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Nero Burning ROM by Ahead is a versatile piece of software. It allows you to create Super VideoCD's with navigation menu's as well.

In this short guide I'll show you how to create your own Super VideoCD, which you can playback on your PC and on most standalone DVD-players.

Before you start you will need to have a proper MPEG-2 file (see formats for details) which you want to put on the Super VideoCD. Nero does support other MPEG and AVI formats but needs to convert these files to MPEG2 and usually the result is not that great.

Note: Not all standalone DVD-player support Super VideoCD!

Tip: It is also possible to add images (like digital photo's) to your Super VideoCD!

Note: When using K(S)VCD templates, make sure to remove the check box at "Create standard compliant CD"!!!!!!

Note: Read the disclaimer first!

Nero: Creating your own Super VideoCD

 

Page overview

Step 1: Have the proper MPEG2 file ready

You will, naturally, need the movie file or files (you can put multiple movies or parts of movies on one Super VideoCD). The MPEG-2 should match the standard you want to target, ie. PAL or NTSC. Preferably use PAL since the resolution of a PAL movie is slightly better than that of a NTSC movie and most stand-alone players seem to be able to playback PAL and NTSC mixed anyway without any trouble.

Make sure you test this first with your DVD player!
In this test you can also see if your standalone player can handle CDR and/or CDRW discs. Some older DVD players cannot read CD-Recordables, instead try a CD-ReWritable disc since the laser reflection of these discs almost matches that of a regular DVD.

In short;

PAL
Resolution
480 x 576
Framerate
25 fps
Video bitrate
max 2600 Kbps
Audio bitrate
224 Kbps
 
NTSC
Resolution
480 x 480
Framerate
29.97 fps
Video bitrate
max 2600 Kbps
Audio bitrate
224 Kbps

Make you choice now and remember the info of these tables above.

Note: Audiobitrate is not fixed to 224 kbps, however it is advisable to use this format. Lower bitrates take less space but quality is poor. Higher bitrates renders better sound quality but some DVD players might experience trouble with these VCD's ... if you have to select a higher quality, the go for 320 Kbps.

Step 2: Proper settings in Nero

OK, now we have the movie file, we will start Nero.

Nero usually starts either with the Wizard window or with the "New compilation" window.


In case the wizard starts:
click the "Close Wizard" window so Nero will bring you to the "New Compilation" window.

In case neither windows appear:
either select "File" from the menu and choose "New..." or click the "New Compilation" button (This button creates a new compilation in Nero).

In the "New Compilation" window we now select the "Super Video CD" icon as shown here on the right, which will open the options for our new VideoCD.

Note:
For the rest of this tutorial I'm assuming you're about to make a PAL VideoCD. The only differences with an NTSC VideoCD is the option "NTSC" instead of "PAL" and the MPEG2 movie format used as mentioned above.

Note:
Click the tab "Video CD" if this is not the currently displayed tab.

Nero: Select the Super VideoCD option

Nero: Super VideoCD settings in the New Compilation window

For you're first VideoCD I'd like to suggest to use the settings as seen above. NTSC users might want to check NTSC instead of PAL.

Item Purpose Suggested setting
Creat standard compliant CD Verifies that your VideoCD will be conforming the standard specification. checked
Encoding bitrate Here Nero "plays" with the audio bitrate (transcoding done by Nero) to get the file to fit the CDR or CDRW. I never changed it and it always worked just fine. Try to fit disk size
Encoding resolution Specify the format being either PAL (for example in Europe) or NTSC (USA). It kind-a depends on the movie source file your using. I usually play the MPEG file using PowerDVD to see what format it's in. Please match this settings with the format used in the MPEG1 file. PAL
Store source pictures in This is of use when creating a VideoCD based on digital photo's. The purpose here is to store the original images (in a higher quality) in a seperate folder. For a movie based VideoCD we do not need this. not checked

Now go to the next tab, called "Menu".
Since we are about to create a Super VideoCD with menu's, please check the option "Enable menu".

