Setting Up The Server

The PC you would normally use for encoding will become the server for RBFarm. In order to allow other computers to access DVD Rebuilder's files to encode them, the the source and working directories need to be accessible on your network, and all PCs need to access them through the same drive letter.

On your server you'll need to share whatever drives or directories are going to be used for the source and working directories. For example, if your source files are going to be in C:\Rebuilder and your working directory is going to be D:\Rebuilder, you would share each of those directories. I recommend changing the share name to something like RB-Source and RB-Working. The client PCs can map these shares to common drive letters, but if you do that on the server it will take twice as long to run the Prepare and Rebuild phases. Instead, on the server, create a batch file with the following lines:

subst Y: D:\Rebuilder
subst Z: E:\Rebuilder

Replace the paths I listed for each drive letter with the paths to the folders you shared for source and working directories. By using the subst command instead of Windows networking, you eliminate the slowdown that results when preparing or rebuilding with mapped drives. You can copy this batch file into your Startup folder if you want it to run automatically when you log in. Otherwise you'll need to run it to before you use RBFarm if you've rebooted (or logged out) since it was run last.

Setting Up Clients

You need to map drives to access the files stored on the server. Make sure that you map the drives to the same drive letters you used in the subst command in the batch file on the server. This way Y: and Z: are the same on all PCs and DVD Rebuilder's settings will be correct for all of them.

Start Encoding On The Server

Once you have all the programs installed and drives setup on all your PCs, you can run Prepare on your server. Make sure the directories you set are on your Y: and Z: drives so the client PCs will have the correct drive letters. Once Prepare is finished, if you want RBFarm to start Rebuild automatically, you're done in DVD Rebuilder, but leave the window open when you start RBFarm. If you're going to run Rebuild manually it doesn't matter if you leave Rebuilder open or not, but you should save the project.

Start RBFarm and click the button with the folder on it next to the d2vavs directory field. Browse to the d2vavs directory for your project and select it. Check the Auto Rebuild button if you want RBFarm to start DVD Rebuilder's Rebuild phase automatically after encoding is finished. Click the Encode button and it will start encoding.

Add The Clients

On the client PCs, start RBFarm and set the working directory as above. Make sure you don't have Auto Rebuild checked on any clients. After you've started a client manually once to make sure everything's set up correctly, you may want to start using the Auto Encode option (checkbox) which makes RBFarm keep checking the working directory until another PC starts encoding and then start automatically. I also recommend using Remote Desktop if your client PCs are running Windows XP Pro. You can start every PC without getting up out of your chair.

Each PC will now be encoding segments from the same working directory. Each time a segment is finished, the computer checks to see if there are any more to encode, and if there are it starts another automatically. If there are no more segments, RBFarm will display the number of segments encoded and the time elapsed. When all PCs have finished their final segments, the server will start the Rebuild phase if that option was selected. Otherwise you can manually start Rebuild.

Encoding Multiple Projects

As of version 1.7, you can give RBFarm a list of project directories to encode. This is useful for encoding multiple projects when you'll be away from your computer, like overnight or while you're at work. If you're encoding more than one project at a time, you can't use Auto Rebuild.

To encode multiple projects, set the path to the first project normally, and then repeat for each additional project. When you're done, start encoding and when the first project is finished, the next one in the list will be started automatically, then the next, etc, ... When the projects have been encoded, Rebuild each one with DVD Rebuilder.
Written by: Rich Fiscus