Chris (cforrester) wrote in communalschool,

Creating VCDs

This lesson is about VCDs. (Since MC requested one. ;)) I'm going to explain what VCDs and SVCDs are, how to make them and different techniques to learn. As I've said before, I'm not going to hold your hand through the whole process. I put it behind an LJ cut because there are images.

What VCDs and SVCDs are

Ever seen a DVD? It's like that, except simpler. Here's an explanation from

VCD stands for 'Video Compact Disc' and basically it is a CD that contains moving pictures and sound. If you're familiar with regular audio/music CDs, then you will know what a VCD looks like. A VCD has the capacity to hold up to 74/80 minutes on 650MB/700MB CDs respectively of full-motion video along with quality stereo sound. VCDs use a compression standard called MPEG to store the video and audio. A VCD can be played on almost all standalone DVD Players and of course on all computers with a DVD-ROM or CD-ROM drive with the help of a software based decoder / player. It is also possible to use menus and chapters, similiar to DVDs, on a VCD and also simple photo album/slide shows with background audio. The quality of a very good VCD is about the same as a VHS tape based movie but VCD is usually a bit more blurry.

A VCD can be played on

- Standalone VCD Players (very common in Asia)
- Almost all standalone DVD Players
- Playstations with VCD-addon (Playstation 2 does NOT support VCDs)
- Sega Saturn with VCD-addon
- Dreamcast with VCD-addon
- And of course on all computers with a CD-ROMs/DVD-ROMs with a software VCD/MPG Player.

SVCD stands for "Super VideoCD". A SVCD is very similiar to a VCD, it has the capacity to hold about 35-60 minutes on 74/80 min CDs of very good quality full-motion video along with up to 2 stereo audio tracks and also 4 selectable subtitles. A SVCD can be played on many standalone DVD Players and of course on all computers with a DVD-ROM or CD-ROM drive with the help of a software based decoder / player. It is also possible to use menus and chapters, similiar to DVDs, on a SVCD and also simple photo album/slide shows with background audio. The quality of a SVCD is much better than a VCD, especially much more sharpen picture than a VCD because of the higher resolution. But the quality depends how many minutes you choose to store on a CD, less minutes/CD generally means higher quality.

SVCDs can be played on

- Many standalone DVD Players
- All CD-ROMs/DVD-ROMs can play SVCDs with a software DVD/SVCD-Player

How to make a VCD

FIRST, you need to make sure that your DVD player is compatible with VCDs! You can see a compatibility list for pretty much every player here.

I have a certain technique for making VCDs. This ensures that the audio will stay in-sync with the video. There are, of course, other ways to make VCDs, but this is my favourite.

What you need

There are a few tools you'll need to encode VCDs. These are the ones that are going to be used:
- TMPGEnc to encode your video.
- VirtualDub to seperate the audio.
- Nero Burning ROM to burn the VCD to a CD.

TMPGEnc and VirtualDub are free, Nero has a 30-day trial available on their site.

Making the VCD

For this example, I'm going to use the intro sequence for Midori no Hibi. (25 MB and a minute and 30 seconds long.)

First things first: Open VirtualDub. You should see a window similar to this:

Open the video you're going to encode in VirtualDub. Now the window should look like this:

Go to the Audio menu and choose "Full Processing Mode", then open the menu again and choose "Compression...". In the window that pops up, choose "[No compression (PCM)]" and click OK.

Now go to the File menu and choose "Save WAV". Save it to the same folder that your video is, name it anything you want. Click Save and you should see a window like this:

Once it's complete, you'll have a rather large WAV file. This is the audio track for your VCD.

Close VirtualDub and open TMPGEnc. You'll see a window similar to this (Close the wizard if it opens):

First, click the button marked "Load". From the window that pops up, browse to the "Template" folder in your TMPGEnc directory and open one of the following:
If you live in North America or Japan (NTSC TV) and the movie you want to encode is 29.97 FPS, (Common for TV shows) then select VideoCD (NTSC).mcf
If you live in North America or Japan and the movie you want to encode is 23.976 FPS, (Common for movies and anime) then select VideoCD (NTSCFilm).mcf
If you live in Europe (PAL TV), then select VideoCD (PAL).mcf

Now in the main TMPGEnc window, select the button marked "Browse" next to "Video source". Select the video you want to encode, then do the same for Audio Source and select the WAV you made. The window should now look like this:

Note: If you want to encode a large video (Such as a movie, things over 350-450 MB, etc..) then you might need to split the movie in to two pieces. Click the "Setting" button, then go to the "Advanced" tab. Check the box next "Source Range", then double click on the words. Once the window opens, move the slider somewhere in the middle and click the button marked "Set end frame". Take note of the number in the "End frame" box. Later on, you'll need to repeat this process again, except you put the number you took down earlier in the "Start frame" box and move the slider to the end of the video, then press "Set end frame". This means that you'll have to split your movie across two discs.

Now click the button marked "Start" and your video should start encoding. The time this takes depends on the speed of your computer and the size of the movie. This will create an MPG file in the same directory as the video and audio, this is what you're going to use to make your VCD. Once it's done, you should try watching the MPG before burning it to make sure that the video and audio are synced properly and that there are no big problems.

Now it's time to burn your video! First, start Nero Burning ROM. Go to the "File" menu and then choose "New". The New Compilation window should open. Scroll down until you see "Video CD" and then click that once. You should get a window like this:

In the first tab, select either NTSC or PAL, depending on how you encoded your video. In the Menu tab, you can make a menu. I'm not going to explain that, since it's not very essential. A label isn't really necessary, since your DVD player won't show it anyway. Click New and you should see the typical Add Files thing. Drag the MPG file that TMPGEnc created in to the window and then wait for the video to verify. Once it's ready, just choose Burn. Make sure that you have the "Finalize CD" box checked, otherwise your player might have problems with the disc!

Now your video is ready, you should be able to watch the movie on your DVD player now!

If you want the example files, let me know on AIM (cforrester11) and I'll send them to you.
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