Nero: The optional menu ...

The fields in more detail:

Tip: first you might want to check the "Preview first page" option. It shows a little window with a preview of the menu (changes are implemented right away!). This window is sizeable so you can see a bit more of the details. Nero: Preview of the menu ...
Field/Option Purpose
Enable menu Enable or disable the menu.
Layout Here we can define how Nero should layout the menu. Either using text (titles) or thumbnails. Examples are shown below.
Header line Enable or disable the horizontal line above the titles or thumbnails.
Footer line Enable or disable the horizontal line just below the titles or thumbnails.
Background picture Here you can indicate what image you wish to use as a background. If you don't enter anything here, the background will by default be black, You can change that color by clicking the little black square next to the "Browse..." button.
Background mode Here we set the options on how Nero should use the background image:
  • Centered, original dimensions ("center")
  • stretched ("maximize") without maintaining the aspect ratio
  • stretched and clipped to create fully filled screen ("scale and clip" )
  • stretched without clipping ("scale and fit")
  • or use the image as a pattern ("tile")
Header text Here you can enter the page title. You can leave it empty if you don't want a title.
The button "Font" allows you to choose font, style and color. The option "shadow" creates a shadow behind the text. When activating this option, a little black square appears allowing you to set a different color for the shadow.
Footer text Here you can enter the footer text. You can leave it empty if you don't want a title.
The button "Font" allows you to choose font, style and color. The option "shadow" creates a shadow behind the text. When activating this option, a little black square appears allowing you to set a different color for the shadow.
Items text This option allows you to set font, style and color (note that the color settings influences the color of the horizontal lines as well!) vof the titles of the menu items. Here you can activate the use of shadow as well - the shadow will also be applied to the thumbnails and the horizontal lines.
Links text Here we set font, style and color for the indicator in the lower right corner showing the user that there are more menu pages. The shadow thing works as with the previous items.
Set as default Allows you to make Nero save these settings so the next new Super VideoCD will be started out with the same settings - ideal when you are creating a serie of Super VideoCD's..
Preview first page Allows you to preview the menu.

Nero has 9 menu variants, which can be set at the "Layout" dropdown box:

Titles, left Titles, center Titles, 2 columns Centered titles Titles, diagonal 6 thumbnails 8 thumbnails 12 thumbnails 15 thumbnails

Note:
You can also create a Super VideoCD without a menu, see "CDRW - Super VideoCD's with Nero" for details.

Click the tab "ISO".
Verify that only these options are checked (this is the default setting):

  • ISO Level2 (Max. of 31 chars)
  • ISO 9660
  • Allow pathdepth of more than 8 directories
  • Allow more than 255 characters in path

NO other option should be checked!

Now we go to the tab "Label".
In the field "Volume label" we can now enter the title of our Super VideoCD. Usually it's a straight forward name.

Tip: If a movie spans multiple VideoCDs I usually end the title with "_AOFB" where A equals the disc number in the sequence and B equals the number of discs in this set.

Note:
In the volume label, special characters like "/", "\" and a space are not allowed. It is common practice to use an underscore ("_") as a replacement of the space character.

Dates can optionally be set at the "Dates" tab.
I usually set the date here to "Use current date and time" for my personal reference, however the default setting will do just fine. Alternatively you can enter a specific date indicating for example that this is the movie of your holiday of June 2001.

At the "Misc" tab we do not need to set anything.

The "Burn" tab is not an issue right now either.

Finally click the "New" button.

Step 3: Adding files.

After we clicked the "New" button, this compilation windows will appear.

Use drag and drop to place a movie file (MPEG2, either with MPG or MPEG file extension) as shown below. Drag and drop can be used with the buildin explorer of Nero or using the Windows Explorer (by draging a file from the Windows Explorer to Nero).

Note: Other formats are supported as well - Nero will transcode/convert these files. Just ckeep in mind that the quality might be disappointing!

