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How to create a multi-title multi-audio DVD

The recordable DVD is now around for several years and still there is no affordable authoring software available that fulfills everyone's needs. Some of the programs offer functions I don't need (e.g. DVD copying, transcoding etc.), many concentrate on fancy menu creation but they are all lacking what I consider the main benefit of DVD: the ability to create more than one title and several audio tracks. The most promising project so far seems to be DVDlab which is pretty close to my expectations.

Meanwhile I am very glad that I found the solution for creating multi-title multi-audio DVDs. It is based on free- and shareware programs and described in this tutorial. The disadvantage is that I cannot use any menus and have to select different titles with my DVD Player's remote control. If you can live with this restriction why not give it a try?

Requirements

The procedure described below requires the following conditions and software tools installed on your computer:

Title Creation

Before we can start building the title sets, you need your movies in mpeg-2 compliant video format. (The different video and audio streams have to be demultiplexed, this can be done using tools like ds.jar) One or more audio tracks in mpeg2-layer3 (.mpa) format can be multiplexed for each movie (AC3 coded audio should also work but I haven't tried it).

In the following example we are going to combine to different movies and the source directory contains the following files:
Hair (Hair) - Musical.m2v
Movie 1, video stream
Hair (Hair) - Musical.mpa
Movie 1, 1st audio stream (German)
Hair (Hair) - Musical_1.mpa
Movie 1, 2nd audio stream (English)
Jesus Christ Superstar - Musical.m2v
Movie 2, video stream
Jesus Christ Superstar - Musical.mpa
Movie 2, 1st audio stream (has only one audio track)
celltimes.txt
chapter info file (contains frame numbers)
For video files IfoEdit needs the file extension .m2v, so make sure to rename your files if necessary!

Multiplexing

Start IfoEdit and select Author new DVD from the DVD Author-Menu. Another Dialog pops up which will let you enter the video and all audio streams like this: (use the "."-buttons to select files)
IfoEdit DVD Dialog
Because the first audio track is German the Audio language has to be changed. Otherwise the DVD Player will not be able to select your default language correctly.

If you want to add chapters to your DVD titles, you have to import the locations from a text file. This file must only contain the number of the first frame for each chapter. I use a default configuration file which contains chapter marks every 5 min for a movie duration of up to 3 hours.

Finally, you have to select the target directory of your new DVD and push ok (and be patient for a while).

More Titles

Now we have created the first title set of our DVD (the files IfoEdit hast just written would play on a DVD player if burnt onto a DVD±R(W) but we want to add more titles). The procedure described above has to be repeated for every title on the DVD but we have to make sure not to overwrite the previously written data. The files created in the target directory are

VIDEO_TS.IFO
DVD Title Manager
VIDEO_TS.BUP
Backup of DVD Title Manager (should be identical to VIDEO_TS.IFO)
VTS_01_0.IFO
Audio/Video info for first Title Set (streams, chapters etc.)
VTS_01_0.BUP
Backup of VTS_01_0.IFO
VTS_01_1.VOB
Multiplexed Video and Audio Streams, part 1
VTS_01_2.VOB
Multiplexed Video and Audio Streams, part 2
VTS_01_3.VOB
Multiplexed Video and Audio Streams, part 3

The first two files (VIDEO_TS.*) are the video manager files for a DVD with this title only and are no longer needed because they will be re-built later.

To preserve the VTS-Files there are 2 different ways
  • move the VTS_01_*.* files to another directory
  • run IfoEdit and create the VTS_01_*.*  files for the next title
  • rename VTS_01_*.* to VTS_02_*.* and move the files to another directory
  • run IfoEdit and create the VTS_01_*.*  files for the next title
  • rename VTS_01_*.* to VTS_03_*.* and move the files to another directory
  • and so on ...
If you run IfoEdit in reverse order and start with the last of [n] movies/titles on your DVD, you can use the following method (saves space!)
  • rename VTS_01_*.* to VTS_0[n]_*.*
  • run IfoEdit and create the VTS_01_*.*  files for the next title
  • rename VTS_01_*.* to VTS_0[n-1]_*.*
  • and so on ...

Generate DVD

Either way, in our example we should now have the following 9 files in the target directory:
VTS_01_0.IFO
VTS_01_0.BUP
VTS_01_1.VOB
VTS_01_2.VOB
VTS_01_3.VOB
VTS_02_0.IFO
VTS_02_0.BUP
VTS_02_1.VOB
VTS_02_2.VOB
Of course, you have to make sure that the total size of these files does not exceed the DVD±R(W) size which is around 4.3 GB (4.7*109 Bytes)!

Re-build DVD Video Manager Files

To conclude the DVD creation we have to re-build the video manager (VIDEO_TS.*) files for all the title sets created. To do this I used the shareware DVDfab (please let me know if you are aware of a freeware tool that does the same trick!)

Start DVDFAB and in the initial dialog click "Other Functions→Create video manager". In the following window you have to select your target directory where all the files are stored, then click "Next". Voilà!

Burn DVD

Use Nero or your favourite software to burn the files onto a DVD±R(W) and have fun!


Edited by Brecon, 07/2003