Last week we ended the series of newsletters about the Civil War project.
This week we'll complete the 3 part series of issues about getting
MPEG-2 files converted and into Movie Maker.
In this issue, we'll see what it takes to get recorded
TV files into Movie Maker, using DVR-MS files recorded
by the Media Center Edition (MCE) of Windows XP...
... before that,
here's a couple notes...
We're all familiar with the issue of
not being able to save a movie. An interesting (I'd use a different word if it
hadn't worked out successfully) case happened last week. A school in
Pennsylvania was running a movie-making contest, with 4 entries in the 13-15 age
bracket and 5 in the 16-20. When it was time to render and submit
the movies, two of the nine ran into the issue. Cheryl, the teacher
working with them, contacted me and I worked with her to quickly
email project files back and forth, dividing them into parts that
rendered. Karl and Emily, the two students, were able to render the
parts, assemble them, add their music files, and make
their submittals.... after the dust
settled, they subscribed to this newsletter and I want to welcome
The first of a semi-monthly
Movie Maker slot on www.thedvshow.com is
now history. It was recorded last weekend, used for a broadcast
session, and then made available as a downloadable podcast MP3 file. One of the
6 questions I responded to was to Artie from Alabama who asked "Every
time I try to save a movie to CD, Windows Media Maker stops responding and just
hangs there. After shutting of my computer and trying a second
time it goes
to about 68% then hangs again. This is a continual process that doesn't end-
what is going on?". Cheryl, Karl and Emily can relate to the question. The other
5 questions were about similarly familiar issues.
I've seen a number pointers
to FlaskMPG, an
open source app that can convert MPEG-2 files to AVI. I downloaded and tried it
this week, and put a link to it on the Importing Source Files > Video >
MPEG-2 page of the site. My first test conversion to a DV-AVI file produced
a file with video and audio, but the new file didn't
.... on to the main
Conversion Utilities - DVR-MS files
After some research I
ended up at the Green
Button with links to 3 utilities to consider. Here are
some brief notes about them from the website info:
DVREdit v 1.0
- a simple DVR editing and DVR-MPEG/MPEG-DVR
conversion utility... when trying the conversion option of interest
(DVR to MPG), I got this message that stopped it from making the cut.
DVR2WMV v 1.0
- converts DVR-MS files created by Windows XP
Media Center Edition to WMV format. It contains an interface suitable for
viewing through TV, one for a computer monitor and a command line version.
are some commonly used options that you can change through the TV version,
many options will have to be set in the version designed for the computer
monitor. Once these options are set they will apply to both the computer and
TV version of the program.
DVR Ripper (beta)
- a freeware app that converts DVR-MS files into MPA (MPEG Audio) and
MPV (MPEG Video), or a single MPEG file so you can edit and burn your
prerequisite to using DVR Ripper, you need the elecard
Xmuxer... it says so in the Readme.txt file of DVR Ripper (the
things we read after finding that the app doesn't run). It
doesn't give you an error message saying that the Xmuxer software is
needed... it just doesn't open.
install each and see how they handle a recorded TV file.
DVREdit v 1.0
The downloaded file
from the Green
Button is a small zip one of 160 KB with just one file in
it, the executable dvredit.exe.
Put it in any folder, run it and open
a saved DVR-MS file.
The [square bracket icons] let you
mark the in and out points of a video... I used them to mark a segment as
The main menu > Tools has two
options... DVR to MPG and MPG to DVR. Choosing DVR to
MPG gives a message 'Not yet implemented'. That's the one I'm interested
Although it won't work today as a
conversion tool, it might still be helpful as a cropping tool.
The File > Save as feature
worked fine, saving the selected segment to a new DVR-MS file
that played fine in WMP.
The save was quick and easy, and
could save rendering time later in a conversion, when your interest is just
in a short segment.
The downloaded file from the Green
Button is a 1.3 MB zip file with a full installation
package in it.
Extract the contents and run the DVR
2 WMV.msi package. It installs to the C:\Program Files\Griffin
Composites\DVR 2 WMV folder and adds two new menu options to your XP Start
It has 3 versions of a user interface... the DVR 2 WMV
is a full screen one that looks and acts similar to the Media
Center software itself.
Another is titled
'Standalone', and is a utility with the main working window at the
The third one is a command line one,
which I didn't try. All 3 run the same app functions.
Each of the two I tried got me
to the point of starting a conversion, but resulted in an error message
when I pressed the Start button...
... and the kind
of message written by programmers for geeks, not average real-world
... it followed through as it said,
closing down when I pressed the OK button.
The website says the app is
compatible with the MCE 2004 and 2005 editions... my problem might
be being on the 2003 version. The newer versions are
not offered by Toshiba as upgrades to my model laptop.
The MCE version of XP is tweaked
by the OEM from the Microsoft software, so upgrades have to come from the OEM,
If you use a newer version of the MCE
edition and try DVR2WMV, I'm interested in your experience.
As mentioned, a prerequisite to
using DVR Ripper is having the Xmuxer software installed. I downloaded
a shareware version in November 2003 but I'm not finding a link to it today... its readme file
says it can be freely distributed, so I put a copy on my website..
I'll be deleting it when the newsletter goes online in 6 weeks, so get it before
then if you want it:
It's a zip file of 1.2 MB...
with an installation package in it. The installation goes to the c:\Program
Files\Moonlight Cordless\][Muxer 2.03 folder with most of the software in
it, and adds 5 .ax files to a new c:\Program Files\Common
You don't run Xmuxer directly... but
you can if you want to use it for more features than we're using in this
newsletter. The app's working window is shown at the right.
We're installing it just to get the
underlying codecs that work with DVR Ripper.
The downloaded DVR
Ripper file from the Green
Button is a 2.8 MB zip package. In it is a setup executable
and related files.
When installing DVR Ripper, I got 2
cautionary messages about files on my computer being newer than ones
being installed, with a recommendation to keep the existing ones... I
The installation adds C:\Program
Files\TVShowExport\TVShowExport.exe... when I ran it for the first time,
it was searching for TVshow Export. I was a little confused but it
was satisfied when I pointed it to the DVR-Ripper.exe that
was just installed with it.
It opens with a note that it is for
evaluation purposes only, appropriate for a beta software version.
Here's the main working window with one of my
saved TV shows opened in it.
I checked the option to remux
into a single MPEG-2 file, and ended up with 3 MPEG-2 files. The separate
m2a and m2v audio and video files, and the combined mpg. The separate audio and
video files would have been deleted if I had checked that option.
The conversion process was quick
and the files played well in WMP, but with a very noticeable sync
Being MPEG-2 files, we
still need one more conversion step to get them to a format that
will work in Movie Maker.
Final Conversion - MPEG-2 to
I thought that, if the
above utilities didn't finish the job, I could use...
TMPGEnc - the
tried and true all-purpose MPEG Utility
I was able to get the DVR Ripper
audio file into it, but it wouldn't accept the video or combined audio/video
file... it said the video stream was an illegal one.
VDubMod - an Open Source
Have a great weekend...