HOW TO: Convert DVD (VOB) Files to Editable MPEGs
One of the keys to developing a content rich online video platform is being able to capture, edit and convert content from a DVD. In this entry, I’ll show you a quick way to acquire and stitch DVD content without a hardware device or additional software program. That’s right, instantly convert your DVD (VOB) files to editable mpegs!
Note: I do not endorse unauthorized capturing or duplication of copyrighted material. Unauthorized duplication of copyrighted material from DVD, VHS or other media is prohibited under federal copyright laws unless the copy qualifies as Fair Use. Act responsibly.
DVD, also know as Digital Video Disc is an optical disc storage media format and was invented over 15 years ago. As we all know one of its main uses is to store video. If you look at the files within a DVD you will find .ifo, .bup and .vob files. The .ifo files (Information) and .bup (Backup) tell the device reading the DVD where everything is, where to find it and what the device should do. A .vob file (Video Object) is a container format for DVD media (click here for more details). A container format is basically a meta-file whose specification describes how the data is stored (but not coded). Certain programs and devices are able to identify and open container files, some examples are Windows Media Player, QuickTime, VLC, PowerDVD and an old fashioned DVD player.
What confuses users is the file extension. Many users I’ve talked to are unfamiliar with .vob and the “wrapper concept.” I think it is best to think about it like this, a .vob file is a label or wrapper that describes the video, audio, subtitle and menu information. This label or wrapper provides the information needed for PowerDVD, QuickTime, Windows Media Player, VLC and your DVD player to play the video AND provide you with audio, subtitle, chapter and menu information. In this case, we just want to grab the digital video content from the .vob file.
How to Convert VOB to MPEG
Step 1 – Copy VOB File:
Your first task is to copy the .vob file from the DVD to your hard drive. Find your .vob files, they are usually in the VIDEO_TS folder of our DVD. You can’t rename the .vob file on a DVD because DVDs are read only, so copy the .vob file from the DVD to your hard drive.
Step 2 – Rename VOB File To MPEG:
Windows Users (Right-Click)
Right click the .vob file on your hard drive and choose Rename from the menu. Rename VTS_01.vob to VTS_01.mpeg.
Mac Users (Click-Pause)
Move your cursor to a file or folder, select it, wait a second and then click again on the name. A text edit field appears over the name and you can rename VTS_01_1.vob to VTS_01.mpeg.
Step 3 – Import & Edit MPEG Video File:
Import the file into a video editing application, such as Premiere Essentials, Premiere Pro, Windows Movie Maker or iMovie. Once the file is imported, drag the video file from the project panel to the timeline. If you have multiple files, place them in the desired order, creating a sequence of clips and events, which play in the timeline from left to right. When you have finished editing the timeline, you can play it back in real time or export it in a variety of formats.
There are times when video editing software doesn’t import or handle the .mpeg very well. In that case, you would be better off converting to another format like AVI or QuickTime. An AVI format is a container where the video is minimally compressed, like a DV type format. There is plenty of freeware to help you convert your media to AVI or QuickTime. A few programs that seem to work well for Windows users are MediaCoder, FormatFactory, WinFF and SUPER. On the Mac side there are plenty of free options like Handbrake, ffmpegx and Kigo. Additionally, support for some file formats relies on third-party plug-ins or other software, e.g. Apple QuickTime Pro.
If for some reason you are not getting an audio track, you can add an AC3 decoder to a program like Premiere Pro. If you are a Windows user, MediaCollege.com has a great explanation and solution here. If you are a Mac user, the AC3 QuickTime component and the Perian component for QuickTime can expand your support for both audio and video formats.
Step 4 – Play Exported Video File:
Assuming you have DVD player software on you computer, you should be able to play the file in something like PowerDVD, QuickTime, Windows Media Player, or VLC.
Step 5 – Upload Exported Video File to Ensemble Video:
If you are using Ensemble Video, you should be able to upload the final exported video file to your media library.
Congrats! You just learned how to instantly convert a .vob to an editable .mpeg. While this is a great time saver, this does not work 100% of the time. If you are running into video problems, your software probably does not have the MPEG2 codec built in. If you happen to encounter audio problems, you software may not have an AC3 Decoder built in. Luckily, software programs will allow you to add in these components e.g. Adobe Premiere. My recommendation is to try it prior to a long conversion process.
Converting from DVD to an editable video format can be done in many cases directly from media files on a DVD. This blog entry shows you how.