Create VCD compliant with VideoCD 2.0 standard

Here's a method to create video CD with some simple and inexpensive tools. Homemade CDs compliant with VideoCD 2.0 guidelines are readable on standalone DVD players.

The VideoCD 2.0 standard (White Book)

From VideoCD 2.0 guidelines, so-called White Book, we may take into account picture size, video rate (fps frames per second), audio and video compression. Which means for PAL (TV standard for Europe): In practice, some encoding software are tuned for 1,100Kb/s even 1130Kb/s for video rate. I made a test with 1,150Kb/s with Pinnacle Studio, the MPEG-1 movie wasn't recognized as VideoCD 2.0 compliant. One an another hand, TMPGEnc settings are 1,150Kb/s and is VideoCD 2.0 compliant.

Audio stream format PCM 44.1KHz 16 bits stereo with 172Ko/s is appropriate. PCM (Pulse Code Modulation) is an uncompressed format.

About standalone DVD players

To read homemade Video CD, standalone DVD players must be compatible VideoCD 2.0 (most are) and must be able to read CD-R or CD-RW.

My tests are carried out on a standalone player Philips DVD-950 bought in France in spring 2000. I do some testing on Pioneer 525 as well (purchased in France in 1999).

About reading with a PC

Reading on PC is done by a DVD player software provided by the PC manufacturer (WinDVD, PowerDVD, Cinemaster or others). I use essentially WinDVD 2000 provided with Dell Dimension 4100 computer and Cinemaster 99 provided with HP Pavilion.

I use the data track ISO-9660 on the video CD to store the MPG files and another version of the movies encoded with higher quality in MPEG-4 (WMV format) for reading by Windows Media player.

My workshop for VideoCD creation

My computer is fitted with a cheap TV adapter (approximately 500FF), the Pinnacle PCTV Rave of which I use S-VHS (Y/C) input to digitize my Hi8 movies from a Sony camcorder. The software of the workshop are:
Capture: VirtualDUB
Codec: Indeo 5.11 or Huffyuv
Assembly Pinnacle Studio
Formatting: VirtualDUB
Conversion MPEG-1: AVI2VCD or TMPGEnc
CD Authoring: WinOnCD 3.7 Power Edition

These software are free but Studio (100FF to upgrade PCTV Rave to PCTV Pro) and WinOnCD (400FF).

I maintain my list of utilities in the VCD Workshop paper.

The calculating times reported below were observed on a Dell Dimension 4100 computer INTEL Pentium III 933MHz.

Method following 5 steps

1. Capture rush with VirtualDUB

It's better to use S-Video input of the PCTV, that will give better results if the source is a Hi8 camcorder (see the video formats analog paper).

Adjustments for VirtualDUB :

For 352x288 choice with Indeo 5.11, video rate observed during capture is from 600 to 800KB/s and it's 173KB/s for audio. That's to say a total rate less than 1,000KB/s and my hard drive can go up to 3,936KB/s ; this limit is given by benchmarking with the AuxSetup from VirtualDUB. CPU usage goes from 40% to 95%. CPU peaks make some frames to be dropped when rush is over several minutes (1/1,000 loss every 10 minutes) which is completely negligible.

Hard drive performance can be improve by tuning Windows 98se settings. I've achieved amazing 600% improvement to 23,981KB/s after BIOS update and Ultra ATA Storage Intel driver installation (look at my measures in Dell Dimension 4100 page).

The choice Key every frame allows further easier video editing than Key every 15 frames which could be appropriate for long rush.

This settings give rush size of approximately 44MB per minute.

For 440x288 choice with Huffyuv, video rate goes from 2200 to 3300KB/s with CPU usage 80% and 100%. The lossy frames can thus reach 2/1000 which remains negligible. The files size is about 200MB per minute.

For more details about capture format and codecs, please refer to CODECs evaluation, to my proposal for VCD capture formats and to interlaced video page.

2. Convert rush for Studio

In the past I had to convert rush encoded with PICVideo MJPEG codec to another codec compatible with Pinnacle Studio but Indeo 5.11 and Huffyuv codecs are supported by Studio in reading mode.

3. Video editing with Studio

Video editing with Studio is very simple, titles and transitions are very good to make "professional looking" movies. It's possible to shape sound volume as well.

When the film is ready, build PRE-MASTER AVI file with Indeo 5.11 (Quality=100) codec. Studio fixes parameter Key every 15 frames and we can't change this. If the rush are encoded with Huffyuv , Studio can read them but it's not able to build an AVI file with the Huffyuv codec ; the solution is to use Indeo Raw 1.2 codec to keep almost perfect quality.

The AVI file size for PRE-MASTER is about 38MB per minute if encoded with Indeo 5.11 codec. The building process by Studio lasts 9 minutes for 1 minute of film (x9).

4. Encoding AVI video file to MPEG-1 with AVI2VCD orTMPGEnc

It's so easy with AVI2VCD, just have to set PAL parameter. The resulting film is a MASTER compliant with VideoCD 2.0 standard.

MPEG-1 file size is of 10MB per minute (ratio is 1/4 with Indeo 5.11) and the encoding lasts 4 minutes for minute of film (x4).

