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Copy your DVD into DivX5 format - Guide for 16:9 anamorphic movies


This guide is no longer maintained. It is stored mainly for future historians to investigate. For more up-to-date information, please see our other guides.

This guide is an alternative to our previous DVD to VideoCD guide. Only real difference between these two guides is the format that we are using in here. So, now I suggest you to decide whther you want to use DivX5 or VideoCD format for your backup copying:

  • DivX5 offers extremely good video quality when one average-length movie is stored in 2 CDs, but on the other hand, DivX movies can't be used with stand-alone DVD players.
  • VideoCD quality can be compared to VHS quality -- and I don't mean your personal TV recordings, but to those brand-new VHS cassettes that you buy from video stores. DivX quality is significantly better anyway, but on the other hand, VideoCD discs can be played back with almost any regular stand-alone DVD player.

So, if you wish to create VCD, read this guide instead, but if you prefer DivX, continue reading this one.

Aspect ratio


Ok, now you need to check the back of your DVD movie in order to see what aspect ratio the movie has, because we have three different guides for three different aspect ratios. So, once you've found your aspect ratio, make your selection:

4:3 aspect ratio - please go to this guide
16:9 aspect ratio - please continue reading this guide


Requirements


Ok, I try to make this guide a no-brainer, but unlike in VCD, good quality DivX encoding requires more tweaking and thinking. First of all, I really recommend that you encode DivXs with fast PC, as the process is _slow_. Then, you need helluva lot of free HDD space -- not hundreds of megs, but appx. 7-10 gigabytes of free HDD space for this process. And finally, in hardware section, you need to have DVD-ROM drive.

Then, you need to have bunch of free tools for this process, you can download them from here:

  • DVD2AVI (note: you should try this new version first, but some users have had problems with it, so if you have problems opening the .d2v project with VFAPIConvert, try version 1.76 from here)
  • VFAPI Reader Codec
  • DV-Tool
  • DivX 5 Pro Codec (no longer available, replaced by DivX Create
  • VirtualDub
  • CDEx (note: v1.5x seems to have problems with large WAVs, try it first anyway, but if it doesn't work, try v1.4x instead)


You might also need a DVD ripping software.


The process


In this guide we aim to create a DivX backup of DVD movie encoded with DivX5's 2-pass technique and with LAME's MP3 encoding algorithms and to adjust the data consuming so that the movie would fit perfectly on two regular 74 minute CDs. Some people prefer encoding videos to one CD, but that is a significant compromise on quality and we wont do that in here.


DVD ripping


Sorry, this section of the guide had to be removed by the AfterDawn administration to comply with Finnish Copyright Laws that went into effect on 1 January, 2006. For more information please see this link -> http://www.afterdawn.com/guides/archive/afterdawn_guides_copyright_law.cfm

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DVD2AVI


DVD2AVI is a tool that can convert VOB files into AVI files. But we don't use it for this purpose (actually we use, but not exactly in the old-fashioned sense) because it doesn't allow certain filters etc to be added to the decoding process. Instead, we use DVD2AVI as a frameserver for VirtualDub. In this guide, we downmix the audio to 44.1kHz because most of the soundcards don't handle 48kHz very well and we want to create DivX videos that can be played with most of the PCs.


Creating a DVD2AVI project


Open DVD2AVI and select from File menu option called Open. Now you should see the file dialog, navigate yourself into the directory where you ripped your VOB files and select the first one (as they are named continuously, DVD2AVI understands to select the other ones as well). Now click OK and you should see the first frame of the actual movie in the main window.

Hit F5 and DVD2AVI starts previewing the movie. Just let it run for few seconds -- you should see a statistics box to appear next to the main window and information should appear in the boxes soon after this. After you see text in most of the boxes, click Esc in order to stop the previewing. Now, write these things down to a paper: Video type (PAL or NTSC), Frame type (progressive, interlaced, etc), Aspect ratio (16:9 or 4:3) and Frame rate (29.97fps for NTSC, 25fps for PAL and 24fps for NTSCFilm).

Note: If DVD2AVI says that the movie is FILM instead of PAL or NTSC, it means that movie is in NTSC format, but its framerate is 23.97 instead of 29.97.


DVD2AVI audio settings


Ok, ok.. This is a part that some people will whine about, but this my opinion is that this is the easiest way to deal with the audio ripping, although there are methods that produce better-quality sound, but as said: I'm not going to make this an experts guide, but just a very brief and basic DVD->DivX5 guide. Ok, now go to Audio menu and select Track number -- this normally selects the language of the movie. To ease your pain in here, you can watch the VOB files with your software DVD player (like PowerDVD) and check the language selection list -- the order is exactly the same as in here, normally English audio track is the Track #1. Select the correct audio track from the list.

