Divide and Conquer the DVD

It’s been several weeks since I last posted something here.  This is beause I’ve been rather busy preparing to get married, getting married, and then having a honeymoon.  Anyway I’m back and I’d thought I’d write a little something about a little task I set myself a few days back.

I had a martial arts instructional DVD and I was looking at converting it into some small DIVX files I could chuck onto a memory stick and take with me to a seminar to watch on the train.  The DVD primarily comprised of techniques I wanted to revise, but on the DVD the chapters lumped these together into groups and I wanted a more accessible way to pick out the techniques I wanted to look at.

I also wanted to put this together without spending any money on expensive video editing software.   The freeware and open source community for the Windows OS’ did not disappoint….

I began by using Clone AD’s PGC.NET (Program Chain {ripper}) to generate an AVI file of the DVD.  After scanning the disc with this application i selected the largest PGC chain (by largest I mean the one with the longest time index listed against it).  After setting an apprioriate output folder and starting the processing, this produced a nice high quality (read ‘big’) AVI file for me to work with.

The next step was to use VirtualDub to take each section and copy out the sections that I wanted into the small manageable files I wanted.  Before actually saving out any smaller video clips I made sure that I set VirtualDub to use a DIVX codec for the default video output .  A quick test clip ensured that the particular DIVX codec I chose was appropriate for the DVD form (i.e. 4:3 aspect ratio rather than 16:9).

If you don’t have an appropriate DIVX codec installed pop along to www.divx.com to get a DIVX player and codec pack bundle.

For the actual conversion I simply set the start and end markers for each clip and selected to save the clip with an appropriate name (for each technique).  I also made use of the tick box on the save dialog box to batch the jobs up and then run them unsupervised.  This saves time as you don’t have to wait for the clip export to run before saving your next clip.

This method took 4.07GB of DVD files(VOB, IFO and BUP) ripped them to a single 699 MB AVI file (44.5 minute duration at 128kbps @ 640x480) which was then split into twenty DIVX AVI files totalling 290 MB in size.  Of these I only actually wanted 17 of the clips at 248 MB … enough to maybe cram onto a 256 MB flash drive.

This may not be the best way to do things, but I certainly found it quick, simple and free.   Many tutorials reference AutoGordianKnot (AGK), but I found this threw up errors on my PC (which in all honesty does get thrashed and trashed with all sorts of random software installs).  This may provide an even simpler way to get the DVD into DIVX in one go, but using PGK.NET to get a “pure” AVI and then VirtualDub to do the clipping and DIVX encoding seemed to be an efficient method so as to only encode at the last possible step and not introduce any degredation through any re-encoding that (I guessed) might occur when the clips are exported.

I hope you find this helpful and I’ll try and catch up on some posting!

Author: Stephen Millard
Tags: | utilities |

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