpg) Its always a good idea to cut off the first second or 2 of the movie as it normally contains a lot of mpeg garbage that can influence playback (particularly on a PSX unit). Then click Start. A few minutes later you will have the MPEG file for Disk 1.

Now double click the file name again (or click Edit) so we can produce the file for disk 2. Move the slider to the end of the Disk 1 selection. Use the small up & down arrows to adjust position, click on [ to mark the new Start. Move slider to end of movie and click ] to mark end. We now have the second disk marked, but it is good idea to overlap some of the movie from disk 1 to disk 2. So in the first Range box, click the Down arrow to move the pointer about 5 seconds earlier. That way the last 5 sec of disk 1 will also be the first 5 sec of disk 2 so you don't miss any of the action. Click OK. Give an Output name (eg. disk2.mpg) and click Start. It appears to be doing nothing for a while but be patient, a few minutes later you will have the MPEG file for Disk 2. Repeat if necessary if cutting into 3. Then exit the program.

4. You should now have 2 or 3 MPG files on your hard drive so we are ready to burn.
[b]NOTE:[/b] If you intend to play the VCD disk on a Playstation with a Movie Adaptor, it is wise to chop off all the start black screen and no audio part of the movie else it may not actually play.

[b]Step 6:  Burning.[/b]

1. Run Nero. Click the VideoCD tab, select Create Standard Compliant CD. In ISO tab, select only ISO Level 2 and ISO9660, all others un-ticked. In Volume Descriptor tab, enter a Volume Label, such as THE_GLADIATOR_1 for disk 1 of the Gladiator. Click on New and then drag & drop the Disk1.mpg file from the right window (your HD) to the large left window (the VCD disk). Nero will check through the mpeg file to confirm that it is a compliant VCD file. After it finishes checking the file, all should be well, (if not do NOT continue, but check back over your steps as you have missed something) click the Burn Button. Select the Write Speed to be 4x maximum for older 8x or 12x burners. Select 8x or 12x for late model 24x or faster burners.  Make sure Disk-At-Once is selected and Finalize CD is ticked. Then click Write and sit back and watch your first VCD disk being burnt. The excitement builds!

2. When the burning is finished, label the CD with felt pen and rush to your DVD player to check it out. If all is okay, repeat this for the second or third disks remembering to change the Volume Label. Refer to Nero's Help for further info and clarification on how to use Nero.

3. If you wish to add Chapters and/or pictures (such as Change CD pic at end of Disk 1) to your movies, then you need to use VCDEasy for this.  Again, refer to the "DVD to VCD using DVD2SVCD" tutorial on how to do that.

4. Use only good quality scratch resistant CDR's. Some DVD stand alone players will only read from CDRW's, then burn to CDRW's instead. Burning at greater then 4x speed (older burners) or 12x (never burners) can also make them unreadable by many players, particularly the PSX. Try different brands of CDR(W)'s if having playback problems.

5. You have now produced your first playable fully compliant VCD. Wasn't it worth all the fuss?

6. If you only converted 2 VOB files, they will generally yield 45-52 minutes of movie. After burning the first half of the movie you will have to repeat step 3 to 6 again for the second half of the movie.

[b]NOTE 1:[/b] Some people have reported problems when they playback their VCD on their DVD Player, they can get a momentary video speedup to catch up with the audio, from time to time (common on XMS, Hiteker & Apex DVD Players) or no Fast Forward or Rewind (common on Phillips DVD players).  The problem lies with TMPGEnc not making the MPG file with the correct Packet size.  This can be solved by using M1-Edit or M2-Edit to Repacketize or Transcode (in their Tools tab) the MPG file after cutting and just prior to burning. Playback will now be faultless and fully funtional.

[b]NOTE 2:[/b] If you have a number of conversions to do or a few small ones, etc. its a good idea to set each up as above in TMPGEnc, then click on File and then Save Project.  Do this to each conversion.  Click on File then Batch Mode and Add each Project in.  You can drag & drop them to change their order of processing if you wish. When ready, click Run.  This takes you back to the main screen and you will note there is now an option (top right) to allow you to Shut Down After Finish Encoding.  Click this box and go to sleep, school or work. Older AT type motherboards will not shut down completely though.  You can add or remove projects once encoding has started as well.  You must have the TMPGEnc.vfp file in your TMPGEnc folder or the Project/Batch mode will not work.

ChickenMan (c)2003 -- Updated Dec 03