Ahead Software in Germany
produces the various Nero products and suites including the just released Ultra
Edition and Power Pack. These upgrades are available on the Nero Web Site
www.nero.com or www.nero.de
for the remainder of January 2004.
Nero is a product that is frequently bundled with CD-R
burners and now with DVD burners. The bundled versions may
lack some features and may not be upgradable to the current version (6.300) on the Nero Web
site. Since Nero is so freely available with burners and on discount Websites
and EBAY, it may be worth your time to download the entire package including
upgrades now. If , in the future, you locate an
inexpensive 6.3 version, you will have the upgrades already.( The NeroVision upgrade is nve2104.exe)
The idea behind NeroVision and
Recode is exactly that of programs like DVD2ONE and DVDShrink. Many current
DVD's are of the DVD-9 variety (i.e. up to 9.4 Gigabytes) on double layer
discs. Consumer DVD burners only support DVD-5 (4.7 Gigabyte on the DVD) blanks and
there is little hope for consumer DVD-9 burners for the future. The two
solutions are to 1) divide the disc into two
DVD-5's or 2)"shrink" the DVD video content and therefore reduce its
quality somewhat to fit into a smaller 4.7 GIG disc. You can also eliminate or
reduce the size of non
main movie content to retain as much space as possible for the main movie. If
both widescreen and regular aspect ration movies are present, one can be
eliminated. Some people backup
their collections into one disc
with widescreen and another with 4:3 aspect ratio. Others use one disc for the
main movie and another for everything else.
Since Ahead Software would have a great deal to lose from a
copyright violation suit, they do not include decryption removal features. The
software package is designed for those with nonencrypted
titles on a DVD-9 or larger disc. Hmm, I have seen some European movies and
X-rated films without encryption, but these are rare. So only a person with a
professionally manufactured DVD-9 disc with permission to copy it can use this
To begin with , download the Demoversion of
Nero6.3 and the NeroVision upgrade from www.nero.com or www.nero.de
You must download Direct X 9 or higher from www.microsoft.com/directx
Install Direct X 9 and reboot. Now install the demo and then
the upgrade (NeroVision) and reboot. During my
installation of the Demoversion on three computers,
the installer was unable to remove
the previous Nero Version 5.9 (command line error) and halted. I then removed the existing Nero
software through Control
and was able to install the Demoversion
without a problem. Reboot again. The software is now at your disposal.
Now start the Nero Vision Express 2 and the nested icon for
Nero Recode. Choose "Copy Entire DVD to DVD."Now
choose DVD Video Files and Import the files from the hard drive. You must
choose the VIDEO_TS folder and click OK. Recode will spend one to three minutes
performing a brief analysis of the disk to determine file structure and amount
of compression used. The small TV screen in the lower left corner can be
resized as you preview titles and menus by clicking on them and pressing the
tiny play button.
You may receive a message during playback about Dolby 5.1
not being available during preview. This
will not affect the resultant DVD.
To the right you can choose whichever audio languages and
subtitles you wish to retain in the recode. Now you can adjust or remove titles
as you wish.
As you click on each title, you can determine its content
and watch a little of it. If you decide that twenty previews are a waste of
disk space, highlight the preview section and disable it (RED button). You must
then browse your computer to locate a BMP file that will replace these items.
Other replacements are possible but a BMP is readily available and quick.
You can also adjust the compression sliders to greatly
reduce the size of the previews, interviews or whatever. If you do not lock the
compression ratios (big lock button) Nero will give a higher priority to the
main movie. Note that compression ratio can only be specified for one title.
You also have the option of choosing your audio languages
and subtitles. These generally take up little space on the disc but just make
certain that Recode
has not eliminated the languages or
subtitles you wish to retain. The info tab reveals relevant details about each
title's attributes. In this case (Figure 1), the
interviews had a higher than normal
average bit rate while the Main Movie had a more normal 6 Mps rate. The
interview segment would therefore be
a target for heavier transcoding.
When you choose the NEXT button, you are taken to a screen
where you can choose the location of the resultant files. A hard disk folder
(4.7 GIG) or a DVD burner can be used or a Nero proprietary image file can be
chosen for later mounting as an image disc. If the DVD burner is chosen,
burning will begin immediately after deep analysis.
