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    Convert DVDs with Flask Mpeg
  • Extracting the DVD
  • Using FlasK Mpeg
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  • DVD to DivX with Flask Mpeg

    Flask Mpeg is the easiest way to rip a DVD! It takes a long time to do but that's just tough noogie! You can set it going all night and when you are sleeping and the next day it will probably be done. Or you can set it going while you are at work or both :) Flask Mpeg is a great program that can convert any Mpeg-1 or Mpeg-2 (i.e. DVD) file into a variety of formats such as DivX, AVI, Mjpeg, Mpeg-1 or Mpeg-2 etc!

    Before I start here are the things you will need:

    DivX ;-) Mpeg-4 Codec 3.1alpha (or greater)

    Fhg Radium MP3 codec
    Advanced Bitrate Calculator 1.8
    Flask Mpeg 0.594 (or greater)

    If you haven't installed the Radium MP3 and the DivX codec's you may as well do so now. Remember to run the "run me first" option on the DivX install too or it will not be installed correctly. Don't use the crappy AngelPotion codec, its a bad Mpeg-4 hack, yes, thats right! A hack and not a self made Mpeg-4 codec from the specifications!

    As always, you must have the DVD files ripped and decoded to your Hard Disk first if you want to convert a DVD. You can use CladDVD or VobDec to do this but I prefer SmartRipper. They are all legal (because they do not use stolen DVD codes) so there is nothing to worry about. Flask has two basic conversion modes:

    Open File: This will open any mpeg file and try to convert it to whatever you want.
    Open DVD: This is a special mode that reads a DVD in the same way a DVD player would. This means you will be able to select to convert with subtitles; it will also make sure it only rips one angle in a multi-angle DVD. This prevents repeated scenes spoiling your movie!

    If you want to use Flask's 'Open DVD' mode you must copy the files exactly as they are on the DVD. This means you must rip them with SmartRippers file mode, do not use its movie mode. With VobDec or CladDVD you must turn off the multi-angle functions first - DeCSS is old and cannot do all DVD anymore, so don't use it!

    Also, if you are using Flask's 'Open DVD' mode you must copy the IFO file that belongs to the movie you wish to convert. This will be called by the same name as the first movie file. For example, if the first movie file is called VTS_01_0.VOB the IFO file to copy with it will be VTS_01_0.IFO. Remember, the main movie will not always have the same name. So if first file of the main movie were called VTS_02_0.VOB then the IFO file to copy with it will obviously also be VTS_02_0.IFO For more details on this subject read the article called "Introduction to the Structure of a DVD" in the appendix section.



    Select 'Open DVD' and find the .IFO file for your movie. Up will pop something like the picture below:

    Select the movie Duration, in this case 1.51.53. This will usually be the first one in the list, but you can usually see from the length which one to choose.

    Next choose the language. Obviously they cannot ALL be English so choose the first and encode a minuet of the film and listen to it. If its not English choose the next in the list, and the next and the next etc., until you find the correct one. Or open the DVD in a DVD player and see the order they are in, usually it will be the same.

    Lastly we have subtitles. I don't usually select any because I don't want them on my movie. If you choose subtitles then you will not be able to turn them off, they will ALWAYS be on your movie! Flask is not always able to do subtitles correctly, so again, you will have to try it and see. There are other ways to get subtitles, though; why not check out my subtitle ripping section for this.

    Now Press FlasK this DVD!



    Select Global Project options.


    Frame Size: In the Width and Height sections you can put the size you wish your final video to be. If you wish to crop your movie too you can select the 'Show Output Pad' at the bottom right. For detailed information on how to resize a movie in Flask read section 2nd of this guide: "resizing the video".

