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! 🙂
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:
- I needed to install the AC3 Filter on my system (which is what most DVDs use as an audio codec)
- 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!