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  1. Member
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    Just joined the forum.
    I recently used a 2016 VHS/DVD player/recorder to copy video from my VHS tapes (home movies) to writable DVDs on the same machine. This resulted in VOB-type files which in turn I copied to my desktop. I think this was the best way to get the best possible quality (lossless?) video from my VHS tapes into a preliminary digital format. I am now agonizing over how to do my next step, which is to organize and edit all this information (based on events/dates etc) and convert it all into individual MP4 files (most popular file type). Can I obtain lossless quality in the conversion from VOB to MP4 by using FFmpeg? If so, what are the instructions? Is there a better and easier way? Then can I use a program like Abobe Premiere Elements to edit these MP4s and still result in lossless quality videos?

    When I mean "editing", I'm talking about more of trimming/cutting out the unwanted video parts. In the end, these resultant MP4 videos will be the 'raw' ones that I will store and keep. I then have the option of editing a copy of these 'raw' to experiment with brightness/color etc which I assume would then involve transcoding?
    Last edited by DWK; 8th May 2021 at 13:15.
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  2. Originally Posted by DWK View Post
    I think this was the best way to get the best possible quality (lossless?) video from my VHS tapes into a preliminary digital format.
    DVD video isn't lossless. Far from it. The best way is to capture as lossless AVI, do the editing and then finally encode to MP4 or whatever the final destination format is.
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  3. Member DB83's Avatar
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    I do not wish to be cruel but transfer of vhs to a PC by this method does not give you lossless digital files. It is, at best, a quick 'n dirty method to get digital files.


    Now rather than confuse you by explaining the correct meaning of both 'lossless' and 'RAW' you really want to know how to proceed with what you have.


    Firstly, when you copied the contents from the dvd disk to your PC I trust you copied ALL the files including the ifos. If you did not then I suggest you do copy the rest of the files on the dvd disk.


    Now you run a small free program called vob2mpg which will give you a single mpg file from the several vob files from the disk. You no longer need the other files on your PC.


    There is absolutely no point in creating a mp4 file as is from this mpg although the ffmpeg command is quite simple.


    You can do simple cuts and edits in another free program called avidemux and save the revised mpg without losing any real quality.


    When you want to experiment by all means then with a program like Premiere Elements (there are better and, again, free)


    The whole point of conversion to mp4 is to give you smaller files with more efficient codecs than mpeg2 from the dvd. But these can not be edited so accurately.
    Last edited by DB83; 8th May 2021 at 15:32.
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    Thanks for the replies!
    Cruel? No no, I need to hear the honest truth. lol

    I did this a while ago with at least 100 VHS tapes and I don't have the original writable DVDs with all those files. Hmmm...I thought there were only 4 VOB files each time (but I don't recall) but it sounds like you know what you are talking about. For example
    KLamont1.VOB 1,048,574
    KLamont2.VOB 1,048,574
    KLamont3.VOB 1,048,574
    KLamont4.VOB 559,426

    Option 1: Start all over from the original VHS tapes.
    What device would allow me to go straight from VHS tape to lossless AVI? And then what editor to use to edit the AVI?

    Options 2: Continue from the VOB files I already have. BTW, How bad would the quality loss have been up to this point?
    Let's assume I don't want to go back and start all over (ie. from the VHS tapes), what would be my best option(s) to avoid any more quality loss?
    Is it still possible to use vob2mpg for each group of 4 VOB files I have?

    I appreciate the help. Thanks!

    Cheers
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  5. Member DB83's Avatar
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    Vob2mpg will not work without the ifos since it uses the information (ifo = information) from these to create the single mpg video.


    You have also renamed the original vobs to, I guess, what the principal subject was. Since dvd files follow a general pattern - see 'What is' at the top of the screen you read this post which explains the content of each disk. And since you would need the original disks AND put each set of vobs in to a separate folder you have less options available.


    avidemux can still read individual vobs and you can still edit/trim them as I described above and save the edited version to a mpg without further loss. But what you inevitably will have is part of one sequence in one file and one in another. The files can be joined.


