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Movie Maker - Importing Video from Discs


The steps to rip video files from DVDs and other discs, and convert them to source files for Movie Maker projects, vary by the computer, the software available, and the skills of the user.

It's the VOB files on standard video DVDs that contain the video files you're looking for. As they're not all the same, conversion steps will vary by the contents... for example, if the audio stream in the file is Dolby digital it may need special treatment.

This page covers the method(s) I use, and passes along comments and recommendations from others who use different software. There are many ways to achieve it... keep going until you find what you need.

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Some versions of Windows and Movie Maker can use the VOB files in a project without conversion or even copying from the disc.... such as my Windows Live Movie Maker on Windows 7 Ultimate. Other setups will need the VOB files converted.


Newsletter 53 - look for it here in early July

Newsletter #53 was about

ripping video files from DVDs on XP systems

Click the image to read it.

Newsletter 19

Newsletter #19 was an earlier one on the same subject.

Click the image to read it.

Newsletter 185

And newsletter #185 was about getting DVD files into Movie Maker 6 on a Vista Home Basic laptop, one so basic it doesn't have a DVD burner.


Importing video files from DVDs, SVCDs and VCDs is a common need.

DVDs - the video and audio are in MPEG-2 files (the VOB or VRO files on the disc).

SVCDs - these discs also use MPEG-2 files. The ripping/conversion is similar to that of DVDs. Look for files on the disc with names like AVSEQ01.MPG.

VCDs - use MPEG-1 files that you can import directly into Movie Maker. Copy the DAT file(s) from the MPEGAV folder on the disc to your hard drive, rename them from a DAT extension to MPG, and import them into Movie Maker.


Ripping/Converting from DVD - XP

PapaJohn Comments

I revised this page after issuing newsletter #53 of 5/14/05, which focused on the subject of ripping files from DVDs and converting the video and audio files into DV-AVI and WAV files that work well in Movie Maker.

The newsletter has the details and is online for reading. It's about ripping with an XP system.


I removed the general pointer and link to DVDRHelp and its guides... the site is great and I'll continue referencing it, but only when there's something specific to link to.

Their methods of ripping and converting are usually to create Divx encoded files which are often problems in Movie Maker... I'm looking to make DV-AVI or AVI files that work well.


Newsletter #185 was about my first attempts to get VOB files from DVDs to Movie Maker 6 on a Vista Home Basic system. The audio of the VOB files was 6 channel Dolby.

It ended up being an easy process of one big step... from VOB files on the disc to DV-AVI files on the hard drive using VirtualDub MPEG2. The process used the Panasonic DV and ffdshow codecs.

There are many tools that rip video from DVDs... I don't test them all, and don't have one that I recommend over all others... you need to see which one(s) work for you.

I'm providing info about my personal method of getting the MPEG-2 files on DVDs to video and audio files that work well in Movie Maker...

There are other methods you can use that vary by the computer system, the software in your toolbox, and your computer skills. Here's my current approach.


VirtualDub MPEG-2

A quick easy way to get from a VOB file on the DVD to a DV-AVI file that works in Movie Maker is to:

The DV-AVI file should work in Movie Maker...


Sony - miniDVD

TMPGEnc with VirtualDub...

This method is a bit more complex... use it if the simpler one above doesn't work.

I'm using an HP Pavilion notebook running a Media Center Edition of XP. My work is NTSC.... extrapolate the info if you use PAL.

1 - Select the .vob file on the DVD and copy it to the hard drive. Rename its extension from .vob to .mpg. If your disc uses .vro files instead of .vob, do the same with them.

2 - Open TMPGEnc (Plus 2.5 version), close the wizard if it pops up, and select File > MPEG Tools from the main menu. Go to the De-multiplex tab and browse to the input .mpg file.

You'll see a list of the streams in the file... in the one shown in the picture below, there's a Dolby audio stream (AC-3) and a NTSC video stream of 352x480 pixels.

TMPGEnc - De-multiplex

Double-clicking on the audio stream extracts it to a Dolby .ac3 file... double clicking the video steam extracts it to an MPEG-2 video .m2v file. If the audio stream isn't an .ac3 file, it'll be a PCM audio one that will extract to a WAV file that works in Movie Maker.

