PapaJohn's Newsletter #19 - Movie
Maker 2 and Photo Story 2 - Sept 18, 2004
From DVD disc to Movie
In last week's newsletter, I mentioned that one of my
sons handed me a small DVD disc he had shot on
a Sony DCR-DVD200 camcorder, one that burns the video
directly onto a disc in the camcorder. This type of camcorder is
intended for those most interested in quick, easy and direct playback on a
DVD Player/TV. And of course, after they see what they took, they may
be interested in editing the files a bit in Movie Maker.
The camcorder wasn't his, and he didn't have the software that
came with it.... he had borrowed it because his digital8 was broken. He
asked if I could get the files from the disc and put them into high
quality ones he could edit in Movie Maker. He also wanted to put
them in his computer and have them show up in the Media Center
Capturing video files from a DVD is a subject I didn't have
well covered on my website... only had a couple pointers to other places
like DVDRHelp.com. So it was a good project.
I'll take a week off my wedding project and show you how I ended
up getting his videos from the little DVD disc.
The steps I used:
• Copied the VOB files from the disc to my hard drive
• Used TMPGEnc to convert the VOB files to MPG (MPEG-2 files)
• Used TMPGEnc to convert the video track of the MPG file to AVI
• Used MM2.1 to convert the audio track of the MPG file to
• Used the AVI and WMA tracks in MM2.1 as usual for project
Here's an online sample
of the video I ended up with (the first 49 seconds - 8 MB file).
Why not just use something like DVD2AVI? I went down that path for an
Before getting into it more, a few notes about some things going
• My Toshiba laptop,
the primary computer for 1-1/3 years now, ran into its first serious
problem on Friday night, as I left it running overnight to render a sample
movie for this newsletter. It seemed to reboot OK after the crash but ran
very slowly, so I defragged the hard drive and then did a system
restore.... it never successfully booted up again after the restore.
I was able to copy all of the files from it
(including this newsletter that I had finished so early), and delete my
personal ones before bringing it back to CompUSA today. All indications point to
a hard drive failure.
....on to the topic of the week
I see it referenced often, so I downloaded the software
app and source code. It's close association with DIVX makes
me cautious.... I use an older version 4.12 of the Divx
codec and steer clear of newer ones to avoid spyware, adware and
There were a half dozen sites with user guides for the app.... but my
random pick took me to one covered with ads for hard-core porn. That was
far enough for now.... I have the downloaded installation package, but I'm
in no hurry to install and test it. TMPGEnc and MM2.1 worked for me.
The Readme file notes 2 known bugs, which I thought
I'd pass on to those using the app or considering it.
* Known Bugs *
1. DVD2AVI only aligns the start point of A/V streams.
the movie is not encoded at once that PTS restarts (such as bonus track
different episodes) It's possible to lose synchronization
from the break point.
2. DVD2AVI treats all Linear PCM as 16bit/48KHz/Stereo without header
The first thing I did with the little camcorder disc was to see what
folders and files it had:
Just one folder named Video_ts with 9 files in
files..... Video Object Sets for the VTS Menu - the smallest vob file
is for the menu and the others are for each of the individual video files, with
both the audio and video tracks included in the files.
files - VTSI file
(VTS Manager Information)
files - VTSI
Files on the Disc
The two large .vob files are the videos we watched
on TV when playing the disc. The smaller .vob file and the other 6 .ifo and .bup
files are associated with the disc's menu structure.
I checked a professional DVD and saw the same folder name and file types,
so the camcorder disc is similar to professional ones, but with one important
difference for Movie Maker. I could copy the .vob files from the camcorder disc
to my hard drive, but I couldn't copy one from the professional disc. I assume
it's due to Digital Rights Management.
Mini-Tutorial: Ripping DVD Files to
The .vob files played fine when using DVD software
on the computer, but wouldn't import directly into MM2.1. I
was able to get one to open in the Windows Media Encoder, but it crashed as
soon as I tried to do anything with it.... the crash report pointed to one of
the standard problem codecs (iviaudio.ax).
I tested a few
things and ended up using TMPGEnc (the Plus 2.5
version) to convert the VOB files, first to another MPEG-2 file
and then to AVI.
Converting the VOB Files to MPG
VOB files are MPEG-2 files meant to play in DVD players.... I
needed an MPEG-2 file that is meant to play on a computer. In TMPGEnc, I
used the MPEG Tools feature from the main menu - File
> MPEG Tools....
Browse to the .vob file as the video input.... it won't have
.vob as a file type in its picklist, so change it to all file types and point it
to the specific file to use. When I selected the .vob, TMPGEnc
automatically changed the file type to MPEG-2 Program (VBR) as shown in the
figure. it also automatically filled the rest of the form, including the
output file... to put it in the same folder as the input and with a .mpg
Pressing the Run button produces the MPG file from the VOB.
It's a relatively quick process as it's going from one MPEG-2 file to
another. So it's probably just copying the info, not going through a
re-rendering which would take much longer.
The new MPG file played fine in my Windows Media Player and
IrfanView's Multimedia Player. It looked and sounded great.
Before taking the new MPG file to the next step, let's use
another feature of TMPGEnc to look at the properties of the VOB files....
The De-multiplex tab of the MPEG Tools feature shows
some interesting info about the VOB file.... and the properties
might be carried into the new MPG file.
MPEG Tools - De-multiplex
It also has a great option to double click on
one of the steams in the file and extract it to a new file.
The extraction process worked great....
