Why does 1990s era Sony Video 8 convereted to DVD only show blue screen?
December 14, 2019 9:54 AM   Subscribe

My dad passed away in September and we found a bag of old Sony Video 8 cassettes and 10 DVDs that are supposed to contain the converted video files. I have looked at all the DVDs, and while each disc contains some converted video, several have files that are nothing but a blue screen. 10 - 30 minutes of blue screen. The video that I can watch is priceless! I am heartsick that so much of the original video didn't transfer. Help me figure out what went wrong!

The original videos were recorded on a Sony Video 8 camera taken from 1986-1992 as best as I can tell, and the DVDs were created in 1999 and 2006. The Sony V8 tapes are "MP metal particle tape P6-120MP" - whatever that means. The DVDs were created by a professional company that converts various old film and video formats to DVD.

I copied all the files from the DVDs to my computer so they can be copied and shared with rest of family this Christmas. However, I discovered that many files on the DVDs play and show nothing but blue screen.

Here's what the file info is after I opened them up and played on a VLC player on my desktop with Windows 10 (have no idea if that is important, but just in case ...)



VIDEO_TS.BUP 12/31/99 BUP File 14 KB
VIDEO_TS 12/31/99 IFO Other File (VLC) 14 KB
VIDEO_TS 12/31/99 VLC media file (.vob) 54 KB
VTS_01_0.BUP 12/31/99 BUP File 52 KB
VTS_01_0 12/31/99 IFO Other File (VLC) 52 KB
VTS_01_1 12/31/99 VLC media file (.vob) 1,048,018 KB
VTS_01_2 12/31/99 VLC media file (.vob) 1,048,018 KB
VTS_01_3 12/31/99 VLC media file (.vob) 264,910 KB


VIDEO_RM.BUP 12/31/2006 BUP File 32 KB
VIDEO_RM 12/31/2006 DAT File 1,024 KB
VIDEO_RM 12/31/2006 IFO Other File (VLC) 32 KB

Any help explaining what RM files are, or the other file types would be helpful. And any suggestions for how to salvage the DVD files would be most appreciated. We no longer have the camcorder to hook up to a tv or computer to play the original V8 cassettes. I suppose we could pay to have the original V8 files converted again, but if the originals are corrupted, why bother? Thanks for any ideas or info you can share.
posted by pjsky to Technology (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Have you tried watching on a DVD player and not a computer?
posted by miles1972 at 10:49 AM on December 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

Do try on another device I have had a similar issue, good luck.
posted by Freedomboy at 11:15 AM on December 14, 2019

The VIDEO_TS folder and its contents are part of the DVD standard and expected to be there. The .vob files are where the actual video is.

I had never heard of VIDEO_RM but the internet has this to say about it:
Folders found in a DVD file structure can often contain a legacy folder called VIDEO_RM. Essentially, this folder is rather useless to most set-top DVD players as it is a folder referenced on Philips brand DVD recorders as well as Philips clones. For reasons unknown, Philips decided not to abide by standards of DVD file structures and used this VIDEO_RM folder to hold information about the recording device a DVD was created on.

The folder, when viewed through several DVD re-authoring tools will show that it is useless much in the same way an AUDIO_TS folder is.

There have been cases where DVDs created with the VIDEO_RM folder have caused several other brands of set-top players, DVD re-authoring programs and other devices to not read the DVD information correctly. Often an error similar to "unrecognized file structure" will be given as whatever device is reading the disk does not understand what to do with the Video_RM folder. Simple fixes include loading the DVD in File mode on certain DVD re-authoring programs and deleting anything associated with the Video_RM folder, then compiling a new, clean ISO.
Regarding the blue screen, my first suspicion was that it's just what was on the original tapes, lengthy chunks of unrecorded tape between the recorded parts, and the company who transferred them to digital video left everything as is instead of trimming and editing it out of the finished DVDs. Which, to be fair, is how I would prefer things to be handled though of course YMMV.
posted by Bangaioh at 11:22 AM on December 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

I assume you don't have the camcorder any more? After trying to play things in a DVD player, I'd spend a few bucks and buy a Sony Video 8 camcorder on eBay and try watching them on a TV (I see there is at least one there right now in the first 5 hits ... and there were like 1,800 hits). If they have video you'd actually want to save, then you can make plans to capture it on a computer (or take them to another video capture place).

Good luck. Old family video can be a treasure.
posted by Gilgamesh's Chauffeur at 11:33 AM on December 14, 2019

On the example you show, there would only be 3 files that should contain any video:
VTS_01_01.vob, VTS_01_02.vob and VTS_01_03.vob

The rest are menus and information, the blue screen videos are likely blank video files for the menu backgrounds. They have almost no size, so it is basically telling the DVD player to play nothing for 20-30 minutes, then repeat.

If any of the bigger files do not play, there might just be something wrong with them. All three of the files above are likely the same video which DVDs chop up into 1GB files. VLC should play them, but other players might mess up the indexing. You could probably use a DVD ripper to put this in a standard video file. You can actually probably put it together in the Windows command window using the copy command with binary option.
posted by Short End Of A Wishbone at 11:55 AM on December 14, 2019 [3 favorites]

When you play them with VLC, are you trying to play the individual files, or are you telling VLC that there’s a DVD there & it should try and play it?
posted by pharm at 12:02 PM on December 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

Thanks for your help MeFi! To answer some of your questions:

I have not tried playing on a DVD player or any other device besides my computer because I don't own a tv.

I do not have the camcorder anymore, but I just learned that there is a possibility it is still around, we just have to find it.

I'm afraid I do not understand what " You can actually probably put it together in the Windows command window using the copy command with binary option." means. Sorry for my limited computer knowledge.

I was playing individual files on VLC, but when I read your question, Pharm, I went back and told VLC to play the DVD and it showed me a Menu Screen with 2 "boxes" identified as:


posted by pjsky at 1:10 PM on December 14, 2019

You should be able to point Handbrake at the VIDEO_TS directory and get a single MP4 out of it. You might have to fiddle with which chapters to include if you want to just skip the whole menu thing. It might also be able to handle the other directories, too.
posted by rhizome at 1:22 PM on December 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

pjsky: RIght, so that’s the DVD menu that was automatically generated by the company that copied the files off the tapes. You need to navigate the menu and select which file you want to play. I think you just use the arrow keys & enter. It’s just like using a DVD remote with a DVD player - same interface.
posted by pharm at 1:57 PM on December 14, 2019 [2 favorites]

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