We often see people trying to edit existing DVD-Videos. Some seem to be able to do this fine, while others struggle mightily. What’s the deal? Why can’t one just Import those VOB files and edit happily away?
Let’s go back to the basics just a bit. A .VOB file is a "Video Object File." As such, and by the DVD-specs., it can contain quite a bit of stuff. Some of this is beyond just the Audio & Video contained in the usually present MPEG-2 file, which is hidden inside the VOB. This VOB can contain subtitles, Menus, and ROM content, to name but a few. With simple VOB’s, one can often play them, if they are just renamed to .MPEG, though not always. In the case where this works, one does not need a DVD software player. Any player program that can handle MPEG-2 can play the file.
The structure and elements of a DVD-Video DVD-5 (4.7GB, single sided, single layer) will be in most cases:
AUDIO_TS folder (usually empty). May also not be present.
VIDEO_TS folder, which contains VIDEO_TS.IFO (Video Manager.info), VIDEO_TS.BUP (VMGI.backup), VTS_01_0.IFO (Video Title #1.info), VTS_01_1.VOB (Video Title #1.video), and more of these, incremented by 1. Depending on the number of "titles" on a particular disc, the numbers can range up to the limit of 99. For Projects from most NLE/authoring programs will only have one "title," so you’ll likely not see more than 4 VOB’s and their accompanying IFO’s and BUP’s. The VOB’s will be approximately 1GB in size, the upper limit.
The title of the "movie" inside the VIDEO_TS folder will be contained in the .IFO and the BUP files. If you open up a DVD-Video in Windows Explorer, you’ll see just the folders, and no name, or anything else. The same is for the file names inside the folder(s). They will look the same for all DVD-Videos, though the exact number of these will differ, depending on the structure and number of discrete titles on the disc. It’s not until one opens the DVD-Video in either a software player, or in a set-top player, that the IFO files will play, allowing the player to then access and work with the .VOB’s, via the instructions that are contained in the IFO and BUP files.
Editing a VOB can be a tricky, as it can contain all those different things. Ripping the MPEG-2 file from the VOB is usually the best approach. That is what PrPro, PE, or other NLE’s (Non Linear Editor) attempt to do. Sometimes, it works fine, but sometimes it does not. Another problem can be when there are multiple VOB’s, as the MPEG-2 files can span multiple VOB’s, as they cannot contain more than about 1GB of data. This is why a DVD-Video can only have 1GB of space for ALL Menus and their elements.
As VOB’s can contain the full menuing structure (this will be the first VOB), unless this structure is done 100% by the DVD-specs, there will be issues. Most DVD-recorders include some form of menuing, and most do not do it perfectly. This WILL create issues. Ripping via software will likely be the only answer, or doing a manual capture from a set-top DVD player, hooked up appropriately to your computer with a capture card, or bridge, and using the software that came with that device. You will not have any "device control," so you must start the capture software, hit Record, and then start your DVD in its player. If you do this, make certain that you capture to DV-AVI Type II w/ 48KHz 16-bit Audio.
Once one has edited the Audio & Video contained in the .VOB(s), the process to get the resulting Project back into DVD-Video form is to Burn to DVD. This is the authoring process.
Three things happen:
1.) The edited file is Transcoded to MPEG-2. If you were working from a VOB already, the Audio & Video material has already been Transcoded to MPEG-2, in which there will already be compression of the data. If you do this again, there will be more compression of the data, resulting in a loss in quality. Some NLE’s can do "smart rendering/encoding." None of the programs from Adobe can do this, as they are designed to work with material captured from a miniDV tape camera. While they can handle other footage, there will be compromises. When designed, DV-AVI Type II was chosen as the base workflow, because that was what most miniDV tape cameras produced. The introduction of flash memory, miniDVD, and hard drive cameras, plus the introduction of HD, has changed things a bit, and will continue to change them over the next versions of the programs.
2.) The folder structure and the necessary files are created.
3.) The above material is then physically Burned to a DVD-Video, or is copied to a folder on the computer in the required, and necessary form and structure.
In the case of the former, one can then play the DVD-Video via a software player on a computer, or on a set-top player hooked to a TV or display device. In the case of the latter, one needs a software player to play the files in the VOB, with the instructions coming from the IFO, or the BUP files.
