DVDFab - Main movie Split Guide

DVDFab - formerly known as DVDToolbox (the name has been changed to avoid a naming conflict with existing tools) - is, according to the author, a tool supposed to be a free and 100% working copy of DVDXCopy. As you may know, DVDXCopy was the first commercial tool to split commercial DVD-9s to two DVD±Rs. It was initially pretty buggy but the company behind it eventually hired the author of IfoEdit to improve it - which has effectively killed of any further IfoEdit development. That, and the fact that the company is selling a package of freeware tools and a guide to create (S)VCDs has not earned them many friends so many people have avoided using DVDXCopy and were stuck with IfoEdit to do the same. While IfoEdit does the job just fine, it's a pretty complex operation. That's where DVDFab comes in handy. Its splitting facilities are extremely easy to use, though at the moment still not offering all the functionality DVDXCopy and IfoEdit can offer - but that is bound to change eventually.
There's just one catch about the whole free thing: While DVDFab is fully functional the way you can download it, and will not stop working at some point, it has two nag screens trying to encourage you to register the program (it's $12.99), one at the startup of the program, another one before you start processing. Those screens will interrupt your workflow for a period of 5-10 seconds (the number increases by one each time you have started processing).

You'll need the following software for this guide:

DVD Decrypter

Step 1: Rip the DVD (Optional)

There are two ways you can use DVDFab: The "normal" way consists of ripping a DVD to your harddisk, then process it. Alternatively, there's a 3rd party plugin enabling DVDFab to read CSS encrypted content directly off your DVD disc. The latter obviously requires less HD space and should be somewhat faster, though if anything should happen and you'd have to restart the operation, having the DVD ripped is a definitive advantage.

Anyway, if you want to rip the DVD to your HD first, start up DVD Decrypter, press F to go to file mode, select all files and press the big button containing a DVD disc, an arrow and a harddisk symbol. For more information on this procedure please refer to the DVD Decrypter guide.

If using the CSS plugin, copy the dll file to your DVDFab directory (normally c:\program files\dvdfab).

Step 2: Split the main movie

Start up DVDFab.

In the main window you have a list of things DVDFab can do. Before we proceed by clicking on Copy main movie from DVD let me quickly guide you through the Other functions:

Create video manager will create the required VIDEO_TS.* files if you only have a set of VTS_0x_y.* files. You can use this feature to create your own trailer DVD based on VOB files you have downloaded from the Internet, just as an example.

Correct DVD sectors is the equivalent to Get VTS Sectors in IfoEdit. If you change anything in a DVD's structure, certain file pointers will no longer be accurate (if you have removed say an FBI warning clip and tried to play the disc without making any adjustments, the player would try to find that FBI warning clip in vain and could not proceed) and you have to correct them using the Correct DVD sectors function.

Analyze DVD does just what the option says: DVDFab will process all files from a DVD and present you some detailed statistics. This function is very useful when trying to find out how big a DVD will be if you remove certain items from it - audio and subtitle tracks for instance.

Create change graphic packet allows you to create your own "Please insert disc2" graphics.

Finally, Move subtitles can be used the change the position of subtitles. Those of you who have certain non 16:9 widescreen movies with subtitles will know that sometimes the subtitles are displayed in a position where you can no longer see them on screen (stretching a 4:3 widescreen picture to fit a 16:9 TV is such a situation). This function allows you to move the subtitles to a position where you can once again see them.

OK, let's proceed now. If you haven't done so yet, click on Copy main movie from DVD now.

In this screen you have to configure source (that is where your DVD data resides) and destination (where the split DVD will be written to) paths. If you're using DVDFab with the CSS plugin, make sure you select the VIDEO_TS folder on your DVD disc, not just the drive letter of your DVD drive.

Once you've configured both paths press Continue.

The next step is selecting what subtitle and audio streams to keep, and where to split the movie if necessary. DVDFab will first analyze the entire DVD before you get to the next screen - this might take a few minutes.

PGC selection is your first stop. By default, DVDFab already selects the main movie so you don't have to worry about this. However, when you're dealing with a seamless branching movie (for instance a movie where you have both the theatrical edition and the longer director's cut version) you might want to select another PGC.

If you're dealing with a multiangle movie, the Angle section will become active, showing you the existing angles:

However, at this point there's no possibility to remove an angle so this box is purely informational.

Now have a look at the size of your current selection:

The estimated size of keeping the main movie with all audio and subtitle tracks is 5.755 GB, too large for a 4.34 GB DVD±R (manufacturers say 4.7 GB because the disc can hold 4.7 billion bytes which is equivalent to 4.34 real GBs) so the number of DVDs you need is two.

Before just splitting the DVD let's first see if we can't bring down the size enough to fit the entire movie on a single DVD±R.

In the Audio- and subpicture streams part of the window, you have a list of all available audio and subtitle tracks including their properties. Uncheck all streams you don't necessarily need. Unfortunately, in this case I couldn't bring down the size enough but every movie is different and there's many movies where removing certain tracks will spare you from splitting the movie.

Note that by right clicking on an audio / subtitle stream, you can select this stream as default stream. A default stream will have a red background:

In the abovementioned example, the movie would start playing with the German soundtrack and Swedish subtitles.

Before you start processing there's one more thing to be done. By default, DVDFab won't split your movie. If, as in the case presented here, despite removing certain audio and subtitle tracks, the main movie is still too large, you have to check Split to 2 disk and select a Changegraphic from the dropdown list. This is a set of graphics that is displayed when you have to enter disc2 and at the end of disc2. A default set is provided (a preview is shown on the right of the configuration screen), others are available on the DVDFab website.

When you don't have to split the movie, I suggest you remove the Changegraphic because otherwise, the end of movie graphic would be shown after the main movie. To not include any extra graphics select the following option from the dropdown list:

If you're not splitting you can now press Process and let DVDFab do its job. If you have to split over two discs, there's one last thing to be done: The selection of the split point:

As soon as you check Split to 2 disk, this part of the screen becomes active. By default, DVDFab will split the movie in the middle. As you can see, in this case that means chapter 14, 52 minutes into the movie, and it would result in 2.218 GB data on disc1 and 2.668 GB on disc two. Maybe you'd rather like to have your bathroom and popcorn refill break (AKA the point where you switch discs) at a later point in the movie, in which case you can move the slider to the right to select a later chapter.

Once you've made your choice, press Process.

This is it already. DVDFab will now remove unwanted audio and subtitle tracks and split the movie over two discs if required. It will create several folders in your chosen output folder: disc1 and disc2, each containing an empty AUDIO_TS and VIDEO_TS folder (the latter is obviously not empty since it contains the movie). If you're not splitting you'll obviously not have a disc2 folder.

Once the operation has completed, you'll be returned to the main menu of DVDFab and are now ready for burning the DVD.

This document was last updated on April 14, 2009