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Old 8th October 2009, 22:36   #1  |  Link
Phe0nix
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Replacing PAL menus with NTSC menus via PGCEdit

I have a PAL DVD that i've converted the main feature of to
NTSC . I used PGCEdit's "Replace VTST titles" feature to open
the original PAL DVD and replace the PAL main feature with
the NTSC re-encoded one. If i use the preview feature and
extract a frame from the movie as .bmp i see that it is NTSC
( 720x480 ) but when i use VobBlanker to replace all the menu
cells with my converted menus that are NTSC PGCEdit shows
them to be 720x576 with a green border at the bottom without
any border at the top. Is it possible to use PGCEdit for this.

My menu is a still menu 16x9. Here is a link to a screen capture
i did so you can see more of what i'm seeing. I would like to also
ask how you make the main menu loop. Mine runs for 33 seconds
and stops the audio but the original loops continuously.

Thank You

Phe0nix
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Old 8th October 2009, 23:33   #2  |  Link
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Welcome to the forum, Phe0nix! Unfortunately, I can't give you good news!

Converting a menu is really difficult, as you have to convert the button highlights as well as the video stream, and afaik there are no tools to do that automatically. Anyway, you can replace only the video stream with VobBlanker, and there is a problem with the subpics, still in PAL format. Furthermore, when you replace a cell with VobBlanker, if doesn't change the video standard, as you are supposed to use a stream compatible with the original video content. Unfortunately, I can't help you much more, but you can try to change the video standard in the IFOs with IfoEdit and in the menu VOB file with DVDPatcher. The button highlights will certainly be at the wrong position, but you can try to change the button positions with PgcEdit and edit the highlights with DVDSubEdit. (However, I doubt that DVDSubEdit will accept PAL subpics over a NTSC background!) Anyway, that procedure is not easy and very long, and you will almost certainly end with an out of specs DVD, but it might be accepted by your player. IMO, the best solution is to buy a cheap PAL compatible player, or to redo the menu completely from scratch.

Making the menu loop is easy. The cell still time is currently 255 (infinite) so when the video has finished playing, the last image stays indefinitely on screen. Change the cell still time to 0, and the post command will be executed. Currently, it forces button 1 and loops back to the same PGC. You may want to remove the SetHL_BTN command (so that the button that is currently selected will stay selected), and replace it by a simple LinkPGCN 10.

I wish you good luck, but honestly, I have tried to convert a DVD with menu from NTSC to PAL and I gave up! :-(
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Old 9th October 2009, 01:26   #3  |  Link
Phe0nix
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conversion

I was told by a friend Manono that he had successfully done it numerous times and he
made it sound very simple by replacing the PAL video and the menu cells one by one in
vobblanker and then following up with PGCEdit to import the menu buttons,hotspots and
color schemes. With this method you retain all the commands in the PAL DVD.

I understand how difficult it is. I have used PGCEdit to create a dummy root menu and
add a cell to it and using vobblanker to replace this cell with my muxed NTSC main
menu. Then use PGCEdit again to import buttons,hotspots and color schemes. This wasn't
done from within the PAL DVD but from within the newly muxed NTSC movie. I am pointing
this out so you know i am familiar with the process of converting each area of the menu
from PAL to NTSC, this does include the subpictures and all worked perfectly.

Once i was successful with the main menu i thought i would tackle the rest of the menu
system. I do have one of those players that is region free and will play PAL and NTSC
but i am only doing this for educational purposes and not to watch the movie as i have
already converted it to NTSC with only the orignal main menu though.

As you said the button highlights were way off but with PGCEdit that isn't a problem.
This program is amazing and very easy to use once you use it for a bit. Maybe there is
a way i can copy all the commands in each of the 15 VMGM LU's and the 11 different VGSM's
and then recreate all these VMGM's and VGSM's in my remuxed NTSC menuless version of the
movie and paste in all the commands and use vobblanker without any issues addding my
NTSC covnerted menus. Then follow up with PGCEdit to import all buttons,hotspots and the
orignal color schemes.

Since you say you tried and gave up and i'm new to this but have worked on it for a week
i'm sure i'm wasting my time trying to do something that doesn't seem possible. I was
told it had been done but can't confirm it, i took him at his word. I'm confindent its
possible in some way or other, i'll ask him to go into more detail and post a reply with
any additioal info he gives me. Please excuse this sloppy reply i've had little sleep as
i've been beating my head on the wall in all my free time lately.


