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  1. Storing video on cheaply manufactured plastic discs that have some sort of ink/dye that is laser burned to emulate a reflective surface with flat surfaces and pits. What could possibly go wrong?

    Everything. Every. Damn. Thing.

    So....what tips do people have for dealing with these awful things? I guess I should start with my specific problems, and solutions I've come up with along the way, and further solutions I'm looking for.

    I've found myself in a situation where watching a certain TV show requires dealing with things being distributed on DVD. I have asked the question about source materials, rips, files, uploads, and downloads....and am met with a response of "we sell DVDs on the internet, it's (this much) per disc" as the response to every question. It became clear to me....I'm dealing with people that initially used VCR/DVD recorder combos to make DVDs, and just continue using DVD recorders to duplicate the DVDs. So....yeah.....awful quality.

    It's become a regular occurrence that mid show, things start glitching, pausing, hesitating.....and that was met by my trying to rip the discs to try and get a clean file to play without read errors. But.....most software has this annoying habit of being completely unable to accept the fact that there's an error on the disc, and move on with life and get all it can off the disc. Actually - I've found that reading problem discs is worse than playing them, at least a player attempt to move on with life. Software just goes "oh my god....this bit....I can't tell what it is.....THE WHOLE WORLD HAS ENDED, NOTHING ELSE ON THIS DISC MATTERS ANYMORE!!!!!" Way to go, programmers..... Seriously....do something! Something is better than nothing. It's a 1 or a 0, flip a damn coin and move on!

    Anyways, from searching around, a program called DDRescue has been recommended. I managed to get DDRescue-GUI for Windows....which on top of not being user friendly, also isn't free! Quite a slap in the face to be charged money for not being an elitist linux prick like the types that program these hard to use apps, but go figure....I've come to expect that type of attitude from linux users. But - at least once I figured it out (not intuitive, but not extremely difficult), I managed to get the app to rip an iso of a problem disc, errors be damned! So, that's been a valuable tool in my DVD toolbox, and my first step at this point when a player fails to play a disc. I bought a brand new box set of Mama's Family - brand new out of the shrink wrap, 2 discs wouldn't rip certain episodes. Generated an iso with DDRescue - and voila! New iso image rips without issue. No noticeable glitches at all when watching the episodes. Not sure what was wrong.....but it is rather infuriating that I had a disc that clearly had all the video content to make a watchable video - but some stupid error brought everything to a grinding halt, forcing a rip with an additional program to make a version that just decided that an error doesn't mean the world ended.

    And, I'm probably using DDRescue to it's absolute minimum. As I understand it, it can make an image from multiple sources - so if you have 2 copies of the same disc, with different problem areas, it will compile a good image from that. Useful....could just be a little more user friendly.

    So - at this point I figured, great, I have all I need - worst case scenario, rip with DDRescue, get whatever is good off the bad disc, and then extract from that image.

    Well....back to the awful DVD recorder discs. A problem disc comes up yesterday. And right in the middle of Kendall and Corvina's scheme to make sure someone opens the leopard to read the forged letter they hid in it. And things are freezing up. That's ok.....I'll DDRescue this disc. And I do.

    And....what I found is, although all the video content is intact (from what I've found anyways), the errors seem to have issues with allowing players deal with time. Makemkv won't rip clean mkv files - still gets stuck. So I did a simple copy of the VOB files, renamed to .mpg. And.....they'll play in VLC alright. But they show up as being much shorter videos than they really are.....although the player will continue playing past that point.

    Ok.....what next? Well.......if Vegas will load them, I can render to a new file that will have a good, clean time code.

    And so I pulled the file into Vegas, and sure enough - full video pulls in, even the segments where it's freezing. And I render to a new mpg.

    And.....that mpg played alright, and I got to see the last 10 minutes of the episode where it was freezing - and was like.....great.....an hour of work for 10 minutes of content, woohoo.

    But that's ok - I have the next 3 episodes also ripped from my fixed .iso, but with bad timing issues.

    But I found that, the Vegas rendering still didn't fix the time code.

    Why not?

    Now, I do know that supposedly it's possible for Vegas to pass through when rendering from mpg to mpg, if all settings are equal, but I'm almost certain they aren't....but I know I've also seen vegas something alternate on the preview between showing video rendering, and indicating it's passing through, so I know that's not an all or nothing deal. Perhaps Vegas passed through some time code errors that made for an imperfect rendering?

    Not sure.

    But - re-rendering in Vegas probably isn't even the most efficient method of repairing the time code anyways. (although it did give me an opportunity to fix the audio to be in both channels. Yeah....the quality on these discs is pretty poor)



    So....I guess that leaves me with:

    What's the best tool/method for repairing an .mpg that shows the wrong length/time?

    How can one make sure Vegas renders without any issues of an mpg showing the wrong time?

    Any other tips/tricks one may want to share for dealing with problem DVDs?
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  2. VOB files aren't meant to be played directly. Often the IFO files contain information needed to play them. Try using VOB2MPG -- it will remux the VOB files to MPG files using the instructions in the IFO files.

    Another program that often works with DVD recorder VRO files is Mpg2cut2.
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