Mimicking Seamless Branching with Scenarist by OxP

@Note by Doom9 04/10/2005: I have changed the title of this guide to "mimicking..." because Scenarist cannot create real seamless branching titles. Real seamless branching would mean that upon multiplexing, the different branches would be stored in an way so that the player can jump parts to be skipped (for instance when playing the theatrical release) without stuttering. Since players have a limited buffer, the amount of video that can be jumped is only about 30 seconds, which is insufficient for your average seamless branching title, and hence a more complex arrangement of the video data is needed. Scenarist is unable to do this.

This method was developed to accurately recreate DVDs that are seamlessly branched. Most seamlessly branched DVDs are those that contain both the Theatrical and Special Editions of a movie. Terminator 2, The Abyss, Independence Day, and Stargate to name a few such titles. This method will allow you to sustain both version of the film. Seamlessly Branched DVDs do not just contain two copies of the film, but rather share similar parts of the film, but at points, deviate from each other for certain portions. So effectively the VOB s contain the movie only once. This is one method, that is a workaround to Scenarist's inability to properly do seamless branching. There is another method that I am working on that should reduce the manual labor, but will include much mathematical calculations if you like even close to accurate chapter points. Though, here, a good deal of them will be completely accurate without any effort.

Though, you must realize that not all movies that have both the theatrical and director's cuts or special editions need to be done the way described in the guide. One such film is Stigmata. You must analyze the IFO. For example, a title that has two PGCs, as follows, does not need to be done this way, but rather, just have the longer one encoded. PGC 1 with VOB IDs: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 and PGC 2 with VOB IDs: 1,3,4,5,6,8,9,10. As you can see here one of the PGCs has all of the VOB IDs So you can encode normally, following the IfoEdit and CCE guide. Then deviate slightly at the Scenario Editor. Where you would follow my method. So if you have such a title, follow this guide and then continue to Step 4 of this guide and look at the procedure for the Scenario Editor.

You will need the following software for this guide

DVD Decrypter

Table of content

1: Preparation
2: Encoding
3: Subtitles
4: Re-author
5: Merge the Scenarist files into your project
6: Make the disc regionfree
7: Remove User option prohibitions
8: Final sector adjustments
9: Burn the DVD


Step 1: Preparation

The DVD I chose to demonstrate seamless branching is Terminator 2: Ultimate Edition. This DVD has a Theatrical, Special, And Extended Special Editions on one disc. The film is rather long and contains a good deal of audio tracks, including DTS.

Here are the files on the DVD:

1,017,856 VIDEO_TS.VOB 167,936 VTS_01_0.BUP
167,936 VTS_01_0.IFO
235,182,080 VTS_01_0.VOB 1,073,739,776 VTS_01_1.VOB 1,073,739,776 VTS_01_2.VOB 1,073,739,776 VTS_01_3.VOB 730,079,232 VTS_01_4.VOB 1,073,739,776 VTS_01_5.VOB 1,073,739,776 VTS_01_6.VOB 1,073,739,776 VTS_01_7.VOB 674,893,824 VTS_01_8.VOB 20,480 VTS_02_0.BUP
20,480 VTS_02_0.IFO
9,168,896 VTS_02_0.VOB 17,981,440 VTS_02_1.VOB 18,432 VTS_03_0.BUP
18,432 VTS_03_0.IFO
1,017,856 VTS_03_0.VOB 40,800,256 VTS_03_1.VOB 18,432 VTS_04_0.BUP
18,432 VTS_04_0.IFO
1,017,856 VTS_04_0.VOB 83,349,504 VTS_04_1.VOB 18,432 VTS_05_0.BUP
18,432 VTS_05_0.IFO
1,017,856 VTS_05_0.VOB 54,767,616 VTS_05_1.VOB

VTS_01 is the main VTS on this dvd, the title has the extras on another disc, so no extras to re-encode, but the main VTS is huge, 6.67GB. CCE will be used to re-encode the film, but there is a catch, its not any old DVD, its a seamlessly branched DVD. Rip all of the files, except the main movie VOB s , which in this case are VTS_01_1.VOB through to VTS_01_8.VOB .

