I'm a newbie on a steep learning curve. I have been using Avidemux, Handbrake and AVStoDVD - almost entirely on their various default settings - to convert downloaded videos into MP4s (to view on computer) and to create ISOs to burn to DVDs.
I'm posting in this Newbie forum because i'm not sure which of the many other specialist subforums might be appropriate. I think my question relates to the use and settings of AVStoDVD.
Here's my problem. I downloaded three TV documentary programmes. All three are in MP4 format. One of these MP4s has a 4:3 display ratio. The other two are 16:9. I can view them all on my computer screen using VLC Player. Each plays in the correct aspect ratio.
I wanted to put them all on to a single DVD so I could play and view them via DVD player and my domestic TV (which are PAL system, if that's relevant). I have already done this successfully with other MP4 clips/programmes.
I set up and programmed AVStoDVD to create an ISO image containing all three programmes, to burn to DVD. The previews of each programme (in AVStoDVD) showed each one in its correct aspect ratio. So I created the ISO image.
However...... when I played that ISO image back in VLC, the two programmes/videos in 16:9 ratio displayed perfectly, but the 4:3 one did not. It displayed "stretched" and distorted to the 16:9 screen size.
Now I know that in VLC I can simply click to change the aspect ratio of the picture during playback, and when I do so this 4:3 video shows entirely correctly. But I cannot be sure that any other DVD-player will have this easy option (and having to make that adjustment each time you play the DVD is a pain!). It would appear that the actual video as preserved in the ISO image (and thus on the DVD when I burn it) has been changed to 16:9, not by adding black borders to each side but by stretching the image horizontally to fit the 16:9 screen size.
So.... how can I ensure that the 4:3 video keeps its original ratio when AVStoDVD creates the ISO? Is it in fact not possible to have videos with different aspect ratios on the same ISO and DVD? DoesAVStoDVD make them all 16:9 by default? DO I have to somehow reformat the 4:3 video to suit a 16:9 screen (eg by putting black borders at each side) using other software like Handbrake or Avidemux, before I load it into AVStoDVD for creating an ISO and burning to DVD?
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It is perfectly possible to have both 4:3 video and 16:9 video on the same dvd.
It is not possible to have 4:3 video and 16:9 video in the same titleset on that dvd. It does appear that avstodvd creates just one title set. You can confirm this by looking at the log file that is created in the root folder where you create the iso. If in doubt you can upload the log file here so that others can check it.
What you can also do is create dvd folders rather than an iso and check how many vts there are. But I guess just the one.
There is a dedicated avstodvd support topic and you can always post this issue there.
But you might want to try other software such as dvdstyler if that solves the issue. Or, as you say, add the necessary hard borders to the 4:3 vid to make it quasi 16:9
I confess that I did think of posting in the AVStoDVD support thread. But that single thread has been running for several years and is up to 150-plus pages, which seemed to me not the best or clearest way to manage discussion. Why not separate threads within an AVStoDVD support sub-forum, to make searching and posting easier? That is, however, a little off-topic and something for forum mods to consider.
Your comment that "it is not possible to have 4:3 and 16:9 videos in the same titleset...." rather confirms what I had suspected.
I'm not sure whether creating dvd folders rather than an iso would resolve my problem. At the end of the day I'd like all three videos on a single DVD. Would I in fact need to have each video in a separate folder, and then create an iso (to burn to DVD) which would have those three separate folders? Not sure how I would set up a title-menu for that!
If I were instead to choose to add the black borders to the 4:3 video so that it looks and plays sensibly alongside 16:9 ones, how and with what software (Handbrake? Avidemux? something else?) can I most easily do that?
As I have both Linux and Win7 systems, I may yet try dvdstyler (which I think runs on Linux). But before going there I'd like to see what's possible with the tools I have and am using at present.
Avstodvd does create multiple titlesets. I tried it for my self, checked the VTS_01_1.VOB and VTS_02_1.VOB
were 4:3 and 16:9 in mediainfo, then checked the muxman log for the correct A/R and it all looks good.
I dragged the folder into VLC and mpc-hc and I see similar behavior as reported by the OP.
However testing in mpc-be, it honored the proper A/R. Give this a try
Last edited by davexnet; 14th Feb 2019 at 14:07.
Yes, I think AvsToDVD handled it correctly and the problem is with the players. Why not burn to disk and try it out in a standalone DVD player? I trust VLC about as far as I can throw it for playing DVDs properly. I am surprised about MPC-HC.
