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  1. Member
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    I am trying to convert some DVDs to MP4. My DVDs were recorded on a Philips DVR that somehow encodes the aspect ratio incorrectly. It reads as 720x480 but in fact it is recorded at 16:9 aspect ratio.

    I have tried many different software players and recorders. They all produce video that is squashed horizontally. But the DVDs play just fine on the actual Philips DVR.

    I would be very grateful for any advice how to solve this problem. Changing the output aspect ratio and/or resolution does not help. I need a way to change how the converter interprets the DVD aspect ratio/resolution.
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  2. 720x480 with 16:9 aspect ratio is the DVD NTSC standard, so nothing unusual.
    The easiest way is to re-encode it with exactly the same values, i.e. 720x480 resolution and 16:9 display aspect ratio, using h264 (avc) as codec.
    You can also just mux your source file (from the DVD, probably as VOB) into a mp4 container, that's fast and doesn't reduce the quality, because there is no re-encoding.
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    Originally Posted by ProWo View Post
    720x480 with 16:9 aspect ratio is the DVD NTSC standard, so nothing unusual.
    The easiest way is to re-encode it with exactly the same values, i.e. 720x480 resolution and 16:9 display aspect ratio, using h264 (avc) as codec.
    You can also just mux your source file (from the DVD, probably as VOB) into a mp4 container, that's fast and doesn't reduce the quality, because there is no re-encoding.
    Sorry, but I am not understanding. If I try to play the DVD in VLC it plays as squashed horizontally. The same happens if I try to play the individual VOB files in VLC. Why is this happening? It seems as if some meta-data is incorrect? Is there some way to fix that?

    If I try to convert it using many different converters, the output is similarly squashed.

    Can you tell me exactly how I would "mux your source file into a mp4 container"? Yes, it would be nice not to have to re-encode. But I have no idea what you mean or how to do that.
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    Its possible the a/r is stored in the associated IFO file, try opening that instead
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  5. Post a picture how is played with VLC player here.
    Btw, DVD's can have only two aspect ratios, 16:9 or 4:3.
    Last edited by ProWo; 21st Nov 2022 at 16:59.
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    The aspect ratio is stored throughout the VOB files, not just in the IFO file. Given this, is there a way to get a converter to believe a different aspect ratio than the one that is encoded there?

    If I change the output aspect ratio, the result is still squashed, but there are black bars on the side. How do I get the converter to expand the video to fill the frame instead of just padding with black bars? Here is the result I am talking about.
    Image Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version

Name:	squashed.png
Views:	16
Size:	1.57 MB
ID:	67722  

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    What program gave this result?
    Last edited by davexnet; 21st Nov 2022 at 19:47.
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  8. Originally Posted by GreenRobert View Post
    The aspect ratio is stored throughout the VOB files, not just in the IFO file. Given this, is there a way to get a converter to believe a different aspect ratio than the one that is encoded there?

    If I change the output aspect ratio, the result is still squashed, but there are black bars on the side. How do I get the converter to expand the video to fill the frame instead of just padding with black bars? Here is the result I am talking about.
    send a sample. screenshot with vlcs black bars aint gonna help much
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  9. Originally Posted by GreenRobert View Post
    If I change the output aspect ratio, the result is still squashed, but there are black bars on the side.
    If you are watching it in a maximized window on a 16:9 screen, that is how it should look like if the metadata says that it is 4:3. Can you switch to non-maximized window? I don't think that the black bars are baked in. Even if they are, it should be easy to address by someone who knows ffmpeg CLI parameters
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    OK... I used Lossless Cut to slice out a ten second slice of one of the VOB files. For some reason, the audio did not make it through. But this clip should be enough of a sample for someone to look at and figure out what is going on.
    Image Attached Files
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    This is the problem, incorrect aspect ratio in the header
    Image Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version

Name:	dvd3.jpg
Views:	20
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ID:	67725  

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    Originally Posted by davexnet View Post
    This is the problem, incorrect aspect ratio in the header
    OK. So... What can I do to fix this so that it can be converted properly to an MP4 with the correct aspect ratio?
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    Originally Posted by GreenRobert View Post
    Originally Posted by davexnet View Post
    This is the problem, incorrect aspect ratio in the header
    OK. So... What can I do to fix this so that it can be converted properly to an MP4 with the correct aspect ratio?
    Have you decided what to do about the interlacing? either deinterlace, standard or double rate or encode
    leaving the interlacing intact?

    You still didn't answer the question about what program are you using to encode these files ...

