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FAQ: DVD to DVD-R (or DVD+R/RW) copying

Discussion in 'DVDR' started by dRD, Jul 31, 2002.

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  1. dRD

    dRD I hate titles Staff Member

    Jun 10, 1999
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    Ok, very, very short FAQ and some useful links:

    Q: Can I just copy my DVD to DVD-R?

    A: To put it simply: No.

    Q: Why DVDs can't be copied like CDs?

    A: DVDs include copy-protection mechanism called CSS (http://www.afterdawn.com/glossary/terms/css.cfm) that prevents direct copying.

    Q: How do I copy DVDs then?

    A: If the DVD, including _ALL_ files on DVD, is less than 4.36GB in size, it can be copied to DVD-R very easily. These discs are called DVD-5 or single layer DVDs. Guide for this: http://www.afterdawn.com/articles/archive/small_dvd_2_dvdr.cfm

    Q: How about movies that are bigger than this?

    A: That's much, much more complicated thing. Basically depending on the movie, there are four options. Normally, if disc contains so-called "extra features", those can be stripped out. If the disc, containing _all_ the files without these extras, is less than 4.36GB in size, it can be burned like that on DVD. Other option is that if the movie is only slightly over 4.36GB, you can try to remove "unnecessary" audio and subtitle tracks from the movie to try if it fits on 4.36GB after that. We have developed a small thingy that lets you see other users comments on DVDs and how they've managed to copy them and lets you post your infos as well, find it from here: http://www.afterdawn.com/dvd/dvd_layer.cfm

    Q: Ummh.. How do you exactly strip out extras and/or subtitles and/or extra audios?

    A: Kinda complicated, but the tool you definately need is called IFOEdit, grab the latest version from here: http://www.afterdawn.com/software/video_software/dvd_tools/ifoedit.cfm ... For guides, unfortunately we don't have those yet, but visit excellent de facto digital video site, doom9 at: http://www.doom9.org/mpg/dvdr-guides.htm

    Q: IFOEdit doesn't work on my Win XP?!

    A: Yeah, life is tough, it doesn't. I recommend sticking with good old W2k.

    Q: I hear this stuff about file system?

    A: Yes, definately the choice for video editing is NTFS and you need to have either NT4, 2k or XP as your operating system to support it. This is because other file systems don't support huge files that well.

    Q: Ok, stripping the extras, subtitles and audio tracks didn't do it, movie is still too big?

    A: Two options -- split the movie to two DVD-Rs or re-encode it.

    Q: Splitting? How?

    A: IFOEdit again and doom9's guides.

    Q: Re-encoding?!

    A: Ok, this is kinda compromise solution. You basically encode the movie into MPEG-2 (http://www.afterdawn.com/glossary/terms/mpeg-2.cfm) again, but with lower bitrate than it was on original DVD. This _WILL_ make the quality drop, but hopefully not that much. For re-encoding there are three options, either ReMPEG2 (http://www.afterdawn.com/software/video_software/video_encoders/rempeg2.cfm), TMPGEnc (http://www.afterdawn.com/software/video_software/video_tools/tmpgenc.cfm) or CCE (commercial, no demo avail).

    Q: Ok, which one of those three (CCE, ReMPEG2, TMPGEnc) is best?

    A: Quality-wise, I would say CCE SP, but it costs around $2,000 which makes it slightly hard to get for most of the people. ReMPEG2 on the other hand has certain problems maintaining average bitrate (http://www.afterdawn.com/glossary/terms/abr.cfm) -- it tends to use "too much" bitrate for the beginning of the movie and has to "catch up" towards the end and uses less bitrate for the end parts, making the quality of the end part to drop more. TMPGEnc is probably the best solution as a compromise -- it costs $48 and produces good quality, 2-pass VBR (http://www.afterdawn.com/glossary/terms/2-pass.cfm http://www.afterdawn.com/glossary/terms/vbr.cfm) produces quality that almost matches to that of CCE's.

    Q: What's the difference between DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVD+RW and DVD-RAM?

