SmartMovie

SmartMovie

SmartMovie is a video player for your mobile phone,
with a counterpart converter utility for the PC.

With the converter, you may prepare any video
clip for optimal playback on your mobile phone.


About User Manual FAQ Codec help DVD convert
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SmartMovie for Symbian
is freeware.

Download

SmartMovie for Symbian S60 2nd edition
is freeware.






SmartMovie DVD Guide


Some legal warnings first:
This article gives some insights into the task of converting DVD into format playable on your mobile phone or PDA.

Please note that this article doesn't insist you to use or illegally share DVD content that you do not own. Also, if you're resident of country which doesn't allow use your own DVD in different way than watching on original DVD equipment, you should obey your country's laws and not convert DVD's at all.

If you're legally owning a DVD movie, and want to watch it on your own mobile device, then this article will give you some practical advices how to get DVD onto mobile device with SmartMovie.



Understanding device limitations:
Before attempting to watch DVD on mobile device, you should understand that there're certain differences between your home cinema and your mobile device. The first apparent difference is screen size. While at home you may have 70cm or greater screen size, your device is usually many times smaller. Another limiting factor is processor speed, which frequency is typically beating at 100 - 400 MHz (compared to about 3000 MHz of today's usual desktop PC).

Yet another limitation is available space. While DVD is shipped on a disc that can hold about 8 GB of data, typical size of expansion memory card on a mobile device is about 256MB (512MB or 1GB are also available, but let's talk about standard user).

Taking these limitations into account, there's clear task - putting contents of a DVD movie (considering it has about 90 minutes, but may have more) into a device-friendly format, to fit into 128MB memory card, and being played fluently.



Reading contents of DVD:
Current version of SmartMovie Converter does not read DVD content directly. It's primarily used to convert AVI, MPEG and other video files stored on hard disk. With particular codecs (e.g. K-lite codec pack), the Converter is able to open and convert VOB files, but this has some disadvantages: 1) video on DVD is split into multiple VOB files, so you'd create multiple AVI files, 2) you can't select which audio language/angle/subtitles to use, and 3) if DVD is copy-protected, the Converter will not be able to read it. If you're confident with these limitations, then you may use SmartMovie Converter to convert directly VOB files from DVD.

If you want contiguous video file, and possibly need to override copy protection (note again, that you may only convert and watch your owned DVD's, and only if your government allows you to do this), then you may choose other possibility.


There're few freeware tools that allow reading contents of DVD and convert it into different format. One such tool is program named DVDx. This program allows you to convert DVD into file stored on your PC's hard disk. The reading/converting of DVD takes (depending on PC configuration) approximately as long as the movie on it (tested on Pentium4 1.6 GHz). So 90-minutes DVD may be converted in about 90 minutes.


   

    Here're steps needed for performing the conversion:

  • Open DVD volume (File -> Open DVD Root)
  • Choose Title with longest time
  • Setup input parameters - audio stream to use (language)
  • Setup output settings. You may choose to create AVI or Video CD (MPG). Important is to set Max frame to Whole, so that entire DVD will be converted.
  • Click Red button
Most DVD drives are locked for reading DVD's. This means that it is not possible to copy contents of DVD, unless program knows how to unlock the DVD-ROM drive. This may be case with DVDx - it will not be able to open DVD disc for reading. To go around this problem, run Windows Media Player, or other DVD player (e.g. PowerDVD) installed on your PC, open DVD for playback, and pause it. This way you'll have DVD drive unlocked for access, and you may use DVDx to read from disc.



Adding subtitles:
SmartMovie allows you to watch movie on your mobile device with subtitles. The subtitle format is text-based. Since subtitles on DVD are stored as bitmap graphics, it's relatively difficult to convert them to text form. If you desire to watch videos with subtitles (for example when movie is not in your mother tongue), you may search for subtitles on the Internet. You'll most probably find subtitles in text form (yes, someone might already done the work to convert DVD subtitles of favorite movie into text format). Here're several web sites where you may search for text-based movie subtitles: www.subtitles.cz, www.divxsubtitles.net, divxstation.com.

Another option is getting the subtitles from the DVD yourself. As mentioned above, the subtitles on DVD are stored as image, and there's freeware tool named SubRip, which can get (rip) the subtitles from DVD and save them as text. It uses character-recognizing method, so you may first need to "teach" it to recognize some characters, but this process is quite fast, and you may get done subtitles for entire movie in several minutes.



When you open SubRip, click File -> Open VOB(s), then click Open IFO, and locate the IFO file on DVD. Typically it is named VTS_01_0.IFO. When you open correct IFO file, you'll see list of supported languages in 'Language stream' list box. Choose desired language and click Start. Then follow conversion process. After finishing, choose File -> Save as from Subtitles window (at bottom), and save the subtitles.

Once you have subtitles in text format, launch SmartMovie Converter, and use File -> Load subtitles to load the subtitles into program. You'll see subtitles below the preview window (don't worry that they're outside the window - they're not rendered into video, and are shown only for preview).
SmartMovie can pack subtitles into converted AVI file (preferred way) during conversion process, as text data, so you don't need to worry about them after conversion - they will be embedded with video file.



Converting for mobile device:
Once you have created AVI or MPG file, use SmartMovie Converter to optimize, resize and prepare video for playback on mobile device.
Open video file, and possibly subtitles. Until you open video file, some settings (related to conversion) are grayed. Also during conversion, settings are grayed, and you may only stop conversion, or exit Converter during conversion.



Now it is important to choose proper conversion settings. Recommended settings are set after you select your mobile device type. Here're some recommendations related to optimal configuration:

    Video:
  • You may use any available codec (adjustable by Configure button in Video settings area), but XviD encoder is easiest to use, and when you use it, you may also see proposed size of converted file in Conversion part of window.
  • Setup optimal video bitrate - this much depends on screen size of target device, and desired quality. Bitrates around 320kbps are sufficient for watching on small screen devices.
  • Some conversion codecs do not allow setting requested bitrate in Video settings area; rather you shall press Configure button, then Options, and you'll get special settings dialog for particular codec, where you may set up parameters.


    Audio:
  • Unless you plan using headset (and your phone/PDA supports stereo), choose Force mono option in Audio settings. This will result in better playback performance, since only once audio channel will be processed.
  • Optimal frequency is 22050 Hz.
  • Regarding audio bitrate, the less the better when it comes to performance and lower files size. At 24kbps, audio is sufficiently understood, you may also use up to 64kbps. Setting extremes (e.g. 128kbps) may lead to poor playback performance on device, while quality won't be any better.



Transfer to device:
Final step is to get converted video into the device.
Typically you'll want to have it on expansion memory card (internal device memory is limited). To put it there, use standard way for transferring files, which depends on device that you use:
    Symbian phone:
  • Connect phone in USB file transfer mode, and copy video files to memory card, which appears as another hard disk on PC.
  • PC Suite (be sure that this program doesn't convert file to some other format during transferring)

    Windows Mobile:
  • ActiveSync

    For all devices:
  • Use external card writer



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