    Here's an example using vdub2 and the built in yadif deinterlacer (using 2x)
    Image Attached Files
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    Originally Posted by davexnet View Post
    Originally Posted by GreenRobert View Post
    Originally Posted by davexnet View Post
    This is the problem, incorrect aspect ratio in the header
    OK. So... What can I do to fix this so that it can be converted properly to an MP4 with the correct aspect ratio?
    Have you decided what to do about the interlacing? either deinterlace, standard or double rate or encode
    leaving the interlacing intact?

    You still didn't answer the question about what program are you using to encode these files ...
    Sorry... I am not a video expert. That is why I came here for help. I just want to be able to convert these DVDs to MP4s at the correct aspect ratio.

    The program I usually use to convert DVDs to MP4s is called iSkysoft Video Converter Ultimate. I think they are now called Wondershare. But I am happy to use other software if necessary to solve this problem. Thank you for your help.
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    Download Vidcoder from the software section of this site and set it up like this.
    Default audio is 160 kbps aac, good enough for this kind of footage
    Image Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version

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    My Dad's DVD recorder used to do the same, for some reason; the DVDs would come out in 4:3 instead of 16:9.

    AVIDemux is your friend (I don't have a squished DVD to verify but I do have a set of 4:3 VOBs which I successfully stretched to 16-9).

    Open the first VOB ie VTS_01_1.VOB. AVIDemux will ask if you want to open all files with sequential names. That is, all the VOBs in that set, being VTS_01_1, _2, _3 and on.

    Click Yes.

    The preview window will show your video and you can scroll through it by dragging the marker. To test the 4:3 to 16:9 conversion, set a small section of video: click the "A" button (ie In point), move the marker a bit, then click the "B" button (ie end point). You don't want to re-encode the whole thing only to find it didn't work.

    Down the left hand side:

    Video Output:
    Choose Mpeg4 AVC (x264)

    Video Output Configure button: at the bottom, set the quality on 16 (the lower the CRF number, the higher the video quality)

    Audio Output:
    Choose AAC (lav)

    Audio Output Configure button: Audio bitrate 192

    Output Format:
    Choose MP4 Muxer

    Output Format Configure button: tick Force Aspect Ratio then set DAR to 16-9.

    Click the floppy disk icon at the top and your VOBs will (hopefully) be re-encoded into MP4 at 16-9.
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  17. Originally Posted by GreenRobert View Post
    OK... I used Lossless Cut to slice out a ten second slice of one of the VOB files. For some reason, the audio did not make it through. But this clip should be enough of a sample for someone to look at and figure out what is going on.
    You can use ffmpeg to fix the aspect ratio:

    Code:
    ffmpeg -i input.vob -map 0 -c copy -bsf:v mpeg2_metadata=display_aspect_ratio=16/9 output.vob
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    Originally Posted by Alwyn View Post
    My Dad's DVD recorder used to do the same, for some reason; the DVDs would come out in 4:3 instead of 16:9.

    AVIDemux is your friend (I don't have a squished DVD to verify but I do have a set of 4:3 VOBs which I successfully stretched to 16-9).

    Open the first VOB ie VTS_01_1.VOB. AVIDemux will ask if you want to open all files with sequential names. That is, all the VOBs in that set, being VTS_01_1, _2, _3 and on.

    Click Yes.

    The preview window will show your video and you can scroll through it by dragging the marker. To test the 4:3 to 16:9 conversion, set a small section of video: click the "A" button (ie In point), move the marker a bit, then click the "B" button (ie end point). You don't want to re-encode the whole thing only to find it didn't work.

    Down the left hand side:

    Video Output:
    Choose Mpeg4 AVC (x264)

    Video Output Configure button: at the bottom, set the quality on 16 (the lower the CRF number, the higher the video quality)

    Audio Output:
    Choose AAC (lav)

    Audio Output Configure button: Audio bitrate 192

    Output Format:
    Choose MP4 Muxer

    Output Format Configure button: tick Force Aspect Ratio then set DAR to 16-9.

    Click the floppy disk icon at the top and your VOBs will (hopefully) be re-encoded into MP4 at 16-9.
    Oh, wow! Thank you so much, Alwyn! That worked perfectly! It took about twelve minutes to convert the DVD that I had already saved to my hard drive. I did exactly the steps you said above. They seem to have replaced the floppy disk symbol with a down arrow symbol.

    And that AVIDemux is even free! And better than the several paid softwares I had tried. Thank you!

