[FFmpeg-user] Transcoding from VOB - sometimes works, sometimes not

Benjamin Hill benjaminhill at gmail.com
Tue Apr 14 07:29:35 EEST 2020

tl/dr: Is there a "best" ffmpeg "try every technique you got to transcode a
file to a consistent format, ignoring errors, and use the best method, I
believe in you, thanks!"

long version:

I've got some VOB files from old home movies, ripped from 8mm to DVD.
(Thanks Dad!). And I'm looking to get everything uploaded to Google Photos,
so I need it all in a consistent and Google-friendly format.  The problem
is that whatever service he used had mixed results (they are not great)
some missing chunks, maybe a DVD scratch, plenty of warnings like "Missing
picture start code", "Could not find tag for codec mpeg2video in stream #0,
codec not currently supported in container" - you know... junk.

Sometimes they can be easily copied to m4v format, sometimes not.  I've
fought with it long enough that I cobbled together a "try each of these in
order, and if the first option works, it is fast, but if it doesn't work,
move on to the next less-fast option, keep going until it works or you've
run out of ideas."

Which is strange, I thought they were all mostly the same MPEG-2 format.

ffmpeg -i  MYINPUT.VOB -c copy MYOUTPUT.m4v. # super fast, copy
ffmpeg -f mpeg -i  MYINPUT.VOB -c:a copy -c:v libx264 -crf 18 MYOUTPUT.m4v
# Force declare the file format
ffmpeg -i  MYINPUT.VOB -c:a copy -c:v libx264 -crf 18 MYOUTPUT.m4v #
Generic transcode

My question: Is there a way to combine these?  Some sort of "use all of
your wizardry and ignoring-of-errors and advanced decode options to salvage
whatever you can, ending up with a m4v format."

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