VOB to AVI subtitles

This is getting ridiculous. I have been messing with video for some months now and I am getting nowhere very slowly. It is a frustrating way of wasting time. I keep repeating to myself I am learning but no, I am not learning anything.

I have my VOB files already in my hard disk. Now, I can use DVD2AVI to convert them to AVI and it will allow me to select whatever language substream I want but not any subtitles and it generates separate AVI and WAV files. I am looking for a program which would allow me (ideally) to:

a) Include subtitles in the AVI (most important)
b) Output combined Video & audio in single file (would be nice but not so important)
c) Allow me to select resolution and FPS or at least maintain the original VOB resolution and FPS.

I have Davideo which allows me to extract the subtitles but it only converts to VCD-PAL and often distorts the image display ratio.

DVD2AVI does not do subtitles.

I have Gordian Knot with VirtualDub and VobSub and all the rest of the crap but the whole thing is so cryptic that I have spent hours messing with it and got nowhere. I click on subtitles - configure and get a stupid window where I cannot configure anything and have no idea how the whole thing works.

Is there a simple way of getting the darned subtitles on the AVI? or should I just give up?

Gordian Knot’s Subtitles window should be able to rip them off using the IFO file generated when you ripped the VOB (assuming you used IFO mode in DVD-Decrypter). Then add them to the AVS frameserver you generate in Nandub, I think. The window that opens up when you open a .d2v project.

Do you want to know the complete route from VOB -> DivX ?

Gyan9, let’s see if you can help me because I am very frustrated. I have been using DVDDcrpter, DVD2AVI, etc as stand-alone programs, doing one step at a time, but I have the feeling that Gordian Knot is somehow able to integrate them and you can program the job as a whole but I do not know how to do this.

Now, when I click on Subtitles, the VobSub window opens and everything is greyed out. So I click on “open” and I am supposed to find some *.idx or *.sub file with the subtitles but there is such type of files with the VOB files.

Ok, just as I was typing this it ocurred to me. I changed the default .IDX and .SUB to show all files and I directed it to the VOB files and it did open them and now, after some hours, I have an IDX (144 KB) and a SUB file (15 MB) where I assume are the subtitles for the entire movie.

Ok, so what do I do next? I believe the subtitles are included in the VOB files as substreams. I don’t understand why DVD2AVI cannot just use the subtitles substream like it can use the Audio substream but.

Yeah, maybe you could give me a general road map of how to get from VOB to AVI (DivX or other codec) with subtitles and, if possible, audio in the same file. DVD2AVI generates a separate audio file.

Oh, another thing I want to be able to do is split the output into files which will fit in a CD-R. Right now I have only managed to get a single large file without subtitles

hey- you might be able to answer a question for me, as I am new to this conversion business. I have the VOB files on my pc, but the movie, when plaed in winDVD plays the director’s commentary rather than the regular movie. any way to fix that?

I’ve also tried doing the avi thing using several suites, but it always a)has choppy audio or b0out of sync audio.

any advice?

Here’s the guide (from DVD -> Divx)


[li]Open DVD-Decrypter, choose IFO in Mode menu. Select relevant entries in the Input tab. Check output folder and then decrypt. You should have .VOB after this[/li][li]In DVD2AVI, open VOB, if a chain, they should get loaded as well. In Audio menu, I tend to select demux all tracks in ‘Output Method’. Now , ‘Save project’ from File menu. This extracts the audio from the VOB into .ac3 and creates a .d2v file[/li][li]Now, in Gordian Knot, I open the .d2v file. A video window opens up alongside Gordian Knot.[/li][li]I goto the Bitrate tab and select the following:[/li] Mode -> Calculate Avg. Bitrate
Codec -> DIvX 5 (preferred)
Audio A -> I load the audio file extracted earlier
Total Size -> I set the right CD size, then {decide the number of CDs} OR {set file size and select “split final files into CDs”}
Interleaving -> I check frame overhead and set audio to 1x vbr-mp3
[li]In Resolution tab, I select[/li] Input resolution -> (NTSC,PAL…etc)
Pixel Aspect -> standard (4:3) or widescreen (16:9)
Crop -> I auto-crop and then goto the video window and in View menu, select Resized. If it looks decent, good. Else, set crop by pixel on each side till no black bars exist in the resized video.
Slider -> Set this to the desired resolution. While doing this, look at the Bits/(Pixel*Frame) at the bottom. That value should preferably be 0.160 or greater. Higher the better.
[li]Now, off to the video window. Drag the slider till you come to the start of credits. Click ‘Set Credits Start’.[/li][li] Now select ‘Save & Encode’ from file menu. In the dialog that opens up, I select[/li] Resizing -> “Selected …”
Resize Filter -> select whatever you want, click ‘preview’ on bottom. See if it looks good in the Media Player that opens up.
Noise Filter and Field Operations -> trial and error with preview again. Usually none required.
Subtitles -> select the .Sub file here
Compressibility -> No
Trim -> Both (enc. separately)

