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Setting a Layer Break for GEAR Pro Mastering Edition with EncoreDVD & IFOEdit

Mar 25, 2006 11:57 AM

Setting Layer Breaks Manually for Encore/GEAR Projects

Although we can write straight to a DVD+R DL disc directly out of EncoreDVD 2.0 and we can also create our Master DLT tapes directly out of EncoreDVD 2.0 also, there are times when these options simply are not sufficient.
For example - we wish to Verify the successful writing of a DLT Tape, or we wish to create a QC disc for our clients in DVD-R DL format.
Either way, the "option" of using a +R DL disc is often unacceptable.
Another very good reason for +R DL discs to be NFG is that they are NOT DVD-Video format, and as such tend to expect the layers 0 and 1 to be of equal size.
Yet another reason could simply be we are using EncoreDVD 1.01, which does not support direct writing of any DL discs at all.
The solution is to use GEAR Pro Mastering Edition to create your DLT or DVD-R DL disc directly from your Encore project instead.

And here's how you do it.
You are going to need copies of both GEAR Pro Mastering Edition, EncoreDVD (any version) and finally a copy of the freeware application IFOEdit Additionally, we will also need the GEAR Layer Break Calcuulator, provided for free on their excellent support site at r.xls
Now we are ready - lets look at how it is all done. Don't be put off by what looks like a lot of math here either - this gets easier every time you do it and all it takes is a little common sense and practise.

The best way to proceed is to use EncoreDVD to build your project to a folder. This will not make any Layer Break settings at all, and will allow us to create a new DL Project in GEAR and also allows GR+EAR to build the UDF/ISO structure for us.
So once we have written our tested and checked project to a folder, the next step is to close out of EncoreDVD and launch GPME. By the way - if you're not certain that you need the expense of GPME for a one-off project you can simply download their 30 day trial version and use this as it is 100% fully functional in every way - there are no limitations at all.
When GEAR loads, select to create a new DVD-Video project and be certain you tick the DVD9 box in this screen too. Another window will appear now asking you to locate the folder where the Video_TS files are stored. Point this at the Video_TS folder and GEAR will create a basic DVD9 project for you.
Next we need to load up the Excel Spreadsheet with the Layer Break Calculator we downloaded earlier. I always use a different machine for this as I don't have Office installed and any open source application that can read an XLS file will do the job. If you don't have one, I recommend either OpenOffice or Star Office to do this. There are a lot of helpful calculators in XLS mode, and you won't regret it. Just try to keep all this stuff well clear of your authoring system though. But I am rambling, and I'm sorry. Back to buiness.
Once we have loaded up our Layer Break Calculator, we need to enter in some numbers.
Back over in GPME, where we have our shiny new DVD9 project sat there waiting for instructions, there is a file structure on the lower left hand side of the project screen. Att the top of the list we should see something very much like "VOLUME (projectname) (DVD-Video ISO/UDF)"
Right-click on this, and select "Properties". A screen will appear with all sorts of numbers in it, and we ignore the lot of them except for the "Total Volume Size in Sectors" - which we need to write down, nip across the room to our spreadsheet, and type the number in right at the top where it says "Total Volume (project) Size"
Another set of (probably) meaningless numbers appears - and the 2 we are interested in here are the ones where it says "RULES" and specifically "Layer Break Point must be Greater than .....
And Less than.....
Write these 2 numbers down, and hop smartly back across to where we have our GEAR project open on our authoring machine. Or simply minimize the spreadsheet if we are doing all this on the same system.
We now need to click on the folder marked "Video_TS" in the bottom left of the GEAR screen, and on the lower right we need to click once on the bar in the middle above all the VOB files marked "start sector" to arrange all the files in the sequence they will be on the disc. This makes finding our VTS file so much easier.
Somewhere in that list there will be a file that has that range of numbers in it. If we are really lucky, there will be more than one, which means that one of these will soon become our Layer Break.
When we have identified the correct file, take a note of it's name - it will be VTS_01_4.VOB or something with a similar structure name wise.
Next, we need to write down and enter into the Layer Break Calculator the start sector number of the VTS_xx_1.VOB file that holds our values.
I will try to explain why. If our Sector range is to be found in the example we gave earlier, say VTS_01_4.VOB, we need to note the start sector of the file VTS_01_1.VOB. This is because all these VTS_xx_x.VOB files are all extensions of the same file. They are just in handy blocks so that the Computer can keep track of them without breaking any rules about file sizes. Anyway, we write down the Start Sector of the file VTS_xx_1.VOB where xx is the file where the Layer Break range is to be found.
Just to try & make the concept clear, if the range were found in the file VTS_05_5.VOB, our start sector we need to write down is VTS_05_1.VOB
Enter this into the Calculator/Spreadsheet in the place where it says "Chosen Video Object VTS_xx_1.VOB Start Sector.
Now this will tell us exactly where we need to look next, and tell us we now need to hunt for a cell start sector between a range of sectors.
It might be something like "1,148,678 and 2,051,052" sectors.
This is where IFOEdit comes in.
Launch IFOEdit - and you may as well go back to GEAR, and close the project - but not the application. Go to the "File" menu, and from the drop dow select "Delete GEAR Project" and delete the one we just created, as we will need to change it anyway. Why you will find out later on.

