Convert DVD to VideoCD with permanent subtitles

Just wanted to produce a short guide that allows all of you, who require subtitles in your movies (and IMHO, even English speaking guys need them with movies like Croughing Tiger -- dubbing can be considered as the eight deadly sin..), to convert DVD movies to VideoCD format with permanent subtitles. I know that the tool I use in this guide, DVD2SVCD, is really a no-brainer to use, but our policy has always been to produce extremely newbie-friendly guides :-)


First of all, you need these tools:


You also need to have DVD-ROM drive (no, CD-ROM doesn't do the trick), appx. 10GB of free HDD space and CDR writer.

First steps

Install TMPGEnc first and after that proceed and install DVD2SVCD. After you've done this, launch DVD2SVCD. At first, DVD2SVCD seems to be extremely confusing, but every single switch in it has its own purpose in life :-)

Misc tab

In Misc tab, first change the Output file type to MPEG-1, because we're now going to create a VideoCD, not an SVCD. I also strongly recommend that you check Don't delete any files box, because this allows you to continue in case something crashes during the conversion.

Process priority for all used programs determines how much of your CPU power DVD2SVCD will take. If you plan to leave your computer running and encoding the movie while you sleep, switch it to High, otherwise consider using Idle selection.

Next, make sure that Input file type is set as DVD and that DVD2SVCD level is set as Advanced.

DVD Rip tab

Basically the default values are pretty much OK in here, just some minor changes and checks. Check Activate DVD Ripping and select Use internal routines as a ripping method. Use Rip to folder box to select a directory/harddrive that has lots of free HDD space (at least the amount of the DVD that you're ripping -- normally between 4 and 8GB).


Only one selection in here that you need to touch, Save project in. I recommend that you use the same dir you selected in previous tab (DVD Rip). The project file (.d2v) will take only appx few hundred kilobytes of space. You can leave resr of the values as they are.

Audio tab

The plan is to make 100% VCD-compatible audio and therefor we can use only one audio track and it has to be converted from 48kHz to 44.1kHz. So, leave other settings as they are, but change the following values. Change Output mode to Stereo and select Audio 1 Priority 1 as English (in case you have English language movie, obviously). Leave Audio 1 Priority 2 blank. As an Audio 1 Bitrate, I recommend that you use VCD's maximum value, 224. Also, remember to check the Audio 1 downsample 48 -> 44.1kHz. Now, just uncheck Audio 1 Priority 1 and make sure that Autodetect Azid gain (2 pass) is checked.

Frameserver tab

In this tab, I recommend that you leave most of the settings as they are. Some stuff needs to be changed/made sure it is there though. Make sure that Resize to is set as VCD (352x240/288). I also recommend that you change the Resize method to BicubicResize as it produces significantly better quality than the default selection. Also, if you want to experiment with Sharpen filter, you can turn it on and try something like 0.4 as a sharpen value.

Bitrate tab

For most of the users, easiest selection in here is to click Use default button once (you kinda have to remember this, as -- at least not v1.0.9b3 -- DVD2SVCD doesn't change it automatically) to set the values correct for VCD.

If you wish to use only 74min CDs, simply change all CD size drop-down menus to 740.

Encoder tab

Only real option as a video encoder in here is TMPGEnc as it generally produces better MPEG-1 quality than CCE (and CCE costs something like $2,000...).

For TMPGEnc x.xx selection, select the directory where you installed your TMPGEnc originally. For Save in Folder selection you must select a directory and partition of your HDD that has at least 1.5GB of free space (depends on your movie length -- 10mins of movie takes 100MB of space, so 3-hour movie takes 1.8GB of space).

In Rate Control Mode, select Constant Bitrate (CBR) (VCD specs don't allow other than CBR encoding), Change Field order to Automatic and change Motion search precision to Highest quality (very slow) -- this selection is very important, because it is virtually the only one in VCD that actually makes a difference between good and bad video quality.

Matrix tab

Just make sure that Use current encoder standard matrix is selected and leave everything else untouched.

bbMPEG tab

Leave everything else in this page untouched except the Save in folder setting. Change the Save in folder to point to a directory that has at least 3GB of free space (after everything else you've already "assigned" to go to that partition, like the 1.5GB for TMPGEnc, etc in case you selected a dir on same HDD).

