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22 February 2007 @ 08:02 am
DVD Help!  
Dear denizens of the internet. I write to you today with a plea for my sanity.

Work has become insane of late, but mostly in a good way. Part of that has been a great deal more travel, both internally at the main company site, and to remote locations. Included in this is a trip to California this Sunday. Fortunately, my loving wife got me a video iPod for Christmas!

Unfortunately, trying to transfer one's DVDs to the damn thing is an exercise in greatest frustration.

If anyone out there can steer me in a good direction for getting a movie from DVD to iPod, please help me! Listed below are what I've got so far for requirements and attempts.

Requirements
1. Output in 640x(variable) H.264 mp4 format. I want to be able to output to a hotel TV as well as watch on the tiny screen.
2. Output the actual video to 640x(variable), with intelligent cropping, rather than just letterboxing everything on both sides to 640x480.
3. As little loss as possible. I'd rather not compress the DVD with one codec getting it to disc, then another getting it to mp4.

What I've tried
1. Handbrake for Windows. Drawback is that the Baseline 3 codec version is Very Beta, and has some quality issues, as well as being unable to handle some discs.
2. DVD Shrink to vob file, then convert vob file to mp4. This works, but doesn't handle sizing/cropping at all, and I can't seem to add subtitles.

What I have
Patience, a little experience, and a decent video converter that'll get me from almost any format to mp4. I'm not looking for a free solution either, I'm looking first and foremost for one that works!

Any help out there? My hair's going gray!
 
 
Current Mood: frustratedfrustrated
 
 
 
doomsey: computerdoomsey on February 22nd, 2007 03:01 pm (UTC)
hmm. I use a set of perl scripts called v2divx that do (2) well, but output to divx. I suppose you could convert the result to mp4, but that violates (3). It uses the transcode to do the actual processing; I wonder if transcode supports H.264 output. I'll have to look and get back to you on that.
Brendanroho on February 22nd, 2007 04:57 pm (UTC)
Getting DivX as an intermediary isn't a dealbreaker, to be honest, as long as the double-encoding doesn't add a bunch of loss! DivX is fairly lossless over the base DVD MPEG2, no? I'm fairly clueless here, and you're probably the most clueful person I know in regards to encoding, so if you think DivX as an intermediate would work without too much loss, let me know! :)
elusivetigerelusivetiger on February 22nd, 2007 05:29 pm (UTC)
Just a brief comment regarding the hotel room point: You may well be happy with 320, especially if put on a < 30" television. It'll save you scads of space, be no different on the iPod itself, and use less battery power to play.

When haikujaguar and I were desperate to catch up on BSG I actually bought 1/2 of season two from the iTunes store for my 5g; we played it on a 50" plasma (this was before they switched to higher resolution for their downloads). The 320 source was obviously not ideal but quite watchable even at this size, so you might want to consider that if you're only going to be outputting occasionally and then only to relatively small screens such as those found in hotels.

With quality compression 320 should give you an image more or less on par with good consumer VHS, and given your input options for the average hotel set I doubt you'd experience any significant gain going to 640. Experiment for yourself before you commit to the space and battery requirements of 640 on such a tiny device.
Brendan: Mr. Handroho on February 23rd, 2007 02:13 am (UTC)
I'll probably experiment some with both :) Space isn't so much an issue...I've got the 80GB, and all my music is only 30GB, so 50 gigs makes for a lot of TV and movies at any given time. But I hadn't thought of the battery life issue...if it turns out to make much difference, I may reconsider the larger resolution!
Bitey thing. Rar.loboguara on February 22nd, 2007 06:10 pm (UTC)
iSquint does a fantastic job, but that's on the Mac. I have no idea if that's available for Windows.

Bitey thing. Rar.loboguara on February 22nd, 2007 06:12 pm (UTC)
BTW, get a Myvu for the plane. Myvu.com. :)
Brendan: Brazil Phone Madnessroho on February 23rd, 2007 02:12 am (UTC)
No Windows version. So long as I'm throwing down a couple grand on the Mac, I can just sneak the Myvu in there! ;)
voidness on February 22nd, 2007 06:28 pm (UTC)
poke around www.doom9.org

should a howto on there somewhere...
Brendan: DRINK!roho on February 23rd, 2007 02:14 am (UTC)
Oy. Or about 800 ;) Lots of useful info...unfortunately, may be too much to digest before I leave, but at least it got me a start on a couple tricks to get further along in the process!
Pakapaka on February 22nd, 2007 06:40 pm (UTC)
Where in California are you going to be, can you say?
Brendan: Chug!roho on February 23rd, 2007 02:15 am (UTC)
Santa Clara, mostly! You in the area? :)
Willwas1 on February 22nd, 2007 07:04 pm (UTC)
I've been playing around with Any Video Converter, which has a canned pipeline to convert video to iPod format. The downside is that you have to pay $30 for it to convert files larger than 3 minutes.

http://www.any-dvd-converter.com/products/for_video/
Brendan: Brazil Phone Madnessroho on February 23rd, 2007 02:19 am (UTC)
Looks pretty slick! Unfortunately, is missing the 'crop' functionality that I really want to use (no sense having black bars if you're outputting video to a computer screen). I think I might've found another commercial option, the latest Nero has some pretty nice looking encoding tools. I can let you know how it works if you want!
Araquan Skytraceraraquan on February 23rd, 2007 02:48 am (UTC)
On the other hand, as the black bars never change, I'm not sure how much space they actually take up in an MPEG stream- guess it depends on the particular codec you're using (yes, H.264 in this case) and how many key frames you have.

Me, I usually will encode an anamorphic DVD in a 1.66:1 aspect ratio video file but use 1.33:1 otherwise... I haven't cropped much of anything though. }:>
Yotogiyotogi on February 22nd, 2007 07:27 pm (UTC)
My hair's going gray!

What, you mean outside your little skunk stripe there? ;)
Brendan: Aw no LAVA!!1roho on February 23rd, 2007 02:19 am (UTC)
Ay! So, like, what, did you collaborate with my sister down below to mock my gray-ness? ;)
We both know that artshow is *really* to blame for that little patch!
cucurbitacucurbita on February 22nd, 2007 07:59 pm (UTC)
Dude, your hair's been going gray for years! Does this mean that it's now DVD technology's fault instead of mine? ;-) Unfortunately, I have nothing helpful to assist in your problem (DVDs? what are those?), but good luck!
Brendan: DRINK!roho on February 23rd, 2007 02:20 am (UTC)
You still get to claim the lion's share of my gray hair ;) And just you wait til your hubby buys you a video iPod! Then you'll have to crash-course on all this horrible technology stuff!
doomsey: computerdoomsey on February 25th, 2007 12:22 am (UTC)
I suggest simply not caring, it's a lot easier. :)