Using DVDs for audio

OK, this guide is probably a *little* bit beyond the scope of most amv makers so I'm going to keep it short. Basically I will only tell you how to extract Dolby Digital (AC3) sound. I can point you towards a program that can do DTS but I think it's beyond the call of duty to do a DTS guide as well. If there is call for it then I will in the future, though...

Right, for this you will need the following programs:

Smartripper (or any DVD ripping program but smartripper is my fave)
dvd2avi 1.76
Besweet (1.2 or later)
Besweet GUI (0.6 or later)

Ripping the Audio from the DVD

Go and read the dvd ripping part of ErMaC's guide here and when you get the the section on dvd2avi come back. One thing I will note is that you will probably only want to extract one chapter. My favourite dvd ripping tool for this sort of thing is Smartripper but any will do.

Now open up dvd2avi and choose the Audio ->Track Number that you want to extract.

Then go into Audio -> Dolby Digital and choose Demux [important ^_^]

Now, choose File and Save Project and you will create a dvd2avi project file (.d2v) and an .ac3 audio file (AC3 is the storage and compression medium for Dolby Digital on DVDs). You will also discover the reason why I used dvd2avi to extract the ac3 - the file name is labeled with some very useful information. The file I extracted was "redux AC3 T01 3_2ch 448Kbps DELAY 0ms.ac3"

The information in this filename is useful and will be used later so don't go changing it ^_^

[for those interested this was the first chapter from Apocalypse Now Redux which could potentially make a cool amv ^^... Apocalypse Pooh Redux anyone?]

Converting to Wav:

Basic Setup Options

Now, extract BeSweet and the BeSweet GUI (Graphic User Interface) into the same directory and run the besweet gui.

It should look a little something like this:

BeSweet GUI main panel

You wont have any locations put in yet, so lets do that now. First, click the folder next to "Besweet.exe" in the top left corner and point to the besweet.exe file that you have - don't point it to the GUI again - make sure it's the normal besweet.exe command line executable.

Next click the folder next to Input and load in your ac3 file. Be sure to select ".ac3" in the drop down menu in the top right hand corner so you can see the .ac3 file.

Finally go back to the main page and make sure you've chosen "wav stereo" from the yellow Output box and then choose a location for your output .wav file the same way as you have for the last two. (N.B. you need to type something in for it to register so pick a nice name ^^;;)

Advanced options

OK, now we are going to go into some of these oddly named program options that you can see on the right and choose some settings. The subprogram we will be accessing is called Azid and is integrated into besweet so all we are doing is setting up options in "Azid 1" etc. then actually doing the conversion in Besweet.

Click Azid 1

Azid Panel... Ignore the stuff in the input boxes ^_^

Go to Output modes and the Decode (Front/Rear) box. Now, look at the ac3 file that dvd2avi made. Mine was "redux AC3 T01 3_2ch 448Kbps DELAY 0ms.ac3" and the important bit here is the 3_2ch as this tells me what kind of encoding the Dolby Digital is in - take that number and choose it in the drop-down menu.

Also, make sure that 'find automatic gain' is selected on the right hand side. DVD audio is often very quiet by default so you will want to add some gain and this will work out the max gain you can get.

Also, you may want to have a little think about downmixing. For instance, if you think that there are explosions and other bass noises that might be overpowering on a normal PC, select LFE to LR channels and choose a dB value such as -3.

Transcoding the WAV

Click BeSweet

Now you are back to the main section. The options that should be selected are:

Use AC3 Decoder
Output - Wave-stereo

If you want, you can click SSRC and have your audio be cd compliant and downconvert it to 44.1kHz… but that would be losing quality and hence silly ^_^ but there are some people with older soundcards that cannot play 48kHz sound so you might want to take them into consideration (and lose your extra quality ;_;)

Right, that should be all… when you are confident that everything is set up correctly click AC3 to WAV. A command-style window will popup and tell you what is going on:

First it finds the Max Gain:

Max Gain Detection

Then it transcodes the audio:

WAV Transcoding

Once that is done you will have a WAV ready for putting in your video.

[N.B. If the window flashes up momentarily and finishes in an instant, something has gone wrong. Check your settings and check the Log file output box to create a log file that will tell you what is going wrong when you are trying to encode.]

AbsoluteDestiny - September 2002