How to convert a VCD Slideshow to DVD
Written by Steve Olsen
July 4, 2010
After exhaustive online searching, I've failed to find a guide for converting VCD Slideshow discs to DVD. Turns out this is much
trickier than it should be. The key quirk of the VCD Slideshow format is that there are two video streams included on the VCD - one
low-resolution (VCD video standard) of 352x240, and one high-resolution (for VCD slides only) of 704x480. Most VCD & DVD players are
smart enough to play the high-resolution video stream, however, almost every video conversion program and DVD authoring program loads
the low-resolution video stream! We need the high-resolution video stream for the DVD to equal the quality of the VCD slideshow.
After much experimentation, I've developed a technique to do this that produces a DVD with the high-resolution images. It consists of
three main steps. Read on...
Step 1 - Rip MPEG1 video file from VCD with IsoBuster
Download IsoBuster from www.isobuster.com and install.
Find the largest .dat file on the VCD and right-click on it and select 'Extract but FILTER only M2F2 MPEG frames'.
Rename this file as (VCD name).mpg.
Repeat for each VCD
Step 2 - Convert the MPEG1 file to MPEG2 (DVD compliant) with AVS Video Converter
Download AVS Video Converter from www.avs4you.com and install it.
This is the ONLY software I've found that uses the high-resolution slides from a VCD slideshow in it's conversion, and is therefore
indespensible. Unfortunately, it isn't free. Either pay the $39 registration fee, or update the .exe file with a cracked version you
may be able to find online ;-). If you're considering paying for it, you can try it first during the trial period and check the output
file quality, but it will have a watermark.
Run AVS Video Converter, click the button 'To MPEG', next to 'Input file name' click 'Browse' and load the .mpg file from Step 1.
Next to 'Output file name' select a filename different than the input file name, but still ending in '.mpg'.
Next to 'Profile' click the field to display the drop-down menu and select 'DVD NTSC compatible' near the top.
Click 'Convert Now!'
Repeat for each MPEG1 file created in Step 1
Step 3 - Author DVD from MPEG2 files with DVDStyler
Download DVDStyler from www.dvdstyler.de and install.
You can use another DVD authoring program, but the key feature required is one that doesn't re-render the files in MPEG2.
I've had bad luck trying Nero Vision for this, as it does re-render the files and they look jittery in the final result - unacceptable.
Two free DVD authoring programs are popular: DVDFlick and DVDStyler. I prefer DVDStyler because it has nicer menu options.
You'll need to experiment with DVDStyler to come up with a menu design that you prefer. One key thing to remember to do is to
change the Audio Format from the default 'AC3' to 'MP2'. Since the file created in Step 2 has MP2 audio, this will ensure it isn't
re-rendered again by DVDStyler.
Generally, drag each video file created in Step 2 to be on the DVD from the File Browser to a button on the menu (see the Menu
pages on the bottom). Create new buttons for the video files if needed. I've noticed that DVDStyler doesn't always display thumbnail
images from the video files, so I prefer text buttons. Take note of how full the DVD is getting from the bar graph at the bottom.
don't let it go over 4.7GB or it will re-render the video files.
You can't preview your DVD within DVDStyler before burning it, but you can choose to 'just generate' the DVD files on your hard
drive rather than burn. I suggest doing this, and then loading the resulting /VIDEO_TS folder in your DVD Player software to preview
on your computer before burning. You can even then burn the folder using the burning software of your choice and skip DVDStyler's
burn feature (I prefer Nero or ImgBurn for burning DVDs anyways).
Burn the DVD using the software of your choice. That's it! It'll get easier as you practice.