To obtain a MASTER with better quality, use TMPGEnc : charge VideoCD (PAL) template and choose Highest Quality (very slow) and in Advanced: Source aspect ratio 4:3 625 line (PAL) and Image the FIT to frame .

The size of the files is still 10MB per minute but encoding passes to 8 minutes for 1 minute of film (x8).

5. Create and burn a video CD with WinOnCD

Select a project: VideoCD 2.0 or Editor extended for videos . It's as easy as drag and drop the MPG files (MASTER) to CD tracks.

With the extended editor, you can create VideoCD with menus, videos, slide show and store files (Autorun.inf, HTML pages, MPEG-4 clips and so on) in the ISO-9660 data track.

Voilà !

Your VideoCD is ready.

More tips and tricks

Following headings propose to go further with AUTORUN.INF creation and scale default correction (crushed picture) for standalone player Philips DVD-950 and many other tips and tricks.

Capture still images (stills)

The best results are obtained with VidCap32 in 768x576 with BMP format.

Capture with more than 288 lines (240 for NTSC) is interlaced, so use appropriate deinterlacing filter (with Photoshop ImageReady for example).

Then crop to 704x576, resize to 352x288 and save in JPEG (Quality=100%) before use with WinOnCD. WinOnCD 3.7 is supposed to cope with 704x576 pictures but it doesn't work for me.

Extract stills from rush

Another solution to obtain still images is to extract them from rush. In this case AVIEdit is a good choice thanks to its ability to display from 1 to 10 images on edition screen, just select the frame and export it.

The pictures are then 352x288 in BMP file.

Create autostart for PC

One free solution is to use HTML Autorunner Lite from Win Software. Male HTML pages with links to ' stills ' and video clips stored on the CD ; name stating page index.htm and put it with START.EXE in CD's root with AUTORUN.INF file like:

Correct scale distortion for playback with Philips DVD-950

Standalone player Philips DVD-950 plays VCD 4:3 with 318x270 display. So PAL 352x288 picture is truncated on both sides and slightly crushed.

One solution, to restore the TV 4:3 picture in full screen, is to reduce the image (down to 318x270) and to add black frames around to fill the VideoCD PAL size 352x288 (letterbox).

For the ' stills':

For ' stills ' captured in 768x576, the process is:
  1. Crop to 748x561 to eliminate bottom lines if needed (clean some capture default preserving 4:3)
  2. Resize down to 318x270 (making vertical contraction)
  3. Resize up to 352x288 filling in black around the 318x270 picture.
Photoshop is the ideal tool for these corrections, it's necessary to set JPEG quality at maximum (100) and it's smart to make a script and then to convert it into droplet so pictures can be corrected in batch mode.

For video clips:

For video clips captured in 352x288, use VirtualDUB with the following filters:
  1. Filter top crop 352x280 to eliminate bottom lines if needed (in case of capture default)
  2. Filter center crop 342x280 to restore TV 4:3 (with null transform, cropping...)
  3. Filter resize 318x270 "precise bicubic"
  4. Filter resize Expand frame and letter box image :
These filters can be gathered in one job with right order and with these processing settings:
Ten make Save AVI as... and voilà!

VirtualDUB job lasts 5 minutes for 1 minute of film (x5) and up to 7 minutes (x7) with noise filtering (Dynamic Noise Reduction), sometimes useful for better result with MPEG encoding.

Correction of audio problems in MPEG-1 files generated by AVI2VCD

This problem happens very often with films modified for standalone Philips players.

One solution is to uncompress video stream with VirtualDUB (Save AVI... without codec nor filter) then starting again AVI2VCD on the uncompressed AVI file (which is approximately 13 times larger than Indeo 5.11 film).

Another alternative is to compress with Indeo Raw R1.2 codec (approximately 5 times larger than Indeo 5.11 film) which gives sometimes better image in final (after MPEG encoding).

MPEG-4 video production

I suggest here to use the data track of the VideoCD discs to store videos in a readable format for PC. WMV format (Windows Media Video) offers best quality thanks to Microsoft MPEG-4 codecs.

It's very easy to encode the PRE-MASTER (AVI clips carried out at the end of step n°3) with Windows Media Encoder. My choice for the bandwidth is of 3Mbps thus 96Kbps (44KHz) for audio stream and 2,904Kbps for video stream with a key frame every 3 seconds and the quality set to 100 for Low Motion video or 70 for Fast Motion. The required bandwidth appears to be in between 1 and 2 Mbps and sometimes a little more (according to Windows Media Encoder display).


Related Leon's Lab pages:


Software: Editors
VirtualDUB  Avery Lee
Codec MJPEG PICVideo Pegasus Imaging
Pinnacle Studio Pinnacle Systems
AVI2VCD Freeware MPEG Encoders from John Schlichther 
WinOnCD PE 3.7 CeQuadrat
VidCap32 Free Microsoft video capture application ( from Zoltrix
Windows Media Encoder Windows Media
AVI Edit Alexander Milukov
TMPGEnc English page or
Codec Huffyuv Ben Rudiak-Gould

Some quite useful pages for VideoCD 2.0 standard understanding:

And more about VCD, SVCD, DV, DVD:

Updated: March 5 - 2001
Author: Leon

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