Subtitles tab

If you wish to have permanent subtitles on your movie, select Rip subtitles checkbox -- otherwise uncheck the box and jump to next tab. Please remember that permanent subtitles will actually become part of the video and they cannot be removed afterwards. Permanent subtitles is now automatically selected, as VCD doesn't support selectable subtitles. Now, go to Subtitle Lang. 1 and select the language you wish to use as your subtitle language -- leave other Subtitle Lang selections blank, because otherwise encoder will try to combine multiple subtitles on your video and that will make things bad.

Change Save in folder to a directory that has appx. 10MB of free space for subtitle files. Leave everything else untouched.

CD Image tab

First, change the Folder into something that has 1.5GB of free space after everything else has run through -- this is the place where the final CD images will be stored.

Select Include movie info on CD (this will include movie's IMDB information on CD, like the cast, basic plot, cover art, etc) and select VCDImager from the bottom of the window. Now, click Movie info (IMDB) button and DVD2SVCD will open a new window for you.

Movie Information window

Enter the movie's (original English language) name into Search IMDB field and hit return. Now, if you're connected to the Net, this will perform an IMDB search and will return matching movies. If there are multiple matches, select the correct one from the list and hit OK. After this, you should see movie's information in the window. If this is correct, click OK and you will return back to CD Image tab.

Finalize tab

You can leave this tab totally empty.

Conversion tab

You should see the small button that tries to resemble DVD disc next to IFO File selection. Click the disc icon (obviously after you've inserted the DVD movie into your DVD drive :-) and program will scan through the disc and pulls the information from it (length of the movie, available audio tracks, etc).

Aspect ratio is one of the main things on this tab -- you should check your DVD's cover and see if it says "4:3" or "widescreen enchanced". If this is the case, movie is encoded on the disc in old 4:3 format. If the cover says something like Anamorphic Widescreen, it means that the movie is "real" 16:9 also on the DVD. So, select either 4:3 (No borders, encoded as 4:3) if the movie is 4:3 or 16:9 (Borders added, encoded as 4:3) if the movie is 16:9 anamorphic. Don't select Anamorphic as none of the DVD players can handle anamorphic SVCD material correctly.

As a final check, doublecheck that you have a correct audiotrack selected in this tab. After you've done this, click Go and DVD2SVCD will popup a small menu. Select Preview video (still picture) from this menu and program will open a new window that lets you check that your settings are correct before you start your encoding process.

Preview video window

In this window, you should see a frame taken from the DVD. If this frame is not good for analyzing the aspect ratios or other features you want to check, click New frame button until you find a frame that satisfies you. Preview window shows the frame as it is after the encoding process has completed -- adding filters, subtitles, resizing, etc to the video (well, obviously the quality will drop slightly compared to this frame as it is not encoded yet, but you get the point anyway..).

If the aspect ratio seems to be incorrect (people look thinner and taller than usual or shorter and wider), you can change it here using the Aspect selection -- just remember to select either 4:3 or 16:9. You should also check that the Resize to is set as VCD.

This is also a very good place to see how various Deinterlace filters effect the video. I recommend in most of the cases to use Smartdeinterlace filter as it normally works very well -- but if there are horizontal lines in contrast areas or extremely clear "smoothing", you should try something else instead.

You should also see the subtitles you've selected -- if subtitles don't appear, try to click New frame until they do. Please note that in some versions of DVD2SVCD there are bugs in this part and program might show wrong language subtitles -- don't care about this, because you have an option to manually select the subtitle language before the encoding begins.

After you've satisfied with your selections, simply click OK to close the window.

Ready to encode

Now you should be back in the Conversion menu. Simply click Go and select Rip and convert from the popup menu. DVD2SVCD might complain something about CCE, but don't care about this, the warning message is meant for an SVCD encoding, not to us.

Program should now open a window that lets you manually select the subtitle language you wish to use -- this page is the page that lets you really choose the correct language, unlike previous steps that tend to have issues recognizing the correct language. So, simply select one subtitle language (you can't have multiple permanent subs, obviously) and click OK.

After this, program will start its journey, opening zillions of tools and windows all over your desktop -- remember that you are not allowed to touch any of those windows, otherwise the encoding process might fail. So, we seriously recommend that you go to sleep now.


Now, you should have tons of files in your HDD. Be free to delete everything else except the .bin and .cue files that contain the final movie files. Your next step after this is to burn the CD images to a CDR -- you can use our BIN/CUE with Nero guide to do this.

As usual, if you have issues, problems or suggestions related to this guide, please feel free to post your comments to our discussion boards.
Written by: Petteri Pyyny