How to convert a DivX / AVI / ASF / MPEG1 to VCD

How to convert a DivX / AVI / ASF / MPEG1 to VCD



This is the best method I have used to convert DivX, AVI, ASF or MPEG1 files to a compliant VideoCD that can be played on PC's, PSX Movie adaptors and all standalone VCD & DVD players that can play CDR's. The quality of the final VCD is dependant on the quality of what you are converting. As the old saying goes, garbage in, garbage out!  Please read the separate Tutorial if your source file is an MPEG2 (SVCD).

More and more DivX movies are being released with not only the traditional Codec ver 3.11 and latest 5.10, but also the new Xvid together with Variable Bit Rate (VBR) MP3 or AC3 audio. Unless you have the correct video Codec installed, TMPGEnc will not be able to convert it.  It also cannot handle VBR MP3 nor AC3 audio types.  Refer to the attached post for further details on how to handle these correctly.

DivX files seamed to be plauged with problem, be it missing headers, corrupt header, bad frames, faulty audio, etc.  The list is almost endless.  If the file is not in good order, do not expect to be able to convert it.



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


 1.  DivX Codec 5.1.1 or later, if converting DivX files. ( d/l from http://www.divx.com )
 and DivX Codec 3.11a  ( d/l from http://www.doom9.net/ )
 and Xvid Codec, the latest version ( d/l from http://roeder.goe.net/~koepi/xvid.shtml )

 2.  Nero 5.5.10.54 or maybe ver 6.0.x ( d/l fully functional demo from http://www.ahead.de )
	      
 3.  TMPGEnc Plus 2.521 or later  ( d/l from http://www.pegasys-inc.com )
	  
 4.  bbMPEG 1.24 if needed ( d/l from http://members.home.net/beyeler/bbmpeg.html > 

 5.  VirtualDUB 1.5.10 or 1.3c if needed ( d/l from http://www186.pair.com/vdub/ )



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


   *  Windows 9x, ME, NT, 2000 or XP installed. 

   *  A Pentium II 300 MMX or equivalent as a minimum.

   *  At least 64meg memory (128 for XP)

   *  A CD Rom player (any speed) 

   *  Hard drive with at least 3-4 gb and preferably in one partition. 

   *  A CDR(W) Burner to produce the VideoCD and a couple 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 TMPGEnc is running, especially if you have a slower computer. 

   *  Turn the screens colour depth to 16bit colour or better. 

   *  Re-boot the computer just BEFORE you start the ripping, in this way you have the best conditions as possible. 

  

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 the DivX Codec (v3.11 is not normally needed so only install if you have playback problems with the AVI) and Xvid Codec. These are only needed if converting a DivX/Xvid (AVI) movie.

   2.  Install TMPGEnc by simply copying its files to a folder.
   
   3.  Install Nero. (VCDEasy can also be used)

  

[b]Step 2:  Conversion.[/b]

   1. Copy the DivX, AVI, ASF or MPEG file to your hard drive. If you dont have the room, then it can be read from the CDROM but this will slow down the conversion and wear out your CD-ROM player at the same time!
   
   2. Run Windows Media Player and load and playback the movie. Hit Alt-Enter to full screen and note if its Full Screen 4:3, 16:9 or widescreen 2.3:1. Exit.

   3. Run TMPGEnc. Go to File / New Project and click OK to clear the program of any previous settings.

   4. Now for your Video source, Browse to your file you wish to convert. The Audio source will automatically be filled with same file name and a suggested Output Filename. Change this if you prefer. If your trying to convert a DivX and an error box pops up saying Un-supported, then this can be due to not having the correct Codec or the Audio is VBR MP3 or AC3.  Refer to the attached post to handle these correctly.

   5. If you check the bottom task bar of TMPGEnc it will give the parameters of the file you just imported. Check the Frames Per Second - fps. If its 25 fps then its PAL, if 29.97fps then its NTSC and if 23.976 then its FILM. So now click Load and load the appropriate VideoCD template. For a PAL conversion, the task bar will then look like:
   
      Video-CD PAL (MPEG-1 352x288 25fps CBR 1150kbps, Layer-2 44100Hz 224kbps)
   

   6.  Hit Settings button and under Video tab, change Motion Search Precision to Highest Quality (very slow). As the name suggests, this will give the best quality conversion. Hit Audio Tab and double click the Setting button, tick Change Volume box then hit the Normalize button. Leave at default 100 and click OK. It will now search through the audio stream and suggest a final %. Select OK  If the number is greater than 100, make sure Use Audio Edit box is ticked.
   