…Now, click ‘Save & Encode’ if encoding only 1 job and ‘Save’ for multiple jobs. Save frameserver and Credit server.
[li]Back to Knot now, goto Encoder. Click ‘Add Job’. In DivX tab, select Frameserver file, Credit server file. Select the output filename. Select 'Encode Credits…". Check ‘Append Credits’ & 'Delete intermediate files" In Audio 1, select the audio file extracted earlier, and select ‘Just Mux’.[/li][li]Add job to Encoding Queue from the DivX tab. Click ‘Start Encoding’[/li][/list=1]

Thanks Gyan9, I am going to try it righjt away and will let you know how it goes. I have been fumbling around for a while and have discovered that if I put the two idx and sub files in the same folder with the AVI then Windows Media Player will show the subtitles. This is cool to know as it gives you the option of showing or not showing the subtitles but I think I prefer to burn the subtitles into the image. In any case. there ar three streams of subtitles in the file but I don’t know how to select English and it shows the first stream by default.

This is *extremely frustrating. I have spent many, many, hours funbling around and stumbling in the dark trying to follow your simple directions but I run into problems and errors all the time. I had a long post prepared in a TXT file detailing the process and a number of questions and it was lost because I had it kept in the same folder as Gordian Knot and I was getting so many errors I decided to reinstall GN. When I uninstalled it, it deleted the folder and everything that was in it, including some files I had with instructiones etc. I swear I could kill someone right now. This is just ridiculous. Anyway. …

Step 1. Extract VOB to disk. This is the only part that went smoothly.

Step 2. Use DVD2AVI to create d2v and ac3. I assume d2v does not contain the video itself as it is quite small. DVD2AVI created an uncompressed WAV file instead of the AC3 file. I finally managed to use BeSweet to convert the WAV to AC3 but that also took several hours of messing around with BeSweet. Much later, after reinstalling Gordian Knot, I realized it installs two versions of DVD2AVI and only V 1.77, the latest one, can generate AC3 and I was using the other one.

Steps 3, 4, 5. Open the d2v file in Gordian Knot and set bitrate and resolution. I was trying to do this using the uncompressed WAV but GN would not compress it and all the bandwidth was taken by the audio and there was not enough for the video. It took me quite a bit of messing around to realize what the problem was and return to step 2. Once I had the AC3 audio I configured bit rate and resolution here. The movie looks OK in the window that opens

Step 6. Set Credits Start. What is the purpose of this? Does it have to be exactly to the frame? (difficult with fade in-out) I did it. The movie looks OK in this window

Step 7. Here is where I am finally stuck and give up until I can get further help. Without selecting subtitles yet, I click “preview” and I get a completely garbled screen. I will describe it briefly but I can send you the capture by email or post it somewhere if it helps. The bottom haf has green background with a pattern of short horizontal lines. The upper half is divided in two with exactly the same image in each which is the movie but totally distorted in color. Question: what may be the cause and how do I correct it?

Furthermore, if I select the subtitles file as you said then I get an error: “Unable to load VSFilter.dll”. Question: what may be the cause and how do I correct it?

Step 8. What is the credit server file? I am not sure how this separate credit thing works. What is it? How does it work? What is the purpose? For me the credits are just part of the movie video. Am I wrong?

Step 9. Add Job to Encoding Queue. I get an Error “Second pass settings are not set and defaults are not present. Please set second pass settings.” It seems I need to know more about configuring the DivX codec. Question: What do I need to do here? Can you tell me everything I need to know to configure DivX correctly?

