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Here's a cheap and cheerful way of copying a DVD feature film in VideoCD form onto two CDs. This can be viewed using any DVD player which supports the Vcd format.

 

Requirements

 

 

DVD-ROM drive 

CD-RW drive

5 - 10gb spare hard-disk space (can be freed-up afterwards)

Burning software that supports VideoCD (e.g. NERO or Easy CD Creator Platinum)

These free downloads:

 

                     SmartRipper  to create a VOB file

                     DVD2AVI      to create an AVI file 

                     TMPGEnc     to create an MPG file

                     VirtualDub     to extract audio (sometimes necessary - see below)

 

                This internet article will take you through the required steps

 

 

If you don't want the hassle then there are commercial packages such as this which will do the same job.

 

If all you want to do is watch films on your PC then load the AVI file into Windows Media Player or similar - be sure you have the right codecs (especially DivX)

 

Addendum

 

An alternative method for splitting an MPG file in TMPGEnc is to use the source range on the advanced tab rather than the Merge & Cut tool in MPEG tools. This avoids the clock problems sometimes reported by CD Creator for split files.

 

 

TMPGEnc

 

 

If you have an AVI file of unknown provenance and wish to convert it to MPG then you'll need to check out its content first.

 

 

AVI stands for Audio Video Interleave. AVI is a file format, like MP3 or JPG. But unlike these formats, AVI is a container format,   meaning it can contain video/audio compressed using many different combinations of codecs. AVI all look the same on the "outside", but on the "inside", they may be completely different. There is no such thing as a "normal" AVI file, but the closest you can get is probably an AVI file that contains no compression. AVI files has been around since the time of Windows 3.1, so by no means is it a new thing, and is probably the most common video format around (although its popularity wavered a few years ago, but has since come back with a vengeance due to the emergence of DivX). See this glossary

 

 

To check the content of an AVI file first download this analytical tool from http://avicodec.duby.info/ then simply right-click on the file in Windows Explorer and select 'AVIcodec : detailed information'. You'll see something like this:

 

 

AVI

 

 

If the audio codec is mp3 or mpg1 then you can convert from AVI to MPG without problems in TMPGEnc. However, if the codec is AC-3, (as in the case above) you will need first to extract the audio content from the file using VirtualDub (be sure to install the AC-3 codec first - it's available here). You should now give the AVI file as the video source and the extracted audio file as the audio source in TMPGEnc

 

And one final tip. It can be problematical getting the correct video format for a converted MPG file. Look at the video information in the AVIcodec : detailed information and use this in the advanced tab of TMPGEnc, as here:

 

TMPGEnc2

 

 

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Copyright 2008 [Fen Tyler]