Baffling home movie DVDs.

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Baffling home movie DVDs.

Post by Meatbag »

Ok so, I've got these 2 dvds. As far as I can tell, they're blank, but they're actually not. They are those blank DVDs you use to burn things onto, and on each disc is a series of digitized VHS footage from home videos done in the 80s-90s-00s.

Now, if I put it into any PC I have access to, it reads as blank. It only has a little .ini file inside. MakeMKV says "disc can't be opened". VLC can't open or play it. An Xbox 360 can't open or play it. Looking at the properties, it's "0 bytes used, 0 bytes free". And before anyone asks, yes this is an internal SATA based bluray drive. And the internal disc drives on 2 different laptops act the same way. However, specifically at the families house, on their old DVD player that's hooked up to the TV, it plays like any other DVD. I don't have access to any other dedicated dvd players to try myself, but the fact is the files are there in some form or another.

The thing is I need to extract those videos because I want a piece of it spliced into a video I am producing. They don't have any other copies, and I know the files exist in some way on the disc. Hell, whatever encryption or whatever is on these discs seems to be more powerful than all the anti-piracy measures every big movie company has ever come up with.

First disc is a Maxell 120min video 4.7GB data DVD-R with 1-16x speed. I know most of that is irrelevant but those are the only markings on the face of the disc.
Second disc is the same thing except by Sony, though both of these discs act the same on all systems. The only file that exists on both discs visibly from the PC is a "desktop.ini" text file. Opening it has just a single string that calls to system32. This seems to be some kind of placeholder or something that doesn't actually have a function. Likely left over from the burning stage when they wrote these discs years ago.
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Re: Baffling home movie DVDs.

Post by preserve »

Meatbag wrote:
Fri Feb 12, 2021 7:41 pm
And before anyone asks, yes this is an internal SATA based bluray drive ... Likely left over from the burning stage when they wrote these discs years ago.
1) On the PC side, you may want to try a computer DVD drive rather than a Blu-ray drive.

2) Did you try to play them yourself in your own DVD or Blu-ray player to ensure they gave you the right disc?

3) Can you see the data is burned when you look at the physical disc? It should be obvious.

4) Maybe the disc wasn’t “closed” properly when originally burned, I’m not sure but I’m thinking that could cause an issue.
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Re: Baffling home movie DVDs.

Post by voltagex »

It's late here and I can't recall what tools I'd use, but try something that can read the discs in disc-at-once mode - even ddrescue on Linux.

Then look at the images created in a hex editor - if they're all zeroes you're definitely not reading the discs in your current drive. If there's data there, then maybe we can work out what format it's in - maybe an odd UDF variant?
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Re: Baffling home movie DVDs.

Post by clenchdwarf »

Another really late reply; yes, I'd look at the issue of those discs not being "closed". They could have been created using a standalone DVD recorder, where you can add videos until the disc is full then finalize it. Some place like Videohelp should have advice on that. Or this page suggests "Nero Rescue Agent" or "Isobuster" among other things: ... dvd-discs/
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