How Can I Extract Video From A Corrupt VOB?
January 7, 2008 1:33 PM   Subscribe

How can I extract video from corrupt/poorly burned VOB files into a format that is editable?

I received a bunch of DVDs of video camera footage from my childhood. It looks like they were burned on-the-fly as the tapes were played back. They won't spin-up on any DVD player, and the only way I can get to the video itself is to open them in something like MPEG Streamclip, and even then playback is a fifty-fifty chance.

There are plenty of timecode breaks so MPEG Streamclip borks when I try to extract from it. I've tried Handbrake as well, with less success.

Searching around the internets doesn't seem to provide any clear options. There are a ton of programs out there designed to extract from DVD, but frankly, most of them look like crap and I'd rather not fork over cash for a program that might not be able to do what I want.

I've got Leopard and XP dual-booting on my iMac, so I'm pretty flexible. I've got access to FCP at my office as well, but I've tried to do tricks with it already to no avail.
posted by sciurus to Technology (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I don't have a lot of good suggestions. You won't have much success with direct playback, so you best bet will be to try to transcode the video to another format. If you can get through the transcode, the new file should be clean and playbackable (is that a word?)>

You'll need a forgiving transcoder. FFMPEG supports just about every codec, so you might give it a shot.

Assuming you have the files off the DVD on a hard drive, try pointing FFMPEG at it and see if it can get through the file and turn it into a more familiar video format.

Good luck.
posted by Argyle at 2:27 PM on January 7, 2008

seconding ffmpegx.

it's worth a shot.
posted by sixacross at 2:28 PM on January 7, 2008

Fingers crossed the errors are all in the .VOB structure & contents, not read errors.
  1. Copy the .VOB files off the DVD onto your HD the normal way.
  2. Download ProjectX - the compiled .jar runs natively on OS X, or requires the Sun Java JRE on Windows.
  3. Read and understand the docs, or at least take the time to skim through the settings and turn on anything which seems like it might be relevant re: timecode breaks, frame dropping, and audio dropouts.
  4. Demux to .m2v & .ac3/.mp2 elementary streams, tidying up all the bit / timecode / logical structure errors in the process.
From that point, you can do what you like with them - recompress to another format, reauthor your own DVD, whatever.
posted by Pinback at 3:14 PM on January 7, 2008

I have no idea whether it will help, but it's free and it might: Vidomi (for the PC).

It can operate on individual VOB files rather than on an entire title all at once, which is what makes me think it might be able to help. It pretty much ignores all the weird crap and treats it as a big MPEG2 file.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 3:32 PM on January 7, 2008

DVD Decrypter (for Windows) might be worth a shot. At the very least, it can pull the VOBs off the DVD and de-interleave them into MPEG2 video (or just reconstruct the VOBs). I'm not sure how well its error correction works, but there's a fairly extensive array of options available.
posted by neckro23 at 9:23 PM on January 7, 2008

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