    It is impossible to state the quality loss at this stage. That depends on both the original vhs, the quality/features of the vhs/dvd combo and the recording rate to the dvd disk.


    But starting again and actually creating truly lossless files will also substantially increase the file size. Your dvd disk will hold up to 4.3 gb of data. That could be 1, 2 or even more hours of actual video. A truly lossless video will be some 30 gb per hour !!!. And you could also run in to transfer issues which require additional hardware on top of a usb capture device. A decent one such as a Hauppauge USB-Live2 will set you back > $50 US. Search the forum for other recc devices but avoid cheap ones.
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  6. DVD recorders can be a good choice if your ultimate goal is DVD discs (or you can be satisfied with the inefficient MPEG2 format as individual video files ripped from the DVD). The drawback is DVD is a lossy format that doesn't convert well to more efficient popular formats like MP4 (commercial dvds convert well, but dvds dubbed from VHS with a recorder tend to make crap MP4s).

    Unfortunately what you now have is a mess on your hands: bare VOB files stripped from the original context, renamed, and the discs discarded. While a VOB is essentially an MPEG2 file, its just different enough that it can cause difficulty if you want to do anything further with the file. It would have been better if you had researched the topic back when you first made the DVDs, and used a tool like VOB2MPEG to extract the VOBs as proper MPEG files. You can rename the .vob file extensions to .mpg and they'll open easier in different video apps, but if you have one long video that got broken up into multiple VOBs it might be tricky to glue the VOBs back together as a single MPG file.

    In any case, it appears you have zero interest in physical discs, in which case bothering with MPEG files is kinda pointless. If your ultimate goal is decent MP4 files that don't look like garbage, you'll need to re-digitize the tapes using the "lossless" capture workflow recommended by DB83. This entails some considerable expense for capture hardware, much of it only available second hand these days (premium VCR with built-in TBC/DNR, good capture device for your PC, and probably a dedicated external TBC box). You'll capture the tapes as ludicrously huge master files, edit them, then convert that huge mess to more convenient smaller MP4 files. Its a pain, its technical as hell, and will empty your wallet, but its the only path toward VHS MP4s that won't make your eyes bleed when watching them. For complete details, just search any recent threads here with the topic "VHS transfer" or "VHS capture". LordSmurf also has a primer on best hardware and workflow over at his DigitalFAQ site.

    Otherwise, recapture the tapes with your DVD/VHS combo unit, extract the disc contents to your PC as MPEG2 files (not VOBs) with a tool like VOB2MPG, edit the MPG files with an MPG editor, and keep the edited MPG files as your final copies. They'll be large (2 Gb per hour vs 500Mb for MP4), probably won't play on phones or tablets, but otherwise be passable for most purposes (computers, BluRay USB ports and TV USB ports play MPGs just fine). The quality won't approach what you could get doing it the hard way, but its a lot faster/easier. Depends on your priorities, budget and patience (also the tapes: really funky tapes may not transfer well using just a simple DVD/VHS combo unit).
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    Hmmm...lots to think about. Thanks for the detailed responses, everyone! Much appreciated!
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  8. Kawaiiii
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    Originally Posted by DWK View Post
    Can I obtain lossless quality in the conversion from VOB to MP4 by using FFmpeg?
    There's not a single conversion to a compressed (lossy) format (such as MP4 .. - even if mp4 is simply a container - usually the codec used is AVC/HEVC) that may be lossless, quality wise.

    If you want to cut/trim something (with exact frame precision) .. you have to convert them.. and if you choose a lossy format (such as MP4) for the conversion you will lose something in the process.
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    Hi.
    VOBMerge v2.55
    Will give you a single output MPG file from a folder of VOB files.
    The default output file name, if I remember correctly, is the containing folder name.
    i.e.
    KLamont\
    KLamont1.VOB
    KLamont2.VOB
    KLamont3.VOB
    KLamont4.VOB

    Output: KLamont.mpg

    Cheers.
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  10. Member
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    Hi.
    VOBMerge v2.55
    Will give you a single output MPG file from a folder of VOB files.
    Excellent! And it doesn't install, either, just runs in portable mode.
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    Here's a comparison between a capture with my Pinnacle 710-USB and my GV-USB2 (captured with VDub using LAGS codec) and a VHS>DVD transfer (XP mode). I used my brand new Panasonic EZ48V (purchased in 2008, box opened last month). I think I've got the frames matched. I deinterlaced the three videos with Muksun. The original video is not the best (second generation); the video itself looks much better when it is running. Even though they're screenshots, they get the message across though.

