[vdr] how to convert vdr to divx?

Craig Sanders cas at taz.net.au
Wed Mar 23 05:34:58 CET 2005

ok, i give up. i've been trying for days to figure out how to reliably
convert vdr recordings to divx to save space (approx 300-400MB/hour vs
approx 2GB/hr) . the best i've managed is that *some* recordings can be
converted, but some won't. i have no idea why some work and some don't -
as far as i can tell, it seems to be random (but i know it can't be).

the other thing i can't figure out is how to get mencoder to process
multiple input files - e.g. 001.vdr 002.vdr 003.vdr etc, for when the
recording is >2GB. i didn't realise at first that mencoder ignored any
input files past the first (i only found out when i noticed that a
converted show finished halfway through...fortunately, i hadn't deleted
the VDR recording yet). even if i try feeding it on stdin, it complains
about "Cannot seek backward in linear streams!"

i guess i have to do it in two stages.  first convert multiple files to
a single file, and then convert that to divx.  but how?

this is what i have so far:

---cut here---
#! /bin/bash

# vdr2dix.sh [dir]
# e.g. vdr2divx.sh /video/FooBar/2005-03-
# will convert to divx & save as /video/DIVX/FooBar.2005.03.22.avi


program=$(echo $IN | sed -e 's=/video/==' -e 's=/.*==')
date=$(echo $IN | sed -e 's=.*\([0-9][0-9][0-9][0-9]-[0-9][0-9]-[0-9][0-9]\).*=\1=')


echo $IN "===>" $OUT

ARGS="-oac mp3lame -ovc lavc"

echo mencoder $ARGS -o $OUT $IN/[0-9]*.vdr
mencoder $ARGS -o $OUT $IN/[0-9]*.vdr
---cut here---

so, what's the secret?  what do i have to do to convert vdr recordings
to divx (or any other format)?

i've searched google dozens of times and seen various partial
"solutions" posted to various places, but none of them seem to work
either, or they've been abandoned, or they're ancient and don't work
with current versions of software, and (worst of all) many of them
seem to depend on some windows program or other to do part of the job.
i don't want to run any windows crap, even with wine. i don't want to
run java stuff either. and i don't want to run a GUI to do it - i want
simple command line tools that i can use in a script.


1. what *linux-native* tools do i need to do the job?

i have pretty nearly every video codec, library, player, and editing
tool available for debian (sid) already installed. i can compile and
install anything else i need, if only i knew what i needed.

2. what command-line options do i give to mencoder (and/or any other

3. if there's an English language FAQ or a HOWTO, please point me at it.

this must be a FAQ by now, but if anybody knows it doesn't look like
they're telling (or if they are, it's in German which i can't read).

i've run out of clues.....any help would be appreciated.


ps: i've looked at projectx. by messing about with the incredibly clumsy
GUI for ages, i can get it to convert multiple 0*.vdr files into one
stream file for conversion with mencoder. i can't get it to do the
same thing from the command line, which makes it absolutely useless
for scripting purposes. i don't like java apps anyway. they're way too
fragile. they have a tendency to break without warning just because you
upgrade some unrelated library, and i really dislike having to "fix" the
same thing over and over again every month or two.

craig sanders <cas at taz.net.au>           (part time cyborg)

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