Step 2: Encoding

DVD Decrypter

We will now look at the VTS_01 in DVD Decrypter that we did not rip earlier.

As we can see on the left VTS_01 has 6 PGCs. This VTS has 3 long PGCs. Normally we need to rip each PGC and encode them separately, but this is a seamless branching title so we act differently. The first thing that needs to be done in this case is to switch to splitting by VOB ID. Go to Tools->Settings...->IFO Mode->File Splitting. Change it to Split By VOB ID. As seen in the picture below.

Now each PGC needs to be ripped individually. As of now, DVD Decrypter does not make it easy, and split the raw VOB s by VOB ID, but maybe one day. An alternative to this is to use vStrip, which will not be explained here. If you want to know more about DVD Decrypter there's a detailed guide explaining everything you ever wanted to know about the program. Before you rip each PGC I suggest that you go to Stream Processing and Demuxing the audio tracks that you wish to keep. You can do this step in DVD2AVI, but if you have a DTS track, like in my case, you are forced to do it now anyway.

The first thing after you have ripped each PGC is to sort them out. What you need in the end is a set of ALL the VOB IDs on the DVD. You may need to rename some files to make a matching set and most likely only need a few VOB IDs from some of the PGCs. This set is what you will be working with. If you also demuxed audio files, then it is always a good idea to rename those as well. You should delete any duplicate VOB IDs as they are useless. In the end you should have a set that is approximately the size of the raw VOB s .

You should encode VOB IDs in CCE. Though there are a few things I will mention here to make this procedure easier. You DO need to encode each VOB ID and hence create a d2v for each VOB ID and create an Avisynth script for each one. This can be a pain, but there are commandline based tools that can help reduce the amount of work tremendously.





Here is an alternate option to using DVD Decrypter, which is a bit easier. Though this is only if you do not have a DTS audio track, as for some reason, I have not successfully split a VOB by VOB IDs in vStrip and received DTS output that Scenarist would accept. The first thing that we do is open the DVD in a software player so that we can authenticate the DVD. Now open up notepad and create a file list. This will be a list of the locations and names of all the VOB s . In my case it looked like this:


Now we will see the command line to simply rip the VOB s and to split them by VOB ID. You can consult the vStrip Guide if you wish to do more with vStrip.

vStrip @Your_LST.lst -vo Your_Filename.VOB

Batch File

Here are some DVD2AVI switches, it's a good idea to look at the documents so that you can really see how to fully control DVD2AVI:

Field Operation: -FO=0 None -FO=1 Force Film Track Number: -TN=0 None -TN=1 First Track, etc.
Color Space: -CS=0 RGB -CS=1 YUV(required) Dolby Digital: -DD=1 Demux -DD=2 Demux All Tracks

Read the documentation of DVD2AVI-CLI for the rest of the CLI functions and what they do. The following two lines should be pasted into notepad and saved to a file with the the extensions *.bat or *.cmd. Here is the script, place it in the directory of all your VOB files:

for %%x in (*.VOB ) do dvd2avi -FO=0 -CS=2 -TN=0 -DD=1 -IF[%%x] -OF[%%x] -exit
for %%x in (*.d2v) do echo LoadPlugin("C:\LOCATION OF MPEG2DEC\mpeg2dec.dll") > %%x.avs& echo Mpeg2Source("C:\WHERE YOUR FILES ARE\%%x) >> %%x.avs

If you want to IVTC or any other custom commands, then follow the example and add in extra lines using:
&Echo Your Command >> %%x.avs

For AMD machines with those who are using CCE 2.5 add this line to the end:
&Echo ResampleAudio(44100) >> %%x.avs

This is a basic script, if you are using vStrip, then add the vStrip command to the beginning of this. I recommend using vStrip, as it is much simpler to do this, but if you want DTS you do not have much choice, unless you figure out how to get working DTS files that have been split by VOB ID. If you used vStrip or you want to demux using DVD2AVI for any other reason, then make sure that TN=1 and DD=2. This will demux all audio tracks.

