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Old 09-05-2004, 07:26 PM   #1
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DVD->Palm : Full Guide

DVD->Palm guide

Hi everyone. As I had promised before, I wrote a simple guide for converting full quality movies off DVD to be watched on your Palm handheld.
If you want to encode .avi or mpeg videos - you better take a look at my previous guide . By the way, this guide is MUCH MORE SIMPLE than the previous one. There is not really much to read. Only many pictures so you can see and verify what to do. If advanced/additional explanation is needed for somebody – I will provide links to my previous guide or to other place, where specific subject is explained in details.
For those of you who want to see how it looks like – I did a couple of screenshots:
My Zire71 playing Shrek2:

Cople of stills of my T3 playing The Matrix:

As before, this guide uses only FREE software, known to be best in it’s field (Gordian Knot/ VirtualDubMod/BeSweet…). So no need to spend money for something you can get for free (and maybe achieve better results ) Only the actual player for palm - Mmplayer is not free, but you can try the demo. If you know any free mpeg-4 player for palm - please tell me.

-= CAUTION: You can copy a content of DVD only if you purchased it yourself, and you are doing the copy for yourself only. Otherwise it is illegal=-
OK let us begin.

1) -=Download the software.=-
Even if your computer is empty -you will need to install just 2 things:
*)Gordian knot rip pack 0.28.8 Download it Here .
*)Gordian knot codec pack 1.7 . Download it Here .
{Instead Gordian Knot i'll short to GK}
And you need to install one of Mmplayer versions for your palm.
After i moved to T3 I'm using ver 0.2.12, Here . Before that I used 0.2.6, Here and 0.2.8. , Here . If there is a new version, you can check
There is some new beta version of GK , but it is known to cause troubles. After downloading the files, install them in any order you want. You actually need the whole Rip Pack , and only Xvid. 1.01 from Codec pack
but you can install other things too. It won't harm you. But do NOT install l Divx. this version contains ads and some spyware (Gator or smth). And we won't need Divx anyway. Rest of soft is Ok.

2) -=Ripping the DVD=-
After opening GordianKnot – you should see this window:

Go to “ripping” tab and press “Dvd Decripter” icon. By the way, you have already some explanation already there. When opened DVD descriptor – it should automatically recognize your DVD and show you a list of files at right, something like this:

The files with .vob extension are actually those which contain video&audio data (mpeg2). Depending on movie length, the number of these .vob files can vary, but most of them (except last, and , maybe first) have a size of 1gb (1, 2, 3 in my case) so any small files prior to them are usually some menus or extras, so you better unselect them, as I did. Also, don’t forget to select rest of files, they maybe needed. DVDdecripter also automatically chooses rip directory - it selects the drive that has most free space. So I accept it’s proposed directory (N:\Cube\Video_ts) The “Cube” is the name of the DVD. This program has many advanced setting but most chances you won’t need to touch anything. At least until you have some special custom-made DVD. So just leave everything as is. You also can download the latest version when prompted. If you have troubles with it, you can take a look at This page with lot of examples. At last press on disk-like icon and wait some 5-25 minutes till files are copied to your hard drive.

3) -= DVD2AVI:Preparing the vobs =-
When decripter has finished it’s work go back to GK and click on DVD2AVI icon.
Go to File->Open, and choose first .vob file you created. Than It will automatically detect all rest files and will add them to the list. [If it doesn’t, use ‘add’ button]

Make sure they are in the right order. Go to Audio->Output method ->set 'Demux all tracks'.
All rest settings should be Ok at default. {There is a small chance that your movie was 'shot on film' and was 24 frames per second telecined to 30 frames per second. If so, select Video->Field operation ->Force Film. (This will take the movie back to its original state of 24fps.) Most chances you won't need this. I didn't have to use it even once. Anyway, you can go to Option->Preview and see the picture by yourself, so you’ll know whether you have chosen everything correctly. Finally, go to File->Save project and give it any name you want. This will also take some 10-20 minutes or so.

