A DVD converting weekend…

A few months ago, I picked up season 1 and 2 DVDs for the 1997 show called Millennium from my local Costco store. This show was created by Chris Carter (the creator of the X-Files), and unfortunately it never caught on when it first aired. I saw a few episodes on the SciFi channel about 6 years ago, and I thought they were pretty good, so I couldn’t resist buying the DVD set. Since our main TV is dominated by my 4 year-old son watching his Thomas the Tank Engine DVDs, I will probably never watch my Millennium DVDs on our TV. Instead, I now have the task of ripping the videos to my PC, and then converting them to WMV format for my Zune.

Since this is a time-consuming process, I’ve held off doing the video conversions. But, I have the long Thanksgiving holiday off so I’m attempting to convert as many of the shows as possible this weekend (good luck to me!). Following my own advice (posted on the various video conversion pages), I started by ripping the individual TV shows from the DVDs to individual VOB files using the application called DVD Decrypter (freeware). Once I have the VOB files, I tried using WME9 Batch Encoder to convert them to WMV files using my standard Zune profile. In doing so, the batch encoder software worked, but generated hundreds of popup dialog boxes warning me about an overflow condition which was harmless to the video conversion (these warnings were for “percent complete” messages).

I could have continued on this way, but having to close out all those dialog messages would be a real pain. So, I decided to create a simple DOS batch file that converts each of the VOB files to WMV format using WME9 directly. That method was cleaner, but forced me to create the DOS batch file with all the command lines. Hopefully, I’ll have my Millennium shows converted before Sunday night! 🙂

More Details:

With my first attempt to converting the ripped VOB files to WMV format using WME9, I discovered that my newly created WMV files did not have any audio! After some head scratching I realized I had two issues to deal with on my converting computer system:

  1. I needed to install the AC3 Filter on my system (which is what most DVDs use as an audio codec)
  2. When ripping the VOB files I forgot to select the “Enable Stream Processing” option (apparently, I didn’t follow my own advice too clearly!).

Once I corrected the above two issues, I was able to rip and convert the DVD videos to WMV file successfully.

So, I manually ripped all 12 DVDs which had about 4 TV Show episodes each, which came to about 48 VOB video files to convert (man, that’s a lot!). As I stated earlier, the Windows Media Batch Encoder interface wasn’t an option since it had a glitch that generated numerous warning dialog boxes. So, I wrote a DOS batch file that would use Windows Media Encoder 9 to do the VOB to WMV file conversion. Below is the DOS command to convert all VOB files in a specific folder:

c:\Windows\System32\cscript.exe “C:\Program Files\Windows Media Components\Encoder\wmcmd.vbs” -input “C:\MILLENNIUM_S1_D1\VIDEO_TS” -output “C:\MILLENNIUM_S1_D1\VIDEO_TS” -loadprofile “C:\Dave’s Files\VideoTools\zune_profile.prx”

Of course, it should all be on one line in the DOS batch file. So in my complete DOS batch file I had 12 such command lines each one converting videos in 12 separate folders (each folder was one DVD’s VOB files). I started the DOS file one evening and by mid-morning the next day all the files were converted!

Being the anal person that I am, I then used d-SHARPIE to edit the meta tags for each WMV file. I defined all these WMV files as “TV Shows”, specified the show name and episode title, along with entering a description for each episode (which I got from the back of the DVD covers).

Next, I move the newly modified files over to my Zune video sync folder and then used the Zune software to edit these individual video files to enter in the season number, episode number, and air date. I believe it’s important to enter in the air date as the Zune device itself will use the information when it sorts the video list on the Zune. Once I had everything in the Zune sync folder, I connected my Zune to my PC and had the Zune software sync all my files.

When I finally completed my conversion work, all my videos were perfectly synced to my Zune 80 in perfect episode order. Now, all I need is 48 hours to watch my newly created videos at my leisure!

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10 thoughts on “A DVD converting weekend…

  1. got80s says:

    Save yourself some time and grab a copy of DVD Fab Platinum edition. Yea it costs money but you’ll use it non-stop. It’s automated, you can batch encode an entire series while you are not at home (just rip the files to folders) then add to mobile encode batch.

    http://www.dvdfab.com/dvd-fab-platinum.htm

  2. zunetips says:

    I rarely convert DVDs to WMV format, so it’s not worth it for me to buy DVD Fab. But you’re right, it is worth purchasing if you do a lot of DVD conversions.