The audio stream extracts as a Dolby AC-3
file, but I didn't have any tools to use the AC-3 file..... and the
Microsoft website said it didn't recognize the file type. Maybe it'll come in
handy the next time.
The video stream extracts as an .m2v
file.... another MPEG-2 file type, but I wanted an AVI. So it's back
to working with the new MPG file.
Render an AVI File from the MPG - to
get the Video Track
Movie Maker had the usual problems when I tried
to use the MPG (MPEG-2) file, so I rendered the video and audio
tracks into new files that worked in Movie Maker.... first the video.
I didn't get the audio in the AVI file when I opted to include,
so I settled for the video only. I used the TMPGEnc menu to Output the
file as an AVI.
Output Video to AVI
.... and you'll have a myriad of codecs and
compression settings to select from. The Microsoft MPEG-4 codecs work fast and
great. The Microsoft Media Video 9 codec is the one used by Movie Maker
when making WMV files, the Panasonic DV codec is quick and produces a high
quality file.... etc. The available choices will vary by the system, depending
on the codecs you have installed.
My website has a table on the Importing Source Files >
Video > Recorded TV page that shows some rendering times, files
sizes and quality when selecting various codecs. Sometimes I want the highest
quality and I'll wait. At other times, like in writing a newsletter, I'll go for
a quick rendering to illustrate the process.
Note in the bottom field of the above figure that one of the
properties of the video steam in the VOB is a total bit rate of
7963kbps.... that's up there in quality. Maybe you want to match it using the
Media Video 9 codec. For my 15 minute video, it was a 4-1/2 hour render at
that quality level (on my 2.4 GHz laptop).... the resultant file played well,
just kind of quiet without the audio.
The AVI file is 305 MB for 14-1/2 minutes of video, a
heavyweight in file size consistent with the high quality choice
when setting it up to render. It's 720x480 in pixel dimensions.
Render a WMA File from the MPG
- to get the Audio Track
I could import the MPG file into MM2.1, but it
acted as usual for MPEG-2 files.... strange at best. The icon in
the collection was a video one, but when playing it I heard
the audio but didn't see the video.
When I dragged the clip from the collection to the timeline it
would only go into the Audio/Music track.... it took a while for the wave
patterns to show up, but when they did, the project preview played the audio as
it did in the collection. It's an MPEG-2 file and wasn't crashing.... yet!
So I'll stay on this path to see where it goes.
If Movie Maker was treating it as an audio file, I figured I'd
have it save the movie as a WMA file to get the audio track to marry with
the video AVI file.... it only took a couple minutes to do it, and the WMA file
played fine.... but MM2 was crashing lots of times during the rendering.....
crashed sometimes, not others.
I couldn't see any pattern to the crashings, not until I decided
to take a screen shot of the crash message. Then it wouldn't crash anymore.
:) so I'll skip that screen shot and show you the conflict the other
day when I was first doing it, when Movie Maker was crashing 3/4 of
Use Start > Control Panel > Administrative Tools >
Event Viewer > Application and scroll to the Error messages. Double click on
one to see the details. Each of the six cases in the list was the
same, Movie Maker 2.1 and the iviaudioncss.ax codec clashing. It was a codec not
on my list of problem ones (it is now as I added it because of this
Event Viewer - Review Crash
I tried the new MM2.1 feature that lets you uncheck a codec
to take it out of the scene when it comes to use by Movie Maker. But,
when I took the codec away, I was surprised to see one of our standard
Error Message When
iviaudioncss.ax is Removed
Another situation when one of our often seen error
messages isn't right.... the issue was the needed codec wasn't available as
I had unchecked it. To use this method of getting a WMA file from the MPG file,
I needed the codec and opted to live with any crashes when rendering the
file, as long as it didn't crash all the time.
When it didn't crash I got a good audio file... at any of the
audio quality options. It's time to take one and use it with the video.
Use the Video and Audio Files in
Here are the video and audio files in Movie Maker, ready
for project use. See on the timeline that no related audio track shows
up with the video.... which we know from how we got to this point.
The video file is 14:38:84 in duration. The audio file is
14:38:77. The difference is the one we ran into in last week's newsletter, and
isn't a concern. The sync between the two files is perfect as long as you snug
the Music/Audio file all the way to the left.
Video and Audio Files in Movie
I rendered a few movies from the files.... one medium
quality complete WMV for each of the two VOB files, with video and
audio.... and one high quality segment for the online online sample
This was a fun learning experience for
me.... one I expect to come in handy in years ahead as we more
and more start with source files from DVD camcorders. I'm
usually starting with Movie Maker and thinking about how to get the file to a
disc to watch on TV. This was the exact opposite, starting with a disc playing
on TV and thinking about how to get it into Movie Maker.
There's always a way to do something
when it comes to digital video work, and usually many ways. Maybe DVD2AVI
works easier and perfectly, and I'm too timid in not using it.
But I already have and use Movie Maker
and TMPGEnc, and those are all I need to get video and audio files from a DVD.
The crashing of MM2 when saving the audio track was the only real issue in this
process.... but it wouldn't crash when I wanted it to, so it's not a significant
issue. The audio rendering takes only a couple minutes, so it's easy to
just restart it when it crashes.
Your version of TMPGEnc may not
be the same as mine so I don't know if all the features I used are available to
you. Your collection of codecs will also be different. You may or may not be
able to process VOB files with this method. I'm interested in your
I was impressed with the quality of
the video taken with the Sony DCR-DVD200, and equally impressed with the quality
of the files I was able to make from the disc.
Have a great week...