Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Preparing your movies with VideoRedo TVSuite

As you may have noticed in my other post, I've pretty much had it with Transcode 360. The last straw for me was its tendency to end a movie we were watching before the movie is over. It usually seemed to happen about 20-30 minutes from the end. Have that happen a few times and your are ready to through a brick through the tv.

Another point of interest is the new My Movies will no longer support Transcode 360. According to Binnerup, he does not want to include support because of the large number of problems people have related to it. So there's another sign to abandon this.

For a while there is was sorta nice but I've personally had it. I'm tired of supporting it. I'm tired of it flaking out on me. I'm going to leave all my blog stuff up for those of you who want to venture down that path but my new solution is just converting my movies, and with VideoRedo, the conversion process is very quick and very easy.

I've been asked to describe how to do it. I will present to methods.

A) The Batch Method
This is how I've been doing it lately. Since I have about 300 movies to convert I don't want to sit there and do them one by one. So I have been setting up batches of about 10 or 20 to do. Here's how to do it.
1) Open VideoRedo
2) Go to File>Open Title from a DVD
3) Browse to the folder containg you movie. You don't have to go all the way to the Video_TS folder, the parent folder is fine. So say, go to C:\Movies\Happy Gilmore. Highlight the folder and click OK.
4) The next screen will show you the various titles on the DVD. You want to pick the big one, the one that is the actual movie. So highlight it. At the bottom you will see 'audio stream'. Pick the audio stream you want. Click Ok.
5)VideoRedo will now open a window with a timeline. That is fine. You don't need to do anything with that. Just go to File>Save Project As>pick a place you will remember and save the project.

Ok, you now have one movie ready to go. Repeat the process until you get a number of projects. I usually do 10 or 20.

Now that I've got some projects setup I'm ready to do the conversion.

With VideoRedo up, go to Tools>Start Batch Manager
In the first box "Source Project/File: click the elipses (...) and browse to where you saved all your projects. Select all the project files and click Open.

Next is the destination folder, this is where it will place all of your converted movies. Just pick a folder you will remember.

Leave destination modifier blank. Destination type: set this to what you want. I like dvr-ms because it has nice FF and RW features but if you prefer MPG select that.

Everything else you can leave the same.

Now click the Add Entry button at the bottom. All over you movies should show up in the big box. You will see the converted names, and the new extensions.

Click Save and Execute. It will ask you to save a batch file. Just say yes.

The conversion process will start.

If it has any trouble with any of the movies it should tell you. Mark them done and you can come back to the later.

B) Non-Batch Method
Say you just want to do one movie. Open VideoRedo. Go to Tools>Quick Stream Fix. In the first box browse to the folder containing the .vob files for your move. Select all of the vob files can click open. Notice the select stream button. If you have a movie with multiple languague track, you can click that button and chooose the language track you want.

Now for the Output stream. Again, click the elipsis and choose a location to store the resultant converted file. Give the file a name, and do the pulldown and choose the file type you want (ie: dvr-ms, mpg). Click Save.

Now just click Start Quick Fix. Once it is done test out your new movie.

VideoRedo is awesome because it does not re-encode the movies. Therefore, you can accomplish these conversions in a matter of minutes. I have done a couple hundred movies so far and had fantastic results with very little problems.

The VideoRedo folks did caution me on movies that use 3:2 pulldown. They will not turn our right. So if you do a movie that uses 3:2 pulldown your resultant movies will probably have a flicker to it.

If you have questions, comments, or suggestions let me know. Also, feel free to have a look at the VideoRedo forums. Good questions and answers on there. And, I've written their support with questions and they have responded quickly with helpful information. Good to see a product that does more than just take your money. These folks really want to listen to the community and make things better. Also, I don't remember if I mentioned this above but they also have a set of COM interfaces so if you are into scripting or programming, you can take advantage of the COM objects they have made available.

There are some scripts over at the MyMovies forum you can get and set them loose on your entire movie collection. I was not real pleased with how they were handling issues so I chose the batch method. Yeah it takes a bit longer, but I get to see what movies have issues, and I can usually fix them but skipping them with the batch method and using the quick stream fix method.

Why I like DVR-MS. When you are watching on the extender you can fast forward and rewind. On the xbox controller the right bumper starts fast forward. There are four speeds. Same goes for rewinding with the left bumper. And the the triggers still do the short jumps.
By the way, VideoRedo does a free trial of their product.


