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  1. Yes, even with all the tutorials, I just don't get it. (Actually, there aren't that many). There are no video tutorials at all. (Not counting paid programs)

    Basically what I want to do is rip a PAL TV series (28 DVD's) to NTSC MKV. I'm not interested in playback on a Region Free DVD player, primarily because the PAL speedup drives me insane.

    I have two programs which I have successfully made MKV's. They are Handbrake and MakeMKV. But where I go from there is the problem. I read that dgpulldown is good but it converts to m2v files? (WTF?).

    I read this tutorial here...

    And I was able to 'hack' VirtualDub to read MKV's but the instructions might as well be written in chinese. I just don't get it. (Lost me on Step 1).

    Any guidance is appreciated. Thanks
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  2. You want to rid yourself of the PAL speedup, right? So you have to slow the framerate to 23.976fps (or 24fps) from 25fps. At the same time you have to slow the audio. And you're making an MKV, right, and not an NTSC DVD? So you don't care if the resolution stays at 720x576.

    Okay, this will work on the video without having to reencode it and only the audio has to be reencoded. I'm going to assume your video is progressive (not encoded as progressive, but the content itself is progressive). If your content is interlaced then this won't work.

    Open your DVD episode (the VOB(s)) in DGIndex. Go File->Save Project and Demux Video. When done you'll have the audio (AC3, most likely) and the M2V file. Toss the D2V file it also gives you. Open the M2V in DGPulldown and set it for 23.976->23.976. The result will be a 720x576 video slowed to 23.976fps. Take the audio and slow it to film speed (25->23.976). You can use BeSweet or eac3to. Because BeSweet's AC3 encoder isn't all that good I do the slowdown to a WAV file and then use Aften with a GUI to make the AC3 file.

    When done you should have an M2V and an AC3, both now at film speed. I think you can take them and make an MKV using something like MKVMerge, part of MKVToolNix. Or you can make an MPG using the same M2V and AC3 using ImagoMPEG-Muxer. I'd actually trust Imago over an MKV.

    I read that dgpulldown is good but it converts to m2v files? (WTF?).
    It's statements like that that make me wonder if you're ready for this project. DGPulldown converts nothing. It applies various kinds of pulldown to MPV or M2V video files.
    Last edited by manono; 19th Oct 2017 at 03:44.
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  3. "I read that dgpulldown is good but it converts to m2v files? (WTF?)."
    "It's statements like that that make me wonder if you're ready for this project. DGPulldown converts nothing. It applies various kinds of pulldown to MPV or M2V video files."

    That's why this call this NEWBIE Discussion. Right? And the reason I put that comment was to illustrate that I know dick all about this. (Despite the fact that I've been using computers since the 80's and I was on the net before there was a graphic interface).

    Anyway, I shall try your instructions and report back tomorrow.

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  4. Okay, point taken, but a certain amount of knowledge - or at least research - is required before attempting to convert 28 DVDs from one standard to the other. Maybe you can point me to the claim that DGPulldown "converts to m2v files"? Converting implies reencoding, which it doesn't do. All it does is add (or strip) pulldown flags.

    And if this is a PAL television series, are you sure it wasn't created at 25fps and doesn't need to be slowed down? Can you mention the name of the series?

    Good luck.
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  5. The series is Northern Exposure DVD from Germany. (I don't have it yet)

    Anyway, I seem to have been able to follow everything you mentioned. It took me a bit to figure out eac3to but I found a GUI version that makes sense.

    Just one question... Do I want to be going from 25->23.976? Or should it be 25->29.97? I just happened to be playing around with another TV series DVD (MASH R1) and noticed it was 29.97. (That's what DGIndex reported)

    Thanks again.
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  6. You want 23.976fps. Northern Exposure was shot on film. If it was converted to PAL by just speeding it up, then you're okay (it's progressive). Any other kind of conversion and you are definitely not okay. You might even make available ten well-chosen seconds of an episode (a section with steady movement) when you get them.