If you really want to get into editing the vide files on a DVD (without transcoding, that is) you are going to have to learn a bit about demuxing and remuxing.
Here's a tutorial that outlines the basic steps you should take: http://backstar.com/blog/2009/09/01/edit-video-on-an-existing-dvd/
Note: If you just need to do basic trims then VobBlanker may be the only program that you need.
Welcome to the forum and thank you for the link.
Ripping the DVD-Video can be a simple process, or an involved one. The software to do the work is changing with many of the old stand-bys being removed from the market, and newer ones taking their place. As you point out, the quality can vary.
With the inclusion of VOB (100% DVD-compliant) handling in both PrE and PrPro (CS4.1), much of the work has been taken out, though one is STILL editing MPEG-2 files, and then, if they go to another DVD-Video, will pay the price in quality through additional compression. If the MPEG-2 is the best that one can get, and the highest quality is the goal, then neither of the Premiere applications will be the best choice. Full implementation of "smart rendering," in some other apps. will be the way to go. Still, going back to the source footage, where possible, is better than any editing of the MPEG-2's - just not always possible.
Now, I use a Panasonic that can play either VHS, or DVD's, and can burn from a VHS to a DVD-Video. However, the only thing that I use the DVD aspect for is doing an archive of the VHS tape. Instead of using that DVD, I use an Analog to Digital (A-D) bridge to get my digitized material to the HDD. The reason for this are two-fold:
1.) When a DVD-Video is created, the digitized material is compressed into MPEG-2 format. When you later want to edit this material, it is already compressed, and in what is called a GOP (Group of Pictures) format, and all frames are not there. You have one traditional Frame, and the next ~ 15 are only "difference" frames, which do not contain all of the info, only links back to that last full Frame, the I-frame. If one is going to edit, they need ALL I-frames, and PrE creates those, so one can edit at a Frame-level. When done, if they want to end up with an edited DVD-Video, that footage will have to be compressed again, into MPEG-2. By doing the capture via the A-D bridge, I save that file to DV-AVI Type II, which is ALL I-frame, and edits nicely in PrE. Then, when finished, and I go to my edited DVD-Video, I only have one MPEG-2 compression, and not the 2 that you will have. The quality is much higher.
2.) As stated above, DVR's, most similar machines and many software authoring programs do not follow the DVD-specs 100%. These results will give problems, and usually with the first VOB, which also contains Menus, etc. The use of an A-D bridge bypasses these problems, as all you have are the pure DV-AVI Type II files w/ nothing else included.
I am a big fan of the Canopus ADVC-300 A-D bridge, but their much less expensive unit, the ADVC-110, or the similar unit, the ADS Pyro AV Link, can do all that you would want. The only real advantage of their 300 model is with the Timebase corrections for color balance and gamma correction, plus other corrections. However, it's more expensive and all of those corrections can be done in PrE, though they do take some work and time. For me, being able to do them at the time of capture saves me time.
There are cheaper A-D units, like the Dazzle, but I don't know of anyone, who's ever gotten them to work. We get dozens of users with them each year. The vast majority throw those units into the trash and go with the Canopus, or the Pyro instead.
Here is a recent FAQ addition on this subject.
Here are some additional links to articles by John T. Smith on the subject of DVD - VOB editing:
Notes on Editing Compressed Files http://www.pacifier.com/~jtsmith/ADOBE.HTM#edcf
Capture Analog Video http://forums.adobe.com/thread/431853?tstart=0
What CODEC is INSIDE that AVI? http://forums.adobe.com/thread/440037?tstart=0
Tools to Convert to DV-AVI http://forums.adobe.com/thread/415317?tstart=0
With simple VOB’s, one can often play them, if they are just renamed to .MPEG, though not always.
This is just for clarification, in case the above line is not clear:
With the simple VOB's, one can often both play and edit these, if they change the file extension from .VOB to .MPEG. This is most easily done in Windows Explorer, or similar utility. In the case listed in the first part of this article, if one had "VTS_01_1.VOB," they would change just the file extension to "VTS_01_1.MPEG."
Hope that this makes the process a bit more clear.