From IFOEdit, you will see 2 halves of a screen. Down the bottom left there is an "Open" button. Click on this and locate the Video_TS folder, and specifically the file VTS_xx_1.IFO, where xx is the file we know from earlier the Layer Break will be placed.
Immediately your head will start to ache, your eyes will glaze over & your brain will wave a little white flag, as some serious mathematics suddenly appears (Well, that's what happened to me the first time. I was too fascinated to be confused - sheer bewilderment is perhaps the best expression. And I still don't know what most of it is for.
The one we are interested in can be found in the upper half, and is called "VTS_PGCITI".
Click on this, and a lot of little others will appear immediately below it.
You will see VTS_PGC_1 and so on until you run out of blocks.
The odds are high our layer break will be in the longest file - but this does not always hold true, so we start at the top & work our way rapidly down. What we are looking for is twofold.
1 - A Cell Start Sector within our range defined earlier.
2 - A cell Start Sector flagged as "NON Seamless playback.
If we can fill both these criteria, we have our layer break.
Write this number down, and enter it into our spreadsheet - and close down IFOEdit as we are done with it for today.
Back in the Spreadsheet we are almost done. Once we enter this number in, it will helpfully calculate exactly where in our Virtual image from earlier that sector lies, and will check to see if it is divisible by 16. Don't worry for now why, just know that it has to do this.
The chances are high it will not be, so the spreadsheet will tell you how many sectors the whole image has to be shifted forwards by, and what the new Cell Start Sector is in this revised image. This is automatic, and you get 2 figures.
1 - Offset. This number will be between 0 and 15.
2 - Layer Break Sector.

Time to go back to GEAR, and in our "Options" drop-down menu we will have another one called "Preferences". In this, we need to tell GEAR to ask us for the start sector to be entered for each file.
Now we create our project again - but this time GEAR will ask us for the start sector of VIDEO_TS_IFO, and the figure 640 will be highlighted.
Add our offset figure we were given earlier to this so if our offset was 11, enter in 651.
GEAR will do all the rest automatically for you.
One more job to do now.
Go Back to "Options/Preferences", and under DVD we need to tell GEAR we are changing the Layer Break. Click on the "Change" button, and use the up/down arrows to arrive at our newly discovered Layer Break Value.

Save the project - we're done. And write down that offset & Layer Break whatever you do.
You can now write to DVD-R DL, DLT tapes (and if you right-click on your DLT drive in the lower "Devices" screen, and choose "Properties", you can tell GEAR to verify the tape after writing too. It will write both layers first, then verify each one.
There is, however, a minor "GOTCHA" in GPME when writing DLT tapes.
It is allowed to set the IDENT.TXT file to be included on the DLT tape by means of a tick box. However, as this file is not actually required for replication in DVD-Video, but only in DVD-ROM - GEAR will not include the file
i even if the box is ticked
but it
i does
add a pointer to the file in the DDPID file instead. The upshot of this is that a DLT tape where IDENT.TXT has been selected to be included will be
i rejected by the factory as unusable.
This is because when they try to verify the DDP image on the tape it will fail as IDENT.TXT is NOT on the tape.
You must ensure this box is NEVER TICKED - I fell for this one recently, and had to rework 7 DLT tapes.

There is yet another way to get a DL project to the factory if you do not have a DLT machine, and do not have access to DL discs in the correct format.

Write the DDP images to 2 single layer discs instead!
This requires the use of GEAR Pro Mastering Edition again, and is incredibly easy to do.

What you need to do here is follow the original guides in the FAQ sections for setting the Layer Break manually, but instead of writing the project to DLT tapes or to DVD-R DL/DVD+R DL media, what we do next is write the project to a DDP file on the HDD instead.
This will result in 2 folders appearing - Layer 0 and Layer 1.
Each of these has the necessary information for the replication plant to manufacture the discs - all we need to do is get them onto 2 discs instead of 2 DLT tapes.
This is simplicity itself.

Launch your burning application.
Create a new DVD-ROM project.
Name it (Project)_Layer_1
Broswe to the 2 folders with the DDP files in them, and add the contents in this exact order
(Checksum.txt - optional)
(Log file - optional)

Burn the disc.
Repeat for Layer 1.
That is all there is to it.

What will happen at the factory is the Eclipse verification system will look for the DDPID file at the root level of the disc. If it cannot find it, it will assume it is dealing with a standard DVD-ROM disc instead, but if it is there it will know what is going on, load the files, and ask for Layer 1 after it has finished in the normal manner.

I hope this helps out - if not, please post in the main forums, and I'll try to help out.

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