Replace a DVD's VOB file using a Mac
August 31, 2007 3:20 AM   Subscribe

I need to replace the unskippable intro (before the menu) of a DVD with something else. How do you successfully modify a DVD's content?

I have a DVD made for a presentation of a school. When we presented the DVD, it worked just fine. Now, a few people from the school would like to get a copy of the DVD. This is fine, but we didn't include a legal warning anywhere in the disc, and one is needed (at least, extremely recommended) before we can hand out copies.

The DVD was done with iDVD '06 on my Mac mini. However, the project file was stored on an external hard drive. That hard drive failed and I lost everything on it. In this case, I can't just modify the source file and create another DVD, which would be a lot simpler.

The content starts with the unskippable intro, then the menu. The menu has three items: first, the movie itself; second, scene selection; third, special features, which gives you two short movies. The file listing in VIDEO_TS is the following:

I used VLC to see the content of the VOB files, and it seems the unskippable intro I want to modify is VTS_04_1.VOB.

I now have iDVD '08. I tried to make a DVD, with a similar layout, to make sure its DVD image output would have the same file listing. The file listing is similar, but now I have a VTS_xx_0.VOB file for every corresponding VTS_xx_1.VOB file. The intro I want is in VTS_04_1.VOB of that disc image.

I tried copying the new VTS_04_1.VOB onto the old one, and burn the DVD. From what I can see, my Mac's DVD Player application will read it just fine, including the new intro. But when I insert it in a normal DVD player, I get the "Unknown Disc" message.

Searching around on the Web for this topic is quite difficult, since the search results I get is always about how to convert VOB's to VCD, crack the CSS, etc. That's not what I'm looking for.

Has anyone ever done this before? Please let me know. Thanks in advance!
posted by remi to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This is fine, but we didn't include a legal warning anywhere in the disc, and one is needed (at least, extremely recommended) before we can hand out copies.

You don't actually need a legal warning. What would it contain?

In fact, I would extremely disrecommend it because unskippable sections infuriate viewers, and may leave them with a bad impression of your school.
posted by grouse at 3:30 AM on August 31, 2007

Response by poster: It's a legal issue. I cannot control that. I need that warning in place or else the disc can't be distributed.

As for the unskippable intro, it doesn't even last two seconds. It is not a Hollywood-type intro that lasts minutes!
posted by remi at 3:39 AM on August 31, 2007

Maybe just rip the DVD to a pure MPEG file and then re-burn it from that?

Potential loss of quality if the ripper tries to transcode it somehow but if you can find a decent enough ripper it should be fine...
posted by jon4009 at 4:42 AM on August 31, 2007

...or how about getting a physical sticker and slapping it on top of the DVDs you hand out :)
posted by jon4009 at 4:44 AM on August 31, 2007

The infamous DVD Author lets you reauthor a DVD that's already in DVD / VOB format. I think it will do what you are describing. Another option that might work is ripping your own DVD and then rerendering it as source material. It won't be the best possible quality, but it won't be terrible.
posted by fvox13 at 4:45 AM on August 31, 2007 [3 favorites]

Ah, sorry, it's DVD Styler not DVD author.
posted by fvox13 at 4:47 AM on August 31, 2007 [1 favorite]

PGCedit will allow you to do this. Though a bit of manual fiddling is involved, it's not that hard - there's a few guides on that site to give you the idea.
posted by Pinback at 4:53 AM on August 31, 2007

Response by poster: Actually, I did try PGCedit. I checked all the guides that I can find, but I didn't saw one about the same kind of problem than mine.

I tried DVD Styler right now, at work. (I don't have my DVD here.) There doesn't seem to be an option to open a VOB-format file.
posted by remi at 5:39 AM on August 31, 2007

Errr... I just started to write out how to do it using PCGedit, then realised how horribly horribly complicated it is unless you're au fait with the internals of DVD structure.

Probably easier to rip the whole thing to disc, and use ProjectX or similar to (losslessly) demux the MPEG-2 from the VOBs.

(Each VTS_0X group will be one movie - you say 04 is your existing intro, so you have 3 other movies on your DVD, right?)

You can then use them as source in DVD Styler or whatever authoring app you want to use, & add your intro / warning movie appropriately. Provided no re-encoding goes on (and I can't say for sure iMovie won't re-encode, even if fed with DVD-compliant MPEG-2 files), this should be totally lossless. You'll lose your existing menus, though - there's no easy way to extract and re-use them - so you'll have to create new ones in your authoring app.

Unless you've got subtitles, multi-angles, odd branching, etc, that might be the easiest way.
posted by Pinback at 6:20 AM on August 31, 2007

I use DVD shrink to rip a disk, but before you do that, you can choose to replace a title (usually those forced-to-watch things at the beginning/previews) with an image file you create. Just make it a standard 4:3 size, save it. Then in DVD Shrink select the title and choose to replace it with the image.
posted by ijoyner at 7:35 AM on August 31, 2007

I don't see any mention of IFOedit, which is the tool of choice for what you're trying to do:

"IFOEdit allows users to parse VOB files, remove and add video, audio and subtitle streams to VOBs, create new IFO files, create DVD images."

I'll warn you, though: IFOedit is arcane science.
posted by majick at 7:45 AM on August 31, 2007

I'm fairly sure that using AnyDVD and Nero Recode you can do exactly what you want to do.

AnyDVD is the key here though, as it interrupts the stream from the player and renders nothing "mandatory". Then you can do whatever you want to do with the rest.

After thought...I think it's Nero Vision Express, not ReCode...recode just copies a disc.
posted by TomMelee at 1:26 PM on August 31, 2007

Response by poster: After talking with the school board, we decided to simply write the warning on the DVD.

I also ended just swapping the VOB with another one, but this time, even though only some players will show the warning, the DVD still is readable.

Thank you all!
posted by remi at 5:14 AM on September 4, 2007

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