    I have a bunch of these DVDs I had set aside because friends had been on the news and I wanted to get them the part they were in. I think they will be happy. Thanks!
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    Originally Posted by Luke M View Post
    Originally Posted by GreenRobert View Post
    OK... I used Lossless Cut to slice out a ten second slice of one of the VOB files. For some reason, the audio did not make it through. But this clip should be enough of a sample for someone to look at and figure out what is going on.
    You can use ffmpeg to fix the aspect ratio:

    Code:
    ffmpeg -i input.vob -map 0 -c copy -bsf:v mpeg2_metadata=display_aspect_ratio=16/9 output.vob
    Thank you for this option, Luke M.
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    Originally Posted by davexnet View Post
    Download Vidcoder from the software section of this site and set it up like this.
    Default audio is 160 kbps aac, good enough for this kind of footage
    Thank you for taking the time to show me all of these settings. I did install Vidcoder and the .NET thing it asked to install, too. I entered the settings you showed. I tested it on that short clip. It did indeed seem to work. It is not intuitive why one would mess with "pixel" dimensions, but I will trust you know what you are doing.

    But when I tried it on the full VOB or on the full DVD folder, it just sits forever at 0.0% encoding. Stop does not work. I have to use the Task Manager to kill it. Not sure if it is worth spending more of your time on this as I have another solution from Alwyn. But perhaps you know why it hangs like this?
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    Hello - I've seen a few cases where it has crashed unexpectedly before, but not hung as you described.
    Are you running Windows 10 or newer? Have you rebooted since installing?
    Also check Windows update to see if there is any updates to that dotnet you installed
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    Cheers GreenRobert, glad it's working for you.

    AVIDemux does have a de-interlace setting in the "Filters" section of the Video Output; some of the forum members may have comments to make about what to set there, or if it is necessary at all. Mediainfo reports the resulting MP4 is Progressive, and I can't see any interlacing.

    Image
    [Attachment 67738 - Click to enlarge]
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  23. Originally Posted by GreenRobert View Post
    Can you tell me exactly how I would "mux your source file into a mp4 container"? Yes, it would be nice not to have to re-encode. But I have no idea what you mean or how to do that.
    Use clever FFmpeg-GUI.
    Load your vob, click main, click multiplex, select mp4 as container and 16:9 as DAR, click multiplex, done.

    Image
    [Attachment 67739 - Click to enlarge]
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    If you're not going to recode, wouldn't you be better off saving as a MPG?

    The other issue is, does this join the multiple VOBs?
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  25. Originally Posted by Alwyn View Post
    If you're not going to recode, wouldn't you be better off saving as a MPG?
    The other issue is, does this join the multiple VOBs?
    The op asked for a simple way to turn his dvd into an mp4. A simple remux is one possibility.

    As for your second question:
    clever FFmpeg-GUI can merge all VOB's automatically.
    To do this, select the first VOB file (e.g. VTS_01_1) at startup and answer yes to the question.
    This also works directly from the DVD in the drive if it is not protected.
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    Originally Posted by Alwyn View Post
    Cheers GreenRobert, glad it's working for you.

    AVIDemux does have a de-interlace setting in the "Filters" section of the Video Output; some of the forum members may have comments to make about what to set there, or if it is necessary at all. Mediainfo reports the resulting MP4 is Progressive, and I can't see any interlacing.

    Image
    [Attachment 67738 - Click to enlarge]
    Thank you for your help, Alwyn. I know very little about the video world and appreciate all the help people are offering here.

    Can you please explain the talk about interlacing? Is it a good thing or a bad thing? I only know the term from CRT televisions. Should I be concerned about this? If so, why? Thanks!
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    Originally Posted by ProWo View Post
    Originally Posted by Alwyn View Post
    If you're not going to recode, wouldn't you be better off saving as a MPG?
    The other issue is, does this join the multiple VOBs?
    The op asked for a simple way to turn his dvd into an mp4. A simple remux is one possibility.

    As for your second question:
    clever FFmpeg-GUI can merge all VOB's automatically.
    To do this, select the first VOB file (e.g. VTS_01_1) at startup and answer yes to the question.
    This also works directly from the DVD in the drive if it is not protected.
    Thank you for that clever FFmpeg-GUI suggestion, ProWo. This does indeed produce an MP4 quite rapidly. I am guessing it somehow does this without recoding? I don't understand how that is possible as I thought VOB is an older standard than MP4. But that probably shows my ignorance about "containers" and all that other stuff.