Now, still from Audio menu, select 48 -> 44.1 and choose High or UltraHigh. After this, go to Dolby Digital menu and select Decode. Make also sure that Dynamic Range Control (found under Dolby Digital) is set as Normal. Select also Dolby Surround Downmix and you're done with audio settings.


Save the project


Now you just go to File menu and select Save project and choose the destination -- note that this destination should have appx. 1.5GB of free HDD space because the decoded WAV is going to be stored in that directory. Decoding and creating the .d2v project file takes about an hour with P3/800.


VFAPIConvert


VFAPIConvert is a tool that allows us to convert DVD2AVI project file into a pseudo-AVI. This is required, because VirtualDub can't open VFAPI supported files. Pseudo-AVI is an extremely short AVI file that looks like a normal AVI to VirtualDub, but once VirtualDub opens it, the codec that handles the AVI kicks in (VFAPI Reader Codec) and loads the information it needs from DVD2AVI's .d2v project file and from original VOB files and passes that information back to VirtualDub in uncompressed video stream.


Convert .d2v to pseudo-AVI


Now, just open VFAPIConvert, click Add job and select the .d2v file. Then select both Video output boxes and click OK and hit Convert. That will generate a pseudo-AVI file for you.


DV-Tool


DV-Tool is an excellent bitrate calculator that we use to determine best possible video bitrate for our DivX video. In the storage media box you should manually modify the entry and change it to 1200 MB. Then change the audio to 160Kb MP3 and enter your movie length in the length box in minutes. Note: we use 1200MB in here, so you can fit the movie into 2 74min CDs and leave a little bit room if you want to include infos, cover art or maybe the subtitle files into the CD as well. Now you should see the optimal bitrate in its box (in green font). Write this down.


CDEx


We use CDEx to encode WAV file into WAV-wrapped MP3 file (or Riff-WAV, whatever). Open CDEx and go to the Options menu and select Settings. Select Encoder tab and set the values. Change the Encoder to LAME and Version to MPEG 1. Set Bitrate Min to 160kbps and Mode to Stereo. Then change Quality to Very high quality and check that VBR Method is Disabled. After this click OK.
Also, remember to change the directory where CDEx creates the output files. You can change this from Filenames tab under Settings panel.


Encode WAV to MP3


Ok, now go to Convert menu and select WAV -> MPEG. Now CDEx opens a window where you can add tracks for the task list. Just locate the dir where the WAV is that DVD2AVI created for you and you should see the WAV in the list. From the bottom of the window select Normalize and RIFF-WAV. Finally hit Convert and CDEx will create you a new MP3 file that has WAV extension (so it can be loaded with VirtualDub).


VirtualDub


VirtualDub is the free video editing tool in the world. It basically processes the video we have and encodes it into DivX5 in this process. First of all, choose Open video file.. from File menu and select the pseudo-AVI we created with VFAPIConvert previously. If the video doesn't open, you didn't install VFAPI Reader Codec correctly.

Now, go to Audio menu and select WAV Audio and load the Riff-WAV file CDEx created for you. After that's done, select Direct stream copy from Audio menu.


Basic video settings


Now, let's go to the Video menu. Make sure that Full processing mode is selected. After this, select Compression. Here you can see all your encoding-capable video codecs. Select the one that says DivX Codec Pro 5.XX (XX being the current highest version number). In right side box you should see some information about the codec. Don't care about this, but just click Configure and you get into the most important page of this process.


DivX5 2-pass, first pass settings


Here you can make various modifications to the video encoding algorithms. I recommend leaving most of the fields as they are, but certain values need to be changed. Most important one to change is the bitrate or Encoding bitrate. Now, enter here the exact value you got from DV-Tool earlier in this guide. Then remember to select all three MPEG4 Tools options; select Use Quarter Pixel, Use GMC and Use Bidirectional Encoding. These settings will improve the video quality further.


General Parameters tab


From General Parameters tab, don't touch any of the default settings -- we don't use cropping, resizing, etc in here, because VirtualDub will do that for us.


Advanced Parameters tab


In Advanced Parameters tab you just make sure that Performance/Quality is set as Slowest which obviously provides the best possible quality. After you've done this, you can close DivX settings by clicking OK as we don't need Manage Settings tab now.


Inverse Telecine (IVTC) if video is in NTSC format


Note: This part only applies to you if your source DVD is in (applies only to 29.97fps films, not 23.97fps films!) NTSC format, meaning basically that it is purchased from United States or Canada (region 1)!

Inverse telecine is used to avoid audio synch problems with NTSC material to convert the video back to its original source framerate (23.976). Go to Video menu and select Frame rate. Leave the Frame rate conversion as No change and in Inverse telecine selection, select Reconstruct from fields - adaptive. After you've selected this one, just click OK to close the window.


