by July 4, 2002 0 comments



There are a number of formats which are in use today, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Let’s see how to convert one format into another.

DivX to MPEG
You need a program called TMPGEnc for the conversion on CD. Before the process, find the parameters of the DivX movie you have. Right-click on it and go to Properties. Click on the Summary tab and note the Frame Rate for the movie. Start TMPGEnc and cancel the Project Wizard that pops up. In the Video File box, browse and select the source DivX file. The software will detect the audio file source as the DivX file while you select a path to store the final MPEG file as well. A DivX will bloat to approximately twice in size after conversion and you will need to allocate CD-Rs accordingly. 

Press ‘Load’ to load a template for your MPEG file. If the video source frame rate is 29.97, load VideoCD (NTSC). mcf. If it is 23.976 fps, load VideoCD (NTSC Film).mcf and if 25.00, load VideoCD (PAL). mcf as template. For any other frame rate, load NTSC if you live in the U.S. or Japan and PAL if you live anywhere else.

You can use Nero 5.5 to convert DivX to VCDsThe conversion starts when you click on ‘Start’. The encoding process takes time depending on the machine configuration being used. 

DivX to VCD
One way is to convert DivX into MPEG, chop it and burn it as a VCD. There is a simpler alternative for which you require Nero CD burning software (version 5.5 recommended) and a DivX cutter (VirtualDub). Of course, the DivX codec should be installed on your machine. 

Start Nero. From the wizard, select the option of burning a Video-CD. Drag and drop the DivX movie file into the compilation and note the size of MPEGAV folder in your VCD compilation. Since a standard CD-R records up to 650-700 MB of data, decide the number of parts needed to split your movie into. For example, if the size of MPEGAV folder is 1.5 GB, you will need to split the movie into three parts and need three CD-R discs. 

Start VirtualDub and load the DivX movie in it. Mark selections, delete and save chopped parts. Load Nero and using the Video-CD option, use the split parts to burn VCDs. The software will decode and resize DivX into a VCD-compliant MPEG-1 file and burn it. Preview the movie by hitting the ‘Play’ button on the lower side of the window (if you cannot see the preview, the DivX codec might not be properly installed). 

DAT to MPEG
VCDs store video as DAT files. This is MPEG-1 format, but this universal extension is what VCD players (hardware and software) look for when playing a VCD movie. This file tells the player what the disc is. 

You can use VirtualDub to convert VCDs to DivXYou need to extract DAT format files from VCD if you want to edit on the MPEG sequence. You may want to encode a VCD to a compressed format like DivX. This requires an MPEG and not DAT file. This process is easily accomplished by a freeware (on our this month’s CD) called
VCDGear. 

Start the application. In the drop down box for ‘Extraction/ Conversion’, select ‘dat -> mpeg’. Hit ‘Load’ and browse to the DAT file on your VCD. Also, give a path for the MPEG file to be saved. Hit ‘Start’ and wait for the MPEG to be done.

AVI to MPEG
AVI files are extremely large in size as they are uncompressed data. It is pointless to store video as AVI, unless your work specifically involves them. The best option is to encode them to MPEG format (to know more about MPEG and AVI formats, read the article Video Standards and Formats).

We will use TMPGEnc for the purpose. The method of loading the AVI file in the application is the same as that of ‘DivX to MPEG’. With the AVI file, load the appropriate MPEG template, hit ‘Start’ and it will be done (Tip: seeing a distortion in the aspect ratio of the movie preview during encoding means you’ve chosen a wrong template).

Note: Conversion from MPEG to AVI format is meaningless since AVI is uncompressed and contains more information than MPEG. You will not benefit by converting to AVI, except that the file size will bloat up to 20 times! Software nowadays edits MPEG directly and there is no need for uncompressing it to
AVI.

To convert a DivX to MPEG, you can use the TMPGEncVCD to DivX
This conversion saves space without significant loss to quality. We will use VirtualDub to do it. Open VirtualDub and browse to the DAT file on your VCD. The software rips the video data track (along with sound) from the VCD, such that its data stream can be processed to give a DivX movie. Set the Video to Full Processing mode and select DivX 5.0 codec for compression. DivX codec settings are based on the final output required. You need not resize or crop the movie because the resolution of a VCD is already 352 x 288 pixels. 

Set audio settings to Full Processing and select audio codec. Preferably use MP3 for encoding video due to smaller file size and still good quality of the sound it gives. Once done with selecting codecs, select ‘Save as AVI’ from File menu and save your movie as DivX. (Tip: save DAT file on CD to your hard disk to prevent software from accessing CD drive during encoding). 

Ashish Sharma

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