   7. Change Source Aspect Ratio to the Video Type and Aspect Ratio you noted back when you ran the movie in Windows Media Player. 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. If converting a DivX, then select 1:1 VGA.  Make sure Video Arrange Method is set at Full Screen (Keep Aspect Ratio).
   
   8. 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. Change Source Aspect Ratio to 4:3 625 Line (PAL) ( or 4:3 525 Line (NTSC) for NTSC movie) and Video Arrange Method is set to Center (Custom Size). Then in the 2 small boxes enter 448 x 288 for PAL ( 448 x 240 for NTSC). This will keep the movie to the correct aspect ratio but at full screen. You may have to play with these numbers to keep the picture in correct ratio as a DivX can already be trimmed from the original source.
   
   9. If you want to convert a 2.3:1 wide-screen movie to a 16:9 movie, then set as per Point 8 above, but, in the 2 small boxes enter 448 x 288 for PAL ( 448 x 224 for NTSC). Sometimes I have found I have to enter 448 x 372 or 400 x 256 for PAL ( ? for NTSC) to keep the correct aspect ratio. You may need to alter then further so if in doubt, do a small test run first and look for round objects that should stay round. 
   [b]NOTE:[/b] All the numbers should ALWAYS be dividable by 16 or edge distortion will occur.
   
   10. 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.
   
   11. Leave all the other settings alone. Hit OK.
   
   12.  All is now ready to start the conversion, so hit Start button and the encoding will begin. This can take from 2 to 10 hours or more depending on the length of movie, your computers CPU speed and other movie parameters. Go to Options/Task Priority and set to When Active - High Priority. This speeds up the conversion by 5-10%. So turn the monitor off and go to bed. Wake up Neo and all should be done.

   13.  You will now have a new file on your HD, about 600meg for every hour of movie. One big *.MPG file made up of both the Video and Audio streams and in VCD format.
   
   14.  Its now time to check that the Video and Audio are syncronised. Double click on the *.MPG file from Explorer and Windows Media Player will play your new movie. Check near the start, middle and near the end. If all is okay then jump to Step 4: Cutting, if not okay, move to Step 3.  
  
  

[b]Step 3:  Fixing Video / Audio Synconization.[/b]

   1.  Run TMPGEnc and click on File and then MPEG Tools. Go to the Simple De-Muliplex tab. For Input, Browse to your new MPG file and the Audio and Output files will automatically be named. Rename the Video Output file from *.M1V to *.MPV. Also, rename the Audio Output name from *.MP2 to *.MPA  Now hit Run and the 2 files will be created within a few minutes.
   
   2.  Run bbMPEG (avi2mpeg). Select START ENCODING and then select SETTINGS. In General Settings tab, both Muliplexing Video & Audio should be ticked. Enter the size of your CDR in Max Size (MB) box. In the Input & Output Files tab click Open PS and enter the Filename of the new MPG file. In Open VS, select your Video file, the *.MPV In Open AS1, select your Audio file, the *.MPA  Most importantly, in the Program Streams tab, select VCD as the Program Stream Type. Then click OK and finally START button and sit back for a few minutes while it multiplexes the Video and Audio files together.
   
   3.  Now play the new MPEG file again with Windows Media Player to see if it is okay, checking for Video & Audio synchronization (lip-sync) near start and end of the movie.  Check both files if it has cut the file into 2.
   
   4.  If this does not fix the out-of-sync problem for some reason, then we have to resort to using more drastic measures. Refer to the separate Tutorial on how to fix A/V sync problems.
   
  

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

   1.  Only use TMPGEnc, MPEG2VCR, M2-Edit or iFilmEdit for cutting the mpg file. Most other programs, including VCDCutter, do NOT produce 100% compatable MPEG files after cutting. I only describe the use of TMPGEnc here.  If you used bbMPEG as above trying to fix lip-sync problems, it would have cut the mpg for you as well.
      
   2.  If the movie you converted is longer than 73min or 79min, you will need to cut it to fit onto a 74min or 80min CDR. Most movies tend to be 1 1/2 hrs to 2 hours long so you will need to cut it in half to fit onto 2 standard CDR's. You can get 73min onto a 74min/650meg CDR and 79min onto a 80min/700meg CDR, again don't worry about the file length in meg, just worry about it in minutes. 735meg of movie file will fit onto a 650meg CDR as a VCD !

