Posted on Thursday 26 June 2008

So I came across this Bin/Cue video archive recently that generated a very nice little VCD, or Video CD (a video that plays on a CD instead of a DVD ) which is all well and good ( if you like to have one movie per disk. ) But I have decided to try and keep all my converted video’s in AVI format because I can put up to five or six movies on one DVD and I have a DVD player that can play them (look for DIVX compatible DVD players if you are looking to do the same thing. )

Why you ask? Well, picture 6 VHS tapes standing side by side on your shelf, now picture one DVD case replacing them… I don’t know about you, but to me it’s a “no brainer”…

Well, as I was saying… one of the archives that I received for replacing one of my VHS movies came in what is called a BIN ( or more accurately BIN/CUE ) format. All one can do with this file is (if you have Nero disk burning software is ) open the CUE file and it then creates a VCD ( using a CD instead of a DVD ) video disk.

You’ve already read about why I prefer AVI formatted video’s, so my challenge was to find something that would convert the BIN to AVI or failing that some other format that I could then use my current tools on, and convert that file to AVI. It was a tougher challenge than I thought (especially, if you recall my stated preference for freeware – or freely given software. )

There certainly wasn’t a lot of free stuff out there, which would do a direct conversion for me – actually I found NONE! Sure I found lots of sites that “claimed” to have just what I needed, but in reality only offered free downloads of Commercial software – which wasn’t what I wanted…

I was about to call it a night and sign off when (after checking on just one more link… of course ) stumbled across a little utility that claimed it could convert that dreaded BIN format to MPG or MPEG. MPEG is without a doubt probably THE most standard format out there, and I had tons of tools that allowed me to convert MPG to AVI. So…. I downloaded the program and got it installed… It’s name is in the title VCDGear

Here is the developers own words on their product…

What is VCDGear?

VCDGear is a tool written to effortlessly extract MPEG streams from
CD images, convert VideoCD files to MPEG, correct MPEG errors, create
(Super)VideoCDs and more!.

The first public release was back in late 1997 and ever since then,
VCDGear has continued to grow in complexity, offering a multitude of
features to make this a very powerful tool for VideoCD enthusiasts.
VCDGear is the result of over 6 years of work.

Some of the features you will find in VCDGear are:

  • MPEG stream extractions from popular CD images
  • On the fly MPEG correction to fix certain types of MPEG errors
  • Super VideoCD and VideoCD image creation
  • Sample generation
  • Multilanguage support
  • Graphical interface and command-line versions available
  • Cross platform
  • Free! (donations are accepted!)

Anyone requiring the need to transport their video materials will find VCDGear as a useful tool to assist them in getting the video to play on their computer or VideoCD player.

The actual program itself doesn’t really install, just unzip the downloaded archive and you can run right out of the folder you put it in. Now while I admit that it would have been nice if it had saved me a few steps by at least putting the program within my menu structure but I am really impressed that the program is self contained within the folder itself and doesn’t spread pieces throughout your entire Windows system ( oh how I wish that many, many other developers had done the same! )

So VCDGear works as simply and as easily as it is to install. Once you open the program, you just use its built-in browser to find the file you wish to convert.  Just select the action that you wish to do…

In my case clicking on the vcdgear button on the top row; then then the extraction/conversion option (BIN/Cue in this case. ) You can click the load button near the bottom which will give you a browser utility to find the BIN file that you saved earlier and finally click the Start button. The conversion process itself is very, very quick. Once the file is converted ( leaving the original untouched – which is what all converters should do ) you can then use whatever tool or converter you want on the resulting MPG file!

There are several other tools and options that you can play with (assuming one knows what they are doing.) Documentation is available via a button on the top right hand corner, but be advised… You need a web browser as it is written in HTML code (you could probably also import it into your favorite word processor if you wish.)

The program is quick, clean and very, very handy for challenges like this. I may not use it often, but I am keeping it in my arsenal of video tools. If you are looking for a great little BIN/CUE or VCD converter this is it!

So now I’m off to move  it within my Program Files folder, and put in a link into Video Tools menu. I’m not sure when I may need to use it again, but I want to make sure I can find it quickly!

Till next time…

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