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3-16-1] How do I create a VideoCD from AVI or MPEG files?


This article is from the CD-Recordable FAQ, by Andy McFadden (fadden@fadden.com) with numerous contributions by others.

3-16-1] How do I create a VideoCD from AVI or MPEG files?


This section assumes you already have the video captured on the hard drive of
your computer. If you don't know how to do that, read the previous section.

The goal is to create a White Book VideoCD, which can be viewed on any
VideoCD-compatible playback device. Most PCs and Macs have some amount
of support, as do many DVD players, so even if you can't find a dedicated
VideoCD player or CD-i box you should be able to find a way to watch them.

VideoCDs can only be read by CD-ROM drives capable of reading CD-ROM/XA
discs. If your drive doesn't claim to support PhotoCD, you're probably out
of luck, but this is rare except on very old hardware. Microsoft's Windows
Media Player (formerly ActiveMovie) and Apple's Video Player can play
movies off of a VideoCD. Depending on the software you have installed,
you may get a player with a nice UI, or you may need to examine the disc
manually and open the ".dat" files in the "mpegav" directory. Depending on
the drivers you have installed, Linux systems may not be able to read the
files directly because they're actually separate data tracks.

If you were hoping to play your VideoCD on a DVD player, you should read
about VideoCD and CD-R/CD-RW compatibility with DVD players first. See
http://www.dvddemystified.com/dvdfaq.html#2.4.5 and section (2-13).

CD-R software packages like Easy CD Creator and Nero can write MPEG-1 movies
onto a CD in the necessary format. You have to be careful when creating the
MPEGs, because if the encoding parameters (frame rate, number of pixels,
etc) don't match the VideoCD parameters you may have trouble getting the
CD writing software to accept the movie.

You can include still frames from JPEG images as well. Most VideoCD
creation software provides a way to organize "assets"

John Schlichther's "avi2vcd" combines standard tools into an easy-to-use
program for Win95 and NT. You can use it to convert an AVI file into a
VideoCD-compatible stream. http://home.cogeco.ca/~avi2vcd/

Another choice is TMPGEncoder, from http://www.tmpgenc.com/e_main.html.

If you're running Linux you should take a look at Bernhard Schwall's
"avi2yuv" program. It converts M-JPEG movies created with popular video
capture boards into a format accepted by the Berkeley MPEG-1 and MPEG-2
encoders (ftp://bmrc.berkeley.edu/pub/mpeg/). The README for avi2yuv lists
the additional software packages (all of which are free and run under
Linux) needed for creating MPEG movies complete with sound. Most (all?) of
the utilities can also be built to run under DOS.

"iFilmEdit", from http://www.cinax.com/Products/ifilmedit.html, will
convert MPEG to VideoCD, and can reportedly convert a VideoCD .DAT file
back into a plain MPEG file.

"VCDGear", from http://www.vcdgear.com/, converts between .dat and .mpg.

http://www.vcdhelp.com/ has software and information.

The "VideoCD Cook Book" at http://www.flexion.org/video/VideoCD/0.html
is worth a look.

Easy CD Creator, as of v3.x, requires that an MPEG MCI driver be installed in
the system (unlike CD Creator, it doesn't come with Xing's MPEG software).
The popular VMPEG 1.7 doesn't quite work: ECDC can't see the audio, and
you're not allowed to select the frame to view when shuffling streams
around. If you have VMPEG installed as the MCI driver -- select "About
ECDC" from the Help menu to check -- you need to *remove* VMPEG and then
install ActiveMovie. (I removed under Win95 it by going into the Advanced
section of the Multimedia control panel, expanding "Media Control Devices",
selecting vmpegdll, and clicking on "Remove", but you may be able to use
Add/Remove Programs instead.) ECDC v3.x was very picky about the video
streams; v4.02 is much better.

Finally, you should be aware that MPEG playback is rather CPU intensive, and
it's possible to create movies that don't play very well on slower machines
(90MHz Pentium, 68K Macs) without hardware support. Machines built in 1997
or later shouldn't have trouble.


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previous page: 3-16] How do I convert home movies into video on CD?
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next page: 3-16-2] How do I create an SVCD?