For those unfamiliar with drag and drop:
In the right pane you click through the discs of your computer as you would do with the Windows Explorer. When you finally found the file or files you want to add, use the left mouse button to select that particular file and keep the left mouse button pressed. Now move your mouse until is is positioned over the pane part pointed with the red arrow in the screenshot below. Once the mouse is at that position, you can release the mouse button and Nero will add the file.

Nero: Adding MPEG files to the Super VideoCD

You can add as many movieparts as you like. The order shown in the window pointed by the red arrow as seen in the screenshot above, will be the playback order of your movies. You can change the order using drag and drop within this little window.

When you dragged a illegal video file format to the track section, you will get an error message:

Nero: WOOPS, this is not a Super VideoCD compliant file ...

This error leaves us with three options:

  • 1. Ignore it: Turn off standard compliance and continue

    Not advisable, but then again most DVD players seem to be able to handle VCD's that are not 100% Super VideoCD compliant.
  • 2. Re-encode the video file

    Also not advisable.
    The buildin transcoder can convert the file (not the orginal one) to the proper VideoCD specifications. Yes even a DivX will be transcoded to MPEG-2.
    Warning: The QUALITY of this transcoded file might be rather poor!
  • 3. Do not add this file: Cancel

    This is what I would do and use some tool to transcode it to the proper format.
    A proper tutorial on this subject will follow soon.

Note that the capacity of a CD is limited - the amount of space used is visable in the bar at the bottom of the Nero window, in this screenshot we used about 50 Mb's of movie data:

Nero: Space used for you VideoCD

Tip:
A Super VideoCD can hold more data on a CD than a regular CDRom. This is due to the different level of error correction. A 80 minute CDR can hold app. 810 Mb of VideoCD data. So the indicators (the yellow and red dotted lines in the progress bar) are not indicating the proper capacity.

Corrections on the menu

Sometimes it can be usefull to do some corrections on the menu as it has been created by Nero. For example: to change the fact that a menu automatically continues to the next menu after 5 seconds.

In the window holding the tracks of your Super VideoCD, you will see both movies (for example here "Fiat127") and menu's ("Menu page 1" as seen below):

Nero: Super VideoCD menu items

Click such an item with the right mouse button and select the option "Properties" from the popup menu.

  • For menu pages;

    We can set the "pause" time before the menu continues to the next menu page. At "Pause after Track" one can choose "Infinite", where the menu does not continue to the next menu unless the user tells him to do so, or a specified number of "Seconds".

Nero: menu item properties

  • With movies;

    We can set the "pause" time before the playback continues with the next movie. At "Pause after Track" one can choose "Infinite", where playback does not continue to the next movie unless the user tells him to do so, or a specified number of "Seconds".

    The tab "Menu" allows you to change the title and also the thumbnail image used for this item.

Nero: properties of a movie-fragmentNero: you can select a thumbnail based on the movie used

Step 4: Burning the Super VideoCD

OK, now we've made our compilation, it's time to burn that puppy.

Click the "Burn" icon (Nero: Burn that VideoCD puppy) or click in the "File" menu, the option "Write CD ...".

The "New compilation" window appears again, this time showing the "Burn" tab.
Here you can choose to simulate and test the writing proces but if you have done this before I'd go for these options:

  • "Write"
  • "Finalize CD (No further writing possible!)"
  • "Write Speed" set to maximum
  • "Write method" set to "Disc-at-once" (not all CD-writers support this - in that case select "Track-at-once")
  • "Number of copies" set to "1" unless you want more copies
  • Activate "Burnproof" or "Exalink" if available (not all writers support this)

Finally click the "Write" button and wait for the CD to complete.

After the CD has been completely burned, you can try it on your PC using (for example) PowerDVD, or play it on your standalone DVD player to see if it all works.

Note:
For playback on a PC you MUST have a software DVD-player like PowerDVD - Windows Media Player will playback MPEG2 files, unless you have a software DVD-player installed.
The MPEG2 files can be found in the folder "MPEG2" of your Super VideoCD and the first file is usually called "AVSEQ01.MPG".


 

 


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