Compile (Super)VideoCDs using VCDEasy

VCDEasy is a freeware frontend to the GNU VCD tools package. Using VCDEasy you can easily create standard compilant VCDs that both look good and are easy to use. This guide goes through a simple procedure of creating a Super VideoCD with a title picture and chapter points. You can easily use the process as a reference for creating other types of discs.

Obviously you need to download VCDEasy before we start. Read our other articles for information on how to create a proper (S)VCD video file.

MPEG Stills

First we'll create the title picture for our SVCD. Launch VCDEasy and open up Tools, MPEG Stills. VCDEasy supports numerous picture formats that you can enter as Input Image. You can set the destination path in the Output Image Folder -field, if you wish to output the resulting MPEG to a different folder. You can convert multiple images or an entire folder at once, so it is easy to create alot of title pictures on one run.

Next you choose the MPEG Still Type In this case we set it to SVCD, NTSC, High (quality). High quality means that the still will be created in 720x480 resolution (instead of 480x480, which is the standard for NTSC SVCD video). The higher resolution can be used for stills. VCDEasy tells you the optimal initial size which you should use for the picture. You always get the best results when using the recommended resolution. If you wish to use a different resolution, make sure you check Apply Correction in the TV Aspect Ratio Correction -segment. Set the MPEG Size to maximum, and adjust the TV Cropping percentage, if you want to add safety borders to the image. This is often required, because TV-sets usually crop up to five percent of the image from the sides.

When you're satisfied with the settings, hit Generate.

Add the videos to the SVCD layout

Then we move on to the (S)VCD creation window. Click the (S)VCD -button and choose the Main view. Set the VideoCD type to SVCD (or VCD 2.0 if you are creating a VCD instead). Set the Volume Label to your liking (notice that VCDEasy will only allow you to enter valid characters). Set the Bin Output File to whatever you like (eg. C:\temp\VideoCD.bin). VCDEasy creates BIN/CUE images by default.

Next drag and drop the still title picture we created and the video file(s) to the MPEG2 Video/Picture files: -list. Notice that you do not check the box next to the title MPEG -- the checkmark is for sequence items whereas an unchecked box means a picture item.

In the Options view you can choose whether or not to use Playback Control (PBC). I recommend using it, since it allows you to navigate through the disc. If you are creating a title with multiple volumes (eg. a movie split across several discs), you can set the current volume number and the number of volumes here, as well as the volume name. My title fits on one disc, so I left these to their default values. I also set the time to wait after each sequence to 0 seconds.

Add chapter points to the video

Open up the Chapters view. You should only see the sequence play items in the dropdown menu at top. Choose the first video (in my case there's only one - Sequence-0002). Here you can split the video file in chapters in many diferent ways. You use the chapter points to quickly access different parts of the video in much the same way as you do with DVD Chapters. You can Create a chapter at a specific point in the video, Create a chapter every two minutes, fifteen seconds, or whatever by entering the time in the field (H:MM:SS -format), Create a chapter at frame, Create a chapter every N frames, or Create N equidistant chapters.

I decided to create 20 chapters for my 1 hour video, so i entered 20 in the Create N equidistant chapters -option, and hit OK. NOTE! When you create the chapter points the chapter index list to the right is not cleared automatically.

In the Interactivity view you can define how the VCD behaves. I wanted the title picture to be shown for 10 seconds before the video starts, so I chose Segment-0001 play item and set the Wait to 10 seconds. You can completely control the way the video plays by adjusting eg. the previous, next, and return settings for each chapter point. That, however, beyond the scope of this article.

You can add files to the VCD layout using the ISO Files view. NOTE! If you want to add non-VCD files to the disc, create a directory called EXTRA, and place the files there. (S)VCD players ignore the contents of the EXTRA directory.

All set

Now we're done with the VCD layout configuration. To create the image hit GO at the bottom of the screen, and wait for the image to be finished. If you have enabled the CDRDAO from Settings, VCDEasy, you can burn the image directly to CD-R(W) with VCDEasy. Choose the recorder from the CD Writer -pulldown menu, and check the Burn checkbox.

If you decide to create an image, you can mount it for testing with eg. PowerDVD using Alcohol 120%. Alcohol is also capable of burning the BIN/CUE -images.

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Version history

v1.0 - Initial version

Written by: Jari "Ketola" Ketola
Last updated: 25 November 2002