Making DVDs from JVC Everio MOD files using Ubuntu, WinFF, Avidemux, and DeVeDe


I purchased the JVC Everio hard disk camcorder with the intention of quickly copying the movie files from it and burning them to a DVD. Since I use Ubuntu and since the camera automatically detected as a USB hard drive, I did not install the supplied software, opting for open source applications instead.

The JVC Everio is a nice little video camera which has good video quality and a deep digital zoom. The camera records the video to an internal hard drive offering up to 70 hours of recording, or about 7 at high quality (60GB model). This is interesting because the battery only lasts for 1 hour 20 minutes, but that’s easy to work with.

The camera stores individual videos whenever the record button is pressed to record and then pressed again to stop. The next video file is created when the record button is pressed again. The files are stored in MOD format with MPEG-2 PS compression and Dolby Digital 2 channel audio.

After connecting the camera to the computer with a USB cord, the MOD files must be copied off the camera. After copying the files from the camera you can disconnect it and erase the files (or erase them after everything is finished).

Using WinFF (in Synaptic install WinFF , linux-restricted-modules and ubuntu-restricted-extras for MPEG -2 compatibility) press the Add button to select the MOD files you want to convert to MPG. In the Ouput Details section select “DVD”, or whatever works for you, then select NTSC DVD HQ (16:9) for the Device Preset. This will produce a file that is nearly 100% of the original quality. Choose an output folder that’s different from the folder where you MOD files are located (this can be a subfolder).

For the additional options section, you only need to modify the Video Settings tab. Modify your video size to 720×480 so that your TV can display it properly (you can also choose 1920×1080 if you have the HD version). Set your aspect ratio at 16:9, unless you’ve set your camera to 4:3 using the camera menu system.

Check 2 pass for better quality images during fast motion sequences (this slows down conversion but improves overall quality). Also check Deinterlace to make the video appear normal. You can deinterlace the video now or by using DeVeDe later.

Once these files have been converted to MPG files and placed in your new directory you can remove the MOD files from your computer. Alternatively, keep them for a while until you complete the process.

Your converted folder will now list the movies as MOV001.mpg though MOVFFF.mpg. In order to quickly import these files to Avidemux so it can join them together, they must be in numerical order using the decimal system, not hexadecimal notation.

The following script will rename all files in the folder that start with MOV and end with the .mpg extension. This will rename the files to the decimal equivalent so that they can be easily imported to Avidemux. Make sure that this script is contained within the converted video folder.

#!/bin/bash

for file in `ls *.mpg`
do
    number=${file#*V}    #last 3 should be "000-fff"
    number=${number%.*}
    number=`echo "ibase=16;obase=A;${number}" | bc`
    echo "Converting ${file} to MOV${number}.mpg"
    mv -f ${file} "MOV${number}.mpg"
done

#for renumbering the new files for easy
#avidemux processing
#the following numbers the files 1-n
#pardon the weird coding method, it's a hack job
currNum=1
for file in `ls -v *.mpg`
do     
    tempNum=$currNum
    if [ "$tempNum" -lt 10 ]; then
        tempNum=`echo 000${tempNum}`
    elif [ "$tempNum" -lt 100 ];	then
        tempNum=`echo 00${tempNum}`
    elif [ "$tempNum" -lt 1000 ];	then
        tempNum=`echo 0${tempNum}`
    fi
    echo "Converting ${file} to MOV_${tempNum}.mpg"    
    mv -f ${file} "MOV_${tempNum}.mpg"
    currNum=`echo $((currNum+1))`
done

Again, make sure this script is in the converted video folder. You can execute it by typing:

~/Videos/Video Camera/Converted$ sh EverioNamesHexToDec.sh

Now that the files are in numerical order using the decimal system, you can import them into Avidemux.

Open Avidemux and click the Open button. Select the first file in your series (probably called MOV1.mpg now). A popup will ask you if you would like to index it. Press Yes for indexing. A new dialog will ask you to import the other files. Press Yes to import all files.

Using Avidemux you can add some special effects and perform some video surgery, but I just want to export the merged video to a new MPEG file. If you really want to tweak the video compression then you can play around with the Video, Audio, and Format settings in the left-hand column. I chose to set the Video and Audio to Copy and AVI for the format. To save the video press File > Save > Save Video (Ctrl-s). Type in a filename, like “MyVideo.mpg” and press save.

Now that you have the final version of the merged MPEG you can write it to a disk. In order to do this you can use DeVeDe. When you open DeVeDe select the “Video DVD” option. This brings up a disk structure window. The following pictures illustrate how I would make my DVD file.

Press the Add button on the Structure window.

Select your video file and expand the Advanced options menu. Click the Video format tab and choose 16:9 for the correct aspect ratio.

In the Video options tab select “Scale picture” to eliminate the black lines. This will allow HDTVs to show the video at full screen. This step is kind of optional since you’ve already selected the 16:9 aspect ratio, but it’s better to be safe.

In the Audio tab select the “Create DVD with 5.1 channel sound” option. This will give your 2.1 dolby digital video the effect of having 5.1 channels. You can play around with this, but it seems to make the audio clear on TVs with and without sound systems.

Press OK to save your options and return to the structure window.

In your Titles section you can rename the title of the video. This title will be displayed if you choose to show the DVD menu. If you don’t want the DVD menu to display then click the “Menu options” button and select the “Jump to the first title at startup” option.

In the Advanced options for the disc structure window, select “Create an ISO or BIN/CUE image, ready to burn to a disc”. Then click the Forward button. A new folder will be created with the name you choose in the next window. This is where some temporary files will be made and finally the ISO file to write to the disk.

When the ISO file is created and DeVeDe is finished you can right-click on the ISO and select the Write to disk option.