Drag and drop all of your avs scripts or AVI files, depending, into CCE. Follow the CCE guide for the first VOB ID and change all the settings accordingly. Only one, unless you like doing extra work, in which case you can do them all. Save the ECL file. Now open it twice in two different notepad windows. In one, leave it at the first VOB ID, for the other, scroll down to the second one. From here, you will see what values are different between the two. The VOB ID 1 ones being those that you want for all of them. So go to Edit and Replace in the second window. Type in the wrong value for "Replace" and the right value, from the first window to "Replace With". Then hit "Replace All". Do this for all values that apply. This just saved you from editing the values for each VOB ID.

IF you are lazy like me, you just set it to 5-6 pass VBR and let it go.(I don't feel like editing every single VAF file and seeing if there are gray areas.) Or you can change the ECL twice if you do wish to do so. First time put them all to One Pass VBR. The second time, edit the ECL and choose Multi-Pass VBR along with the number of passes.

One last note about CCE before you hit the Encode button. If you are a freak about exact chapter points, open up ChapterXtractor and load your IFO file.

This is an annoying part. The red values are the ones you care about, and are the only ones you should input into CCE, if you like more work, then go ahead and put them all in. What you need to do is look at each chapter RELATIVE to the VOB ID. So, for this example, I took VOB ID 3. I selected all the cells preceding it and right clicked on them. You must hit both Uncheck and Don't Use in timestamp. Now goto Format.

On the bottom right, where it says Format:, change it to %f and hit the button directly to the right. Now you will see all the chapter points, but for this particular VOB ID, we only care about the first two. Make sure that you change the FPS Rate to 23976 if you chose force film or IVTC'd You must keep looking at the FPS Rate as it can change on you when you are not looking. We take the first two values and input those as the chapters in CCE for VOB ID 3. You proceed to do the same thing for each VOB ID. You need to change Titles, located on the bottom and find VOB IDs that were not in the first Title. When you are done, you should have accounted for all the chapters in all the Titles.

You may now, after a hard days work, hit the Encode button. When encoding is complete, you must do pulldown if you have an NTSC title, so, place pulldown.exe in the directory where your encoded files are and create a new *.bat file with the following:

for %%x in (*.mpv) do pulldown.exe %%x %%x.m2v

Step 3: Subtitles

If you want subs, good luck, its a lot of work. This of course depends on how many VOB IDs you have in your film of course, but since its a seamless branching title, I'm sure it has plenty. You need to select each VOB ID VOB file individually from the list and make the subs for it. Keep track of what you are doing and place things in different folders. With the latest SubRip, the amount of work has greatly decreased, but all the same, it is a tedious job that I do not consider worth the effort. Though, I will quickly explain how to do this.

Open up SubRip and open the directory where all of your VOB files are located. Depending on the DVD, you may have multiple subtitle tracks that you wish to keep. Check only one VOB file at a time, and proceed normally to rip it. So you need to repeat the procedure 2-3 times per VOB if you want to keep 2-3 subtitle tracks. In my case that would be 2x58 subtitle tracks. This is way to much work for me, but for some subtitles can be extremely important.

Step 4: Re-author

I will not explain how to create a project, so check the IfoEdit and CCE guide if you wish to see how to create a project. Once the project has been created, there is a setting that needs to be changed if you have an NTSC movie. Go to Settings->Default Settings->Assets. Change the second value to Drop Frame. This saves you a bit of work. Drag and drop your video file(s) and audio file(s) into the lower right part of the screen. Scenarist will then check the files for compliance. You should have a lot of them.

Here you can see a part of my project. I have 60 m2v files, and a lot of audio files. Sometimes, VOB IDs that are FBI warnings or just blank screens do not have audios to accompany them. This is why I have 58x3 audio files.

If you are reading this, I'm sure you know about dummy files, and if you don't, then I suggest you take a look at the regular guide. You probably don't need to make one, but rather take one of the existing AC3s you already have, its quite probably that one of them is small enough for you to use.

Once you've imported all the files, click on the Track editor tab and drag and drop the m2v video files to the track editor. You should now have a great deal of tracks. This is what we will be making the PGCs from. In my example I have 60 video streams to be added. The last two were very short ones and when dropping it I got the following window:

If you have a short PGC that has 00:00:00 length, then when you add that VOB ID a menu will come up. Here choose still show.

