DVD to iMovie II

When last we met, we discussed the travails of one Sander Feinberg, a reader who wanted to extract material from a DVD he'd created with iDVD in order to put that material into iMovie. I suggested that he give DVDxDV a spin. Though spin he did, he was not pleased with the results.

Specifically, he found that the sound and video from his 1GB file were not synced and that the program took nearly two hours to extract the file on a 1.8GHz Power Mac G5. I have this to say about that:

Regardless of which program you use, extracting video and audio from a .vob file is anything but a zippy enterprise. If you intend to undertake such a job, it might not be a bad idea to start it at the end of your computing day and retrieve the file the next day.

There are options other than DVDxDV for doing this kind of thing. Roxio's $80 Toast Titanium 6 can convert a .vob file to a .dv movie. Just launch Toast and click the Video tab, drag a video file into the main window, and click the Export button at the bottom of the window to create a .dv movie. Though this produced a good looking .dv file, Toast wasn't much faster than DVDxDV.

You're also welcome to try OpenShiiva. This is a donationware, open-source application for converting .vob files to MPEG-4 movies. Note, however, that while the program extracts video quite nicely, pulling audio with it is a hit or miss affair. When I looked at OpenShiiva a few months ago I was able to extract both audio and video. When testing the program today I was unable to produce a movie that also contained a soundtrack despite trying every tip on the OpenShiiva forums for doing so.

As for synchronization issues: You may be able to clear this up by following these steps:

1. Open the movie in QuickTime Player Pro.

2. Choose Extract Tracks from the Edit menu.

3. Select Sound Track in the resulting window. This creates a file that contains only the soundtrack.

4. Select the movie file (not the extracted audio file you just created) and choose Delete Tracks from the Edit menu.

5. Select Sound Track in the resulting window.

6. Click on the extracted sound track file you created in step 3.

7. Type Command-A to select the entire soundtrack and then Command-C to copy it.

8. Click the video file and choose Add Scaled from the Edit menu. This pastes the soundtrack into the video and forces it to conform to the length of the video.

This isn't a surefire solution, but it's been known to correct out-of-sync issues.

Alternatively, you can import the movie into iMovie, select the video file in iMovie's timeline, choose Extract Audio from the Advanced menu, choose Unlock Audio Clip from that same Advanced menu, and try nudging the audio track one way or the other in order to make it line up. If portions of it sync nicely -- the beginning of the movie, most likely -- consider splitting the audio clip just before it goes out of sync and then nudge the out-of-sync portion.

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