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DVD to SVCD Conversion Guide

Version 1.1 (26 July 2002)

Introduction DVD DIGEST

Super VideoCD (SVCD) is a lower quality video format than DVD, and exists on CD media. Most DVD players will support the playback of VCDs, but only a few will playback SVCDs - not all DVD players can playback CD-Rs either (check your player's manuals for more information).

DVD2SVCD is an all-in-one DVD to SVCD conversion tool that does everything except for the final burning of the SVCD. Best of all, it's a free tool, although it does require the use of TMPGEnc or CCE SP, both of which aren't free (TMPGEnc has a 30-day MPEG-2 encoding trial, but you'll have to purchase the Pro version in order to have MPEG-2 encoding after the 30 days - a demo is available for CCE SP, but a logo is displayed on your encoded video). This guide will only cover instructions for using DVD2SVCD with TMPGEnc.

DVD2SVCD can be used either to produce an MPEG-2 file that is SVCD compatible (ready for burning in CD writing software such as Nero Burning ROM - relying on Nero Burning ROM to format the SVCD), or produce a SVCD formatted CD image file that can be burned on any CD writing software to produce a compatible SVCD. This guide will cover how to make a SVCD formatted CD image file, for burning in Nero Burning ROM.

To sum up, DVD2SVCD does the following for you :
    1. Rip the DVD
    2. Rip the DVD subtitles (optional)
    3. Convert the DVD video to MPEG-2
    4. Convert the DVD audio
    5. Format SVCD
    6. Produce SVCD formatted CD image file for burning in CD writing software
This guide is intended to teach you how to convert your DVD to a SVCD using the DVD2SVCD tool.

Requirements DVD DIGEST

Software :

  • Version 1.1 - 26 July 2002 - Added more information regarding "Bitrate" selection.

  • Version 1.0 - 24 July 2002 - First public version of this guide.

Instructions DVD DIGEST
  1. Install DVD2SVCD and either TMPGEnc.

  2. Insert your DVD movie into your DVD drive. While DVD2SVCD will authenticate the DVD (authentication is required before the DVD can be ripped/converted), it might be wise to playback the DVD with your software DVD player first to authenticate it.

  3. Start DVD2SVCD. We'll need to setup DVD2SVCD first. Click on the "Misc" tab and press the "Default Output Folder" => "Set Default Output Folder" => change this to where you want DVD2SVCD to output all files.

    For "Input type", select "DVD". For "Output type", select "MPEG-2".

    If you are worried about DVD2SVCD crashing during encoding, and want to be able to recover the encoding process (so that the encoding process isn't wasted), then click on the "Recover" button and choose a location for the "DVD2SVCD crash recovery file", which can be loaded here later to continue a crashed encoding session.

    Process priority determines how hard DVD2SVCD should work in regards to other programs - setting it to "high" will mean that DVD2SVCD will take as much CPU power as possible regardless of any other programs that are running - this setting is for when you don't want to be doing anything with your computer other than encoding with DVD2SVCD. Setting it to "idle" will mean that DVD2SVCD will only work when no other programs are running. Setting it to "normal" will mean DVD2SVCD will share CPU power with other running programs.

    DVD2SVCD - Misc

  4. Then click on the "Encoder" tab to go to the "Encoder" setup section, and select "TMPGEnc". You'll need to specify where the TMPGEnc program is installed on your computer (so DVD2SVCD can use it).

    For "Rate control mode", select "2pass variable bitrate (VBR)".

    "Enable padding not to be lower than minimum bit rate" is an option avaialble when you select VBR encoding, which simply tells TMPGEnc not to encode the movie below the set minimum bit-rate.

    Leave "Field order" set as "Automatic".

    "Motion search precision" tells TMPGEnc how hard it should work when analysing the difference between this frame and the next. Choosing the highest quality setting will slow down encoding, although for movies with lots of moving scenes, it is worth selecing the higher quality setting.

    DVD2SVCD - Encoder

  5. Next, go to the "Bitrate" section, which allows you to set how many CDs you want to spread the movie based on the length of the movie. This section is pretty easy to follow, but for the sake of clarity, I'll explain what the highlighted (see picture below) line means :

    This line means that if the movie is between 76 minutes and 100 minutes, then DVD2SVCD should produce two 74 minute (740 = 74 minute CDs ; 800 = 80 minutes CDs ; 900 = 90 minutes CDs ; 999 = 99 minutes CDs) CDs for this movie. This movie will have a bitrate range of 2515 to 1887.

    If you find that DVD2SVCD produces a movie that doesn't follow the CD limits you've set, then you should make sure the "Min. avg" checkbox is unchecked and/or lower the "Min." bit-rate setting to '0'.

    The default settings works well in most situations. You should leave the "Warn if the total bitrate is too high (Max. total bitrate is 2756 kb/sec)" option checked, as the SVCDs format has a bit-rate limit.

    DVD2SVCD - Bitrate

  6. Go to the "DVD Rip" section and enable the "Activate DVD ripping" option. Leave the "Use Internal routines" option selected - if when you start conversion in DVD2SVCD and it stops at the DVD ripping step, then change the option to "Use vStrip".

    DVD2SVCD - DVD Rip

  7. We can now load the DVD into DVD2SVCD. Go to the "Conversion" section and click on the button with a "CD" graphic on it to load the DVD.

    Click on the "Movie length" pulldown box, and here, you can select which chapters you want to convert. If you are converting the whole movie, and select all the chapters by pressing the "All" button.

