How do I burn a 1-Disc VCD from a DivX with Subtitles on MacOSX?
September 19, 2005 12:26 AM   Subscribe

Help with burning a VCD from a DivX/AVI file -- with added fun of both Subtitles and Mac OSX!

So, I downloaded a rare, unavailable film (basically if I could get it legit, I would, but...), and because it's in Japanese, it's subtitled. The guy who ripped it though, was fancy, and put the subtitles into a .srt file. I've been trying to burn a VCD of this, but haven't had much luck. I've tried ffmpegX, after reading a few testimonials online that have basically said "This program is the greatest thing since sliced bread!", but I couldn't get it to VCD format, nor would the subtitles actually go on.

I've watched it in Mplayer, and the subtitles work, so I know the subtitles are actually there and will show up, but nothing seems to be going on. I've also tried converting to XviD and DivX -- I'll convert it to the file format, and the picture will look a-OK, but, sadly, no burned in subtitles. So, basically, I'm having no luck.

What I want is just a one-disc VCD of this movie that I can play in a DVD player. My stats are that I've got OSX (Tiger), and my burning program of choice is typically Toast (though I'm not necessarily married to it if there's a good freeware one that I tend to need to do this.) The file information:
DivX/AVI: DivX 4.1.2, 640 x 448, Millions
MPEG Layer 3, Stereo, 48.000 kHz
683.23 MB
874.54 kbits/sec
Duration: 01:44:23.56
640 x 448 pixels

And the subtitle file is an SRT format, 40KB.

Thanks a lot -- I would love having this as a VCD (instead of a DVD, really), and I spent an hour or two on Google and didn't have much luck until I found the praises for ffmpegX, and then spent the entire day getting stuff that wouldn't work (finally finding the online tutorial thingy and following that... only to have it a) Split the Video across two discs and b) Choke on the subtitles), so I'm thinking that ffmpegX isn't going to be in the equation. Unless there's something else I need to have done to make this go.

(Thanks -- I'm pretty good at video stuff, but I am pretty idiot-dumb when it comes to the ways and the rules of VCDs.)
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: (Also, I suppose, on the off chance that this DOESN"T work for Mac -- though I cna't imagine why that'd be the case -- I could perhaps ask my S/O to do it, as she's got a windows machine (not sure on the specs, though), and also more experience with VCDs, though I asked her and she had no idea how to handle the subtitles. I could easily make the hand-off to her and ask her to do it if there's some, say, mindbogglingly easy way to do it on Windows that takes, like, writing a program from scratch on Mac. But again, I can't imagine that'd actually be the case, but, hey.)

Also, I think I'd actually ideally prefer to have burned-in subs, but if it's something where pretty much any player (that does VCDs, anyway) would be able to access the subtitles easily by hitting the Subtitle button the remote, that'd be cool, too.
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 12:30 AM on September 19, 2005

FYI, the VCD format is at a fixed bitrate (which happens to be the same bitrate as CD audio). A VCD will hold a maximum of 74 or 80 minutes per disc, so most movies have to be split between two discs.

You could reduce the bitrate, but then it wouldn't be a standard VCD. Also, it will probably look like crap (even a good-quality VCD is only marginally better than VHS).
posted by neckro23 at 1:02 AM on September 19, 2005

VCD must be 1150k/s MPEG-1 @ 352x240 (nonsquare px)
with the audio @ MPEG 1, Layer II 44k stereo 224kbs.

Divx will not work.

What might work:
Divx with the SRT using a DVD player like the phillips 642.

Option 2:
This google search yields methods of putting subtitles on a VCD

Also, check out
posted by filmgeek at 1:57 AM on September 19, 2005

I checked out the ffmpegX How-To's and it lists a method to convert DivX/AVI files with SRT subtitles into a (S)VCD format. Have you tried this? If the file is too big to fit on a single CD, why not burn it as a DVD instead? is the source of all my Mac OSX (S)VCD/DVD burning information.

If you're looking for a multiple-format DVD capable player, I recommend the Phillips DivX DVD player (DVP642/37) it costs only $58 plus tax at your local WalMart.
posted by plokent at 2:59 AM on September 19, 2005

when you converted to divx/xvid, did you use mencoder? usually if mplayer will display the subs then mencoder can render them while transcoding the file. what arguments did you use, if you did use mencoder?
posted by joeblough at 8:31 AM on September 19, 2005

Response by poster: I actually do have the Philips 642, which is totally a great player!