4) -=Bitrate and File size=-
After DVD2avi has finished, open up GK, and hit on “Open” button at left bottom and then choose the project file that dvd2avi has created (it has .d2v extension). This will open some additional window with preview of content of your DVD in random place. DO NOT close this window now.

Again, do not close this window with preview. Go to “Bitrate” tab in GK. Select “Xvid” in upper-right corner, At left, choose audio bitrate you want to use. This choice has no actual influence on final audio format. This is just that GK can correctly calculate video bitrate to match your desired filesize. The acceptable bitrates for palm would be (24, 32, 48). I mostly use 32 or 48. The more – the better quality, but bigger audio part (thus, smaller video part) If your short on space, i.e. trying to put long movie on 128SD or even less – you may want to use a bitrate than is even lower than 24, like 16 kbps. But you don’t have anything lower than 24 to select – so you can choose “size” instead of “bitrate” and put the correct size.
[you can calculate size by simple arithmetic – just see how much size 32 takes for example and devide….. well, you got the point]. Than, at the right, choose your desired filesize in “total file size” selection. This is the final size that your movie will be, including audiu and video parts. Don’t try to put 2 hours of video on 64mb card. Try not to go lower than 1mb per 1 minute, ( 2mb per 1 min is already pretty good q-ty)
For example, my “Cube” dvd is 1hour30min10sec, I’ve chosen 32kbps for audio bitrate, and I want the result movie file to be 140mb. (I could specify a lower size of course, it is just a free space on the card I have now)

5) -=Resolution & Crop=-
When finished in ‘bitrate’ go to ‘Resolution’ tab. Most chances settings are chosen automatically (pal/ ntsc .) If not, choose the right settings at the top corresponding to you DVD, which includes ‘input resolution’ and ‘aspct ratio’. If you don’t want what these options mean and what to choose – no problem, just take a look at the preview window

(which should be still open) Go to View->Resized, than go to frame, when you see somebody’s face and make sure it is not stretched or squeezed to any direction too much. If it is, just select another option in “input pixel aspect ratio” and look again at preview.
Than in the “crop” part, click on ‘Auto Crop’ button, and then set ‘smart crop all’.
Now you need to choose a desired resolution. This is pretty tricky and not-always-easy task, if you need additional explanation – see a chapter 4 – “Video resolution” in My previous guide . Let’s make it as easy as possible. Considering you want full-screen ,
a) for 320x320 screen: drag the slider left until “WIDTH” will be 320 pixels. Height is chosen automatically.
b) For 480x320 screen, drag the slider left until width reaches 480 AND until height reaches 320
c) Fro 160x160 screen (Zire31/ Treo600) drag left till “width” will be 160.
For example, these are the settings that I used for my T3 in “Cube” DVD:

Than go back to the preview window and click File->Save and Encode. You should see this window:

There is nothing you need to change here, unless you source is very noisy and you want to apply “noise filter”. Click on “Save and Encode” button, and give it any name, for example ‘cube_dvd’. Than GK will automatically go to ‘Encoder’ tab and will pop-up this window:

6) -=Audio settings=-
Click on ‘select’ button, it will automatically go to the folder where all the files are located. If you’ve done everything right until now – you should see one or

more audio files to choose.

[ These are the original .AC3 tracks from your DVD] In my case there is only one English audio track. If you don’t know what file represents a desired language – you can just listen them in Winamp or other audio-media player to find out. OK, now you need to choose a bitrate (it better be same you chose from the beginning , otherwise your file will be larger/smaller than you wanted). First, do NEVER use ‘average bitrate’ aka VBR/ABR – this is causing problems when playing on PC and will FOR SURE cause problems when played on palm. If you want stereo (I use only mono, but this is matter of taste : better audio quality & mono -=OR=- lower quality & stereo) than select 4th option ‘constant bitrate’. Try not to use bitrates larger than 64, unless you have very fast device (T3/TC/ Z72) and very large card (256/512..). These are bitrates you can choose:

I usually use 32 for mid q-ty or 48 for good q-ty. If you want mono, you need to choose ‘mp3, custom params, experts’ . and you need to add ‘-m m’ optoion to make it mono. For example i selected here 32kbps mono :

Also, check “downsample to 44khz” to avoid problems with Mmplayer.