    710-USB and the DVD MPEG:
    Image
    [Attachment 58781 - Click to enlarge]


    GV-USB2 and the DVD MPEG:
    Image
    [Attachment 58782 - Click to enlarge]


    Not much difference there...

    To the OP, the traditional wisdom is that a lossless capture is better. If I were you and you had more tapes to capture, I'd buy a capture stick, capture a small portion of one of the tapes you already transferred using the DVD and compare. You can then decide to keep the MPEGs if they do the job or recapture them. And future captures can be done with your stick. If you think you'd benefit from better gear you can start outlaying.

    Have a read of this thread for info on stabilisation:
    https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/343458-DVD-Recorder-to-use-as-a-pass-thru-TBC-Need...LP#post2140373

    (included is a piece by Orsetto flaming the EZ-48! )
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  12. Member DB83's Avatar
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    TBH I had never heard of VobMerge simply becoz my ramblings in to this forum (where it is mentioned some 15 yrs ago) and elsewhere did not list it. I have always known about vob2mpg since this does do things different to this program - basically becoz a vob can contain multiple audio etc. streams which one would want to filter from the vob.


    So, as an aide to the OP, I did download version 2.55 which it seems is not written by the original creator and version 2.52? which is. Neither have been updated in ages.


    I tested both on a commercial dvd and one I authored myself (neither totally, in default mode, produce a totally satisfactory result).


    Now the following may not apply to the OP's vobs but v2.52 and v2.55 includes the chapter menu in the first vob. If the dvd-recorder also creates a chapter menu that could well be attached to the final vob. My own-created dvd did not have a chapter menu so that was clean.


    Neither versions actually create a mpg file. V2.52 outputs to 'merged.vob' in the same folder as the original vobs. V2.55, as stated, adopts the folder name as the filename. Neither are satisfactory if, I suspect, the OP has all the vobs in the same folder. Thus the next merge will, by default, over-write the previous. So to avoid that all vobs belonging to specific tapes will require their own folder or extra care in the case of 2.55 since I do not think such option is available in 2.52 to manually rename the file prior to starting the merge.


    Version 2,55, by default, creates a {foldername}.mpeg file. Now this may have been deliberate on the part of the author so to distinguish between a true .mpg file and a .vob file. But .mpeg is not a directly supported file extension and one either sets that in Windows (if possible) or sets a program to automatically run such a file.


    And to clarify that .mpeg file is NOT a .mpg file it is still a .vob. Call it what you like. It is still to quote the proverb 'A wolf in sheep's clothing'


    Having said all that simply to explain the differences - and the program does NOTHING that a simple DOS command copy /b can not perform (in fact that is what it does) - avidemux should be able to open the merged file(s) and edit accordingly.
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    I can't get VOB2MPG free or Pro to run on Windows 10 20H2. Free throws an error message and Pro doesn't do anything.

    ??
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  14. Originally Posted by Alwyn View Post
    I can't get VOB2MPG free or Pro to run on Windows 10 20H2. Free throws an error message and Pro doesn't do anything.??
    Windows 10 can be rather a PITA with many traditional video apps still popular with members here (which is why many of us keep dedicated Wn 7 computers around just for video tasks). A similar utility that runs under Win 10 is DVDVob2Mpg, also available thru the VH software library.

