Using Video Game Footage - Part 2
I have tested the extraction technique on three Sega Saturn games: Shoujo Kakumei Utena, Magic Knight
Rayearth, and Sailor Moon SuperS (a fighting game). The only issue I have had was with the Utena game,
where I could not decode the audio… but since this is for music videos, it was not really a problem. I do not
know how and have not tested any Sega DreamCast titles. All of the DreamCast games I own do not use
full motion video cut scenes, instead rendering them real time.
The Sega Saturn was very popular in Japan and I have found that Sega was, and still is, a sponsor for a large amount of anime series. And if you can find a Sega Saturn game to go with your favorite anime, it will normally have cut scenes that were never in the series. (This is from personal experience)
Sega Saturn games can be read in most CD-ROMs. Somewhere on the disc is a series of video files. Most of the time they have .CPK as the file extension. Those are the source files that we will convert to AVI files. It may take some exploring or deductive reasoning to figure out where they are. But that is half the fun. Copy all of the video source files to a directory on your computer.
Sega did not include a hardware based CODEC with the Saturn, so most companies used Cinepak. The
Saturn's main processor is able to play and decode Cinepak, since it requires a low CPU overhead on
playback, thought its quality suffers. I have heard of only two Sega Saturn games did not use Cinepak.
Also, since the video playback is totally software driven, the specs of the files tend to vary from game to
game. Within the Utena game alone there is a wide range of frame rates and resolutions among the various
clips (nine different variations). For audio, there was even more variance among the games. A majority of
games used PCM, but plenty of them used some other CODEC, most of whom I have not heard of.
From a command line convert each CPK (source) file into an AVI file using CPK2AVI. If you can’t, convert the source file to a series of bitmaps and then use a tool like Premiere or VirtualDub to convert those sequences to AVI files. I have only tested the process on those three games but it has worked on each one without having to convert to a bitmap. If you use bitmaps, use Huffyuv or some other lossless CODEC as the destination AVI. There should be a few web sites on the Internet to aid you if it does not work with your game. CPK2AVI comes with a text file briefly outlining its use. If you do not know how to run a command line, I suggest getting help from your friendly neighborhood computer geek.
When the CPK file gets converted directly to an AVI, it will have Cinepak as its CODEC. This is what the
original CPK file used, so we did not go through a compression step, it did a simple stream copy. One
interesting side effect is that the CODEC used on the Saturn is older than the one that has shipped with
every copy of Windows since Win95a. If you have anything newer than that, the video files will look all
screwy when played back. I have a copy of the 1.8 Cinepak driver (from a Windows95 original installation)
that I found on right step. To use it, place it in the
After all that you should have a series of fully functioning AVI files that you will use as “original” files in the next step.