Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

Setting an order for videos to play on a CD can be done easily. I'll look at several things you may want to do when converting old videos.

I had my old 8 mm movies put on a cassette. The guy screwed them up and they are out of sequence. I've since put them on a CD. I'd like to buy a software that will allow a novice like me to edit the CD and correct the situation. Please recommend a software for me to accomplish this. Windows XP.

In this excerpt from Answercast #71, I look at ways that video files can be ordered to play.

Setting play order for CD

So. It depends a lot on exactly what format you have the videos in. The very first step is: if you have them on a cassette, you need to record them on to your PC. I'm going to assume you've already done that.

I have an article on that that will point you to a couple of other resources because I don't have specific answers on just how you go about transferring video from a cassette tape to your computer, but there are lots of resources out there to do exactly that.

Organize the files

Once you've got it on your computer, it really depends on how it's organized. For example, you're saying you have several movies - plural.

If they are separate files, then you should be able to (when you burn them to CD) create a specific order simply by alphabetizing the file names. One common way to do this is to have the file names be "01_" and then whatever the name of the first movie is; "02_", then whatever the name of the second movie is, and so forth. That way they'll be naturally alphabetized on the CD when you look at the directory listing. In most cases, that will imply that the player will play them in that order.

Now, with that as a caveat, remember it's the player that determines what order the things are going to get played in.

Create a playlist

The other approach to dealing with this is (regardless of their file names) create a playlist just like you would in audio. You can, in most video players (such as VLC, I think, Windows Media Player, and so forth) create a playlist that lists the files you want to play in the order that you want to play them.

Then, instead of playing the video files one at a time or having the video player somehow just sort of assume based on the file names, you tell the video player, "Play this playlist." Then it goes out and gets those files in the order that are specified in that playlist.

So, that's what I would recommend you do.

Burn old movies to DVD

Now, what a lot of people ask about is actually not burning them to CD, but burning to DVD so that they can be played on a plain old DVD player not related to a computer in any way.

That requires DVD-authoring software. I don't have a specific recommendation for that at this time. The important point to realize about DVD-authoring software is that the order in which the videos play is an integral part of putting together a DVD. It's part of how you set up that title menu when you first insert the DVD.

You get to say what goes on that title menu.

Different DVD authoring programs have different capabilities when it comes to that title, but that's where it's all specified. So, there is no side effect on creating a DVD. You actually end up specifying what order they get played in.

If you're just creating a CD with a bunch of data files and you want those data files to be played in a particular order, my recommendation is actually to throw a playlist on there and then use that playlist to play the videos in the order that you specified.

Article C6041 - November 18, 2012 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

November 20, 2012 9:31 AM

OK, so we can put the videos in a particular order, but the bigger question (in my opinion) is what format does one save the videos?

That really depends on a boatload of other issues, such as desired quality, intended use, what machines you're going to play back on and so on. Since mp4 seems to be a nice common denominator that works on almost all systems I'd probably go there, but then you also start worrying about what settings within mp4 to use when the video is created as well. It's a complex subject that even the "experts" don't necessarily agree on. (And I'm no expert when it comes to video Smile).

November 20, 2012 9:57 AM

This topic opens up a whole can of worms, along with extended topics.

VHS tapes are much lower quality then most Super8 (film from cartridges) or the older dual8 (film on spool that you turned over) movies.
If you are not going to have the films transfered again for a better image, you can get USB based video capture cables that will plug into the VCR and your computer or you can record the tape with a digital camcorder that can then transfer the video to your computer.

Either way will transfer the video into a file format good for editing.
Fire up whatever editing software you have and rearrange the scenes to how you want them. Add titles or other features when you do this.
You then will be able to generate DVD from the computer (unless you have really poor video, you wouldn't want to go down to video on CD quality).

Unless you are having the films, rescanned to HD quality (and maybe even then) you want to save the films in case you want to improve the quality of the scans in the future.

Save the computer files untill you are absolutely sure you don't want to EVER edit anything or use them again. They are in formats that let you edit them. The final DVD is a lossy format that is not nice to edit.

Comments on this entry are closed.

If you have a question, start by using the search box up at the top of the page - there's a very good chance that your question has already been answered on Ask Leo!.

If you don't find your answer, head out to to ask your question.