Video: mpv m2v
Audio: mpa mp2 mp3 m2a
*** for conversion methods, scroll down to bottom of page ***
*** if you run across a file extension that you do not know, see
There are so many MPEG file types, particularly with the various elemental
stream files. For example, if you go to export a file in Adobe Premiere
using the included MPEG Encoder by Main Concept, the dialog box give you the
following options for the the MPEG filename extension:
MPG MPEG M1P M2P
VOB M1V M2V MP1 MP2
Here we will ignore the rare extensions such as M1P, M2P, M1V,
M2V, MP1, MP2, and ABS.
Instead we will discuss the more common file types.
- DVD Lab demuxes files into elemental streams mpv (video) and mpa
video (TMPGenc Plus - when you select ES(Video
only) for output and use MPEG-1 as input, you will get an m1v file)
video - created by TmpgEnc main window
mp2 mpeg audio layer
layer 2 Audio
NOTE: for mpa files, the audio layer is not specified, so
some sources say it can be audio layer 1,2, or 3 - however, in
all cases I have seen it is layer 2 audio).
mp3 mpeg-1, audio layer
Renaming Elemental Stream Files
the MPEG Video Files:
MPV (MPeg-1 Video)
M1V (Mpeg-1 Video)
M2V (MPEG-2 Video)
the Mpeg audio layer 2 Audio Files
Surprisingly, these files are all the same. If you don't believe it,
try rename one file type to the other two, and play all three in WMplayer - you
should have no problems doing that. Here are some audio elemental test
files if you need them - each file plays the same sound (a short whizzing
Download: Elemental Audio test files
(aac, ac3, au, m2a, mp2, mp3, mp4, mpa, ra, rm, wav, wma, m4a)
In fact, some apps, such as the TyTools for TIVO - even let you pick what you
want the exported elemental streams to be "named" (see
Different software vendors began using different extensions for their
elemental streams. Since at that time - they thought no one else would be
using their elemental streams, and in some cases they wanted to put their own
stamp on the file type - they did not always use the same extension. There
were actually numerous extensions, but the ones that stuck, were those used by
the most popular companies (Adobe's "mpa", TMPGenc's "mp2", Apple's
DVD and MPEG utilities work with either program streams (same as "system"
streams) or elemental streams.
A System Stream is actually two elemental streams interleaved together.
For example, an mpg file has a video stream and an audio stream.
Although all clips that have both video and audio make use of combined video
and audio data . . . when we talk about elemental and
system streams . . . we are talking MPEG. The MPEG
standards is where all this comes from. AVI files have both video and
audio streams, as evidenced in Adobe Premiere (when you drag a clip to the
timeline it is broken into two segments . . . video and audio. However,
you rarely work with separate video and audio files to create AVI's.
DVD's use elemental streams. If you have a DVD Authoring program that
accepts MPEG-2 as a system stream (many do NOT), then you can be sure that in
the background it is breaking the mpg up into two elemental streams.
System Stream <-----> Elemental Streams
To convert from system to elemental streams - you de-multiplex the
single file containing the single system stream (video and audio streams that
are interlaced together into a single stream) into two separate streams in two
files (one video and one audio).
To convert elemental streams to a system stream - you multiplex two
elemental streams together to form one stream of interlaced video and audio
The Elemental Stream File Types
Common Video Elemental Stream files - mpv (MPEG-1 Video) or m2v
Common Audio Elemental Stream files - AC3, mp2, mpa, wav, and LPCM (pcm
NOTE: surprisingly, the most popular audio file . . . MP3's
. . . are not used by most DVD Authoring packages
MP2 (MPEG-1 audio Layer 2) vs MPA (MPEG Audio
- Layer I, II, or III)
These are very similar files. But are different formats, and utilities always seem to
support one or the other - not both. DVD Lab will import
either and can use either as the audio stream for any movie on the
- MP2 is a standalone audio file, that can also be muxed together
with video to make an MPG file.
- MPA is always an elementary stream and is never used as a
standalone audio file. This is why Premiere works well with mpa -
because it works with elemental streams. This is also why IMtoo does
not work with MPA files - it specializes in standalone audio and video
NOTE: quite a few utilities will actually allow you to
change the extension mp2 to mpa and will work fine that way !! In
general there should be no need to do this - but I include it here because
it has been mentioned so many times in other discussions.
MP2 (MPEG-1 Layer 2 Audio) vs MP3
(MPEG-1 Layer 3 Audio)
MP2 is usually 196 or 224 kbps at 48
kHz sampling. MP3 is usually 128 to 256 kbps at 44.1 kHz
sampling. MP3 has better compression and allows for "joint
Windows Media Player
Windows Media Player, available from Microsoft is required to
view the following video formats:
- Windows Media audio and video files .asf, .asx,
.wax, .wm, .wma, .wmd, .wmp, .wmv, .wmx, .wpl, and .wvx
- Windows audio and video files .avi and .wav
- Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) .mpeg,
.mpg, .m1v, .mp2, .mpa, .mpe, .mp2v*, and .mpv2
- Macromedia Flash .swf
QuickTime supports the following video formats:
- QuickTime Movies .mov, .qt
- SMIL 1.0 .smi, .sml, .smil
- Video for Windows .avi, .vfw
- MPEG media .mpeg, .mpg, .m1s, .m1v, .m1a,
.m75, .m15, .mp2, .mpm, .mpv, .mpa
- MPEG-4 .mp4, .mpg4
- Video (protected) .m4v
- PICT .pict, .pic, .pct
- Flash swf
*** Real Player also supports a lot of these formats
How to Create Elemental Stream Files
(by converting existing audio
clips into elemental streams)
There are many conversion utilities - so use whatever works for you.