If I were instead to choose to add the black borders to the 4:3 video so that it looks and plays sensibly alongside 16:9 ones...
I just dragged the VIDEO_TS folder onto the player.
Here's something you can test with
It's been interesting to see the discussion that has been triggered by my original enquiry..... but I confess I'm already getting lost when it comes to some of the technical references - like what is an "ifo" - and how to create multiple titlesets in AVStoDVD (I've looked at its Help pages and there's no clue there!). I wouldn't know how to interpret an AVStoDVD log or a Muxman log: I just assume that if the settings are right, they'll do the job...
So forgive the dumb questions of a newbie - but if, as davexnet seems to confirm, the problem is real and not unique - how do I solve it?
- If I want to have these three programme videos (one 4:3 and two 16:9) on the same DVD, and each playing in its proper original aspect ratio, what do I have to do?
- How do I create multiple titlesets?
- Can I have multiple titlesets on a single DVD, and if so how do I design a menu to select and play them?
- If I select "DVD folder structure" rather than "ISO image" as the output in AVStoDVD, do I get three separate folders, one for each video? Or three separate sets of VTS......vob files?
- And how do I then burn them on to a DVD for playing in other external players, if not by creating an ISO image?
I know this is basic stuff, and I may not be asking exactly the right questions in the right way; but I do need a step-by-step in order to learn!
Well it does seem that avstodvd will do this automatically.
I suggested dvd folders simply as a visual aid that the program has created multiple titlesets.
The ifos are the controls for the dvd that include, among other things, how the video will display.
One thing that has not been discussed is a menu. Does your dvd have one ?
Even so, other than a direct inspection of the dvd folder just as a precaution if you can upload that log file then it may well help.
But the issue could simply be how you are playing the dvd. Davexnet stated he had the same issue as you had with VLC whereas I did not. I played his sample perfectly.
OK dave .... I downloaded your test file, and played it in my VLC player. Both clips played fine, and appeared to be 16:9 aspect ratio. The screen size in the first clip (robot man) was smaller - I guess this is what DB83 calls 'letterboxed'. The second clip (pregnant lady) filled pretty much the whole screen on my 16:9 laptop.
So what does that tell us? That my VLC player plays your test file correctly.....
Does that mean that somehow the ISO image created by AVStoDVD (with my three videos on it, one 4:3 and two at 16:9) had the 4:3 one "stretched" during the process?
Just to be clear: I have created an ISO image but I have not yet burned it on to a DVD. It was when I played the ISO using VLC - to check it wasn't corrupt before I burned a disk - that I noticed the 4:3 video was stretched and distorted.
On the separate question of a menu.... I used the facility within AVStoDVD to create a display-menu which listed the three videos (with images and separate titles) and a 'Play' button.
Not sure it helps, but I attach the AVStoDVD log file for the process I went through to put the three videos on to an ISO.
...but if, as davexnet seems to confirm, the problem is real and not unique...
Can I have multiple titlesets on a single DVD, and if so how do I design a menu to select and play them?
If I select "DVD folder structure" rather than "ISO image" as the output in AVStoDVD, do I get three separate folders, one for each video?
And how do I then burn them on to a DVD for playing in other external players, if not by creating an ISO image?
...but I do need a step-by-step in order to learn!
Here's a very detailed guide:
Last edited by manono; 15th Feb 2019 at 18:32.
Manono - thanks for your patience, and the clarity of your advice. Very useful in helping me to understanding what I'm trying to do!
I'll do a bit more practising and experimenting - including burning a disk of this pesky ISO just to see whether it plays in my standalone DVD player with the correct (and different) aspect ratios for the three separate videos.
As for the menu - the AVStoDVD design options may be limited and simple, but to be honest they are good enough for me and for domestic viewing. I'm not looking for special effects and wizardry, just a DVD that plays and looks right without having to tweak the controls every time it is played!
Well at a quick glance avstodvd has created the disk correctly inasmuch that the first title is 4:3 and the other two 16:9.
Apart from the fact that this dvd has a menu the only other obvious thing this that the first title has been created at Half-D1 ie 352*288 whereas the other two are at full-D1 ie 720*576.
Davexnet's example has consistant SAR of 720*480 ( for NTSC)
Possible that the playback has been confused by the mixed sources. Too late in the day now but if I get time tomorrow I will see if I can outsource some mixed sources and throw them at avstodvd and see if I can replicate this or suggest a fix.