7) -=Video codec setup (Xvid)=-
In the same window look at the ‘frame server’ option. If it says ‘not available’ – than go to ‘select’ and choose a file that you saved previously (should have .avs extension). Than go to Xvid tab. Click on ‘First Pass’ button. You’ll see this:

Click on the top right button “…..” and in the following window make the settings match this:

If you want, you can play with “BVOP” setting. It is not that important, but if you want to find out what it does see chapter 5 “video codec settings” in

My previous guide. Click OK, than press “advanced options” button.

The default settings should be OK, setting VHQ mode to 4 will result in much slower encoding and _slightly_ better quality, so it’s your choice. Other options are also well explained in prev. guide. Than click OK – OK. And press “Second Pass” button. Don’t change here any settings ( you should see a video size that GK generated automatically) and just click OK

Than click on “Add job to encoding queue”. When asked the question “do you want to start now?” Say – NO. There’s something else we need to do.

8) -=Framerate=-
This is very important part that we will have to do manually, because GK doesn’t support changing of framerate [remember, GK was made to make regular 1-2cd DVDrips for pc, not especially for palm]. Since Palm is not too powerful device, compared to Desktop (P3+) – in most cases it will NOT be able to play back full framerate (24 – 25 fps) [fps = frames per second] So wee need to reduce it by 2 – to use half framerate. Even if you have fast device, like T3/ TC/ Z72 – I would recommend to use half framerate. But it is also a matter of choice and those devices can support full frame rate (mostly). I have a T3 now and I’m still using half frmerate. For slower palms (TE/Z71…. ) Full framerate is theoretically possible, but you will probably need overclock, and use very low audio bitrate to work it out. It also depends on picture aspect ratio and many other facts. Anyway, if you want full framerate – just DON’T do the following step:
To set half frame rate, go to directory where all files are lying, in my case it is N:\Cube\Video_ts. And find the file with .avs extension (when you pressed on “save and encode”). If you don’t’ remember what name you gave it, don’t worry – there should be only one file with .avs extension, it also very small (1k or so). This file should be opened in Notepad, if it doesn’t - open Notepad manually, select File->Open->All files and open the .avs file. It should look like this:

You need to add the following line to the end of the file - as a last line:
Don’t use ‘#’ sign – otherwise it will be considered as comment. Than save the file by going to File->Save, and close the notepad.

9) -=Finishing=-
Go back to GK, go to “Encoder” tab, and press on the “Start encoding” button. GK can remember jobs, so if you want – you can set up more than one movie for encoding (most steps will remain the same.). Time to concede a movie depends on: 1) movie length 2)computer speed 3)chosen frame rate. But give it some 2… 10 hours. Remember, High-quality requires a lot of time. GK is a program for producing top quality DVD backups. Don’t believe in some 30-min solutions. There is no magic. Good quality DOES require some time. A good thing to do – is to leave encoding over night. GK will run with low priority on your pc, which means it shouldn’t disturb you doing other work on the computer, like watching movies :-). After encoding is finished – you should see an .avi file ready with the size that you specified at the beginning. Before moving it to SD card – take one minute and just open the file in media player – make sure it is ok, i.e audio matches the video (in sync). If , for some reason, it doesn’t play right on PC – no way it will play right on Palm. If you have card reader, you know what to do :-) If you don’t – you can use a simple trick: rename the .avi file to .pdb, then synchronize it to card in your install tool (or quick install). When finished, rename it back to .avi using any file manager (filez / mcfile / zlauncher…). But without card reader it can take a LONG time – maybe more than actually watching the whole movie :-) . If you are using program called TotalCommader – there is very fast and good solution to transfer files to your palm and/or card in a fast and useful way. If somebody wants – I can tell more about it. If your palm is playing video too slow – you might want to overclock it (increase processor speed). To read about this, see very last part “Appendix” in the end of

previous guide

P.s: Please give me some feedback if there are any problems/errors in the guide.
I’m not making DVDrips too often (I mostly convert Avi’s) so there could be anything that I missed. :-)
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