    Mash was also shot on film and was telecined to output the required 29.97fps for NTSC broadcast and NTSC DVD.

    Or should it be 25->29.97?
    Now think about that for a minute. The problem with PAL speedup is that the voices are too high-pitched, right? So, you want to lower the pitch and slow the video to match. But, what happens if you speed up the video from 25->29.97fps? The voices will become even higher pitched and the movement even faster, ridiculously so. If you're European there's no reason you should understand pulldown and the ridiculous hoops US viewers have to jump through to reencode our favorite movies and television shows for further use. But if you're going to mess with US television shows, then you had best learn something about the telecine process and 3:2 pulldown. Maybe read the relevant parts of this page:
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  7. Ok, I forgot I have to convert these to MP4 or another container/format that the PS3 can read. (I'll be playing these from my PS3's hard drive).

    After merging the m2v/ac3 to mkv, I converted the mkv to mp4 via mkvtomp4 but it it says "encoding parameters". (I don't want that, right?).

    I tried that ImagoMPEG-Muxer program (I believe the PS3 can play mpg) but the mpg video stutters via VLC. (I get no stuttering using MKVMerge)

    Ideally I would like to find something that can convert m2v/ac3 to mp4 without any kind of reprocessing but so far I'm outta luck.
    Last edited by MJ; 21st Oct 2017 at 03:57.
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  8. Ok, I ended up using ffmpeg... ffmpeg -i test.mkv -vcodec copy -acodec copy test.mp4

    Works like a charm. Took a second to convert and the MKV and MP4 sizes are the same. (mkvtomp4 was a disaster. Took a long time and it converted to half the size)
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  9. Originally Posted by MJ View Post
    (mkvtomp4 was a disaster. Took a long time and it converted to half the size)
    Yes, it'll do that unless the video and audio are already H264/AAC. Which in your case they aren't. I am surprised that the MPG made using Imago didn't play smoothly. But I don't use VLC and it's no real indication whether or not the MPG will work on the Playstation or even in other software players, I don't think. You might try one in your console to see.

    I had to look it up because I didn't know you intended to make an MP4 but, apparently, an MP4 container can have MPEG-2 video and AC3 audio. Learn something new every day. Although it doesn't mention those two codecs, you might try and see if MP4Box with one of its GUIs can do what you want.

    But if you've found a solution that works, then good for you. You're a lot more resourceful than I am.
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  10. Thanks again for all your help. One more question... (Which will probably turn into more)

    Today I was just told that this PAL DVD set doesn't have PAL Speedup. A guy who owns the DVD set told me he's very in-tune to speedup and it's not there, plus he has the original broadcast episodes and he stated the times are the same as the episodes on the PAL DVDs. If this is the case then I guess this will eliminate a lot of steps.

    Just for fun I thought I'd try and convert the first disc in the set to a DVD+R and see if it plays in my PS3. (It's not a big deal if it doesn't work since my main goal is to play MP4's). From what I have read, I should convert the VOB files to MPG (I do this with FFMPEG...yes I figured out how to convert only the English language track), and then edit the MPG file and convert it back to VOB? If this is correct, what would you recommend in editing the screen size (to NTSC) of the MPG file?

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  11. It just occurred to me... I shouldn't have to do any editing. The PS3 should be able to play a copied PAL DVD (minus the region coding) no problem.
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  12. In my post #6 I had asked for a short sample. With a sample we can determine how it was converted to PAL from its film source. I'm assuming just the usual PAL speedup was done so it would be progressive. Most other conversion methods would result in it being interlaced.

    And if it is progressive and if it is in tune, then the audio was speeded up and at the same time the pitch kept the same. That's always possible but as I understand it, that's not usually done because of the artifacts created. To be sure you'd need a musician to test the music, or someone with perfect pitch to listen to it. Or maybe find an NTSC version (YouTube?) and compare the music and voices.

    But, yes, if the pitch is accurate then your job became a lot easier.