    DVD2SVCD - Chapters

    For "Aspect Ratio", select "4:3" if the DVD movie you are converting is full-screen or not "16:9 enhanced" or "enhanced for widescreen TVs". Otherwise, select "16:9". If you don't know, then you can have a look at the back of the DVD cover, which will usually state whether the disc is "16:9 enhanced" or "enhanced for widescreen TVs".

    If your DVD is PAL formatted, then choose one of the "Deinterlace" options. Choose "Telecide (PAL)" if you want the best quality, otherwise, choose "SeperateFields/SelectEvery (PAL)" or "VerticalReduceBy2 (PAL)" if you want a faster, but lower quality, deinterlace algorithm.

    A SVCD can have up to 2 audio streams, and you can select the audio tracks you want here. Use the little downwards arrow besides each track and select the first (1) and second (2) audio tracks, or deselect the current one. You must choose at least one audio track.

    DVD2SVCD - Conversion

  8. Go to the audio section. Most of the settings here can be left alone.

    Selecting audio priorities means that if the priority 1 audio selected (I selected English - see picture below) is not available, then the priority 2 audio (I selected Francais) will be used. Since SVCDs can have 2 audio tracks, you can also set the priorities of the second track here as well.

    You should also set the audio bitrate - 128 seems to work well in most situations.

    As for the "downsample 48 -> 44.1" option, this option is for converting the 48 kHz audio on DVDs to the 44.1 kHz required by the SVCD format. However, SVCDs with 48 kHz sound does work in most situations as well, so it's up to you whether you want to enable this option. Note that enabling downsampling will cause a decrease in audio quality.

    DVD2SVCD - Audio

  9. If you want your SVCD to have subtitles as well, then you should go to the "Subtitles" section.

    Enable the "Rip subtitles" option to let DVD2SVCD process subtitles.

    "SVCD subtitles" and "CVD subtitles" are subtitles that can be turned off with your standalone DVD/SVCD player - unfortunately, not all DVD/SVCD players support these types of subtitles ("SVCD subtitles" is probably supported by more DVD/SVCD players). Permanent is subtitles that is permanently burnt onto the movie (can't be removed/turned off), and this will work with all DVD/SVCD players.

    Use the "Subtitle palette" option to change the color (foreground/background) of the subtitle.

    DVD2SVCD - Subtitles

  10. Now go to the "CD Image" section to make the CD image file to be used for burning the SVCD.

    Select the "VCDXBuild" option down below to use it to make the SVCD CD image.

    You can specify a "Movie Title" and "CD Label" for your SVCD here.

    You can also specify a "Title picture" and "ChangeCD picture" to use (ChangeCD picture is shown at the end of the SVCD to tell you to insert the next CD). The "Use ChangeCD on all CD's" option will add a ChangeCD image to all CDs, even the last one (which may not need a "ChangeCD" graphics, since there are not CDs after it).

    If your standalone DVD/SVCD player is a good one and has good compatibility with the SVCD format, then the other features (like "Use Entrysvd" and "Use MPEGAV instead of MPEG2") don't need to be changed, since they are all about compatibility with your DVD/SVCD player. On some buggy DVD/SVCD players, you may have to play around with these settings to produce a compatible SVCD - you will have to search the net for more information regarding your DVD/SVCD player and which settings are required.

    As for the chapter options, selecting "DVD Chapters" will make sure that your SVCD will have the same chapter stops as the original DVD. The default selected "PBC Use Selection" is the best option to choose here, unless your DVD/SVCD player doesn't support this feature well, and you'll have to select "PBC Use Playlist" instead. Select "no PBC" if your DVD/SVCD player does not support PBC (most do). "Fixed chapters" allows you to select a fixed time for all chapter stops.

    DVD2SVCD - CD Image

  11. There are some other sections such as "Matrix" (advanced feature for experts only) and "Frameserver" which you might want to have a look at, but it is not necessary to change any options as the default ones will do just fine. We're now read to start the DVD to SVCD conversion process!!

  12. Go back to the "Conversion" section and press the "Go" button => "Rip and convert" to start conversion.

  13. There is one more window which will pop up, and this window will let you confirm which subtitle you are ripping and how it will look. Press "OK" to continue.

    DVD2SVCD - Subtitles

  14. Now all you have to do is to wait while DVD2SVCD converts your DVD to a SVCD formatted CD image file. Several programs will pop-up during the conversion process (eg. DVD2AVI, TMPGEnc), so don't worry about them. You can have a look at DVD2SVCD's "Log" section to see what's going on, and whether there are any error messages.

    When the log displays "SVCD Creation finished!", check the directory where you choose to output the CD image files and you should find several .bin and .cue file (eg. CD_Image_File_CD1.bin, CD_Image_File_CD1.cue, CD_Image_File_CD2.bin, CD_Image_File_CD2.cue, etc ...) - each BIN/CUE set represents a single SVCD disc that can be burned onto a CD-R. Please read on below to find out how to burn BIN/CUE files using Nero Burning ROM.

Burning BIN/CUE files using Nero Burning ROM

  1. Start Nero Burning ROM and from the "File" menu, select "Burn Image". Locate your CUE file and load it into Nero.

  2. Nero will now let you select the burning options. If you've used Nero before, then these settings should already be familiar for you (if not, please refer to Nero's help files for more information on these options). Just make sure the "Write Method" option is set to "Disc-At-Once".

  3. Click on the "Write" button to start burning.

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