Encoding Mac Video on a PC – Help?

Dear loyal readers:

I have a problem.

Uncle Sam – or one of Uncle Sam’s noodly appendages, anyway – has provided me a very interesting video that is roughly ninety minutes in length.

I’d like to rip a copy and put it on the web for others to view.

The video was burned to a DVD-R with a Mac. (Uncle Sam has Macs? When did that happen?)

I do not own a Mac. I don’t really want to own one. (I already have… seven? eight? computers.)

My DVD player can play the DVD.

None of my Windows computers can read the DVD. (I haven’t tried a Linux machine yet, because none of my Linux boxes have DVD drives, and none of the Live CDs I have provide much in the way of multimedia support.)

So… anyone know of an easy way to read a Mac-formatted video DVD under Windows XP, and transcode that into a format that’s a bit more, you know, standards-based, and widely compatible?

(Or, failing that, anyone feeling philanthropic enough to donate a grand or so, so I can get a Macbook, rip the video, and upload it to Liveleaks or something?)

I probably know people with Macs I can bug to do it for me, but I try to be, like, self-sufficient, given the choice.

Thanks in advance…

Published in: Geekiness | on May 17th, 2010| 5 Comments »

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  1. On 5/17/2010 at 8:25 pm Brian Said:

    Hrmm. Step 1. Try VideoLan. You can force it to ping a drive even if the system isn’t all that cooperative?

    When you say: “Can’t read” what do you mean?

    One option is to live-cd and just use file copying tools to pull the data from the DVD into /anything/ really, and then poke at it. Again, Videolan should be able to poke at it.

    Post what errors you get and we’ll have this long slow game of debugging 🙂

  2. On 5/17/2010 at 8:53 pm Nemo Said:

    The issue is that, regardless of (Windows) computer, it shows up as a blank DVD-R containing zero bytes.

    I hadn’t thought about trying to do a raw dd or something off the disk, but I’m fairly sure I’d need to be able to mount it first, and that very much seems to be the problem. (It wouldn’t automount with the liveCDs I tried, and I really can’t fathom what file system, et cetera, it might be that my DVD player can read but nothing else can. The media is definitely a DVD-R, so it’s not a VCD or something similarly obscure.)

    VideoLan not only doesn’t read the disk, it hangs when doing so. So does the Nero info tool. WMP, RealPlayer, and Media Player Classic all fail to recognize any data as being on the disk. The viDrop front-end to ffmpeg et al doesn’t recognize the disk as containing anything useful, either.

    It’s almost like the government doesn’t want me to post this on the internet…

  3. On 5/18/2010 at 1:14 am MagerValp Said:

    There’s an HFS+ driver for Linux, so that might still be worth trying just to get the file off the DVD. Otherwise why not install a hackintosh?

  4. On 5/18/2010 at 10:23 am blunderov Said:

    If you install ‘Quicktime’ you will probably be able to view it because QT has the correct codec.

    In order to reauthor the DVD, you could transcode the file/s to a MS.avi codec using something like http://mp4cam2avi.sourceforge.net/.
    (I’m not sure, but I think Vdub(free!)might also work.)

    Once your Windows system can read it, you can manipulate it in many ways. DVD Shrink (free!) is a good way to go. It will prepare the files for burning and compress them sufficiently to fit onto a domestic size DVD disc.(It will also handle dual layer if you wish to avoid compressing the video.) Hope this helps.

  5. On 5/18/2010 at 2:00 pm Nemo Said:

    For what it’s worth, Quicktime didn’t work, either. Nor did about a half-dozen other programs, including iTunes (under Windows XP).

    A coworker was able to read the disk just fine on a PC with Windows 7, however, and I’ve now got a copy of all 4GB of the .vob, et al, files which I should be able to encode to a web-friendly format.

    If everything goes according to plan, I should have the video in question posted this Friday.