Thank You

Phe0nix
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Old 9th October 2009, 05:35   #4  |  Link
Video Dude
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NuMenu4u was a program that could convert PAL menus to NTSC. Just a few clicks to set it up and the whole process was automated. It even adjusted the button highlights.

But I don't know if Zeul is still accepting donations for the VIP version that can use MuxMan and HC instead of Scenarist and CCE.
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Old 9th October 2009, 08:06   #5  |  Link
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Phe0nix, I agree that it should be possible to do it manually, but it's long, difficult and you need to use and master a bunch of programs.

Currently, it is possible to export and import all menu buttons with PgcEdit. See the File menu -> Menu Buttons and BOVs. There is a similar function to export/import all PGC commands. However, that functions do not recreate the PGC structure and the cells, so you have to do it manually. And of course, the button positions will have to be modified manually. There is still the problem of the subpics, that cannot be imported by VobBlanker, and that are in PAL resolution anyway.

Manono might have found a better method. If you succeed, please report how you did it.

Video Dude, you're right. I forgot NuMenu4u! But the links on the homepage are dead, and it is not possible to download the program. Luckilly, it is still possible to download it via Digital Digest. I'm not sure it's the VIP version.
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Old 16th October 2009, 07:06   #6  |  Link
Phe0nix
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I contacted Manono to get more details and he cussed me out
for asking ( i hit a nerve ). I originally contacted him as he had
been boasting of PAL > NTSC menu conversions on another forum
and i only wanted the details of his process. As it turned out his
16x9 in his words "failed miserably" so i left him alone. I was a
bit upset that he talked of so much success which is what got
me to invest so much time in the project as there was a proven
method , so i thought at least.

Anyways i manged to get it working and this wouldn't have been
possible without PGCEdit. This program with the way it lays the
DVD out gave me a better understanding of how the DVD functions.
I have been up all night working on this i'll give you the
details at a later date and thanks RolZ for everything. Oh almost
forgot, you can view the completed conversion here if you would
like to see it and confirm it's NTSC now.
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Old 16th October 2009, 11:06   #7  |  Link
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Nice work, indeed! I'm curious to read how you did it...

BTW, since all PGCs in the VMGM have a video cell that is never played, you could have converted them to real dummies and removed the VIDEO_TS.VOB file completely, with Domain -> Blank Out All PGCs In Domain or DVD -> Remove Useless Menu VOBs. When the VOB is removed, no conversion is necessary!
You can verify manually that the cells are never played simply by looking at the commands and Next PGCN links. They have no buttons, only pre-commands and no non-null Next PGCN links, so the navigation has to be redirected elsewhere by the pre-commands, before reaching the video, as otherwise the PGC would be a dead-end. Remove Useless Menu VOBs verifies that automatically, and removes the VOB and the cells from the IFO when it's possible.
Anyway, your VMGM is now NTSC, so there is no problem. Good job!

Thanks for your kind words about PgcEdit!
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Old 17th October 2009, 07:20   #8  |  Link
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phe0nix View Post
I was told by a friend Manono that he had successfully done it numerous times and he made it sound very simple...
I never made it sound simple, quite the contrary. I warned him on a number of occasions that he had bitten off more than he could chew, and his best bet would be to convert the menu backgrounds and then use them in an authoring program such as DVDAuthorGUI so it could make the sub_pics, buttons, and such.

This person either has a faulty memory or he's a bald-faced liar. He wrote me 21 PMs (I think) and I wrote back 17 times over a nearly two week period, some of them very long and detailed. That hardly sounds like:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phe0nix View Post
I contacted Manono to get more details and he cussed me out. As it turned out his
16x9 in his words "failed miserably" so i left him alone
I didn't 'boast', but 'reported', just as he's doing now. I never 'cussed him out'. When I told him I had 'failed miserably' (is that a boast also?), that was with one try that I had done quickly to see if I could do it more-or-less without thinking much. I couldn't. I detailed my adventures and misadventures doing these conversions, and told him I had converted a 16:9 successfully, and three (or 4, can't remember) 4:3 DVDs, and was half-successful on another 16:9 one. I've told him whatever he asked about. Look, when he started, this is how much he knew:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phe0nix View Post
When i convert the PAL into NTSC i use DGMPGDec and load the main VTS files, so i end up with just the movie.
I have no menu in the .m2v file . Maybe this is where i am going wrong, Do i need to load the smaller VTS_01_0.VOB
as well as the larger 1 GB .vob's ? If i load the VTS_01_0.VOB to get the menus added to my video it seems as though
this additional content would cause my audio to be out of sync but i'm going to try it an see what happens as it's not
working the way i'm doing it now.
I decided to begin to withdraw much later, after he reported he had successfully done it, when he hadn't done it at all (as I'm sure he'd be the first to admit now). I can't take the credit for solving the conversion problems for him, not at all. But I can take at least some credit for pointing him in the right direction, and for showing him the programs he should be using. His original intention was to use DVDRemake and not PGCEdit at all, until I set him straight. And I certainly don't deserve this abuse. Is it because I withdrew from helping him? He was polite, thankful, and very appreciative all along the way until I withdrew from his project as gracefully and as politely as I knew how. I wasn't getting paid, hadn't much interest in this particular project as I have enough on my plate to keep me busy, and he had tried to pull a fast one on me with a supposed conversion, that wasn't what he had set out to do at all.

