Quick and Easy Encoding to Video DVD

A common task is the encoding and authoring of a Video DVD. There are hundreds of tools that will assist in this process ranging from an all encompassing, and very expensive, author suite down to what you can get your hands-on freeware and open source software. Here I am going to use some open source software and then the Windows 7 Built in DVD Creator.

WinFF

WinFF is one of my favourite front ends for the FFMPEG library of encoders. Its a good way to actually see the command line parameters and then see what they output. The screenshot above shows the main interface on the left and then the Edit Presets page on the right. When you first open the program you need to add the video file you wish to convert. Then Choose what type, what preset and where you want your file to go. As you can see, I have Chosen DVD and the High Quality PAL version. Once learnt, you can apply your own presets. The one labelled DVD Low is one of mine, allowing for approx 4 1/2 hours on a Video DVD. The quality is around SVHS (In my Opinion!) There are lots of preset details online for nearly every device and standard format. After clicking convert, WinFF will start encoding your file.

Encoding my file

My file is encoding at a fairly good speed but as can be seen from the task manager, it isnt really using all my CPU Cores that well. Thats one of the main advantages of using good encoding software. They are built to use all the power of modern CPU’s. That said though, WinFF is no slouch and on my standard 2500 i5, I can rip through a 1hr15min mp4 and transcode to Mpeg2 in under 10mins.

We now have a good quality Mpeg2 file that is PAL Video DVD Compliant. Windows 7 comes with a handy authoring utility, Windows DVD Maker.

DVD Maker

This does do converting aswell – but I have never tried it and would rather encode myself and thereby control the quality.  I have not even used this to finally burn a disk and am just showing this as an example as an authoring software tool. Looking at some of the reviews – its encoding is very slow….perhaps another reason to encode first and author later!

The authoring process allows the menu and chapter creation etc.

DVD Menu Customisation

We can then go ahead and burn our Video DVD. Remember, A Video DVD needs to be authored correctly and you can’t just copy files from a DVD folder to a DVD disk and hope that it plays in a DVD Player. DVD Players will look for certain special files in a certain order.

The above example used the whole file, what would you do if you only wanted part of it?

For this I will use one of my favorites – Virtualdub with the FFdshow filters.

Virtualdub and the video files properties

Virtualdub allows for a little more flexibility in what you want and how you want it output. The first thing is to only select a certain clip.

Selecting only the part needed

Next, you can aplly filters and resize it to suit your intended display size. This is ideal if it was originally in a widescreen format but you need to display in 4:3.

Resize for 4:3

Once ready you can chose your compression

Video->Compression

Finally, once you are ready to save – remember to select All Files in your type box and then manually change the file extension from .avi to .mpg

As an example for 4:3 display, here are the two side by side…

4:3 Distorted v 4:3 Corrected with letterbox

I hope that has helped in some way and given you some food for thought when creating Video DVD files from other digital Video sources.

Links:

WinFF

My Virtualdub Pack

Wikipedia Entry for Video DVD

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By Spreadys Posted in EEPIP

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