Converting AVI to VCD

>I believe that you mentioned that you put some avi's onto video CD's. If I may
>ask what software did you use to accomplish this? I'd like to try my hand at
>making a Video CD, and I'd like to get your suggestions.

Nero Burning ROM -- in my case, a factory legal copy that came with my CD burner -- did all the appropriate conversions, although you do need the appropriate CoDecs; I just would convert to .avi and drag&drop in Nero. I found converting AVI to MPG3 was superfluous and perhaps even a nuisance to the greater cause (seems my conversions from .avi to .mpg was counterproductive, it didn't seem to like the files.)

PS to the LUsers (like myself -- if you don't know what a LUser, is, you are one; it's not an insult, since we outnumber those who *do* know what it means) a CoDec is a type of cypher your computer understands to convert .avi -- which apparently isn't video, it's just a computer file with the movie information that needs to be converted to video -- to the format your DVD player understands.  So you'll need a bunch of CoDecs, such as the Apple QuickTime CoDec, which is integrated into Apple QuickTime itself, the XVid CoDec.  Finding out what format your video is in and where to get the appropriate CoDec but it should be fairly easy; a file I had indicated the format (XVid) in the file name, and it was easy enough to google. 

I was converting Apple QuickTime .mov formats -- a very highly compressed and consequently processor-intensive format -- to .avi format using WinMPG Convert (PS most conversion tools that deal with .mov require Apple Quicktime to be installed, which is free from, instead of having an integrated conversion tool.) I'm told that .avi *is* .mpg, that not all .avi is the same, and so on. Being a LUser, I don't really know what to think other than I've had success with all the limited number of .avi files I've dealt with.

Be careful about the input quality, particularly sizing, since if the input is a 2x2 square, common for video on the net, the final product will be unclear due to low resolution; think of lo-res graphics on the Apple IIe from the early 80's. Conversely, I have gotten excellent quality of some fan-based StarWars video productions off the net, and I have dozens of fan based Star Trek vid productions yet to convert from which I have high expectations. A full rip of a movie about 89 minutes long received in .avi format was split -- remember, you may need to split according to time and not file size since the time on the CD dictates the amount of full video with full sound -- and came out to VCR quality. Looks like the widescreen format got squashed to the size of the screen; I have some widescreen stuff but did nothing to create or preserve it. See below on final product functionality.

Unless you purchase a licence to use SuperVCD or get a hacked licence, don't bother; it cuts how much you can put on a CD by as much as half and gives quality -- if and only if your source file lives up to said quality to begin with -- somewhere beyond VCR quality that may begin to vaguely approach DVD quality. If your source quality is good enough, then the regular VCD quality will satisfy you.

Video conversions -- as well as the inline conversion by Nero from .avi to whatever format it records on the CD (I'm told .mpg3) -- is *extremely* processor intensive, so even with your 2.8gig processor it will still take a few hours. I have a 533 Celeron (which I'm told is equivalent to a P400) with 384megs of RAM running Winslower 2000 and have seen coding times from 6:1 to 8:1 or longer, depending on the nature of the video and I guess on how much of it is still, simple backgrounds vs. how much camera movement; my brother has similar computers and has seen similar results for his vcds. As I recall he claimed similar ratios, and similar under both Linux and the Dark Side. He also claims that overall my computer should go very slightly faster using Windoze XP, and it *might* help the coding very slightly though I expect to the order of a few minutes over several hours of coding for an hour of video. However, his DVD burner has seen wildly varying differences; a movie he tried to burn took about 10 hours under one, I'll assume Linux, and 22 hours under the other, I'll assume the Dark Side.

Make a menu screen, choose a .jpg to act as a background, under layout choose to list the titles and NOT thumbnails (even if you only have one item), add header and footer texts as you wish (such as the movie title) and the text colour -- you can be colourful if you like -- as well as a background colour.  Then choose to burn; make sure you choose the option to actually burn vs. a simulation. As for whether or not you leave a session open is up to you, I suppose I should have left the session open on a few of my VCDs but I'm not interested in finding more StarWars stuff and I doubt I'll find any more Swedish Chef videos on the net. :( I don't know enough to make multiple files randomly accessible on the DVD player, and the only way I can play them from the menu is to use the scene back button (play button doesn't work, nor do the up/down/left/right buttons) but the fast forward, fast reverse, scene forward and scene backwards buttons do work. Effectively you get digital VHS video, on a digital VCR.

Use a slower burner speed -- most recommend 42x or less for music, I usually burn video at the lowest possible speed (8x for my copy of Nero). The slow burn speed avoids transcription errors that can affect the video quality and choppiness, and only takes about ten minutes total of actual burning vs the fast speed, which I expect might speed up the actual burning to a couple of minutes; the transcoding still takes 6:1 coding times. I usually plan my vid coding, sometimes spending an evening converting .mov files of a few minutes or ten apiece, then drag&drop the file(s) into Nero just before going to bed or leaving the house for the day and setting it off.

How's that for someone who's a LUser? :)