   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 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 ] to select the end of Disk 1.  You can fine-tune the positions by altering the times in the Range box's by using the up & down arrows. Click OK to return to original screen. For Type, select MPEG-1 VideoCD (This is MOST important). Give an Output name (eg. disk1.mpg) and click Start. A few minutes later you will have the MPEG file for Disk 1. 
   
   4. Now double click the file name again so we can produce the file for disk 2. Move the slider to near the end of Disk1, click on [ to mark the new Start. Move slider to end of file and click ]. We now have disk 2 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 be the first 5 sec of disk 2 so you don't miss any of the action. Click OK and for Type, select MPEG-1 VideoCD (This is MOST important!). 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. Then exit the program. 

   5. It's a good idea to load each mpeg file into Windows Media Player and check that all is still okay and if so, we are ready to burn. 
  


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

   1. There are a few programs that can burn a VCD disk. These include Nero, VCDEasy, Easy CD Cre(m)ator,  NTI and others. Nero is by far the easiest to use and is very stable for VCD's, so thats what I describe here. Refer to the Help section within the other programs on how to use them if you prefer. 
   
   2. 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.  Refer to the "DVD to VCD using DVD2SVCD" tutorial on how to use it.

   3. Run Nero. Click the VideoCD tab, select Create Standard Compliant CD. 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 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, click the Burn Button. Select the Write Speed to be 4x or 8x maximum and 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. When the burning is finished, label the CD and rush to your VCD/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. 

   4. Use only good quality scratch resistant CDR's. Recommended brands are: Mitsui, Sony, Verbatim, TDK, Ricoh or similar. Some DVD stand-alone players will only read from CDRW's, then burn to CDRW's instead. Burning at greater then 4x or 8x speed on older burners (or 12x or 16x on newer burners) can also make the VCD unreadable by many players, particularly the PSX. If in doubt, lower the burn speed.

   5. You have now produced a fully compliant VideoCD. Wasn't that worth the trouble!

    

ChickenMan (C) 2003 - Updated Dec 2003

DivX to VCD Possible Encounted Problems


Q1.  I'm trying to convert a DivX and all I get is a black picture. Audio is okay.

A1a.  Install DivX Codec 3.11a also.  DivX 3.11 is still used and prefered by a few DivX makers today and DivX 5.x in some systems does not seam to work for these.

A1b.  Can also be due to having Xvid codec in the avi file.  Install the latest Xvid Codec from the address as above.



Q2.  When trying to convert a DivX, I get an error in TMPGEnc saying the Audio is not supported or recognised.

A2.  TMPGEnc is not able to convert a DivX with either a VBR MP3 or AC3 soundtrack.  We must first extract the Audio track out of the AVI and convert to WAV.

a.  Run VirtualDUB and load in the AVI file.  Both VBR MP3 or AC3 errors can be reported, cancel these.
b.  Click Audio tab and make sure "Direct Stream Copy" is selected.
c.  Click on File and then Save WAV.  Give a name and OK.
d.  All this has done is extracted the VBR MP3 or AC3 audio out as a separate file and named it as a WAV. No conversion to a WAV has actually occured. Rename the save file to audio.mp3 if a VBR MP3 or to audio.ac3 if AC3.
e.  Now we need to convert these files to a WAV, so choose the VBR MP3 or AC3 method depending on your file.

[b]For VBR MP3[/b]
1.  Install and run WinAmp 2.x ( d/l from www.winamp.com), for version 3 or above you need to get a pluggin from their homesite I believe. Right click its front and select Options / Preferences / Plug-ins Output. Select Nulsoft Disk Writer Plugin. Click Configure and make sure it converts to PCM, 16bit, 44.1khz Stereo. Select an output folder also. OK back to main screen.  
2.  Now PLAY the VBR MP3.  Nothing will be heard as it converts to a WAV.  This takes just a few minutes to convert.
3.  Change settings back to WaveOUT plugin when done.  You will now have a large WAV file on your HD.
4.  Other programs can be used but I find WinAmp very quick, accurate and doesn't produce A/V sync problems.

[b]For AC3[/b]
1.  Copy Azid.exe ( d/l from www.doom9.net download section ) to the folder that has your audio.ac3 file.
2.  From a DOS or Command prompt move to the folder that has your audio.ac3 file and type in the following:
	[b]azid --maximize audio.ac3 audio.wav[/b]
3.  In a few minutes, you will have a large WAV file on your HD.

f.  Now continue with the DivX to VCD tutorial using the original DivX AVI as Video source and the new WAV as the Audio source in TMPGenc.


ChickenMan (c)2003 - Updated Dec 2003