Convert DivX video to VideoCD format with VobSub subtitles

Ok, most of you already know at least one method how to convert DivX clips to VideoCD format and that's why we decided to add an additional twist to our guide. With this guide you can convert your DivX movies with VobSub subtitles to VideoCD format with permanent subtitles.

Please note that this guide only refers to VobSub subtitles, other formats require other techniques!

Also, you should always remember that re-encoding always causes quality loss whatever the conversion is (DivX->VCD, VCD->DivX, DivX->DivX, SVCD->DivX, etc). So, if you really, really, REALLY need to have your movie in VCD format, please continue -- otherwise just be happy and use your existing DivX clip or rip your movie directly from DVD to VCD format.

You should also remember that this guide is valid only for videos that have been pre-processed like DivX clips -- using this guide to encode "raw format AVIs" to VideoCD produces horrible results, because of lack of deinterlace, IVTC, resize, etc..


Obviously you need two, three gigabytes of free HDD space, as always when dealing with full length movies. Other than that, you need these tools:

Before we proceed

Please remember that you need to install all the applications listed above before you proceed. Don't ask us how to install the applications, all of them have relatively good readme files that you can read through.

Note! Even that I specifically asked people not to whine about their installations, VirtualDub's frameserver seems to cause problems -- in VDub's directory there's a file called AuxSetup.exe, run that and you have installed the frameserver for VirtualDub.

Open the DivX with VirtualDub

From File menu, select Open video file.. and choose the clip you're about to convert and click Open.

Basic Audio and Video settings

Go to Video menu and change the video processing mode to Full processing mode -- this is done because usage of filters requires this.

Check also that Direct stream copy is selected under Audio menu.

NOTE! In some cases, TMPGEnc doesn't allow you to load the file you've generated with this method -- reason is very likely that your audio is in some "weird" compressed format, like VBR MP3. If so, try this trick: Change Audio to Full processing mode and from Audio/Compression menu select No compression (PCM). Also, select from Audio/Conversion the Sampling rate as 44100Hz and leave other settings as they were.

Add the subtitles

Go to Video menu and select Filters. This opens up a window that lists all the filters you've applied to process your video -- it should be empty at this point. Click Add and you see a list of available filters -- select VobSub and click OK.

Now programs opens a new window that allows you to select the .ifo file that is normally bundled with the subtitle package -- select the file using Open. After you've selected the file, you can alter the subtitle settings, like color, transparency and possibly the language you wish to use. After you've made your selections, click OK.

Now you're back in the filter list, just click OK to return back to VirtualDub's main window.

Save a pseudo-AVI

Sure you did remember to install the frameserver before you launched VirtualDub, right?-) (this can be done by running AuxSetup.exe file from VirtualDub's directory).

Go to File menu and select Start frame server. Now VirtualDub might ask you to enter a process name -- enter whatever you want in here, I normally keep it as VirtualDub's suggested name. After this, VirtualDub asks you to save .vdr file -- ignore the request for .vdr extension! Instead, type something like filename.avi -- notice the .avi extension!

After you've done this, frame server is running. Now, you CAN NOT close VirtualDub! Leave the program running and if it annoys you, minimize it to system tray or something.

Open the file with TMPGEnc

Ok, now open the TMPGEnc and click the Browse button next to Video source input field and search the pseudo-AVI you just created with VirtualDub and click Open. Audio should be assigned to the correct AVI automatically.

After you've done this, remember to fill the correct path and filename for the output file as well -- also remember that you need to have 10MBs of free HDD space for each minute of video.

Load the settings template

In the main window of TMPGEnc, from the bottom-right corner you should see a button that says Load -- click that and TMPGEnc opens up a file dialog box. From this box you can select one of the TMPGEnc's preset settings templates. Select one of these: VideoCD (PAL) (if your original video's framerate is 25.00fps), VideoCD (NTSC) (29.97fps) or VideoCD (NTSCFilm) (23.97fps) and click OK.

Adjust the settings

Now, next to the Load button there's a button called Settings. Click that one and TMPGEnc pops up a window that allows you to adjust encoding settings for the video. From the Video tab, change Motion search precision to Highest quality.

Go to Advanced tab and change Source aspect ratio to 1:1 (VGA) (this is because you have already adjusted the video to correct aspect ratio when you originally encoded the video to DivX format). Check also that the Video arrange method is set as Full screen (keep aspect ratio). Let other settings be as they originally were and click OK.


Now you should be ready (you absolutely sure that VirtualDub is running, are you?) to start encoding the video. So, from the top-left corner of TMPGEnc you should find a button that says Start -- click it and go to sleep :-) After a good night's sleep, you should have a VideoCD-compliant MPEG-1 clip with permanent subtitles.


We know that this guide contains some parts that tend to cause issues for our users. Two most typical problems are related to frameserving from VirtualDub to TMPGEnc and resulting video not having audio at all (this audio problem relates also to a problem where TMPGEnc complains about the audio).

We have solutions to these issues in our forums:

Very simple solution for the audio problem
Help with frameserving issues

Final words

As usual, if you're converting a full-length movie, it doesn't necessarily fit on one CD (one VideoCD can hold 74mins of video) and you might need to split the MPEG-1 file into two smaller chunks. Just go to our articles section to find out more how to do this.

Once you've created perfect CD-fitting MPEG-1 files, you probably want to burn them on CD as well :-) We suggest that you read our guide for burning VCDs with Ahead's Nero.

If you experience problems, please post all your questions and comments to our discussion forums -- don't ask any guide related questions using our feedback feature!
Written by: Petteri Pyyny