Then there is the Burn at Once option. If you choose this
and burning fails for some reason, the shrunken or Recoded DVD files are gone.
determines the points where MPEG2 compression can be mathematically maximized
by the program's algorithm-for instance, a dark scene. Bright scenes with a lot
of action are just the opposite. Still, the total file size must be kept within
the 4.7 GIG limit. The deep analysis can easily require an hour's time or more
depending upon the computer system.
Is it worth the extra time? Considering the fact that an
entire disk is being "squeezed," this process does produce the best
quality. You can also use Recode to eliminate everything but the main movie. If
you do this, no compression may be necessary, depending on the movie.
TWO MOVIE DISKS
Many DVD-9 discs contain both widescreen and normal 4:3
ratio versions of the same film. Sometimes two different movies are offered.
With Recode, you can preview each movie to determine which
one to keep. For example, a widescreen movie should be fairly obvious on the small
The Disable button would substitute a bmp file and preserve
the quality of the remaining normal ratio movie. After burning, you could do
the opposite to backup both formats. The same is true for interviews and
special features: eliminate the main
movie from one disc to just have the menus and special features and leave the
Movie for the second disc with no loss in
There is a way to further analyse
the disk. In Windows Explorer (Win 2K and XP) choose Tools, Folder Options and uncheck
Hide File Extensions for Known File Types . This options is under View, Folder Options in Win 9.x and ME. Now
you can open the VIDEO_TS folder on you DVD to examine the file structure. The
IFO suffix (i.e.
VTS_01_0.IFO) defines each title or movie. For instance, if the structure has a
group of VOB files numbered sequentially vts_01_1.vob, vts_01_2.vob, etc. with
a preceeding VTS_01_0.IFO, that is one movie. If there is another
of the same size with vts_02_1.vob, etc. that is the second movie.
Just right click on the IFO file and choose "open with" to
locate DVDShrink 2.0 and up from the
Windows dialogue box (i.e. to determine which application to use). In Windows
98 and ME, hold the shift key while right clicking to enable access to "open
DVD Shrink, you can search for the preview for each title without
going through the DVD menus. By selecting "Open Disk" you will obtain an
Menu structure. Click on the plus
(+) sign to expand each level and click on the title to view it. In selecting "Open Files" you can choose
VIDEO_TS.IFO, which is the whole DVD Video content, or individual IFO
files. The last feature is a real
advantage over Recode which only imports the entire VIDEO_TS folder.
Unfortunately, most other software players will simply
revert to the main menu or fail to open.
Remake a DVD
The "Remake a DVD" Option gives you the opportunity to seam
together portions of a DVD which has been ripped to your hard drive or even from a DVD drive
ANYDVD is present on your system. These fragments can originate from different
DVD's and you can combine two different DVD's to one.
The first step is to import the Titles that you wish by highlighting
the Title (not the Movie) and click the Add Title Button. As long as there is
an IFO file for the title, it should be able to be included on a new disc. You
can hold down the control key to add additional titles.
In this manner, you can add additional titles from different
sources to create a new DVD. There is an unusual issue with this method in that
some titles are represented as
larger file sizes in the "Import Title Menu"
than they are represented in
Windows Explorer. This is probably
related to the fact that some
titles are copied with an entire VOB although the VOB includes information from
other titles. The menus will not copy.
I tried to copy (Remake) a dual layer DVD without menus by
including every title in the DVD. Whereas the entire DVD could be copied using
"Copy Entire DVD to DVD," the Remake option lacked sufficient
disk space. The maximum compression for any title is about 50% which is
any dual layer DVD on the market as long as you stay in the "Copy Entire DVD to
The Remake function is very useful for smaller titles. Just
preview them from DVDShrink (using the IFO files in
Windows Explorer) before adding them to a compilation. The VTS numbers do not
correspond to the title numbers and titles can include portions of VOB's. Interestingly enough, some main movies
are nearly the same size as the
actor or director interviews since the movies are recorded at lower bitrates than the interviews.