I let his first slanderous post go by, not wanting to get pulled into his shoddy little game. His second one was beyond the pale, in my opinion, and even crossed the line as far as the rules go around here. But I don't much believe in censorship, and am not deleting his lies or striking him for any rule infractions, but only responding. And warning him to stick to the truth.

Last edited by manono; 17th October 2009 at 07:29.
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Old 17th October 2009, 08:15   #9  |  Link
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I know that wouldn't be in your nature to "cuss someone out" or to boast, manono. I well remember the issues you were having in re-aligning the subpics (DVDSubEdit for the subpic packs plus PgcEdit to re-arrange the button highlight areas is best for this, IMO).

Now, Phe0nix, one of our key rules here is to be polite to each other. I simply can't - and won't - stand impolite people. Please accept this as a warning. I hope your stay with us from here on in is uneventful.

Regards
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Old 17th October 2009, 09:50   #10  |  Link
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It's a pity that this thread turns to a fight. I haven't replied to the part of the message where Phe0nix speaks of his relations with you, manono, as I'm not involved at all. IMO, your experience is interesting, and even a failed attempt is a valuable information, so IMO Phe0nix should have given you a lot of thanks.

Anyway, the original subject of this thread is interesting, so I ask everyone to unite their efforts. It would be nice if we could find a reliable and as simple as possible method to convert a 4:3 or 16:9 menu from PAL to NTSC or vice-versa. If it's necessary or useful, I can add special features to PgcEdit to simplify this task, but I need to know exactly the difficulties you had. So, please, Phe0nix and manono, stop the fight, and let's concentrate on the interesting matter. Thanks!
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Old 17th October 2009, 14:23   #11  |  Link
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@Phe0nix

Hi!
Quote:
i'll give you the details at a later date
So, how did you accomplish this?
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Old 17th October 2009, 20:51   #12  |  Link
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A sad day

I could spend an hour or two gathering quotes and posting comments made elsewhere, but i see no point in it. I have
had enough and after being warned i simply can't remain a
user here. As i said i won't post the comments i received
on a open forum but i only ask you don't pass judgement.

God Bless

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Old 19th October 2009, 00:57   #13  |  Link
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All,

This thread was just becoming very interesting to me as I have long wanted to "purify" my PAL DVDs back to their correct speed. It's a great shame the thread has hit a bump in the road and I for one would like the discussion to continue.

My earliest conversion attempts used IFOEdit, DVDPatcher and a few other programs on the movie VOBs only - to merely change the frame rate and leave the resolution alone. I left the menus in the "too hard" basket at that time. About the time this thread started, I was starting again to think about the menus, knowing that PGCEdit was most likely the way to go.

In the next little while, I'll be using a useful guide from Manono I found elsewhere to see what I can come up with. I plan to keep the resolution as it is. This should simplify the process a lot but I am not sure what that will do to the PAR (I plan to play only on a PC so there are no compatibility worries that I know of).

I'll post any results here and welcome any critique of my thoughts and method.
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Old 19th October 2009, 10:41   #14  |  Link
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I don't understand exactly what you want to do. If you change only the frame rate of the movie to 24fps (film), then your DVD is not PAL any more, but is not NTSC neither (although it must be flagged as PAL or NTSC). Some players will probably continue to play it at the PAL frame rate, but some software players could play it at the film rate, although I don't know how they will handle the time codes and I suppose they may have some trouble with the Audio/Video/Subpic synchronization. Anyway, in a non-standard DVD, it doesn't matter if the menu is PAL or NTSC, as the DVD is illegal any way. As far as I know PAL/NTSC mixed DVDs can be played by most players, including hardware players. OK. So, why do you want to modify the menus?
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Old 21st October 2009, 02:46   #15  |  Link
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Sorry, I didn't really explain very well. I'm not really after a proper PAL -> NTSC conversion. I just want to change the playback speed and I want to do it for use on a PC only. The idea of doing the menus as well is really just a learning exercise for me. I figure anything I come up with may be of use to those who are trying to do a more complete PAL -> NTSC conversion, including fully functioning menus.