Here I have listed the utilities that I use, personally, and can vouch for:
AC3, MP2, WAV - use IMtoo, which has resets profiles for each of these
formats. In addition, you can edit the paraeters of the profile, and save
it to a new name. You can also use IMtoo to open these files and convert
them to other
MPA - creating MPA files is not easy because very few utilities
support conversion to mpa. The only utility I am aware of is DVD Lab.
You can create mpa files with DVD Lab in one of two ways:
in the Video and Audio Library on the bottom, right-click, select "Import . .
select an mpg file, and then DVD Lab Pro will demux it on the fly . . . creating
both an mpv video file and an mpa audio file. The two new files will be
stored in the same folder along with the original mpg file
in DVD Lab Pro, select Tolls/Transcode Audio . . .
a box will pop up with several options. To create an mpa file, you must
have you original audio
You can use Adobe Premiere to import mpa but not
export to mpa (the Main Concept MPEG encoder can only create
system streams, "mpg" only). Even the old workhorse, TMPGenc Plus, cannot save
to mpa format. It does have a built-in utility called "MPEG Tools"
mux an mpa together with a video stream into an mpg system stream .
. . but it cannot create mpa files.
But don't worry - you will probably never need to create an mpa file.
And if you do need one (for a DVD Lab project, for example) the utilities that
require mpa files come with their own demux routines or a transcode routine to
create the mpa file for you.
- NOTE: Premiere cannot import or
export mp2 or mp3.
MP2 - use IMtoo or TMPGenc. Both utilities can open mp2 files
and they can export to mp2.
- NOTE1: neither utility can can open or export to mpa,
although TMPGenc Plus has a built-in utility called "MPEG Tools"
import and multiplex mpa audio streams with a video stream to get an
mpg system stream.
Peer-2-Peer Movies on VCD - creating DVD's from them
These are very popular - you can get just about anything using "Bit
Torrents". However, the files are notorious for audio lag due to GOP and
PTS errors. This is easily fixed:. The easiest way to create a DVD
from a Per-2-Peer MPEG-1 movie file is:
- run Womble's Tool, "GOP Fixer" and use the bottom selection that fixes
everything (if you do not have Womble then use another GOP and PTS fixer
- use TMPGenc DVD Author, import the MPEG-1, and select "No Menu"
- create and burn the DVD (takes a long time) - DONE !!
- run Womble's Tool, "GOP Fixer" and use the bottom selection that fixes
everything (if you do not have Womble then use another GOP and PTS fixer
- import the mpg into DVD Lab - it will demux the video to an "mpv" file -
you can either:
- throw away the demuxed audio mpa file because it will be 44.1 kHz (DVD
Lab will ask you if you want to transcode it to 48 kHz mp2 file), and
instead extract and convert the 44.1 audio stream from the mpg file to a 48
kHz, 224 kbps MP2 file using TMPGenc. Make sure to goto
Options/Environmental Settings and set it toHigh Speed (not the default,
which is High quality). You can use faster utilities to get a wav file
extracted and converted bu DVD Lab is VERY slow at muxing a wav file with
it's mpv video stream
- import the mp2 into DVD Lab
- drag the mpv and mp2 files into the "movie", and then draw a connaction
line from "First Play" to the movie
- compile the project - DONE !!
*** for mp2, mpa, m2a audio files you should be able to simply rename the
extension to convert. However, if you are not 100% sure or do not trust
that method, or if you are getting errors after renaming the files - then here
are the methods for actual conversion using software
*** Premiere will open audio elemental files (mpa) but not video elemental
files. So, to get video into Premiere you must first convert it to a
system stream (avi, mpg, or wmv).
44.1 kHz to 48 kHz Sampling rate conversion
Problem with HUGE Audio Files > 2 GB
audio files for DVD's are usually huge -
especially WAV files. Applications and even players have
trouble with wav files that exceed 2000 MB in size - for
example, if you try to play a 3-hour wav file using WMplayer,
that you are intending to use for the audio of a DVD, and it is
2,200,000 bytes (2 MB) . . . WMplayer will
give you an error that
"the buffer is not big enough" - the fix is at
(DL the DirectX
9 and install - requires WinXP SP2)
Uncompressed PCM wav file bit-rates are fixed !!! Codecs such as
pcm_16le, pcm_alaw and pcm_mulaw are uncompressed codecs - they
use pulse code modulation which does encode the audio but does
not compress it. This is unlike sliding-scale compression
codecs such as MP2 and MP3.