    ... plus he has the original broadcast episodes and he stated the times are the same as the episodes on the PAL DVDs.
    And, if that's true, it was never speeded up to convert to PAL but one of the other methods was used. As I mentioned, that usually results in interlacing. It's possible that every 24th frame was duplicated to convert from 24->25fps in one of a couple of ways and they kept the original audio unchanged. Again, a sample would tell the tale.
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  13. I know the voices inside and out. I've seen the show so many times that all it takes is a tiny bit of slowdown and I'll pick it up. Sometimes it's just one specific voice that really sticks out. Michael Douglas in PAL, for example, sounds like he's sucking in helium. Same with Jamie Bamber (Lee Adama) in Battlestar Galactica. As for Northern, I suspect Rob Morrow's voice will be the one I latch on to.

    Anyway, I don't have the set yet. I ordered it three days ago but Amazon hasn't even shipped it. When I receive it, I'll play around with things and see what happens. If I have difficulties I will most definitely send you a clip.

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  14. Finally got my "Ausgerechnet Alaska" boxset. PQ is beyond what I was expecting. I thought it would look like R1. But this is completely remastered. As I was expecting, the PAL speedup drives me nuts. I knew I couldn't trust reports stating there was none.

    Anyway, everything seems to work A-OK, as per your instructions. DGPulldown does not do 25->23.976, so I ended up using a program called DVDPatcher, which does.

    There's one episode in this set (Season 2 Episode 6) that I was warned about being "PALx2" (approaching chipmunk audio). I don't know how they could have botched this one up for that to happen. Anyway, converting it from 25->23.976 slowed it down enough to make it tolerable. (Sounds more like "regular PAL" now) I wish I could find a way to slow it down a tad more but I can live with this one episode.

    BTW, the VOB files on these DVD's are unlike anything I have come across before. All my other TV series DVD's have each episode on its own VOB. But this set set does not. In fact the first VOB on Disc 1 (the first full length VOB) starts off with Episode 4, and then Episode 1 continues after it. None of the episodes are on their own VOB file. So using DGIndex, I have to use those A/B markers to individually select the portions I want. I think they did this to make it harder to rip.

    Anyway, thanks again for your help.
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    DGPulldown does not do 25->23.976,
    Doesn't the 'Custom' setting work?
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  16. Originally Posted by sambat View Post
    Doesn't the 'Custom' setting work?
    No, not for framerates lower than the source framerate. You'd have 29.97fps as the output framerate. So, if wanting to slow the video to 23.976fps from a PAL source, you'd use the custom setting 23.976->29.97. The video would slow and you'd have to reencode the audio to slow it, too. This would be for DVD, ignoring the original PAL resolution. I don't know how an MKV would handle that, but probably okay, I think.
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  17. I want to try and slow that Season 2 Episode 6 (War And Peace) down a little further. I don't care about taking a little hit in the video quality to do so. I tried VirtualDubMod and set video to 19.976 but I haven't a clue how to do the audio. I know how to setup the input/stretch/output but I have no clue how to calculate it. Is there another easier way (program) to do this?
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  18. Originally Posted by MJ View Post
    I want to try and slow that Season 2 Episode 6 (War And Peace) down a little further. I don't care about taking a little hit in the video quality to do so. I tried VirtualDubMod and set video to 19.976...
    19.98fps is what you want. Or 20fps. Did you try the DGPulldown trick on the M2V? Set the Custom box for 19.98->19.98? I'm assuming it's progressive 25fps already. And with no reencoding the quality is the same as the original, only slowed down a lot. And probably slowed way too much.

    As for the audio, I would open the AC3 audio in BeSweet and set input/output for 25->19.98 and get a WAV file for conversion back to AC3 later. It's also going to lower the pitch considerably.

    If doing this in a WAV editor using percentages, then 19.98/25=0.7992=79.92%. Or, if you make it 20fps then it's 80%.
    Last edited by manono; 26th Nov 2017 at 20:19.
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  19. Open the M2V in DGPulldown and set it for 23.976->23.976.
    Now I understand why you had 23.976->23.976. I thought that was a typo. So I guess I didn't have to use DVDPatcher, although I might as well continue with it.