    A: DVD-RAM is useless, it doesn't work on (stand-alone) DVD players at all. DVD+R discs barely exist yet, DVD+RW discs are costly, DVD-R discs are extremely cheap and DVD-RW discs are moderate price. "Plus" drives can only burn DVD+R/RW discs and "minus" drives burn only DVD-R/RW discs. Both drives can read both standards. DVD+R and DVD-R can be burned only once, DVD+RW and DVD-RW can be used like CD-RWs -- formatted and burned again. DVD-R and DVD+RW discs have best compatibility with players.

    Q: I've burned a DVD-R and my player doesn't play it?

    A: It's probably because of the DVD media you used (==disc brand). Players can be extremely picky about this. Try other, more expensive brand.

    Q: But my computer plays the disc ok?!?!

    A: So what? My computer shows Word documents and allows me to download porn -- my DVD player doesn't. PC is not a good platform to test if the disc was burned/authored correctly. Nor are those "Chinese brands" like Apex, KISS, Yamakawa, etcetc because they're virtually just PCs packed in DVD case. Try brands like Pioneer instead.

    Q: Authoring?

    A: Process where you make the menus & stuff to the DVD. DVD doesn't play if you just drag a video file in it.

    Q: I have appx 3 zillion VCD movies, how do I put them on DVD?

    A: Easy. Demux them with TMPGEnc's MPEG Tools into separate audio and video files and then use some authoring software to do the menus and import the demuxed files and simply burn it to DVD. No re-encoding required and quality will stay the same. Only problem is with the audio. If the audio is in 44.1kHz, it has to be changed to 48kHz using some tools like SSRC (http://www.afterdawn.com/software/audio_software/audio_tools/ssrc.cfm). Other tools you should look at include BeSweet & GUI, which offers nice interface for audio conversions.

    Q: Ok, but I have these SVCDs as well...?

    A: Much, much more complicated thing, because SVCD's resolution of 480x480/576 is not valid DVD resolution. I suggest that you forget the concept or if you insist, you can try this hack: http://www.doom9.org/mpg/svcd2dvdr.htm

    Q: But how about my DivXs, I would love to watch them on my DVD player using DVD-Rs...?

    A: Sh*t hap. Only way to do this is to re-encode the video and possibly change the audio. Complicated, specially if the audio is in AC3 format. And re-encoding _WILL_ lose quality, so the DVD-R version will look worse than your DivX. Anyway, if you insist again, use CCE or TMPGEnc to encode the video and if the audio is in AC3, use GraphEdit to demux the audio into separate file from AVI and use it as it is to author the DVD. If the audio is in MP3 format, you need to use VirtualDub to save the audio in WAV format and use tooLAME (http://www.afterdawn.com/software/audio_software/audio_encoders/toolame.cfm) to encode it back to MP2 (note, TWO, not THREE) format. And if the audio is in 44.1kHz, the normal stuff -- use SSRC (http://www.afterdawn.com/software/audio_software/audio_tools/ssrc.cfm) to change the frequency from 44.1kHz to 48kHz as DVD doesn't support 44.1kHz.

    Q: I hate video. Get into the good stuff. How do I copy PS2 games?

    A: I'm not very good at this one, but what I've learned, you need to use Primo Prassi authoring software to make a disc image out of your PS2 disc and burn that back to DVD-R. And then you need to have mod chip in your PS2, otherwise games wont work.

    Q: About this PS2 thing....?

    A: Drop it. We specialize in video editing.

    Q: Is this stuff illegal?

    A: Depends where you live and what you do with your DVD copies.

    Q: I have this DV home movie I wish to put on DVD, what do I do?

    A: Transfer it to PC, encode it using some of the MPEG-2 encoders (TMPGEnc, CCE SP) into DVD-compliant MPEG-2 format (like 720x480/576), author it (using some of the zillion DVD authoring tools like SpruceUp, DVDIt, MyDVD, Scenarist, etc) and burn it to DVD-/+R(W).
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2006
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