One of the most frequent questions raised is how to edit video from a DVD. With the increasing popularity and falling cost of standalone DVD recorders, the desire to edit home movies recorded on DVD is growing. DVD camcorders and the ability to transfer analogue footage to DVD via a standalone recorder is also creating demand for an easy solution to DVD editing.
Traditionally the practice of editing and copying DVDs has been synonimous with piracy. Indeed, much of the information provided by video information sites and portals is aimed at circumventing copy protection mechanisims put in place by the movie industry. This is a complex section we do not need to get involved in; if your DVD was created from recording your footage from an anologue source such as a VHS or Hi8 tape, then it will be free of copy protection. Indeed, the method of using a standalone DVD recorder such as the Philips DVDR range if players is a simple and effective way of transferring your video to a PC for editing. So let's look at one package available to do just that.: MPEG Video Wizard
Mpeg Video Wizard is a frame accurate MPEG2 editor that allows for simple editing of DVD files without the need for conversion. If you've ever tried to edit video in your favoured editor such as Adobe Premiere of Ulead VideoStudio, you may have been frustrated by the process - steping backwards and forwards individual frames is almost impossible. It's perhaps beyond the scope of this article to go into this in any more depth, but frame accurate and therefore user friendly edtiting is only possible by first converting to a less compressed format. For more information on DVD encoding see this artcicle on DVD Encoding.
There are numerous plugins available for various editing applications, but these are typically reported as buggy and expensive. MPEG Video Wizard allows for simple editing including transitions and tittles in the DVDs native format, saving time in any potential re-encode and the frustration of editing. And because encoding from MPEG to MPEG is a lot quicker, you'll also save time when outputing your final video.
That's the theory, but how does MPEG Video Wizard work in practice when editing DVD (known as VOB) files. The first step is to transfer the files on your DVD to your PC. So pop the DVD in your DVD tray and browse to the files (open up my computer, right click on the icon and select explore) under VIDEO_TS. Copy the files with the extension VOB to your hard drive.
Now open MPEG video wizard. First we need to import the VOB files saved to our hard drive, so click the button and browse to your files.
Your VOB (video files) will then appear in the project window as thumbnails. Note that each VOB file is limited to a certain filesize, so the DVD is actually split up into a series of different video files. If all you plan on doing is taking a relevant section of video from a DVD, you only need to work with the relevant VOB file. If you want to maintain the order the video is played, ensure you work with the video files sequentially.
You can either drop the video files directly on the timeline, or drop them onto the input monitor window. If you're just cutting the end off a video, it's worth dropping the video on the timeline and moving the end and/or start of the video on the timeline. If you want to take a section of the video out of the orginal file, drop it into the input window, and select the in and out points as below:
You can then build up a series of video on the timeline either by extracting sections of videos from your DVD as above, or dropping each VOB onto the timeline. You can preview the timeline by clicking the button in the output window or next to the timeline.
You can also zoom in on the timeline by clicking the + or - buttons. Transisitions can be applied to your videos by clicking on the effects tab in the project window. Click on each of the transitions to see a preview of the effect, and drag it between two video on the timeline to apply it.
Finally, when you are ready to export the video, click on either the red record button in the timeline window, or the tape button in the main window. This gives the option of exporting to DVD or VCD compliant MPEG files.
Overall, MPEG Video Wizard is a simple editing application to enable quick and easy editing of DVD (VOB files). If you're after a user-friendly way of making a few simple edits to an existing DVD, it may be worth a look. A less drab user-interface might have livened things up a bit, but overall, it's a good visual MPEG editor.