Steve said...

Wow, what a great blog! Stumbled upon it last night while I was searching for solutions/suggestions as to how best to setup my Vista 64 PC. I've been playing with different solutions for leveraging my growing dvd library. I'm using XBOX as my extender. Nothing seems to work easily but My Movies seems to be the best choice - for now.

I'm going to try the batch VideoReDo batch thing tonight!

Question. I have WHS as well and was wondering if it would be better to run My Movies server on that box and connect via My Movies client on my Vista 64. Suggestions/Feedback?

Thanks for all the great info!


toby said...

Hi Steve,
I agree, My Movies is a great choice. And soon we will have the new MCML inteface would should make it a little more fancy looking. Currently I believe it is in alpha testing.

Since he's dumping transcode 360 it's about time to find a new route. Plus, as I said before, my frustration with t360 has peaked.

Before you do the batch conversion, do the the quick fix on just one movie. It will be quicker, and it will let you know very quickly if you are getting the results you want. Then you can do the batch style by setting up all the project files for each movie and turning them loose in the batch tool.

You know I really don't know that answer to your last question. I bet you could find it quick on the MyMovies forum. The reason I don't know is, if you put the My Movies server on the WHS, how will your Media Center interface with it? I understand how the extenders connect, but I am not sure if a Media Center would do the same thing. Good question, and probably simple answer, I just don't know. I don't have a WHS so I've never had the chance to play around with it. I know you could store your movies on the WHS, and have the MM running on the Media Center. That would work. You woul just need to make sure you get the sharing setup right. Again, I suggest you hit up the MM forums. Those guys will answer your questions quick.

Henrik said...

First off, great blog! I have been reading some of your entries about T360, Like you, i have come to the conclusion that T360 is not the way to go for DVD streaming to extenders, it's just too unreliable.

My biggest problem though is subtitles. Personally i can live without the subs, bot my girlfriend can't. I'm hoping that someone will be able to reverse engineer the new WTV container (which supports subtitle as far as i understand) and remux the DVD subtitles into that.

toby said...

Hi Henrik,
Thanks for the kind words. So how are you going to prepare your movies? And is that what we are talking about, movies? Or tv too? As you already know I am converting everything to dvr-ms. There are ways to have subtitles, but will have to be permanently added to the movie video. If that is something you are interested in, do some googling and you can find out how to do it. I may look myself. I suppose if you really wanted to, you could make two copies of the movie, one with subtitles and one without. Then when you go to watch it, pick the one need. If I dig up instructions on adding subtitles I will blog it. If you have any more questions email me at aamjohns@yahoo.com


John said...

Hi Toby,

I have been a long time MCE user (owned an original sony VGX-XL1 and dvd changer), just upgraded to a new box and windows 7 professional. I never used mymovies in the past but started in the last month. I love it but want to extend to my xbox 360. I have a ReadyNAS where I would like to rip all of my dvd's to be played both on mymovies in the living room and on xbox 360 as extender the in bedroom.

I am trying to figure the best approach to the get full movie experience on main media center and simple consistent playback on the extender. I would also like to minimize disk space usage as much as possible as its already being consumed by pictures, movies, and hd camcorder video.

In MyMovies I have tried 2 methods, 1 is ripping the dvd as video_ts folder with multiple vob files using the built in disk copy function of mymovies. The other is to rip the dvd as an iso.

When I have tried to rip as a video_ts folder with multiple vob's I have seen inconsistent playback, I do have the transcode option turned on in the extender options for mymovies. In one case the movie stopped playing after about a 1 minute, I assume this was a break between 2 vob's. For another movie it started but was showing an alternate video feed with correct audio (actor/director commentary). It would switch between correct video and the alternate video stream.

When I tried to play on extender from a iso file some movies would start playing, others would spin and then go back to the menu. Also, don't like the message that mymovies gives about ripping to iso vs. folder structure for dvd's (by the way, what is actually lost?)

Have you tried the built in transcoder in MyMovies 3?

Sounds like your approach of using VideoReDo to create dvr-ms files is stable and consistent but I am concerned about the time to convert the files, the cost of videoredo, and the extra space consumed by storing both the video_ts file structure and a dvr-ms file for every movie.

Any recommendations?