Another consideration with VOB's can be the Audio. There are two possibilities with NTSC VOB's, and they are PCM/WAV 48KHz 16-bit Audio stream, and then DD AC3 (flavor of MPEG Audio). The latter might be problematic, as support for Importing AC3 is missing in some NLE (Non Linear Editor) programs. Depending on the NLE, there might be workarounds, but one can usually rip the AC3 Audio with a program like Audition, or the great, free Audacity, and just Save_As PCM/WAV 48KHz 16-bit.
Based on a strong rec. from a PrPro forum regular, Dag Norum, I've added a ripping utility, FlaskMPEG, to the list of ripping software. It does not decrypt commercial DVD's with copy protection, but seems to do a great job with other DVD's, when many competitive programs fail. I had heard of it sometime back, but had forgotten about it, until Dag mentioned it in another thread. He also commented that it was wonderful for ripping mini DVD's from some problem cameras (maybe ones that do not finialize the discs).
Hope that this helps someone,
One important bit of instruction: Before one Imports the VOB(s) into the NLE, they should definitely Copy the VOB's to a local HDD, and NOT Import directly from the DVD. First, that DVD will ALWAYS have to be inserted, and also it is a very slow way to edit, and likely to give one problems.
If one has PrPro through CS3, the trick to get DD AC3 into it will be to locate the AC3 .dll in Adobe Encore, and Copy that from the Encore root folder to the PrPro root folder. The name changes by version of Encore, so look for one with "AC3" in it, and copy over.
With PrPro CS4, that trick no longer worked, and still did not with CS4.1, but the necessary .dll was added with CS4.2. So if you have CS4, or CS4.1, update to CS4.2. CS5 offers native DD AC3 support, as did CS4.2.
I have a quick question: I am able to import the VOB files fine, when changing to an MPEG. However, I have audio issues. Either the audio will lag, or it will cut off and even sometimes I have levels but can't hear anything. I was wondering, is this a project file issue; what should my project file settings be in order to do edits on VOB's?
Thanks so much,
First, muxed (Multiplexed - both Audio & Video in one file) files, which the MPEG-2 in the VOB will be, often has OOS (Out Of Sync) issues. Probably the best cure is to rip the muxed Audio stream with a program like Adobe Audition, or the free audio-editor, Audacity. Then Save as PCM/WAV 48KHz 16-bit and Import that WAV file into the Project to replace the MPEG Audio stream.
For addressing OOS issues, this ARTICLE might be useful.
As far as Project setting, we'd need to know which program and which version you are using.
Is it possible to retrieve anything resembling a layered photoshop file, or a collection of parts that would make up the DVD's menu, from these .VOB, .IFO, or .BUP files? A fellow asked if he could reverse engineer the menus from an old DVD. I've managed to pull a still image of the menu with VobBlanker... but more than that I am lost. Coincidently, you are probably the guy to answer this post:
I have not used it, but I believe that PGCEdit can extract the elements of the Menus from the first VOB. Now, whether they can be extracted to PSD's, is beyond my knowledge. However, my guess would be that you cannot, since the PSD's will have been encoded and encapsulated into that VOB.
It might be easier to do a screen-cap of the Menu(s), and then just create them anew.
When starting with VOB's, there are two considerations, regarding quality output:
One correction, offered by Jeff Bellune and Neil Wilkes, is that the AUDIO_TS is used with DVD-A, and is certainly required for that usage. My statement:
AUDIO_TS folder (usually empty, as it’s really a carryover from the never fully implemented DVD-Audio). May also not be present.
is inaccurate, and especially regarding DVD-A production.
For DVD-Video, it will most likely be empty, or might not even be present, depending on which authoring program is used.
Thanks to Jeff and Neil for the correction.
[Edit] That line, regarding the AUDIO_TS folder, has been corrected in the initial posted article.
Some editors are often faced with DVD's that have supplemental Audio steams, say a narration, an alternate Audio Track, or various languages. These do not directly Import into Premiere.
Colin Brougham has provided a workflow and utility suggestion for extracting the supplemental Audio material:
Thank you Colin,
PS - another user recommended another program, VOB2MPG, to do the same. Thanks for that rec. too.
Raw video files straight off of a DVD isn't compatible to Premiere Pro CS4. So what I usually do is, I encode it through Handbrake to maintain high quality. All of a sudden Im getting difficulty with Handbrake. When I import it through Premiere only a fraction of the video gets shown. I have two question in regards to that...