44.1 kHz sampled Stereo uncompressed (MS PCM or Windows PCM) WAV
files are always 1411 kbps
48 kHz sampled Stereo uncompressed (MS PCM or
Windows PCM) WAV files are always 1536 kbps
Windows PCM Codec: IMtoo calls standard the MS Windows
PCM codec "pcm_s16le". It is a 16-bit pulse code
modulation method (samples the audio, holds the samples, and
quantizes them into 16-bit values). Music can be carried
in a 48000 kHz band (actually the ears can only hear frequencies
of about 15 to 20 kHz max, so this is overkill - which is why
sample rates of 22 kHz or even 16 kHz are fine). Nyqist
theorem states that you must sample at twice the highest
frequency, which is 96000 samples per sec, encoded into 8-bits
which is a "word" of 256 possible states). 16 bits x 96000
samples/sec = 1536 kbps
8-bit uLaw and Alaw Codecs: audio utilities
usually also have the public telephone system codecs. The
U.S. uses ulaw (pronounced "mulaw") and Europe uses Alaw.
Both are 8-bit PCM codecs and the data rate is 64 kbps (voice
can be carried in a 4000 kHz band. Nyqist theorem states
that you must sample at twice the highest frequency, which is
8000 samples per sec, encoded into 8-bits which is a "word" of
256 possible states). 8 bits x 8000 samples/sec = 64 kbps
NOTE: WMplaye will not be able to play ulaw or Alaw
wav files unless you load a special codec
ADPCM Codecs - these are 4-bit highly compressed PCM
codecs. DO NOT USE IMtoo, as it's codec is not recognized
by WMplayer (Cool Edit's ADPCM codec is). If you use a wav
codec with compression such as ADPCM-MS or ADPCM-IMA, then
obviously there is compression - but that rate of compression is
also fixed for a specific file. If the sound is very
simple (such as a tone) then the file size will be smaller.
However, there still is no way to specify a bit-rate !!!
IMtoo allows you to specify a bit-rate for WAV files - but it
will not work if the WAV file is uncompressed PCM.
When creating a DVD from VCD MPEG-1 files, the standard sampling is 44.1 kHz.
However, DVD's require 48 kHz (and DVD-Lab insists on 48 kHz). You can
create an elemental stream as a WAV or MP2:
- DVD Lab will transcode the audio for you - but it is painfully
- TMPGenc Plus - takes forever !!! BUT you can speed it up
dramatically by going to Options/Environmental Settings and changing it from
High Quality (Slow) to High speed !!
- CoolEdit - extremely SLOW !!
- IMtoo - very FAST conversion !! But not sure if the codec
used, "pcm_s16le" is "standard Windows PCM" - the time duration when
imported into DVD Lab said: -3:-5:-15 (strange !!) -
CoolEdit says the file duration is 3:07:33:963
M2V elemental stream to "video only" system streams AVI, WMV,
m2V can be imported into DVD Lab or TMPGenc Express.
Premiere tries to import m2V files (it see them, so apparently it
supports that format) but oddly, it always fails with the following unsupported
audio data rate error (an audio error for a video file !!!):
Solution - Import the m2v
into TMPGenc Express, and export it to AVI, WMV, or MPG.
MPV elemental stream to "video only" system streams AVI, WMV,
MPG - first rename the mpv to an mp2 file extension. Then
follow to conversion method for m2v files listed above
AVI, MPG, or WMV to M2V - import into TMPGenc Express,
select the MPEG encoding method, and click the circle next to "Video only" - it
will then encode to an m2V file !!!
AVI, MPG, or WMV to MPV - first encode to M2V using the method above,
then rename the M2V to MPV
M2V to MPV and MPV to M2V - I do
not know of any program that can import and export both types - but for these
file types, simply rename the files !!! They are the same format
with two different extensions !!!
MPG to MPA - use DVD Lab to
import mpg and it will demux the file into mpv and mpa elemental
MPA to MP2
Method 1) or in DVD Lab Pro, goto Tools/Transcode Audio
. . .
- click "Input" and select the MPA file
- click "Output" and select the folder, and then type in the name
with the mp2 extension (otherwise DVD Lab will default to mpa)
- click Transcode
NOTE: the file will be 192 kbps, and unfortunately you
cannot change that setting
Method 2) open the mpa in Premiere, export to wav, open wav in
IMtoo, and export to mp2
Method 3) use dBpowerAMP Music Converter (free from
http://www.dbpoweramp.com ) and the MP2 codec ( also free from
MP2 to MPA
DVD Lab, goto Tools/Transcode Audio . . . . click Input and select the MP2
- click "Transcode" and the converted file (MPA) will be created in the same folder
MP2 to WAV
open MP2 in IMtoo, export to wav OR
LPCM (PCM or RAW) to WAV - unlike many other DVD authoring
utilities, DVD Lab will not accept LPCM (*.pcm or
*.raw). Go to the LPCM conversion tool (Tools / LPCM>wav),
open the pcm/raw file and transcode it to wav OR
just use the main DVD Lab Tools/Transcode to convert LPCM--->WAV.
*** you can also use DVD Lab to transcode
WAV --> LPCM