Deinterlace


If your video is in interlaced mode -- you should have seen this from DVD2AVI -- you need to deinterlace it, otherwise you can skip this part.

Go to Video menu and select Filters. You see your filter list in here. Now, select Add and from the filter list select Deinterlace and click OK. VirtualDub opens a small window for you to select the deinterlacing method. Select Blend fields together (best) because it really is the best method :-) Then just click OK.

Note! In some versions of VirtualDub, the Blend fields together mode didn't work correctly and therefor if you experience problems with delace, try using Duplicate field 1 or Duplicate field 2 setting.


Resize


This has to be done, because (as you've already noticed) the video source doesn't have the 16:9 bit inside it now when it its ripped from the DVD -- this means that programs try to show the video in 4:3 (regular TV aspect ratio) format and picture looks really funny -- picture is really in this standard TV format in terms of pixels, DVD pixels are 720x480 (NTSC) or 720x576 (PAL) which is exact same as regular 4:3 TV resolution. So, we need to squeeze the Y-axel into smaller one. Also, it is very common procedure to squeeze the X-axel to 640 pixels as well, because in that size you can use 640x480 resolution with your computer and picture doesn't have to be stretched in any way. Ok, if your movie is stored in the DVD in 16:9 format (this is the case even if your movie is in 2.35:1 format, because then it is actually in 16:9 format with black lines in DVD) which it normally is -- check your movie's case, it should say the aspect ratio -- we can easily calculate the correct resolution for the movie. Let's take 640 for X-axel and if we divide that with 16 we get 40. And 40 times 9 is 360. Ok, so our resolution will be 640x360.

Ok, let's click Add again in the filter list and select Resize from the list. Just enter the values in (in our case 640 and 360) and from the Filter mode list select Precise bicubic (there are three bicubic filters, please experiment with all of them to see what suits best for you, we've used -0.75 here, but it's really up to you what you prefer) which produces best quality when shrinking the image. Uncheck the Interlaced and Expand frame and letterbox image boxes. After you've done this, click OK.


Crop the video


Ok, now we need to get rid of the unnecessary black lines in the video -- normally there's only few pixels, but it takes up space anyway. Now, click Add and select Null transform filter from the list and click OK. Back in the filter window, click Cropping.. and you get into a window that allows you to get rid of the unnecessary parts of the picture.

Use the four adjusters to cut off the black lines of the video. Don't crop other than the black lines!. You should be able to figure out this one pretty easily -- use the slider in the bottom to view some frame from the middle of the movie so you can see the picture clearly. Once you've made your adjustments, click OK (note: if you use some small resolution, you might not see the OK button -- it is in the bottom of the window, so change your resolution to a higher one, 1280x1024 is good for this one) and you're back into filter list.

Note! In most of the cases, both axis need to be multiplies of 16 and therefor you should be careful when cropping your video to "odd" sizes -- by using other than multiplies of 16, you might end up having a video that is b/w and is in 45 angle :-). So, in case that you would reduce the height of the video to, let's say, 350 pixels, leave two black lines and crop it to 352 instead (352/16=22 -- multiple of 16).

Also, normally you shouldn't crop the right or left black lines, because we recommend to keep the width in 640. By having the width of the video in 640 allows you to watch it in 640x480 resolution fullscreen so that your player doesn't have to resize the picture once again -- resizing always reduces the quality of the picture.

Ok, now you can close the filter list window -- simply click OK.


Save the first pass


Ok, now we're done with the first part of this encoding process. Now go to File menu and select Save AVI. Select your destination directory and type the filename. Filename should be named something like this: moviename-firstpass.avi. And this one is IMPORTANT: remember to select the Add operation to job list and defer processing - this HAS TO BE DONE, otherwise the 2-pass encoding doesn't work!!


The second pass


Now we need to create the second pass encoding job. Go to Video menu and select Compression. Select DivX5 codec and click Configure. From Variable bitrate mode select 2-pass, second pass and leave other settings untouched. Just click OK to return back to codec list and click OK on that again to return back to VirtualDub. Now go to File menu and select Save AVI again. Select a directory and type in the filename. Filename should be different than in first pass phase, I recommend naming the second file something like moviename-secondpass.avi. Then, once again, remember to select Add operation to job list and defer processing. Then just click Save.

Finally you should go to File menu again and select Job control. You should see your two AVI processes in here. Just click Start and go to sleep, it takes a while :-)


Splitting the file & final words


Now you just need to split the AVI in half in order to fit it into CDs. You can read instructions for splitting the AVI files from this article.

If you have any problems, questions or comments, please feel free to post those to our discussion forums.

Written by: Petteri "dRD" Pyyny
Last updated: 25 July 2007