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Old 09-05-2010, 10:55 AM   #1
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Ubuntu 10.04 - cmd prompt changes to tee (>) when encoding vobs, what does this mean?

I have been trying to encode multiple vob files into avi / divx / mpeg and have been running into this oddity...

First off I am running Ubuntu 10.04 LTS

Originally I attempted to convert using mEncoder with the following:

mencoder cat ~/path/to/vobs/*.vob -ovc xvid -oac mp3lame -xvidencopts bitrate=687 -o 1pass.avi
Which returned this:
~$ mencoder cat ~/path/to/vobs/*.vob -ovc xvid -oac mp3lame -xvidencopts bitrate=687 -o 1pass.avi
I checked my sys monitor while it was at this prompt and there was no processor activity or memory building regarding the Terminal, or any other process for that matter. I decided to let it run overnight (~12hrs) and in the morning nothing had changed.

A ctrl+c breaks the prompt and I then attempted using:

ffmpeg -i cat ~/path/to/vobs/*.vob -vcodec mpeg2video -acodec mp2 -b 1000 1pass.avi
which returned:

~$ ffmpeg -i cat ~/path/to/vobs/*.vob -vcodec mpeg2video -acodec mp2 -b 1000 1pass.avi
Along with no processor activity and memory build, again I waited overnight with the same result.

Finally I attempted to use a python script called '' (, which gave me the same result.

I made sure each time to install all required packages/codecs outlined in the various guides I utilized.

First question: Does anyone know what linux wants when it prints a tee (>) after entering a command? (Yes, I have spent a couple days researching it, with no findings)


Does anyone have ideas as to why each different command yields the same result?

Much appreciated.
Old 09-05-2010, 11:45 AM   #2
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Usually means mismatched quotes, though I don't see any. Try quoting your input files, just in case your vob names are being expanded by your shell and messing things up.

mencoder cat "~/path/to/vobs/*.vob" -ovc xvid -oac mp3lame -xvidencopts bitrate=687 -o 1pass.avi
Old 09-05-2010, 12:24 PM   #3
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you might want to omit the 'cat' after mencoder. It appears to me that you are trying to merge several files into one. Not sure, though. I am not familiar with mencoder and I do not have 'small' multimedia files at hands to test. But you might want to try this
find . -type f -name '*.avi' -print0 | xargs -0 -I {} mencoder {} -ovc xvid -oac mp3lame -xvidencopts bitrate=687 -o 1pass.avi
Old 09-05-2010, 02:32 PM   #4
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@AlucardZero - Thank you for your suggestion, such a simple thing I overlooked, changing this did cause the command to recognize the input however the 'cat' command seems to be the issue, I tried listing out the VOBs in order and the encoder is currently running (hopefully it will create the desired one AVI output, will update when completed)

@crts - Thank you for your response, I tried a simple copy and paste of the code you gave me and nothing happened, I then edited it slightly (changed *.avi to *.vob because that is the file type I am utilizing) and still nothing, now correct me if I am wrong but, is your code simply searching for all matching files in the folder
find . -type f -name '*.vob'
and then passing those results to mencoder?
-print0 | xargs -0 -I {} mencoder {} -ovc xvid -oac mp3lame -xvidencopts bitrate=687 -o 1pass.avi
I'll do some research on this and see what I can find. Also, you mentioned you were not familiar with mencoder, is there an encoder you prefer to use and have had great reliability with?
Old 09-05-2010, 07:22 PM   #5
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It is now working, turns out all I needed to do was manually list all the VOBs to be included. Wildcards must not be liked any more...

Edit: After further review I realized that the space in between the folder's name was causing the command to hang. Changing the folder to an underscore fixed the wild card issue.

Last edited by mechman422; 09-06-2010 at 12:46 PM. Reason: realized solution


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