To be honest, my main reason for wanting it to be a VCD is that I wanted to make copies of it to turn on other folks to the film (in my fantasy, it's basically "Well, if everyone finds out about this film and likes it, perhaps they'll write to DVD houses and let them know people want it and then we can all get legit copies!", not that it'll actually probably work out that way..8) -- that's why I was hoping for a VCD, just because, well, blank DVDs are a little expensive/take forever to burn, and even though I can play DivX on my DVD player, I'm not sure if _everybody_ can.

And, yeah -- as item notes out, my brain is going "Well, hey, I can fit this here file on a CD! So THEREFORE I should OBVIOUSLY be able to put this wholly different format on a CD too!"

Also -- for the record, because I was really curious, I had a CD I burned of the raw AVI + Subtitle file and threw it in my Philips 642, and it played the movie, but wouldn't do squat with the SRT file (which is what I kind of expected, but I would have been floored had it played them, and probably would have had to marry this thing).
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 8:37 AM on September 19, 2005

Response by poster: I used mencoder; when you download ffmpegX, it makes you download mpeg2enc, mencoder and mplayer; no idea on what the arguments was, as ffmpegX takes care of all of that for you; I plunked in the Subtitle File and the source AVI file just like the walkthrough said, and it'd basically be having nothing of it. Which is weird, since mplayer was a-OK with the subs.
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 8:39 AM on September 19, 2005

So what's the movie? I'd love to see a rare-but-great Japanese movie that few people have seen.
posted by exhilaration at 9:42 AM on September 19, 2005

Response by poster: It's Funeral Parade of Roses/Bara no soretsu. After hearing me recommend it, a friend of mine found 3 Matsumoto films on eDonkey/eMule/whatever it is, and set me the links. Unfortunately, 2 but are the same setup -- DivX Avis with separate subtitles, all split across their CD-File-Sizes. FPoR is the only one that actually fits on 1 CD; the others are all 2 CD jobs. (Also, they haven't come in yet, so. And the other one has burned-in subs, which is aces in my book.)

So, truth be told my ideal answer is "Oh, didn't you hear, Critierion's putting these out in January!", but I'm not sure how likely that is, so, in the meantime...
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 10:12 AM on September 19, 2005

It's sold in this box set, but it'll cost you $174.75. If you do some more googling, you might be able to find it sold by itself.
posted by defenestration at 11:19 AM on September 19, 2005

This is it at a somewhat less retarded price, but you'll need a region-free dvd player to play it back.
posted by I Love Tacos at 1:12 PM on September 19, 2005


The ability possibly to patch your Computer's DVD player so you can somehow (no unlawful details, you have the sites already) make 'extra' copies.

OF course, if you really beleived in'd buy it and give it to your friends as gifts.
posted by filmgeek at 5:18 PM on September 19, 2005

item: Not really, no. Divx achieves much better compression rates than VCD (the VCD format is over 15 years old by now, after all). A 2-hour film can easily fit in a 700MB Divx file with good quality.
posted by neckro23 at 5:22 PM on September 19, 2005

Response by poster: I've found the box set (and the individual japanese DVD) already (actually linked them in my post on Matsumoto), and, well, if I had 40 dollars per friend to spend on it, well, I would, but I don't really want to get into this whole Can Of Worms (I know it's not entirely ethical, but there isn't a US version available, and it's _technically_ illegal to hack a player anyway, which is a) stupid and b) probably a lesser Moral Sin than doing the whole VCD thing anyway), but my main question is asking on how I can do a 1-CD version of this movie that Video Neophyte Types can play in their DVDs without me having to explain the various rigamarole involved; I'm just wanting something that people can throw in their DVD player and get an awesome film with subtitles that won't:
a) Cost me a bunch
b) (Secondary thing, hence the VCD and all that): Be of good enough quality that you can see the film and enjoy it with it detracting too much, but not so much so that, if a Legit US Version were to be released, you wouldn't pass it up for this one.

I'm mainly thinking of this as sort of a grass-roots campaign tpe thing to spread the word about the director, in hopes that people will see his work and love it to the point where they want to turn OTHER people on to it, and perhaps ask DVD Companies to pursue the rights to release legit versions (thereby not only turning more people on, but actually, you know, getting money in the right hands and all that.)

Unfortunately, I'm thinking this probably isn't going to work, for the reasons neckro puts forth, mainly that DivX is a better format.... and unfortunately, not everyone's DVD player can handle it. (Not that everyone's can handle region 2 discs either, but...)

Oh well -- if anyone's got any other ideas, though, I'm all ears.
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 7:56 PM on September 19, 2005

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