Now although this is not relevant to your problem you simply have too much video for a single-layer disk. In fact you have too much video for a double-layer disk. Bitrate has been severely compromised and you will be quite disappointed when you try to play this burnt disk on a tv of any reasonable size.
You can certainly edit the title and manually choose 720x576 for this and re-encode.
It may be possible to improve the low bitrate result by choosing the hclow matrix in the HCenc settings for each title.
This is the matrix the author of Hcenc suggested for low bitrate
Also probably best to upgrade to the latest release 2.88 (make sure you get the hotfix also)
I woke up with a cold sweat this morning and fully expected someone to point out my error about 362*288 being half-D1. This is actually VCD with half-D1 being 352*576.
Anyway, I set aside an hour to add both a 352*288 and 720p video (similar to the troublesome dvd) in to a avstodvd project.
Well, even without a menu, I have been able to replicate the issue. Using my oldish version of VLC the 352*288 vid was horizontally stretched. However, running the same folder in PowerDVD, which is my preferred choice for PC testing, the video displayed correctly. So, as has been suggested, the culprit is VLC and the authored dvd is probably perfectly fine. You should still burn that iso and run it in a stand-alone player to be certain.
I do have a 'fix' for you if you insist on using VLC. In the AVStoDVD preferences >> video tab DVD Video Resolution will default to auto. So low res vid is authored at 352*288 whereas hi res vid is authored at 720 * 576. Change that setting to Full-D1 so that every vid is encoded at 720* 576. When I tested the second project with this setting VLC displays both vids correctly (and I would be more worried if it did not)
If you insist on having all that video on one single-layer disk AND using VLC I would normally suggest you tried Half-D1 from the avstodvd preference menu which is more lenient on low bitrates. However that also produced incorrect video for both titles although, again as expected, PowerDVD shows them correctly. So Full-D1 is the only option in this scenario.
I am in absolute awe of you guys - DB83 and davexnet, and indeed Manono - both for your diagnostic ability and for your willingness to take the time and trouble to explore the issues in so much depth. Respect and thanks to you all.
As for the way forward, there are several pointers in these latest messages, for which much thanks. I should perhaps try to explain 'where I'm coming from' as a novice in this arena: I don't do all that much video-recording/converting, I'm strictly an amateur.
- I'm not wedded to VLC. I just use it as my go-to player because it is versatile, seems capable of running almost any media format, works on both Windows and Linux, and doesn't need tuning and tweaking and resetting to do its job. I find Windows Media Player utterly loathsome, and have not really explored other video and audio players, most of which are limited or else need elaborate and expert setting-up.
- in this particular instance, I'm not committed to cramming the three videos concerned on to one DVD. I was simply trusting AVStoDVD to tell me what was or was not possible. I did understand the importance of bitrate: the help guide does say that the minimum should be set no lower than 2000. But I had not previously looked at, or ventured into, the mysteries of Full-D1 and Half-D1.
I will try the approach suggested by DB83 of setting all the videos at Full-D1, and if it tells me that there isn't enough room to put all three on one disk, so be it, I'll put the two 16:9 videos on one DVD and the 4:3 one on another....
Not sure whether - or how - I should also adjust the other settings (hclow matrix) in the way davexnet recommends. I suppose it can't do any harm to try!
Anyway, I'll get through this particular project before I upgrade to 2.88 and its hotfix. Better the devil you know....?
Okay, a quick follow-up report.
I decided to give it another try with AVStoDVD, using the settings suggested by both DB83 (preferences>video resolution Full-D1) and also the change suggested by davexnet (change the HC advanced settings for each video title to HCLOW).
I can't pretend to understand exactly what these revised settings do..... but I went ahead. I was braced for AVStoDVD to tell me that there wasn't enough space on a DVD-5 for all three videos, but it seemed to be happy. So I created a DVD folder.
That has just finished. I haven't yet created an ISO image or burned anything on to a disk. But I played the Video_TS file through VLC - and hey presto, the 4:3 and the 16:9 videos all show in their correct aspect ratios. No horizontal stretching of the 4:3 one.
In case it's relevant, I attach the logfile of my latest attempt.
So far, so good! I haven't yet burned a DVD of this conversion to play in a standalone DVD player on to a larger TV screen, so I can't really judge whether putting all three videos on to one disk has significantly reduced the quality.