    Anyway, I shall try your instructions above and report back.
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  20. DGPulldown won't do it. It comes back, "not a legal MPEG2 rate". Looks like I'll have to re-encode.
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  21. Originally Posted by MJ View Post
    DGPulldown won't do it. It comes back, "not a legal MPEG2 rate".
    Oh, right. I forgot about that. I apologize. Okay, try this. Use the Custom box set for 19.98->25.

    Now I understand why you had 23.976->23.976.
    It's a way to force the framerate you want (as long at it's a legal one ) and to strip any flags that it might already have (3:2 pulldown, for example).
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  22. WOW! That worked! I honestly didn't think it would. I changed it to 22.98, BTW. 19.98 was crazy slow...should have known that was too far off.

    Fortunately, for comparison, I have an original broadcast of this episode, which clocks in at 27:08 with the commercials removed. The German DVD "Super Pal" clocks in at a crazy 25:10! If I convert it the 'normal way', to 23.976, it then clocks in at 27:08, the same as the broadcast. But being that it's still too fast sounding, making it 22.980 put's it up to 29:10. (Interesting to see the .10 seconds the same as the "Super Pal").

    Anyway, it now sounds bang-on, if not close, to the broadcast.

    Many thanks for all your help!
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  23. You're welcome. I'm glad it worked out and that you learned some things that might be useful again in the future.
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  24. Some what unrelated but just for the record, I don't think Season 2 to 6 are any different then the Region 1 DVD's. (Going by clips I see on Youtube) The R1 First Season was around for quite awhile before the rest came out so I think the German R1 is the only better looking season. Just thought I'd mention that in case someone buys this based on my hype.

    Update... I compared Season One R1 vs German R2 on my PC and they are pretty much identical, except the R1 is a little sharper. I think the reason why I thought the German looked better is because I was compared an MKV from the German R2 against a DVD of my R1. And the PS3 is not the greatest DVD player.
    Last edited by MJ; 28th Nov 2017 at 03:19.
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  25. There's one really insidious thing about this German DVD set. The intro theme is actually pitch corrected. So when you convert to 23,976, the theme sounds slower. Thankfully I know the basics of Audacity, so I made a clip of the intro from the Season 1 R1 NTSC DVD and I'm splicing it into the corrected mpg files from my PAL DVD's. Yes, I'm crazy doing that.

    Anyway, just thought I'd mention it in case someone else (as hard as it is to believe) is also converting this set.

    (Next, I'm going to see about replacing the video of Seasons 2 to 6 so the intro will say "Northern Exposure" instead of "Ausgerechnet Alaska"...So long as the run times are the same.)
    Last edited by MJ; 4th Dec 2017 at 04:08.
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  26. Well, I noticed something even more interesting about this DVD set. It turns out (at least with Season 2...haven't checked the others yet) that these episodes are indeed pitched corrected.

    After I noticed the intro music was the same pitch as the Region 1 NTSC, I started to notice that ALL the music, throughout the episodes were the same, proper, pitch. So when converting to 23,976 I was slowing all the music down. And I thought what was the point of doing that when I bought these for the original music?

    Then I played the same episodes (R1 and R2) simultaneously and noticed that everything, including the voices were pitched the same. Amazing, considering the NTSC versions being 2 mins longer.

    I thought Maggie's voice sounded a tad too deep on my "pitched corrected" files. So I guess it was my imagination that the pitch was off. This sure makes my work a lot easier.

    BTW, your help was not in vain because War And Peace was still a big issue. Also, the first episode in Season 2 has a flub in the intro music (same with R1) which I was able to fix (couldn't have done that without your instructions).

    Oddly, that 22980 FPS I used for War And Peace was 100% pitch perfect...for anyone who wants to fix theirs.
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