    One question: When I pick the first VOB and say "Yes" to ripping the entire "movie" it only produces a joined VOB. Is there any way to go directly from this step to the MP4 output? As it is, I need to create that intermediate joined VOB file and then run the program again.
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  28. Originally Posted by GreenRobert View Post
    Thank you for that clever FFmpeg-GUI suggestion, ProWo. This does indeed produce an MP4 quite rapidly. I am guessing it somehow does this without recoding? I don't understand how that is possible as I thought VOB is an older standard than MP4. But that probably shows my ignorance about "containers" and all that other stuff.
    VOB or MP4 are containers, like ZIP or RAR.
    The streams contained in the VOB container of a DVD are compatible with the MP4 container. Thus, when muxing, the streams contained in the VOB container are simply copied to an MP4 container. That's why it's so fast.

    Originally Posted by GreenRobert View Post
    One question: When I pick the first VOB and say "Yes" to ripping the entire "movie" it only produces a joined VOB. Is there any way to go directly from this step to the MP4 output? As it is, I need to create that intermediate joined VOB file and then run the program again.
    This joined vob file is the new sourcefile and, after ripping all parts and joining them, is automatically loaded as new source file. Do you can just continue with main, then either re-encode (convert video stream) or just re-mux (multiplex) as discussed above.
    If you take only a single VOB file from the DVD (e.g. VTS_01_1.VOB), then you have only a part of the movie.
    Therefore you have to join all parts first.
    Last edited by ProWo; 22nd Nov 2022 at 14:29.
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    Originally Posted by ProWo View Post
    Originally Posted by GreenRobert View Post
    Thank you for that clever FFmpeg-GUI suggestion, ProWo. This does indeed produce an MP4 quite rapidly. I am guessing it somehow does this without recoding? I don't understand how that is possible as I thought VOB is an older standard than MP4. But that probably shows my ignorance about "containers" and all that other stuff.
    VOB or MP4 are containers, like ZIP or RAR.
    The streams contained in the VOB container of a DVD are compatible with the MP4 container. Thus, when muxing, the streams contained in the VOB container are simply copied to an MP4 container. That's why it's so fast.

    Originally Posted by GreenRobert View Post
    One question: When I pick the first VOB and say "Yes" to ripping the entire "movie" it only produces a joined VOB. Is there any way to go directly from this step to the MP4 output? As it is, I need to create that intermediate joined VOB file and then run the program again.
    This joined vob file is the new sourcefile and, after ripping all parts and joining them, is automatically loaded as new source file. Do you can just continue with main, then either re-encode (convert video stream) or just re-mux (multiplex) as discussed above.
    If you take only a single VOB file from the DVD (e.g. VTS_01_1.VOB), then you have only a part of the movie.
    Therefore you have to join all parts first.
    Thank you! I indeed see now that after it joins the pieces it gives the option to return to Main to do the conversion. This utility is indeed exactly what I needed!

    Thank you for explaining how MP4 is like ZIP. So... Is there something like an un-ZIP utility that allows you to peek inside the MP4 and see what is inside? And to extract what is inside?
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    To further clarify what @ProWo was saying,

    VOB is a special superset of MPEG2-ProgramStream container format.
    MP4 is MPEG4, part1 or part12/part14 container format.

    MPEG basically* makes their container formats backwards compatible, so anything that was compatible in MPEG1 container ("System Stream") is compatible in MPEG2 container ("Program Stream" or "Transport Stream"). And anything compatible in MPEG 1 & 2 is compatible in MPEG4 ("MP4" container).
    (*there are a few exceptions: LPCM is possible in VOBs and is theoretically possible in MP4, but I don't know of any muxers that allow it).

    Also, VOBs on DVDs must, per the spec, be <= 1GB, so they are segmented. If combining, they often will have a glitch at the join point, unless one uses the information embedded in the IFO files which points exactly to the files' positions and their entry & exit points. Using the IFO, it is possible to get a seamless 1 segment clip. This clip can be exported directly to a non-DVD-compliant VOB container (as previously mentioned), pretty easily. Or if the software supports it, it can be exported to a different container (e.g. MP4). My guess is that the software in question was created back in the days of DVD, and MP4 didn't exist then, so if it hasn't been recently updated, it wouldn't support mp4. Hence the need for the interim file.

    <edit>MediaInfo allows to list embedded streams in both VOBs and MP4s, as well as many other containers. Extracting is known as "Demulitiplexing" or "Demuxing". Look to the software list above for Demuxers. Personally, for DVD-sourced stuff, I almost always use DVD Decryptor, because it can do both demuxing (when needed) and joining of segments, and I have used them for both.</edit>


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