How to take a DVD from the original media and:
- Reliably convert it to VOB files on your hard disk
   (This requires ~4Gb of space, but the files can be deleted after you...)

- Decode it to any number of formats/codecs - here, we'll mainly discuss DivX5.
- Tweak the final files - put audio & video together, crop the edges and split the files across CDs.

The free software you will need to do all this:
cladDVD XP
Get the latest version from the cladDVD web site!
You will find it forces you to update often.
It also puts DVD2AVI in the same program folder as the cladDVD launcher once installed.

DVD2AVI v1.82.exe 552.29 kB
I only list this in case it doesn't get bundled with a future release of cladDVD. 688.47 kB
This is used to piece the audio and video together from the files DVD2AVI will produce.

Fraunhofer IIS MPEG Layer-3 Codec 293.14 kB
If you find that VirtualDub doesn't have MP3 in the compression choices (or does, but only low quality bitrates), it means you need an MP3 codec installed and this one works well.

DivX Codec v5.05 3251kB
DivX improves in many ways on every release - wiser to make sure I've got the latest DivX codec here at

Things to note:

DivX quality can be very close to that of the DVD.

Higher bit-rate = higher quality

Higher bit-rate = bigger file size

780 is a nice quality bitrate that will fit an average 4-6Gb movie on 1 or 2 CDs leaving room for the codecs.

DivX can usually only be played on a PC or DVD player with the appropriate codecs - they don't work in most DVD players.

-=> Audio and video codecs installed
-=> Roughly 4-6 hours of intensive CPU & HDD time spare
-=> Roughly 5-8 Gigabytes to play with on your hard disk
-=> A Grunty PC

(Mine's P3 1000MHz with 512Mb of RAM, and it runs noticeably faster on a P4 2000MHz).
email me if your PC is too slow - normally I'd just say "feed your peecee", but in this case I want to know what people find is too slow for these programs to run.

Step 1 of 3: Getting the files off the DVD:
Load CladDVD - assuming your DVD drive is set up correctly, most of the defaults should be ok, and it should find the DVD's files.

Click options then select:
- Browse to a folder that has > ~4Gb free that you'll be able to remember later & point to.
- an audio stream - I use AC3 2ch where possible - but use your discretion.
- Filesplit: As one big file
The rest should be fine as is, click Save Settings to return to the main screen.
Click Start and depending on how fast your system is, you should have the files in around 10 or 20 minutes

(The entire process takes up to 5 or 6 hours of intensive processing on a P3 1GHz - unless you want the system at it's knees for that time, I wouldn't recommend tweaking the process priorities higher).

Step 2 of 3: Converting the files from .VOB to a DivX AVI & WAV file:
Load DVD2AVI and select File, Open and point to the .vob file you have extracted.

I use the following settings (it seems to remember them), and get good results, though using your discretion is encouraged:
- iDCT Algorithm - 64 bit floating point
- Field operation - None
- Colour Space - YUV
- YUV -> RGB - PC Scale
- I leave the luminance filter
- Clip & resize - I set 8 to left & right, Bilinear (MMX) filter and Free video aspect.
(by pressing F5 to preview and Escape to stop, you can establish if the aspect ratio and top/bottom clipping need adjusting - removing any black, unused space is the trick to minimising file size)
- Track 1
- Channel Auto Select
- Dolby Digital has decode ticked and normal dynamic range control.
- MPG audio has demux ticked
- 48 -> 44.1KHz is off
- Normalization is ticked

The option menu gives you access to previewing functions and process priority adjustments - like I said before, leave it at normal unless you are going to bed.

Select File, Save as AVI and choose a name.

The decoder selekta will now appear - I hope you installed the software recommended!!

At the time of writing this document, DivX 5 is all the rage - you can potentially fit an entire DVD at near perfect quality on one CD. The only variable you need tweak, once selecting the best codec, is the bitrate... I always leave it at 780 & split the file (see directions below) if it exceeds 700Mb (1 CD). You can access the bitrate by hitting the configure button once selecting DivX5, for example, as the codec.

Click ok and in the estimated time section of the status monitor, you will find the estimated time to decode - my P3 1GHz usually does it in around 3-4 hours.

Step 3 of 3: Joining the audio & video, cropping the edges and splitting the files across multiple CDs:

Assuming you're working with ~5Gb of disk space, you will want to delete the big vob files that we're now finished with before moving on - this will free up ~4Gb, giving you plenty of room for this final step..

Load VirtualDub,

Select File, Open Video File and load the .AVI file you've just made.

From The Video menu,
- Select Direct stream copy

From The Audio menu,
- Select Full processing mode
- Select Interleaving
- Select the radial check labeled ms and put 500 into the Interleave audio every section, then click OK
- Select Compression
- Click MPEG Layer-3 on left and 128 kBit/s 48000Hz Stereo on the right, then click OK
  If you find you don't have enough decent audio modes under mp3, you need a different/better MP3 audio codec
- Select Volume
- Tick the box and change the value to 200%, then click OK.
- Select WAV Audio
- Point to .WAV audio file we extracted from the DVD's .VOB file earlier.

Nearly Done! Click FILE, select Save as AVI.

The DivX should be ready in somewhere between 15 mins and a couple of hours, depending on your PC (My P3 1Ghz takes ~1 hour for ~4Gb VOB/~700Mb AVI movies). Then all that's left is to burn it to a CD, assuming it's not over 700Mb (if it is, read on..), then anyone with a half decent PC will be able to play/watch it - remember, they must have the 2 codecs already installed on their PC, so it may be a good idea to burn them too.

Splitting the movie across multiple files/CDs:
If you've made a DivX you're quite happy to put onto 2 CDR's, I mostly chop it in half as it's usually around a gig in size. We will use VirtualDub again for this.

If VirtualDub was already running from some previous task then shut it down and re-load it before starting the chop (you've been warned!).

Load up the movie using File, Open video file

Go to both the VIDEO and AUDIO menus and select Direct stream copy.

From the VIDEO menu choose Select Range. As you can see, values can be altered using either 'Time (ms)' or 'Frames', we'll use 'Frames'.

As I want to chop the movie in half, I divide the length in frames by two, and enter this in the Length section, replacing the full length value.

Press OK and save the AVI, the first half of the movie is now saved.

For the second half put the length value we used earlier plus 1 into the Start offset section and the same length value minus 1 into the length - make sense? (doesn't matter - you'll notice, the second part is often automatically adjusted for you) If you get this right, the two files will join flush in a playlist.

Click OK and save the AVI again which will now save the second half of the movie - thankfully this splitting process only takes a few minutes for me - see how you go..

That's it for now - still yet to add linux alternatives and comparisons - stay tuned!.

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