I also neglected to mention that my previous attempts included splitting out the audio, changing its speed with Aften and remuxing it with the reflagged video. That part worked fine (again, PC playback only). I do question whether my "mongrelised" 576 line, 24fps video has the correct pixel aspect ratio but it plays and it plays at the "right" speed. I can provide all steps in more detail if you're interested.
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Old 21st October 2009, 09:59   #16  |  Link
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Thanks for the precision.

You haven't mentioned subpics, but I suppose you have to drop them, or to find a way to change their speed too. You can do it with DVDSubEdit, but since it has no time stretch function, that's tedious. I suppose that it is easier to rip them to SRT format, use a tool to re-time them, and finally regenerate the SUP stream with SubTitle Creator. Big work.

The problem with the menus is similar. Since the button highlights are subpics, you will have to re-time them. That could be easier with DVDSubEdit as usually there are only a few subpics to modify manually. Anyway, you cannot convert the highlights to SRT format, as they are not text.

Also, since you have to demux and remux, you will lose the menu structure, and you will have to rebuild it manually. Muxman has everything needed to create the button highlights, but the free version has no GUI to do it. You can also use PgcEdit to export and import the menu definitions. Anyway, with any method, you might have to fix some timecodes.

I'm not personally interested in your method, as I don't like to watch movies on my PC, but your experience might be useful to other peoples.
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Old 21st October 2009, 11:41   #17  |  Link
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Quote:
Originally Posted by r0lZ View Post
the original subject of this thread is interesting, so I ask everyone to unite their efforts. It would be nice if we could find a reliable and as simple as possible method to convert a 4:3 or 16:9 menu from PAL to NTSC or vice-versa. If it's necessary or useful, I can add special features to PgcEdit to simplify this task, but I need to know exactly the difficulties you had.
There was a short but much informative thread where Pinstripes23 and manono shared some experience on manual steps in PAL/NTSC subpicture resizing:
http://forum.videohelp.com/topic362241.html
The method includes exporting sup to bmp, resizing it in a graphic editor (bilinear type was later recommended by Pinstripes23) and remuxing in Muxman using an associated (with the resized bmp) manually created Scenarist/Muxman .SST script file which provides retiming, etc. Its contents in general is described here:
http://www.mpucoder.com/Muxman/mxp/sst.shtml

If I understand it right, Numenu4u used to do the same at some stage of its process. And those manual steps were originally developed as a workaround for problematic cases. I never followed that method (since I came across the .sst explanation just recently) but planning to try it. There might be difficulties if using original colors at exporting to bmp (in DVDSubEdit there are 4-bit bmp and auto-CLUT options as a workaround) but anyway the method looks promising for developing a full working process (including editing button highlights and backward color adjustment).
So, r0lZ, if it ever happens, PGCEdit could participate by generating that sst file as well .
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Old 21st October 2009, 11:45   #18  |  Link
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OK, thanks for the info. I must digest it now...
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Old 21st October 2009, 12:16   #19  |  Link
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Hum, I've just read the thread at VideoHelp and the muxman specs for the SST file, and I don't think PgcEdit can help much. It is necessary to include in the SST file the NTSC Tape_Type (DROP | NON_DROP), the colors used in the BMP for the B, P, E1 and E2 pixels, the color scheme information (Color and Contrast), and the Start and End time codes. These values are not available to PgcEdit, and therefore I can only fill them with default values, that will probably not work in many cases. So, I think the job should be made by DVDSubEdit, as it has access to everything (except perhaps the Tape_Type; I don't know). I can certainly generate a template, but it will need to be heavily edited. I'm not sure that's very useful.

I can probably easily add an option to the current "Export Buttons" function of PgcEdit to automatically recalculate the positions of the button highlights for the other TV standard. It will therefore be easier for the user to export the PAL buttons as NTSC (or vice versa), and reimport them in the converted DVD without having to adjust the button positions manually. I don't think I can do much more.
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Old 21st October 2009, 23:26   #20  |  Link
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I wasn't planning to bother with subpics in the main movie but you raise an interesting point about menu buttons. I hadn't considered the use of subpics there. That will of course complicate things. I'll take your ideas (and Alex_ander's) on board and see what I come up with. Thanks for the input.

I like the idea of the automated button position recalculation for cases where a proper PAL/NTSC conversion is being done.
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