1) What could I be doing wrong?
2) And does Adobe Premiere have a encoder program specifically for Premiere so that I dont have to use a program that may not be compatible to it?
I have never used Handbrake, but seem to recall a thread on the PrPro forum, where one user was having issues with the files that it produced.
If PrE/PrPro (after about CS4.2.1) will not Import the VOB's, then the material is likely not 100% DVD-Compliant. This often happens, when a DVR unit was used to create the DVD-Video from tape, or another source. Some authoring software also does not produce 100% DVD-Compliant VOB's.
Jeff Bellune, author of The Focal Easy Guide to Adobe EncoreDVD 2.0, forum MOD and contributor, and Adobe Community Professional, has posted his workflow for ripping problem VOB's.
When I get troublesome VOB files, I do the following:
1. Rip the DVD to a hard disk. That eliminates the media and the burner from the rest of the process.
2. Add the VOB file(s) to the playlist in DGMPGDec and save the project. It indexes every frame of the VOB file(s), concatenates multiple VOB indexes so that the VOBs can be treated as a single video clip and then adds that info to a .dgi file. It also demuxes the audio.
3. Use an AviSynth script to open the .dgi file in VirtualDub. You can dub the audio and video together in VirtualDub, or wait until you import the audio and video into Pr.
4. Export a lossless AVI file from VirtualDub and import it into Pr.
I have a couple of tutorials on my web site that deal with getting and using those open-source tools. I talk about DGMPGDec in the hd2sd tutorial, about halfway through:
Thanks to Jeff.
Colin Brougham has posted a workflow for dealing problem VOB's in the PrPro CS 5 / 5.5 Forum, and this might help others:
You may need to massage the video and audio streams a bit to get them to work. The following doesn't work with every broken MPEG2 file, but I've had a pretty high rate of success with the following process (I'll assume you're using Windows): You can mux the files together if you want, but I usually just import them separately and link them together in Premiere Pro. If you want to mux them, let me know and I'll add those details.
You may need to massage the video and audio streams a bit to get them to work. The following doesn't work with every broken MPEG2 file, but I've had a pretty high rate of success with the following process (I'll assume you're using Windows):
You can mux the files together if you want, but I usually just import them separately and link them together in Premiere Pro. If you want to mux them, let me know and I'll add those details.
Hope that this workflow helps others.
What to do with PCM audio? I tried Rejig and was able to get my video from the DVD into Premiere pro. However, I did not have AC3 audio on the DVD. it was LPCM and PremPro doesn't want to recognize the audio Rejig gave me.
UPDATE: Really stumped. Cannot find answers. Banging my head against a wall.
For Audio that is incompatible with Premiere, I use Adobe Audition to convert it. Soundbooth can do this too. If you do not have either, then the great, free audio-editor, Audacity, handles most Audio formats, and an Save_As PCM/WAV @ 48KHz 16-bit, that should work nicely.
I found an odd workaround. I opened the mp4 (or mkv, I do not remember which) in ts muxer and had it demux the audio stream for me. I can open that in PremPro.
This is a very basic, not very pretty way of doing things, but ti worked so I cannot complain.
Thnks for the help. Without that tutorial, I'd not have the video in there.
Thank you share your articles , DVDs save their video and audio content together in one file called a DVD Video Object (VOB). In order to make your DVD's VOB file , you can convert it into an vob file, which works in many more programs.
As this is in the Adobe Forum, we have concentrated on the two Adobe programs, used for authoring a DVD-Video, Encore (included with Premiere Pro), and Premiere Elements. Both of those programs will write the necessary VOB files, along with the IFO and BUP files to the VIDEO_TS folder, and either burn to a DVD-Video disc, or to just that VIDEO_TS folder, where directed, for either playback on a computer via a DVD software player, or to burn to a physical disc later on. Encore can also directly burn a Project to an ISO (sort of like a ZIP file, as a single file, containing the VIDEO_TS folder with its files), and many burning utilities, like the free ImgBurn, can then burn that ISO to a disc, extracting the VIDEO_TS folder, and the files within it.
With an authoring program, there is no need for the user to convert the MPEG-2 files to VOB, and possibly span them over several VOB's, so there is nothing else needed, unless one wishes to do the burn later, and then ImgBurn, or similar, would come into play.