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Extracting titles and menus with DVD Shrink
Even though it hasn't been updated in several years, DVD Shrink remains one of the most useful tools for extracting content from a DVD. The key is its reauthoring feature, which allows you to quickly and easily make a compilation containing any number of titles and menus from a DVD.
Step 1 - Identify titles
DVD Shrink's reauthoring feature depends on identifying titles by reading your DVD's IFO files. You might be surprised to find out just how many titles a DVD has because many of them are nothing more than short video clips which don't have separate menu. Before you can start selecting titles to keep, you will need to identify them. Fortunately DVD Shrink makes this easy.
1. Open Files
- You can open DVD files by either dragging a VIDEO_TS folder to the DVD Shrink window or clicking the Open Files button and browsing. It will take anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes to parse all the IFO files, depending on the speed of your computer. Unchecking 'Enable video preview' may speed up analysis.
2. Main Movie
- DVD Shrink will separate the longest title on your disc as the Main Movie. Most of the time this will be accurate. If you are dealing with an episodic disc, such as from a TV series, there may be multiple Main Movies, and DVD Shrink may guess wrong. When in doubt, check for yourself using DVD Shrink's Preview function. More on that below.
- Every other title will be listed as an extra. In the case of episodic discs, it's even possible individual episodes will be listed separately here. Keep in mind, multiple titles may refer to the same content. In fact, it's common for extras like trailers or deleted scenes to be represented once in one 'Play All' title and again separately. You may also find that some titles are listed together, as in the example above. These are duplicate titles which play the exact same content.
- To determine whether you want to keep a particular title you can select it and use the Preview pane to view it. Note the number listed for any title you want to keep. You will use these later when reauthoring.
Step 2 - Reauthor
Once you have figured out which titles you want to extract, you can switch to Reauthor mode to create a compilation with just the content you want to extract.
1. Reauthor button
- Click the Reauthor button to enter reauthor mode.
- The list of titles will be moved to the right side of the window. You can either drag the titles you want to keep to the left side, or simply double-click on them. Notice that the duplicate titles, which were listed together in Full Disc mode, are now separated.
3. Splitting titles
- Sometimes you may want to separate a single title on your DVD into several titles. In the example above, four trailers are grouped together as chapters in a single title. In order to separate them I have added that title four times, which I will then edit to include just a single chapter.
4. Set Start/End Frames
- After you add a title to your compilation, this button opens the Set Start/End Frames dialog. You can select the first and last chapter to include using the dropdown list or use the buttons to select specific frames. You may find that there is an extra chapter at the end which is just a single frame. That's just used so you can skip to the end of the title with the Next (chapter) button on a DVD Player Remote. It doesn't mean anything is missing.
In cases where individual segments of a title are also available as individual titles, such as this example from a TV series disc, you should add the smaller titles instead of splitting the larger one.
5. Compilation Settings
- Next you will want to set some options which will apply to the entire compilation. Select the DVD icon at the top of the list.
6. Compression Settings tab
- Click on Compression Settings to set video compression options. Select No Compression so DVD Shrink won't alter the video in any way when it creates your compilation.
On the Compression Settings tab you can also uncheck audio streams you don't want in your compilation. For example, if you only want audio in English, uncheck everything else. The same goes for subtitles. You may want to select a single title on the left before unchecking audio streams. Otherwise you may accidentally remove all the audio from some titles.
7. Set VOB size (optional)
- VOB files on a DVD are split into 1GB pieces, which are then joined together by a DVD player. In rare cases you may need to use software which can't reassemble these pieces the way a DVD player does. If that's the case, or if you just want to be sure, you can tell DVD Shrink not to split VOB files. Select Preferences from the Edit menu.
When the Preferences dialog appears, select the Output Files tab and uncheck Split VOB files into 1GB size chunks.
- Click the Backup button to start creating your new compilation. You may get a warning that the DVD size is too big to fit on a disc. Click Yes to dismiss it.
A. Select backup target
- Make sure backup target is set to Hard Disk Folder.
B. Select target folder
- Click the Browse button to set the folder to save your new DVD files in.
C. VIDEO_TS and AUDIO_TS subfolders
- DVD players require that files be stored in a special folder called VIDEO_TS. When you are working with files on your hard drive it's just another level of folders you have to click on to find a file. Unchecking this tells DVD Shrink to skip those folders.
When all the options are set, click OK to create your new DVD compilation.
One thing that most people probably don't realize about DVDs is that the menus are also titles. They are just a special kind of title which are stored in different files than regular titles. One unique feature of DVD Shrink is its ability to turn menu titles into regular titles. While this may not be very useful most of the time, sometimes you may want to re-create the menus, or at least a facsimile of the original menus, either as part of a new DVD or in some other format like Blu-ray. In rare cases you may even find that some titles, such as trailers, are actually authored as menus.
Menus are listed just above the Main Movie in Full Disc mode. Unlike the Extra Features, they are organized by Titleset, which basically just means VTS number. In other words, the menus listed under Title Menus will be stored in the file VIDEO_TS.VOB, the menus listed under VTS 1 will be in VTS_01_0.VOB, the menus under VTS 2 will be located in VTS_02_0.VOB, and so on.
A. Title Menus
- Title Menus usually consist of things like legal warnings, short videos featuring studio logos, and other video segments which only play once at the beginning of the DVD. However, you shouldn't completely overlook them. On at least one DVD in my collection there are also movie trailers in the Title Menus.
B. VTS Menus
- VTS menus are where things like the main, chapter, languages, and special feature menus are. These may be motion menus which consist of normal video and audio or still menus which consist of a still image which may or may not have audio. In either case, these can be reauthored normally although you will lose any actual menu funtionality. Interactive features like what happens when you select a menu button are controlled by instructions in the IFO files, which won't be retained when reauthoring.
- Within each set of menus there may be duplicate sets of menus for different languages. In most cases there's no reason to keep menus in more than one language, but you certainly can if you want to.
- Like regular titles, menus may have chapters, but they are used for different purposes. And for both of the common cases you may want to create new titles with individual chapters when reauthoring in DVD Shrink.
The first case is a set of still menus. Chapter selection menus, for example, will commonly be a single title with one chapter for each still.
Motion menus are also commonly divided into at least two chapters. The first will be a transition or introduction segment which plays once. The second (or second and beyond) will be the main part of the menu which loops endlessly. When reauthoring, it's a good idea to put the introduction/transition segment into a separate title from the looping portion.
Hints and Tips
When you are extracting many titles, or titles and menus, from a DVD, it's a good idea to do it in several passes. Reauthor once with just the main feature, another time with just the deleted scenes, more passes for individual extras, and once for each type of menu. It will take a little longer, but may save much more time later when you need to figure out which files are for what.