Burning DVDs from MPEG streams
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This method of burning DVDs has the advantage that it “works for me”. It's based on information supplied to me by Jürgen Lock, and with all recognition that it gets the job done, I have my doubts that it's optimal. Given the current unbelievably bad state of documentation of multimedia software, you can't blame Jürgen (or me) for any imperfections; just let us know if you find anything to improve.

Jürgen's recommendation is Project X to disassemble the file into its component streams, then dvdstyler to put them back together again. That doesn't seem to make sense: the VOB files are an MPEG-2 stream, so it seems unnecessary to take them apart and put them back together again; replex doesn't need that. On the other hand, replex also doesn't seem to work. Also, dvdstyler is really a program for creating menus for a DVD, something that I don't want. But can you create a DVD without a menu? I don't know. So I'm guessing that Jürgen's method is one “that works” rather than an optimal procedure.

Project X

Project X is based on Java, which doesn't make things any easier. Installing the port failed with:
===>  diablo-jdk- :
 Because of licensing restrictions, you must fetch the distribution
 manually.  Please access

 with a web browser and "Accept" the End User License Agreement for
 "Caffe Diablo 1.5.0".  Please place the downloaded
 diablo-caffe-freebsd6-i386-1.5.0_07-b01.tar.bz2 in /usr/ports/distfiles.
.*** Error code 1
After doing that, it installed, but there was no documentation. The initial screen looks pretty, but is completely confusing:


I was about to give up on it until Jürgen came along and helped me through it, step by step. In the past I've always refused such offers of help: they shouldn't be necessary. But, sad as it seems, they are necessary, because people write programs without any documentation. Basically, the procedure is:


After tearing the stream apart with Project X, use dvdstyler to create the DVD itself. dvdstyler is unusual for a couple of reasons: it has nicely formatted documentation, and the error messages it produces are intelligible:


To be fair to the program, I didn't read the documentation, since Jürgen was navigating. The first thing you'd expect to do with the initial screen would be to select something from the Files tab:


In fact, that's just for loading project files (and has this same stupid, brain-dead ignorance of the working directory that all “modern” programs seem to have nowadays). To get at your files, use the Directories tab on the side. Then drag the files shown on the right in specific sequence:

  1. First, drag the video (.m2v) file to the bottom. This appears here as “Title 1”.
  2. Next, drag the audio (.mp2) file on top of the title. The text at the bottom is the only indication that anything has happened, and it disappears when you move the cursor off the icon.
  3. Don't do anything with the _log.txt file. It's really just the log of the conversion, and it's a little strange that it's there in the first place.

At the end, it should look something like this:


Next, create a menu:

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