    Time Base (fps): Flask will normally choose the best framerate for your movie. All PAL movies (European) are 25 frames per second (fps). So if you know your movie is PAL make sure your movie is set to 25. All North American movies are NTSC which means they are 29.97 fps. BUT because of the way they are encoded to DVD most will appear Flask will choose 23.976 fps. This is usually correct so don't change it. As always test a short clip before you do a whole movie to make sure its ok.

    iDCT Options: Just leave these alone its overkill to use IEEE and the quality will not look better.

    Video Structure: Do not check the deinterlace button unless you really need it because the video will decode very slow. For a full explanation of the interlace problem, check out my article: "Video Formats: NTSC & PAL / Telecine" in the appendix section.

    Deinterlace video
    For this kind of Deinterlacer blend gives best quality. The Threshold setting is basically how much it blurs problem lines. The lower the number the more it blurs it. If the interlace problem is really bad you should use a setting of 1-5 instead of 20. If its not very bad you could use 15-20.

    If Flask (or you) select the Time Base of 24 or 23.976 fps then there will be the extra option called 'Reconstruct progressive images'. This option is grayed out in the above picture. Flask automatically tries to detect the real framerate inside the DVD. This setting is not an IVTC (inverse telecine); it just forces Flask Mpeg to 24fps progressive mode, avoiding potential interlace problems if the movie is 24 but the playback is set to 29.976.

    So you want to know what you should do with them, right?! For PAL movies, I have found that there is no point selecting anything but 25fps and you will not need 'reconstruct progressive images'. In fact, you will almost always get jerky playback if you select it. For NTSC I'm not sure, I think the general opinion is to let Flask choose or ignore it.



    On to the Audio tab always select 'Decode audio' if you want sound. For DVD's un-check the 'same as input box' and select 48000 Hz (just to make sure you have the right setting). For Mpeg-1 you'd use same as input or 44100Hz. Never use 44100Hz with DVD's or you will get audio synchronization problems.

    If you just want to copy the DVD's AC3 audio across instead of converting it use the 'Direct Stream copy' option.



    This section deals almost exclusively with resizing. Never use 'Nearest Neighbouring' unless you are not resizing the picture because the quality is crud. Contrary to popular belief Bilinear looks just as nice as Bicubic, except it is twice as fast. JASC (makers of Paint Shop Pro) recommend Bilinear for shrinking images and Bicubic for enlarging them. But use what you think looks best.

    Keep aspect ratio: PAL users should always tick this box unless you know you don't need it. This is even more important with Widescreen DVD's. If you use NTSC DVD's the image may become stretched slightly wrongly. If you notice this uncheck the 'keep aspect ratio' and work out the ratio yourself. See the article"Resizing DVD's with Correct Aspect Ratios" in my appendix.

    Crop & Letterboxing: All the settings for cropping and letterboxing the DVD can be entered here or the output pad can be used. For detailed information on how to resize a movie in Flask read section 2nd of this guide: "resizing the video".



    Choose where you want to save your final movie. The audio save option is grayed out because you are encoding the video with audio in it. If you selected 'Direct Stream Copy' on the previous Audio Tab then you could say where you wanted it saved.


    Compiling Time: This speaks for itself. If you check the 'Compile whole file' box it will convert the whole DVD. If you uncheck it you can say how many seconds to encode. Obviously 60 is one minuet and 120 is two mins. The frames to compile is basically the same thing. There are 25 frames to one second of video for PAL and either 23.976 or 29.970 for NTSC. Using these options you can encode a small clip to test the quality etc. I recommend you shut down and restart Flask just before you encode a long movie to reduce chances of it crashing.

    Search Size: This searches the DVD for the audio. As it says, if you have problems make the number bigger. If all else fails and you cannot find audio you can try one of the other methods I explain in the section:"DVD Audio Extraction".

    Miscellaneous: Like the thing says, it'll shut down the computer if it can when its done :)

    That's it you're nearly ready to encode! Lets set the output options...



    Go to Options > Output Format Options.

