Previously at my Saturday Morning Cartoon Parties I have a TV and a pile of VHS tapes and DVDs. Early on in the 12 year history of the SMCP there were mostly VHS and very few DVDs. The great thing about the VHS is you queue that sucker up and then you put it in to the player and it starts exactly where you want to – no poppy screens with flashy graphics and virtual journeys to get to a menu where you can finally click a button; no FBI warnings with no option to fast forward. Sure they had their drawbacks but for the Saturday Morning Cartoon Parties they were great time-savers.
Now for the SMCP at the Rio Theater I need to put all of the cartoons, including commercials and School House Rocks shorts on one or two DVDs and it is killing the chance of getting any other kind of work done this weekend.
I’ve learned that before you can make your own custom DVD, you need to “decrypt” a DVD – that requires a computer program, I’m using something called, appropriately ‘DVD Decrypter.’ But when you do that you don’t get the individual “episodes” you get the entire DVD in one lump ISO file. So you need another program to convert the ISO file into chunks that you can use. I’m using a program called ‘AutoGK’ but I’ve been having problems with some of the DVDs – some of the ISO files are divided in mid-episode so I need two separate ISO files for one episode of a given cartoon. Then you need another program to convert those files to mpeg-2 files (as is my understanding). Then you need another program to patch all the bits into one single production, and for that I’m using Nero. It’s a big learning curve and I feel I’ve only scratched the surface of things to frustrate me, and so far I’ve spent more time being frustrated than not. I really have no idea if this is going to work or if we’re going to have to readjust the budget to get this professionally done, because it is kicking my ass, I’ve already downloaded three programs that I don’t know how to use and with all the other things I have going on that I’ve already pushed back and/or cancelled, I really don’t have all weekend to plow through online forums and assbackwards manuals that overuse “LOL” (and frankly any use of LOL is an overuse).