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I'm trying to create a DVD from a video file. While I've done this in the past and had a method that usually works, it has been a few years. This is my process:

  1. I have ripped an old VHS tape with a video capture device that has generated an MP4 file. This original file plays perfectly in VLC.
  2. I use ffmpeg to convert to VOB:

ffmpeg -i input.mp4 -target pal-dvd -qscale:v 3 output.vob"

The resulting file also plays perfectly in VLC.

  1. Next, I set an environment variable to specify the format to be used for dvdauthor:

export VIDEO_FORMAT="PAL"

  1. Then I create an XML file that describes the DVD for dvdauthor:
<dvdauthor>
    <vmgm />
    <titleset>
        <titles>
            <video format="pal" aspect="4:3" />
            <pgc>
                <vob file="output.vob" />
           </pgc>
        </titles>
    </titleset>
</dvdauthor>
  1. Next, I use dvdauthor to generate the DVD file structure:
dvdauthor -o output -x info.xml

If I point VLC to play this structure, it works perfectly.

  1. I burn the resulting folders to disk.

For some videos, it seems I can play the DVD on an actual DVD player without any issues

However, for some videos, the DVD starts not at 00:00:00, but further along. One some DVD players I can rewind, on others I cannot. If I use dvdauthor to put multiple files on the disk, the chapters (by default at the beginning of each file) are also not placed correctly.

In such a case, if I create an ISO file instead of an actual DVD, I can also reproduce the issue in VLC when trying to play the ISO file.

My best guess is that the original source video is corrupted in some subtle way, probably something timestamp or framerate related, and needs to be sanitized first in some way. I tried some extra conversions and remuxing, but that doesn't really seem to help.

Does anyone have an idea what is going on here?

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I've resorted to using mkisofs to create the ISO image, and this seems to fix the problem. Creating the ISO in another way (e.g. on a Mac with hdiutil, or directly burning it to disc with Finder) creates malfunctioning DVDs. Apparently there are some restrictions on the ISO format for DVDs. If these are not respected, the DVDs have incorrect chapters and might even start in the middle of the video. These restrictions are best explained in mkisofs' man page:

-dvd-video Generate DVD-Video compliant UDF file system. This is done by sorting the order of the content of the appropriate files and by adding padding between the files if needed. Note that the sorting only works if the DVD-Video filenames include upper case characters only.

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