I found out I had to copy three dll from the Gordian Knot folder to the avisynth/plugins folder: decomb, simple resize and VSFilter. Now I do not get the “Unable to load VSFilter.dll” error but MediaPlayer 2 just crashes with a runtime error when it tries to play the preview.

More or less. The reason for doing this is that the credits will be encoded using low-quality settings to save space and save CPU time. So, the encoder has to know where the credits start from.

Most likely, you have a NTSC video shot on film, on which ‘Reverse Telecine’ needs to be done. Try the various field operations and then preview.

The frameserver provides the frames of the movie to the encoder, and the credit server the frames for the credits portion. Don’t worry. The final file will be joined properly.

From my settings:

Gordian Knot -> Options -> DivX 5 default codec settings

First Pass -> Bitrate control :

Variable Bitrate Mode : Multipass, 1st pass.

Encoding bitrate : 780 kbps

Multipass encoding files -> Check “Write MV file”

First Pass -> Profiles :

check “Use bidirectional encoding”

Nth pass -> Bitrate control :

Variable Bitrate Mode : Multipass, nth pass.

Bitrate modulation : constant quality

Nth Pass -> Profiles :

check “Use bidirectional encoding”

Credits -> Bitrate Control :

Variable Bitrate Mode : 1-pass, quality-based.

Well, I keep messing and getting nowhere. I keep getting different kinds of errors and have reinstalled Gordian Knot several times. Now, when I get to “preview” in step 7 I get an error message “you cannot use crop to enlarge or shift”. . . but I am not using crop or enlarging or shifting anything. I think it is probably a bug and I have no idea how to deal with it. Any ideas?

I think all this video stuff is really only suited for hackers who have a lot of time and patience (not that I have not already given it plenty of both). It seems you have to use a bunch of different command-line programs which do not interact very well with each other and Gordian Knot provides a GUI so when you try to put the whole thing together it just does not work well. It is very non-intuitive.


  1. Download SmartRipper 2.41
  2. Download Xmpeg 5.02

Rip the vobs with Smartripper, use Xmpeg 5.02 to encode (you can easily alter the size of the avi, the audio stream, and what subtitles it should include).

Finest way I’ve found of converting a DVD to DivX.

It seems the last problem was solved by putting the d2v file in the same folder as the VOB files.

jtull, thanks for the tip. I might try it when I have time.

I started off with Flaskmpeg some years ago, then quickly went over to Xmpeg, since it was at least twice faster Flaskmpeg. Now I was out of the DivX stuff for some months, and lately I got into the mood again, and found that a new Xmpeg was out. This program is really fantastic.

I tried Gordian Knot too, but it was too complicated and I couldn’t find a “real” difference in performance / quality so as to make me stick to it.

I mean, look at it this way: Xmpeg 5.02 has a bloody startup wizard, which guides you through the 3-4 most important steps. Then you just tweak some stuff like subtitles, audio streams and audio compression (because the wizard isn’t very good at these), hit “start conversion” and there you go! What else would you look for in a program ? Also there’s a lot of tutorials about Xmpeg & DivX out there, which guide you step-by-step.

I have run into a new glitch: in step 7 preview the movie displays (with Meia Player 2) with the correct aspect ratio but when I later open it with the same Media Player it uses a DAR of 1.33 and not the wider, correct, one. Any ideas?

jtull. Gordian Knot is definitely very complicated and I will try other ones in the future, including Xmpeg.

Actually my main interest is not converting to DivX but to plain MPEG and I was using TMPGENG but it will not do subtitles and it will not split files for CDRs so I was forced to start looking around. If TMPGENG did those two things I would not need anything more.

I just discovered one more thing: the corruption problem which I mentioned above depends on the output resolution. With a W module of 32 it happens with every other step. One good, one bad, one good one bad. With a W of 16 it goes in twos: two good, two bad, etc. So I am limited to using the ones that work.

For splitting files I’m using VirtualDub… It’s a nice little program where you can select part of the avi, and then save it as a new avi (and many things more). Thus, I compress a movie trying to reach a 1.4 gb size, then open the avi from virtualdub and split it in half.

Haven’t tried converting to MPEG, but I guess it’s just a different plugin, isn’t it ? Xmpeg uses plugins for the actual converting, anyhow.