Menu file formatgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Video CD : One Thread
I use Nero burning software to create my Video CDs and wish to know if anyone knows the actual file format for creating menus on Video CDs 2.0. I would be glad to use another program to do it for me although don't wish to pay the price. I am under the understanding that bitmaps are used and was hoping someone might be able to provide information as to how to create these files (cost efficiently) and how to organize them to create functional menus on Video CDs.
-- Dave Fischer (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 03, 2000
I always understood that the Video CD ver 2.0 spec allowed for a still-image MPEG file that is to be used for a menu with a resolution of either 352x240 or 704x480 (NTSC). How to get this file, supposed to be ideal for a menu on a multi-level menued VCD ver 2.0, is what has hounded me for quite sometime. For example, bitmaps of varying resolutions can be thrown at VideoPack 4 or WinOnCD PE3.7 and these apps indeed duly turn these *.bmp and *.jpg files into the required item****.dat files you see later in the segment directory of the created VCD. You never get a stand-alone app that you can throw a bitmap at and fish out an *.mpg file later, VCD-compliant, that you can include with Easy CD or Nero later. ALL the emphasis, as with Panasonic and TMPenc, is on video, with legit *.mpg tracks for avseq**.dat files you later see in the mpegav directory of the created VCD. Probably CeQuadrat knew this and so zealously guards the applet and dlls inside VideoPack that perform this type of encoding. So that is the roundabout way I do it: I create still MPEG files with the Photo album in WinOnCD, fish out these item****.dat files from the created VCD later, and use that for authoring the ver 2.0 VCD. There are other authoring apps which accept bitmaps but you do not deliberately see these anymore in the creation except as finished item****.dat files in the segment directory later. Then Richa in this forum blows my bubble by saying that there is NO such thing as a still MPEG file, which by its nature is supposed to be all-motion, etc. which makes it more confusing than ever to me. One of my cues to the effect that there indeed IS such a thing as a still MPEG file is distinctions to the effect in the help section of VCD Creator in Easy CD, which, among other things say that files in the segment directory are more versatile because they can be audio/video, or video only, with bitrates up to xxxx... And when you inspect properties of such item****.dat files in commercial ver 2.0 VCDs they have specs and constant bitrates that range all over the countryside, like some consists of only 5 (!) frames, others have n/a in the audio section (which contradicts what Richa said that there IS ALWAYS audio, if it is only a silent track), clearly saying it doesn't have an audio track, etc. For now, therefore, what you can do, is get WinOnCDPE3.7 (not at all easy in North America; guys where did you all get your legit copies??). Prepare your bitmap with all of the beautiful pix and the menu item contents in it, sticking to 4:3 aspect ratio all the time. Do more than one menu or picture. Then open WinOnCD, create a photoalbum (which is nothing more than VCD ver 2.0, sans audio) using as source files those bitmaps you made. After VCD creation is successful, inspect contents of segment directory, play the individual item****.dat files within to check which one is the menu you are after, then using VCDGear, extract it back to *.mpg. This is now your still MPEG file for your independent ver 2.0 authoring later on. If you find a stand-alone app for encoding *.bmp or *.jpg files into still MPEG files, VCD ver 2.0 compliant (if it does exist, Richa says no such thing), tell me where you got them. Using this runaround technique is tedious.
-- EMartinez (email@example.com), July 04, 2000.
Just use VCDeasy, it can create mpg still images. You should find a link somewhere on www.vcdhelp.com for example.
-- Nicklas (nl.@at.linux.dot.nu), December 03, 2002.