    Originally Posted by Alwyn View Post
    Have a read of this thread for info on stabilisation:
    https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/343458-DVD-Recorder-to-use-as-a-pass-thru-TBC-Need...LP#post2140373

    (included is a piece by Orsetto flaming the EZ-48! )
    Context, please: that thread is from nearly a decade ago, and at that time the EZ-48v was in fact a pariah loathed by a majority of those who bought it (mostly due to tuner/timer off air & cable/sat recording issues that don't apply to capture work, but also because the VCR section tended to be problematic out of the box). When working properly the unit can certainly make decent VHS encodes, as your screen shots demonstrate. OTOH, you're using XP mode, which many recorder users mistakenly find too limiting despite the improved quality: those using the more popular SP mode will have a more difficult time obtaining such clean-looking MP4s down the line.

    Experiences vary with MP4 conversions of recorder-made VHS > DVD transfers. Some (like yourself, apparently) are highly skilled at processing the hell out of the MPEGs, de-interlacing flawlessly and making other optimizations for MP4. If your actual MP4s look anything like your screen shots, you deserve a special Academy Award: I have never seen dvd-recorder VHS transfers further converted to MP4 that look that good.

    Most such attempts get lost in the friggin weeds and end up with garbage MP4s- especially if they have unrealistic expectations like reducing a 4 GB dvd down to a 500MB MP4 (the more compression, the worse a VHS>DVD video looks). While there are exceptions like yourself, broadly speaking VHS converted with a dvd recorder is best left as physical dvds or un-retouched MPEG2 files (no de-interlacing, let the playback device do that). Those who want to play games with de-interlacing, cropping and filtering for final MP4s are usually better off starting from the lossless high-end capture workflow.
    Last edited by orsetto; 9th May 2021 at 10:32.
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    Geez Orsetto, I did put a smiley face on my reference to you.

    I thought that post of yours and Sanlyn that I quoted was very good for newbys, but after that retort, I shall refrain from doing so in future so newbys can ask the same old questions and get the same old, mostly snide, answers from those that know it all.

    Good night.
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  16. Remuxing VOB to MP4 would be making a lossless copy. Transcoding VOB to MP4 is not (and cannot be) a lossless copy. But it can be visually lossless, if you minimize quality loss as much as possible.

    To minimize quality loss:

    * do not use CRF lower than 18 in x264 or ffmpeg-libx264
    * do not use a preset lower than "slow" in QTGMC
    * do not use low quality aac encoders
    * do not use an audio bitrate lower than 160 kbps
    * when you render the timeline in the NLE, choose a lossless codec, or uncompressed

    And a video on DVD is probably split into 2 or more VOB files. Which means it is recommended to join them into one file, before transcoding it to MP4 with ffmpeg, or before importing it in Premiere Elements.

    For example, one video is split into 4 VOB files. You can use DGIndex and ffmpeg to join 4 VOB files into one VOB file, without transcoding. Then you can edit that VOB file with Womble MPEG Video Wizard DVD, without transcoding. Then you can convert from VOB to MP4 with ffmpeg, without transcoding the audio.

    The advantage of editing in a NLE is that you can apply filters, but the disadvantage is that you can't keep audio untouched because you have to transcode it. And instead of a VOB file, you have to make an MPG file and a WAV file, when you join the 4 VOBs into one video.
    Last edited by codemaster; 10th May 2021 at 17:39.
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    Wow! I should have signed up for videohelp.com a long time ago. Great knowledge here! I probably would have saved a lot of time and got it right the first time. Oh well.

    Some more information I just remembered after reviewing my files just now. As mentioned before, when I did my original VHS/DVD player/recorder method, It created a group of 4 VOB files per shot. I then rewound the VHS tape a few seconds before starting the 2nd group of 4 VOB of files. So there would be a bit of overlap (duplicate) between the 4th VOB file of one group and the first VOB file of the next group of 4 VOBs.