  3. Bob Davis says:

    First off I would like to thank you for having this site. It was one of the first sites I found after I got my Zune. You have helped me out on numerous subjects. When it comes to DVD conversion I broke down & bought Cucusoft’s Zune converter & fell in love with it because it is so easy to use. It also converts any A/V file to Zune 9 in 1 step. After 6 months I upgraded to the Ultimate converter for down the road use & because it gets lifetime upgrades. I still have the Zune converter on an official disc with codes that I do not use & I would like to give it to you to make your conversion life a little less complicated & for all the help I recieved here. It seems to me that you have a full life already with a young child & converting DVD’s & other files shouldn’t take alot of yours or the computers time. My Zune tag is BUZZDOES if you want to check out my Zune profile. I live on the sunny west coast of Florida south of Tampa. I hope you have a nice Holiday season & I will continue to read your site.
    Bob Davis
    Bradenton, Fl

  4. zunetips says:

    Bob D – Thanks for your kind words and offer. It is much appreciated. Since I convert so few DVDs, I really don’t mind using the manual method. I primarily record TV shows and have my PC do all the conversions for me (automatically). So, I convert DVDs very, very rarely.

    I’m also glad to help others and share information that I’ve gathered and figured out. I use the Internet to get a lot of information, so I feel I should return the favor for others. Generating good Karma is always a good thing in my book! 🙂

  5. Cory says:

    I have also been having this problem for converting a vob file. It loads multiple error messages saying

    System.OverflowException: Arithmetic operation resulted in an overflow. at BatchEncode.Form_BatchEncode.sReportPercentComplete()

    I was hoping you could explain your method here with the batch file and possibly provide a template for creating one for ourselves. I tried just replacing what you have here with the correct pathnames for me. It doesn’t seem to work in the command prompt, which is what I’m assuming I’m supposed to try to use it in?

  6. zunetips says:

    Cory: In this posting, I create a DOS batch file named “convert.bat” and using NotePad I have the following line in it:

    c:\Windows\System32\cscript.exe “C:\Program Files\Windows Media Components\Encoder\wmcmd.vbs” -input “C:\MILLENNIUM_S1_D1\VIDEO_TS” -output “C:\MILLENNIUM_S1_D1\VIDEO_TS” -loadprofile “C:\Dave’s Files\VideoTools\zune_profile.prx”

    Note: The above is all on one, single line (no wrapped around)

    You should use the same thing for your system. The only thing you need to change is where your VOB file is located. In my example, I have a single VOB file located in this folder:

    C:\MILLENNIUM_S1_D1\VIDEO_TS

    So, you need to change this to match whatever folder your VOB file is located. Also, I have a Windows Media Encoder profile which I reference in this DOS command line. On my system, this profile file is located here:

    C:\Dave’s Files\VideoTools\zune_profile.prx

    So, you will need to change this also to match the location and file name of your zune profile. If you want to use the same profile that I use, you can download it from this link.

    So, you make those changes and run the convert.bat file and the Windows Media Encoder software should convert your VOB file to a WMV file for your Zune.

    Now if the above doesn’t work for you, post here what you have in your batch file and let me know what errors you get when you try to run it.

  7. Cory says:

    It didn’t work. I didn’t get any errors. It opened a command prompt for less than a second, then closed it again. It went too fast for me to read, but I managed to get a pic.

    I created the folder “hi” to place the vob in.

    c:\Windows\System32\cscript.exe “C:\Program Files\Windows Media Components\Encoder\wmcmd.vbs” -input “C:\Documents and Settings\Jason\Desktop\Cory\Cory’s Videos\hi” -output “C:\Documents and Settings\Jason\Desktop\Cory\Cory’s Videos\hi” -loadprofile “C:\Program Files\Windows Media Components\Encoder\Profiles\zune low setting.prx”

  8. zunetips says:

    Cory: The problem seems to be the double-quote characters you are using around the file path and name. You must have done a cut-n-paste from the text on this posting into Wordpad or Notepad, and the double-quote characters got messed up. Try opening the bat file you created in Notepad, and replace all the double-quote characters with new ones.

    When you run the DOS bat file, go to the Start Menu and type in “cmd” which will bring up a DOS window. Then, use the “cd” command to change the current directory over to where the bat file is located, and then type in the bat file name. That way, the DOS window will stay up and you see any error messages.

  9. Cory says:

    First I have to say thank you. You’ve been a great help. I replaced the double quotes and tried the batch file again with the vob file. It gave me some error about it needing to close the program down. I then tried a copy of the file I made awhile back, renamed mpg. It worked perfectly, except for the percent thing, but it did convert. The movie is now on my Zune for my viewing pleasure. Thanks again.

  10. zunetips says:

    Cory: I’m glad you got it to work. I’m not sure why the percent error comes up, but in any case you have a way now to convert those VOB files.

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