That however opens another question in my mind: what is the best way to ensure good quality when converting MP4s or other video files to play on DVD? The default settings in AVStoDVD presumably allow for a range of bitrates. Is it a matter of setting a higher [average] bitrate so that the program does not permit the "squeezing" of too many video files on to a single DVD?
So thanks for all the advice. I'd still welcome any further comments or observations both on the latest logfile attached, and on how to do it better in future.
The program chooses the highest bitrate it can based on two things:
not to ever exceed the legal DVD mpeg-2 spec (approx 9 mbps) and not
to exceed the capacity of the disk. The program will maximize as much of the disk
as possible by setting the bitrate as high as it can within those limits.
Most users never change the matrix and the HCenc encoder accommodates the bitrate, although
it sometimes gives a warning if bitrate is too high for a poor quality (no detail) source.
Hclow is an alternative for the default mpeg matrix, in some cases it may help preserve
detail (I'll see if I can find some examples later). For very low bitrate (and yours is close)
avamat6 is a useful, it makes the result softer - so it's trade off, a softer picture Vs. a bit-starved picture.
If you really want to get in to it, you could look at the HCenc log at the bottom you'll see average quantizer values.
Avstodvd deletes the log by default but you can preserve it by toggling "+settings" button then
deselecting "delete avstodvd working files" . You'll find it in the temp folder
My friend, you wrote as if you did not expect the 'fix' to work
Now if you read the forums you will come across one 'golden' rule >> filesize = runlength * bitrate. It's the same rule whether it is a mp4 ,avi or an mpeg2 for a dvd. So, instantly, you should see that to fit 3hrs and 42 mins of video on to 4 gb of space pushes the bitrate quite some.
Now when I was quite active in authoring dvds I set myself this, not entirely accurate, ballpark for a single-layer disk.
1 hour of video = 8000 kbps
90 mins of video = 6000 kbps
2 hours of video = 4000 kbps
Mpeg2 is not an efficient codec and requires plenty of bitrate if you are not going to compromise on visual quality. True that the encoder in avstodvd sets the lower level at 2500 kbps but, in my opinion, that is really reserved for VCD or half-DI.
On the other hand mp4 codecs are more efficient and from the log the first 16:9 mp4 was 700 kbps (still quite low but probably visually acceptable)
The 720P mp4 was 5000 kbps which is much more reasonable
All the sources have been encoded at 2525 kbps simply to squeeze them in on a single-layer disk. Were you to encode for a dual-layer disk you can instantly see that the bitrate would be 5000 kbps or higher.
So, IMO, if you go for two single-layer disks it is one 4:3 + one 16:9 which then a little over two hours and avstodvd should encode that to near 4000 kbps still on the low side but easily better visual quality than 2525 kbps.
In truth, you will NEVER get great quality from that 4:3 vid since the frame size is rather small to start with. But at the end of the day it comes down to what you are happy with.
What... would I doubt the wisdom of experts? Absolutely not.
It's just that all this stuff still has a whiff of mystery and black magic about it, so I'm pleased and surprised when the recipe works. I'm also baffled when it doesn't!
Thanks, DB83, for all the help including the tutorial on filesizes and bitrate. I can sort of get my head round that. It's very like trying to get text on to a page: you can shrink the font-size of the print to get more words onto each page and use less paper ... but there comes a point when the text becomes unreadable!
So the rule-of-thumb for authoring DVDs is useful: I'll bookmark it. I'm not desperate to ensure that all the videos I save to disk are crystal-clear pin-sharp quality, but it does make sense to have disks whose images show up decently on a larger (TV size) screen.
I guess a fail-safe, or default setting for a single layer disk, to ensure reasonable quality, would be to up the minimum bitrate setting in AVStoDVD to, say, 4000kbps. Then if I tried to squeeze too much on to a single disk, the software would tell me.
Thanks again - I have learned a lot from all this. A long way still to go. I can see myself becoming a forum regular....
Couple things that might shed light on the situation:
Dvd spec supports MPEG2 for D1 and 1/2 D1 rez, but, IIRC, supports MPEG2 and MPEG1 for 1/4 D1 (aka CIF aka vcd) rez.
Mpeg2 uses the DAR in its AR metadata specification, while Mpeg1 uses PAR.
Maybe VLC is looking for the wrong spec type's AR (when reading the CIF stuff)?