    KLamont1.VOB 1,048,574
    KLamont2.VOB 1,048,574
    KLamont3.VOB 1,048,574
    KLamont4.VOB 559,426 (last few seconds of this video is also the first few seconds of KLamont5.VOB)
    KLamont5.VOB 1,048,574
    KLamont6.VOB 1,048,574
    KLamont7.VOB 1,048,574
    KLamont8.VOB 559,312 (last few seconds of this video is also the first few seconds of KLamont9.VOB)
    KLamont9.VOB 1,048,574
    etc etc

    If I remember correctly, my intention was to then to merge all these files together and then edit/trim the duplicate parts (the 4th&1st files of each 4-group) so they would line up.

    So, I haven't yet decided what I will do but let's say I decide to move forward from where I am. I start with one of these: vob2mpg(maybe a non-starter anyway as I'm on the latest Windows 10) OR DVDVob2Mpg OR VOBMerge(not so straightforward from DB83's tests explained above) OR "DOS command copy /b" OR ?. Then use avidemux to edit/cut/trim the MPGs. ?

    Or I can start over and do the lossless high-end capture workflow Hauppauge USB-Live2 with optional TBC?

    Well, at least I'm learning something...

    Thanks!
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    Oh just saw your entry, codemaster. I will need to reread a few times to understand....

    Thx
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  19. To minimize quality loss as much as possible, I suggest one of these 2 options:

    Option 1:

    * open the first group of 4 VOBs in dgindex, and demux video and audio
    * mux video and audio to VOB container with ffmpeg
    * repeat this for the next group of 4 VOBs
    * the VOB files in Womble MPEG Video Wizard DVD
    * edit and/or join the VOBs with Womble MPEG Video Wizard DVD, and export to VOB
    * if VOB files are interlaced, deinterlace with high quality deinterlacer (qtgmc, preset slower)
    * transcode VOB to MP4 with ffmpeg, using visually lossless parameters (libx264, crf 18, preset slower), and without transcoding the audio (-codec:a copy)

    Option 2:

    * open the first group of 4 VOBs in dgindex, and demux video and audio
    * mux video to MPG container with ffmpeg
    * transcode audio to PCM with ffmpeg
    * repeat this for the next group of 4 VOBs
    * import the MPG and WAV files in Premiere Elements, or other NLE
    * edit and/or join the MPGs and WAVs in the NLE
    * render the video in the timeline to an AVI file, but compress with a lossless codec such as ffv1 or lagarith; or render to a singpost/fake AVI file with the DebugMode FrameServer plugin
    * if MPG files are interlaced, deinterlace with high quality deinterlacer (qtgmc, preset slower)
    * encode the AVI to MP4 with ffmpeg, using visually lossless parameters (libx264, crf 18, preset slower)
    * render the audio in the timeline to PCM
    * encode PCM to AAC with a high quality aac encoder and "transparency" bitrate (qaac, tvbr 109, quality 2)
    * mux video and audio to MP4 container with ffmpeg

    If you don't need to apply filters (color correction, normalization, compression, fades, titles, etc), then option 1 is better than option 2, because audio remains untouched instead of being transcoded.

    But with options 1 and 2 you will get the same quality as those VOB files. If you want higher quality than the VOB files, then you can use option 3.

    Option 3:

    * capture VHS to AVI with PCM audio and lossless video compression
    * import AVI in NLE, edit, and export video to AVI with lossless video compression, and export audio to PCM
    * if AVI is interlaced, deinterlace with high quality parameters (qtgmc, preset slower)
    * encode AVI to H.264 with high quality parameters (libx264, crf 18, preset slower)
    * encode PCM audio with high quality parameters (qaac, tvbr 109, quality 2)
    * mux to MP4 with ffmpeg
    Last edited by codemaster; 13th May 2021 at 10:02.
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    Hi all.
    If one needs to recreate the IFO files because they were deleted.
    Image
    [Attachment 58784 - Click to enlarge]

    I think ifoEdit needs the correct naming convention of VOB files.
    i.e.
    VTS_01_1.VOB
    VTS_01_2.VOB
    VTS_01_3.VOB
    etc.

    Search VideoHelp for ifoedit. Lots of questions and answers.
    Cheers.
    Last edited by pcspeak; 9th May 2021 at 23:00.
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    Thanks, everyone! Let me digest all this and experiment.
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