    And up will pop the box shown below:

    Features and Future Features: Flask has an option to 'Split files after' a certain amount of seconds. This is useful if you want a VCD to be split in half so that one part can be put on a single CD. I don't use it for Divx because I prefer to split them in VirtualDub. To use it, just work out how many seconds there are in the movie. If the movie is 131 minuets then multiply 131 by 60 and you have the seconds (7860 seconds) then just divide that in half and you have your split number (3930).

    Enable Watermark: This lets you use any bitmap picture you want as a logo. So you can make a little picture saying made by 'smiffy' or whatever you like. The X and Y boxes let you say where the logo will appear on the movie. Then you have three options on how it will look. It can "Copy", which just sticks the bitmap on top. It can "Mask" which lets part of the image become transparent. Or it can "Alpha" which makes the whole image transparent. I do not recommend using logos because they increase the filesize of the picture and degrade the quality.

    Select Codec: These are the important buttons! Hit the top one and the following box appears:

    Choose the Divx ;-) MPEG-4' Low or High Motion codec from the drop down list depending on what you want. For getting the best setting you can look at my article: "Best Divx Quality & Bitrate Guide" in the appendix. But in short, use a bitrate calculator to determine the best bitrate to put in here. I'm using the 'Advanced Divx Bitrate Calc! Version 1.5'. It seems to give a more reliable amount and will not make a movie larger than you intend.

    Just put the DVD movie length in minuets in the top box. Select the audio bitrate you want to use (for Flask this will almost always be 96 kBit/s Stereo). Then it will tell you the amount to use! In the above picture the calculator says 581 so you would move the 'Data Rate slider bar to 581 instead of the 750 it is in the above picture. As for keyframes, I tend to use a keyframe every 1 second, but you can use one every 10 seconds to saves more memory. Then set the 'Crispiness to 75% and you are done!

    Ok. Back to our previous dialogue box. Press the bottom 'Select Codec' button to select the audio compression.

    Up pops this box:

    Choose 'MPEG Layer-3' at 96 kBit/s 48,000Hz. You can choose what you like here, 128 or 190 etc., if you prefer, but there is no need it will just make the file size larger.

    There are two problems with converting the audio to Mp3. First, the audio must be 48,000Hz. Some sound cards cannot handle the format and so it may play the audio back dull and buzzing. Secondly, because of the dynamic range of a DVD the audio level will sound very low and may not be loud enough for you. Check out the section "Dull Audio, Normalization & Samplerates" for a detailed explanation and a solution to all this. In short, you can choose PCM audio instead of mp3 and add it later. So here is where you would do that. Instead of choosing Mp3 choose PCM 48,000Hz 16bit, Stereo. No other audio format will work in Flask without potential problems!

    Warning! PCM Wav audio is uncompressed and creates a seriously large movie file 1-2GB! If you are making a single CD rip you will probably be okay using PCM audio. If you are making a 2 CD rip, your file may be so large that VirtualDub will not open it and Windows will not play it! This is annoying because Divx Mpeg4 can be larger than 2GB and would normally probably work okay at anything upto 4GB. But Flask seems to create a file that is corrupted at these sizes! So, the PCM Wav is an advanced option that should be treated with great respect! If you are a beginner just use Mp3!



    Once you have finished setting up your movie just go to Run > Start Conversion.

    Up will pop the following screen.

    If you are going to leave your computer alone to compress then select Highest in the 'Priority settings'. This will hog ALL CPU power to make compression faster. This CPU option only really works if other programs are running when Flask is though! When using idle or normal, you will be able to do basic tasks while it is compressing, such as checking Email etc. Be careful not to do too much because if your computer crashes because of another program then you'll need to start over again. Unchecking the 'Display output' box will also help speed things up a little. But if you are using a Dual Processor computer system just leave it on normal otherwise it slows it down.

    That's it! In 15-20 hours on a 500Mhz machine you will have a perfect Divx movie ;).

    Duplication of links or content is strictly prohibited. (C) NICKY PAGE 2000