3 - Convert the .m2v file to a DV-AVI file, compressing it with the Panasonic DV codec. If the .m2v file is 720x480, do it with TMPGEnc. If the .m2v file is something other than 720x480, such as the 704x480 (or 352x480) of the Sony camcorder mini-DVDs, use VDubMod to resize it to 720x480 as you render the DV-AVI using the Panasonic DV codec.

4 - Convert the Dolby .ac3 audio file to a WAV file using BeSweet and the associated BeSweet GUI. See the Setup > Other Software page of this site for a link to download BeSweet.

For help setting up and using BeSweet, use the link above to Newsletter #53, which includes a section about it.

5 - Import and check the DV-AVI and WAV files in Movie Maker... resolve any issues you find. For example, one file I ripped from the Sony camcorder disc was 14-1/2 minutes, but it showed up in MM2 as only 29 seconds long... it happened because I hadn't resized the file to align it with the 720x480 pixel size needed by the Panasonic DV codec.


Selected Posts by others

4/21/11 - a number of reliable sources suggested FreeMake to convert .vob files from discs to .wmv files that work in Movie Maker. Feedback from those who tried it indicate it's easy and effective.

3/12/09 forum post... persisted with the use of DVD Shrink to create a new .vob file. I had to uncheck the "Split .vob files in to 1GB chuncks" in the preferences.

Seems I may originally been using a somewhat "incorrect" appraoch to extracting the .vob files from DVDs. I had been using Windows Explorer to simply browse the DVD and simply copy/paste whatever .vob files I found on the disk directly.

However, if you look at advice pages like Ripping DVD Footage , they explain that using a program like DVD Decrypter in IFO mode better shows you the correct chapters etc on the DVD.

In my case, using Explorer to view the files on the DVD showed that there were two large separate .vob files which look like two different movies. However, using DVD Decrypter/DVD Shrink it reveals that the DVD actually must consider those two files as one. Ripping the .vob file fromt he DVD using DVD Decrypter/DVD Shrink actually merged the two .vob file segments into one.

1/26/08 (Vista newsgroup)... I tried my luck with Roxio's Easy Media Creator 10 Suite. The Video Copy & Convert program converted the .vob files perfectly to .wmv files. It doesn't have the ability to convert .vro files though. Not a problem as simply changing them to .mpg files works okay.... I had no problem installing the program on Vista Premium x64.

9/29/07 (newsgroup) ... I followed the instructions from PapaJohn's newsletters and still couldn't get it to work. I bought WinMPGDVD ripper and was able to convert my old movie files to AVI and put into Movie Maker.

7/25/06 (forum) - I have a Panasonic DVD camera... it records in VRO format. Try MPEG Streamclip which will convert to DV-AVI with very good quality. (Download from http://www.squared5.com/svideo/mpeg-streamclip-win.html) It will also convert to MPEG or QuickTime.

Open the .vro files directly from the drive where your dvd cam is connected in MPEG Streamclip; Edit > Fix timecode breaks (this combines all the clips, otherwise it will only convert the first clip); then choose File > Export to AVI. You can make adjustments to the brightness and color saturation etcetera before you convert, which I find necessary. You can also trim the clip to any point to export only the portion you want to. This is the only program I have found which will convert .vro files reliably.

7/12/06 (forum) - I've had the same problem with MPEG clips created by Movie Album SE converted from .vro files from my Mini DVD camera. Add to that the fact that the quality of the MPEG clips was pretty poor. My solution: I downloaded MPEG Streamclip from http://www.squared5.com/svideo/mpeg-streamclip-win.html (which is freeware) and it converts .vro to .avi with very good quality. The resulting AVI's work dependably in Movie Maker.

6/22/06 (forum) - PJ... I was playing around last night to see what would happen. I took a VOB file, renamed it with an mpg extension, and used Windows Media Encoder 9 to encode it with one of the Pocket PC profiles. It worked without a hitch. Seems like this would sure beat all of the video and audio conversion steps that you list on your site.... I'm just wondering what kind of "gotchas" one would run into by using this method. Video and/or audio quality? > (PapaJohn) Movie Maker and the Encoder use what codecs are on your system... so that makes it a hit-or-miss situation which is too hard to prescribe for all users.... I'll go try it... it worked perfectly... I didn't even change the file extension to MPG... and used the file archive profile for a really hgh quality 4700 kbps file...