Once you've created all the tracks its time for lots and lots of fun. For each track, which is a corresponding VOB ID, you must add the audio files that correspond to it. This can take quite a while, especially if you have 2-4 audios for each file, like in my case. Once you are done, you should take a rest from starring at the screen. Don't bother putting in the languages of your audios, that's just a silly waste of time :)

You should have something like this for each VOB ID when you are done. Though you will not have the cell and chapter points as shown in the picture above. To add chapter points, open up ChapterXtractor. Once again, we will follow a procedure similar to the one used in CCE. The procedure is the same except for two details. You will need to change the format to DVD Maestro Now, you will need to copy the chapter points PER VOB ID as done with CCE, but in this case, copy all the cell values, not just for the chapters.

Keep the default names that will be proposed. Once you have 4 titles drag and drop the tracks onto these title folders. Here, the seamless branching begins. You have to do this the way that I describe, otherwise the VOB IDs will be messed up, and no one wants that. Right click on each title that you created, depending on how many PGCs your DVD has and create a PGC for each one. Now, open up IfoEdit and look at the IFO. Scroll down to where you see cells, VOB IDs, and chapters. You have to look back to this. Expand the first VOB ID, in the window in the lower right in Scenarist. Now referring to the IFO, create a corresponding chapter or cell for each "scene". Do this only for the first title and the first VOB ID. You can create a chapter for a scene by dragging the cell onto the PGC. To create a cell, drag the scene onto the the last program. The most efficient way of doing this is to put the titles one on top of the other. After you finish adding VOB ID 1 to the first Title/PGC add it to the second Title/PGC. Go in order and only do one VOB ID at a time. IF PGC 1 does not contain VOB ID 2, then DO NOT add VOB ID 3 to PGC 1 before adding VOB ID 2 to PGC 2. This is a little confusing, but basically you need to go in order of PGC and then in order of VOB ID. The reason for this is that if you do not do it in order, Scenarist will create VOB IDs in the order you add tracks, if you just drag all the tracks over and then delete them selectively, it will mess up the order of VOB IDs and this is not recommended.

Once you are done with this, do not worry, there is very little work left :).

Once done you go to the Layout editor, select DVD Video as project type, select an output directory (make sure there's enough space.. first Scenarist will multiplex everything which will take as much space as your project already takes, then it will create the VOB s and IFOs which till take as much space again).

Last but not least check the checkbox on the right of Create DVD video and set the sector size to 2048 bytes. Then press start to start the compilation. This can take a good amount of time, so take a break from all your hard work.

After it is done, its a good idea to play the IFO in a software DVD player to check and see that everything was done properly and each PGC is different.

Step 5: Merge the Scenarist files into your project

The work is pretty much done! Very little is left. Copy over the VOB files that Scenarist created to the directory where the VOB s , IFOs, and BUP files are located that were earlier ripped with DVD Decrypter.

Now start up IfoUpdate.

Now select the original IFO file (that would be VTS_01_0.IFO that you ripped via DVD Decrypter), the Authored IFO file (that would be the VTS_01_0.IFO that Scenarist generated) and provide a path and filename for the backup file (in case something goes wrong you can take that file and overwrite the file listed in Original IFO Path).

Here you can choose the options you please. If you did subtitles, then copy the color table in each PGC. If you wish to dump or transfer the Time Map you can do this as well, though I don't recommend dumping it all together.. you can't seek through the film in a software DVD player by dragging the bar if you do that. Now press Update IFO.

Repeat this process for every VTS_0x_0.IFO file Scenarist has generated for you (that means no VIDEO_TS.IFO!!!)

Once this has been done you're basically ready for burning. However, you may want to remove certain user prohibitions (as in not being able to change the audio track via the appropriate button on the remote while watching the movie), make the disc region free, or strip out subtitle and audio channels that you have no included in the re-authored project. You can find all these steps here. Enjoy your brand new seamless branched DVD-R. By the time you are done, I'm sure that you wished that you just bought an extra copy of the film. ;)

This document was last updated on 08/31/02