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DVD - VOB Files - The Lowdown

Jun 2, 2012 3:52 PM

Tags: #import #dvd #vob #dvd-video #vob_files

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, VIDEO_TS.BUP (VMGI.backup), VTS_01_0.IFO (Video Title, VTS_01_1.VOB (Video Title, 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.



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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 4, 2009 12:23 PM   in reply to Bill Hunt

    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:


    Note:  If you just need to do basic trims then VobBlanker may be the only program that you need. 

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    Oct 6, 2010 8:36 AM   in reply to Bill Hunt



    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,



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    Oct 9, 2010 2:42 AM   in reply to Bill Hunt

    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:






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    Apr 7, 2011 10:32 AM   in reply to Bill Hunt

    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?



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    Aug 11, 2011 12:35 PM   in reply to Bill Hunt

    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.

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    Aug 11, 2011 12:54 PM   in reply to Bill Hunt

    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.

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    Nov 20, 2012 6:52 AM   in reply to Bill Hunt

    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.

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