6/12/06 - ... got various "ripping" products and they all give mixed results... a better fool proof way is to play the DVD via your camcorder into the PC. You can capture any footage straight to DV-AVI.

3/27/05... I tried using AVS Convertor to convert files recorded from DVD/VCR recorder into a file format that WMM will accept (seemed to be an easier program too for a beginner). First tried it as AVI and the audio was way way out of sync with the video, and the video quality was very poor (distorted, broke up into pixels, etc). This was an hour long file that I tried. Then I went in with a 20 minute recording that I had taken from tv and converted to WMV. That appears to have gone well, looked good sounded good, synced up good. When I went back to WMV with the initial DVD, the results were the same as before though with the loss of quality....

3/25/05 - I use DVD Decrypter to rip/copy a DVD. (http://www.dvddecrypter.com/) ...and the software is free. Its fairly easy, read the interface, and pick the destination folder for your file...

11/7/04 - I have finally succeeded in my endeavour to burn a normal DVD, from the footage shot with the Sony DCR-DVD 201E, which uses a DVD mini disk. And am extremely happy with the results. They compare more than favourably with the DVDs from my last camera, a Sony TRV740E Hi8.

  • Pixela Imagemaker itself which comes bundled with the camera, offers only basic editing, and I needed to import the files into WMM2 to edit them, and here I ran into problems.
  • Tried several methods ie saving the mpg files to DVD-AVI in Imagemaker itself... but eventually decided the resulting files in some cases where there was lots of movement, were not up to the quality I was expecting.
  • Finally, in WMM2 I went to Tools/Options/Compatability and through a process of elimination, I disabled the filters, eventually leaving only the XL Decompress, AVI_PASS, only two of the Neros: Nero DVD Decoder and Nero Video Encoder but disabled the Nero Digital Audio Encoder (as this appeared to mute the sound), and left in the Pixela AC-3 Encoder and Pixela MPEG2 Video Decoder. Bingo, success at last!
  • Using Imagemaker, I imported the footage from the finalised disk in the Sony into the Imagemaker Capture folder. I then opened (successfully) imported these scenes into WMM2, edited them, added transitions etc., and saved them to my Hard Drive as DVD-AVI files. Using Nero Express S2 burned them to DVD.

    8/15/04 - Besides ripping, is there any other method of getting dvd files to function on movie maker? > You can use DVD2AVI (http://arbor.ee.ntu.edu.tw/~jackei/dvd2avi/) to indirectly edit DVD content without full conversion. It would produce a psuedo avi file for Movie Maker to work on but essentially the frames would be served from the DVD through the dvd2avi driver as required by MM. In principle, one can also work directly on the (non-encrypted) DVD disk, without even ripping, but that would be slow, I guess.

    4/19/04 - I am trying to import a a DVD that a friend made me so I can edit it. It plays fine when I insert it in my DVD drive and opens in my Interactual Player application, or Windows Media application. However, when I open up Windows Movie Maker, it does not recognize the file name as a media file. When viewing in the "view all files" option, the file extensions are IFO and VOB. - One more thing. I did copy and rename the file, but when trying to import I got the following message: The file C:\Documents and Settings\Craig Perkins\Desktop\video\VTS_01_1.mpg cannot be imported because the codec required to play the file is not installed on your computer. If you have already tried to download and install the codec, close and restart Windows Movie Maker, and then try to import the file again. What is the codec file? > The *.VOB files contain the video and audio streams. Don't worry about the *.IFO and *.BUP files. If you rename all the *.VOB files to *.MPG, I think you will find that you will only be able to import the first one, but not the other 5. Also, if the *.VOB files contain multiple audio streams, it might not work. I suggest using DVD Shrink (freeware) to generate a single VOB file, containing a single audio stream. Then you should be able to rename that to an MPG extension. Of course you may still have problems importing the MPG, as Movie Maker does not work well with most MPEG-2 decoders.

    11/22/02 - To convert a dvd to wmv I use a long process. I rip the DVD onto the hard drive, then from that use flaskmpeg to convert it to mpeg4 (high quality) - uncompressed stereo audio (I dont really care for the 5.1 when I don't have a 5.1 card). From that I use wm9 encoder to convert the file into wmv. This can be a long process...