Well, I've been trying to copy a few of my Hong Kong VCDs to DVD and the copying goes fine but unfortunately when I play the DVD back it plays IN STEREO (or mixed mono, I don't know the difference). Now, this would NORMALLY be a good thing, but with many HK VCDs, they assign the left channel to a specific dialect (like Mandarin) and the right channel to another (Cantonese). So when you play the VCD you must select either left channel playback or right channel playback or else it will play in stereo and you get overlapping dialogue (that is, both channels playing back simultaneously, in Cantonese and Mandarin).
I use Isobuster to extract the files and Nero 18.104.22.168 to burn the VCDs. I could not find an option on either software to enable me to record just ONE channel (that is, one language). The closest I find is in the Nero software where it allows me to record in Dolby Digital AC-3 2.0 or LPCM. Is it possible to isolate the audio channels or is the audio just packaged this way on the VCD and not changeable? When I watch the original VCD my DVD player menu allows me to select either the right or left channel, but when I watch the burned DVD, it just says "AC3 2CH unknown" with no option to isolate the audio channels.
Thanks for any help!
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This is very straightforward. You only need three (maybe four) tools, all free.
1) Use VCDEasy to extract the mpg file from the .dat file on the VCD. (You can also use VCDGear, if you happen to have it.)
2) Use TMPGEnc's MPEG tools to demux the stream into separate video and audio.
3) Use Audacity to eliminate the undesired audio channel. Duplicate (by cutting and pasting) the desired channel and copy it back to the other (now empty) channel, to produce glorious two-channel mono. Export the combination as MP2, 224kb/s (assuming that this is a standard VCD; otherwise, export using whatever bitrate your original stream had).
4) Again use TMPGEnc's tools to remux the new audio with the original video. Choose "VCD, non-standard" if the bitrates deviate at all from the spec (eg, for XVCDs).
5) If you want to burn a disc, as opposed to playing the files from the computer, use VCDEasy again to convert the mpg into bin/cue images.
6) Burn the images created in step 5 onto the CD-R of your liking. For best results, burn no faster than 8x. VCD data is stored with very little error correction compared to audio CDs, and so is very sensitive to media and burn quality.
If you don't have a suitable burning tool, burnatonce works well with bin/cue files, and is also free.
Oh, by the way, is there a particular reason that you need to convert the VCDs into DVDs? Almost all DVD players (except bluray) will play VCDs directly. And a great many DVD players have an option to play only the left channel or only the right channel to accommodate precisely the language choice issue that you are struggling with.
If you must convert VCD into DVD for some reason, leave the video untouched -- the DVD specification already supports VCD's video resolution and bitrates. Any additional conversion would serve only to consume time and degrade image quality (which isn't all that great to begin with). The only issue is with the audio, but it's no biggie: Take the audio stream and simply perform a sampling-rate change (from VCD's 44.1kHz, to DVD's 48kHz) with a tool like Audacity. Remux, and then use your favorite DVD authoring tool to make a burnable DVD from the resulting mpg.
Because of the larger capacity of a DVD, you can actually put 5 VCDs onto a single-layer disk, and 10 on a dual-layer. You can author the DVD with each VCD as a separate title, if you so desire, with menus, etc. if you want to put in the work. If you use, e.g., Nero to convert into DVD, you'll just eat up all that space, consume a lot of time to do the conversion, and end up with a degraded result.
AFAIK, Audacity has supported importing of mp2 since the very first version. However, exporting has been a different matter. Luckily, MP2 export has been supported in Audacity for quite some time now (although with different methods in the different versions), so there shouldn't be a problem unless he downloads it from some retro-time server.
Here is a step by step guide on how to remove a language from a VCD so you can record and watch it on a disk in the remaining language.
1. Download the free Audacity 1.3 Beta (http://audacity.sourceforge.net/) and TMPGEnc 2.525 (https://www.videohelp.com/tools/TMPGEnc). I had trouble with the TMPGEnc – it did not run by itself but was leading me to a folder where I had to click on the application file and start it that way.
2. Insert disk in computer.
3. Open MPEGAV folder, copy the .DAT files (usually only the large ones contain episodes)
4. Paste on your desktop. For this exercise, let’s call the file Tom.DAT
5. Open TMPG software, go to File, select “MPEG Tools”, go to “De-multiplex” folder
6. Click Browse, Select “all files” so you can see the DAT file, pick Tom.DAT
7. Double click on audio_stream, save file as TomA
8. Double click on video_stream, save file as TomV
9. Close window
10. Go to TMPG main window, select “Audio Only” in radio buttons on right, click Browse next to Audio Source, select TomA file
11. Go to file, select Output File to Wave file
12. Save file as TomWave
13. Now go to the Audacity Software.
14. Go to File, select Open TomWave file
15. Click on (you can choose either of the first two options, I prefer the second as it is faster)
16. Now click in the down error in the grey field just next to the blue wave window. From the dropdown select “Split Stereo Track”. Now you have two blue wave windows. Delete the Left or Right (depending on which language you want to get rid of - Chinese is usually Left, English Right but can vary) window by clicking on the X. Let’s assume here we delete the bottom Right blue wave window. Click just below the down arrow of the remaining top Left channel so that the window gets selected and copy it (CtrlC). Then click in the empty grey space below until the top blue window is no longer selected and then press copy (CtrlV). You should now have two channels again. Click on arrow in bottom channel and select “Right Channel”. Then go back to top blue window, click on arrow and select “Make Stereo Track”. Now you are back to having only one blue wave window.
17. Go to file, export, save file as TomWaveD
18. Go back to TMPG software
19. Click browse next to audio source, select TomWaveD
20. Go to file, select Output File to MPEG file, and save as TomWaveDE
21. Go to file, MPEG Tools, go to Multiplex Tab
22. Add TomV file, then add TomWaveDE file (make sure you save in the right folder)
23. Click on Run
24. Your new Video with only Chinese language is waiting for you in your folder. Rename and enjoy on any device.
25. Good luck. It took me a long time to figure it out so hopefully this will help others go through the process quicker. Thanks to everyone else who wrote before me as I could never have figured out this alone.