As soon as you have finished adding titles, the Start/End
The Start/End windows are taken directly from DVDShrink in the Reauthor Mode
for editing the title by chapter or time. The small play
button allows you to step through
the frames slowly and the fast forward buttons more quickly. Before committing
anything to a new DVD,
is a good idea to step through the title.
DVD structures can be very complex these days and titles may
include portions of different VTS's. This is a particular problem with multiepisode
DVD's . Some of these are listed as
having as much as six hours of content. In reality, the Special Features
Include some favorite scenes which they
"borrow" from the full content
(episodes). Before retaining the results of the edit, make certain there are no
black areas indicating lost video content.
SPLITTING A LARGE MOVIE
The Remake program gives you a great opportunity to backup a
three to four hour movie onto two blank DVD's without compression. If the main
movie occupies more than 4.7 Gigabytes on the disk, it must be compressed even
without Special Features. This is particularly applicable to some older,
classic movies and documentaries. The method is simple:
First, choose the Remake mode. Next import the lengthy
title, Add it and choose Finished. Examine the total number of Chapters using
the drop down box.
From the start frame window, choose the first chapter and
from the end frame, the middle chapter (about halfway through the movie). Now
close the window
And burn the first disc. Now return to Remake mode and use
the middle chapter as the Start Frame. The end frame should automatically be
set to the of the movie.
There may be space for the Special Features and these belong
on the second disc. These functions are similar to DVDXCOPY.
Nero Recode was installed on two PC's and a laptop using the
method described above and performed flawlessly with several new DVD's . One of the PC's contained a Pioneer DVR-A03 burner
for -R discs and there were no burning problems. DVD's Recoded with the laptop
could be transferred over a home network to the PC ewhere
the burner resides. There were some
issues with scratched DVD's that could not be ripped to the hard drives. It is
generally a good ideato backup your discs as soon as
you purchase them to
avoid this problem.
As might be expected with a new product, there are
unsupported burners and recent changes have been made to ensure compatibility
with the AMD 64 bit CPU and dual processor systems. The Nero forums also
contain complaints about various aspects of the component programs that do not work properly.
In general, when these issues arise, it is best to uninstall
other programs than relate to CD or DVD burning, reboot and reinstall the Nero
Suite. Sometimes a complete reinstall of the operating system is needed to
eliminate conflicts. As usual, wait for the updates and patches!
link to a site that has a an excellent guide for the portion of
the program "Copy DVD to Nero Digital,"
or perform a search for Afonic DVD Rip Guides
WHY PURCHASE RECODE?
A good question! DVDShrink is free and includes decryption
without transferring the DVD Video files to the hard drive. DVDshrink
does not however include a burning function and Nero is about as reliable as
they get! DVD Shrink also does not allow the adjustment of Transcoding
percentage for each title as does Nero (and DVDXCOPY Platinum). For some reason, DVDShrink 3.0 beta5 and
earlier fails to compress certain DVD's after its initial analysis.
DVDShrink will reauthor
a DVD but it will not preserve the menus. The non-main movie files are played
in a certain order and can actually be edited to a limited extent.
At this point, there is no limit as to the number of
PC's on which Nero can be installed with one serial number. This is unlike the
situation with DVDXCOPY which requires Web or telephone activation. No other
program has the "Remake a DVD" function except DVDShrink in
Did the author of DVDShrink have a part in Nero
Recode-almost certainly? There are so
between these programs, including the fact that once you have
processed a DVD, the advanced analysis option disappears for all future
You also get the Nero Showtime player (similar to Real Player's DVD player) and all
the remaining Nero Programs. Showtime will also play MPEG4 files created with
Nero's own MPEG4 codec. Nero burning ROM
can still be used to burn DVD Video files in a folder on the hard drive. Just
highlight all of the DVD Video files and drag them into the VIDEO_TS folder
that has been created and burn. Nero Image Drive
also works well as long as you mount an ISO or Nero Image File on the new
CD\DVD drive that is created . You can play the image
DVD or even rip it.
Ahead Software has produced a tremendous suite with the
latest Ultra Edition and Power Pack. It includes nearly everything that is
CD and DVD backups as well as provisions for audio and video
recording and editing that have not been described in this article. It is well
worth the price.