Skipping FBI warnings and other 
annoying previews with PgcEdit (version 0.4)


Last updated: 11/24/2004 by Jeanl.

Thanks to everybody in the forums for their help, to 2COOL
for his guides that inspired this one, and r0lZ for coding
If you're having problems with this guide, post here and you'll get some help!

Other PgcEdit guides...

IMPORTANT: If you're on a windows PC, you'll be better off with the newer, better version of PgcEdit (version which offers video-previewing and is able to display menus. The corresponding guide is here.

Goal: Most commercial DVD begin playback with some annoying stuff: FBI warnings, previews, studio logos etc, and in some cases, it can take up to a minute to get to the main menu (and in some very annoying cases, you can't even skip all this with the remote because of PUOs (prohibited user operations) in the VOB files!). This guide will show you how to skip all this stuff and rapidly get to the first menu. It will also show you how to skip stuff that's after the menu, but before the movie playback (for example the THX bit, or more studio stuff).

Note 1: In this guide, we just skip playback, but we do not actually remove the skipped material from the DVD. As a result, there is no gain in space.
Note 2: If you want to bypass a menu (for example a language menu), this guide is not for you! Check out 2COOL's guide for that, or my guide for jumping straight to the main menu or the movie.

Basic Idea: PgcEdit has a great function called "Trace". This allows you to step through the commands and the videos in your DVD pretty much the way a settop DVD player would, while watching everything that's going on (except the actual video, and that's too bad). If you're familiar with programming, this is the equivalent of putting a breakpoint at the start of your program, and single-stepping through each instruction, enabling/disabling breakpoints etc.
We're going to use this function to play your DVD from the start, and "kill playback" on any program we don't want, until we hit the main menu. We can also kill playback on annoying stuff that comes after the main menu and before the movie!

Step 0: Play your DVD in your favorite player

This will give you a chance to see what gets played before you get to the main menu of your DVD, and also to see what the main menu looks like. Make a quick drawing of the buttons placement and what they do when you get to the main menu, this will be useful later on.

Step 1: Open your DVD in PgcEdit

Simply click File/Open DVD, select your DVD folder, and click OK. Then enable the Trace Mode in the Trace menu.

This will enable the Trace display at the bottom of the window.

More info:
If you're not familiar with PgcEdit, what you see on the left is the list of PGC (Program Chains), and on the right the pre, post and cell commands for the selected PGC. Click HERE if you need to learn about PGC, pre-commands, post-commands and cell commands.

Step 2: Start the trace!

On the left, the current PGC is highlighted:

You can see that the video material has no buttons (0b.). This is important: the fact that the PGC's cell(s) has no button means we can skip the video without messing things up. If the PGC indicates buttons, we can't kill it, we're done: go to Step 4 below. Again, if you want to bypass a menu that has buttons, see the note above.

More info:
You can see that the program stopped at PGC 11 of the language unit 1 (LU 1), in the video manager (VMGM). You can also see that the video material played back is 3 seconds long (0:03), and has no buttons (0b.). If you want to know more about this PGC, you can right-click on it, and a window will popup with lots of info (how many cells, how many programs etc)

Step 3: Skip the PGC!

- Now let's kill playback on that PGC! Simply click the "Kill Playback" button  in the tool bar. A message will popup:

This offers to not only bypass the playback of the cell(s) in the PGC, but also mark the PGC as having no cells/programs. Simply click No for now.

You'd click "yes" if you wanted to process your files with IfoEdit to do a VOB ID strip: If the cells are no longer referenced, the ID for the cells will be automatically deselected in IfoEdit's GUI and you don't have to remember which VOB ID you need to strip.

 The display will show:

I've circled in red the area that changed. As you can see, the post-command has been copied and put at the bottom of the pre-commands.

More info:
Pre-commands get executed before the video in the PGC cell(s) is played back, while post-commands get executed after the video is played back. Post-commands normally jump (or link) to some other place in the DVD so playback can continue after the video has played. In the example above, the post-command "LinkPGCN" links to the second PGC in the same "domain" (here the VMGM, or video manager menu). So the normal sequence is
1) play the video in the PGC, then
2) jump to PGC #2
But "Kill Playback" copied the post-command as a pre-command, so the program links to PGC #2 before playing the video which has in effect been skipped! We can think 2COOL for this clever trick (and r0lZ for the corresponding macro in PgcEdit!). Things get a bit more complicated when certain pre-commands are present (such as break). You can read about such cases in 2COOL's guide.

- Now we can hit the "Next PB" button  again, which will get us to the next non-empty PGC, and repeat Step 3 above if there are no buttons, killing each PGC we encounter on the way!
Eventually, we'll get to a PGC that does have buttons, the first menu you'd see in a DVD player, unless the DVD was setup to play the movie right away.
We can proceed to Step 4 below.

Step 4: We get to the main menu

In the example above, after killing 4 PGCs, I get to the following place:

There are 5 buttons here so I don't want to kill this PGC.

More info:
As you can see, I'm in VTSM 1 (Video TitleSet Menu 1), Language Unit 1 (LU 1) PGC 1. You can also see that this is also the "Root Menu", the menu you would go to if you pressed the menu button on your remote. It has 5 buttons, and you can also see that it's a "motion menu" because it has a duration of 42 seconds (a motion menu is an animated menu, as opposed to a still menu). By right clicking on the highlighted PGC, you would find out that it has 3 cells, with the middle one having the 5 buttons. The first cell probably has the "menu intro" (what you see before the buttons appear, and the third one has the "menu outro" (what you see after you press a button).

If you hit Next Playback again , you will get a display of the menu layout (see below).

PgcEdit is not currently able to display the actual images that go with the menu. But the layout is usually enough to recognize the main menu. This menu should correspond to the quick drawing you made in Step 0 while playing the DVD in a soft player.
Well, we're pretty much done!

Step 5: Save the DVD, and try it!

Click on the save icon  and open the DVD in a software player. The player should skip all the material we "removed", and quickly go to the menu (it might not be instantaneous, you might see a quick sequence of title numbers flash by in the status area of the player, but it will take far less than a second).

A few notes:

Optional Step 6: Going further: skipping the stuff after the menu.

Often times, when you press "Play" on the main menu to play the movie, you still have to watch more annoying stuff (the THX video, or more studio logos) before the movie actually starts. You can use the method above to skip these bits too! Here's how:
  1. When you get to Step 4 above and the menu layout window pops up, click on the button that corresponds to "Play Movie" (that's where the drawing you made during Step 0 comes in handy!), and click OK. Playback will resume and stop at PGC of the next video displayed.
  2. If you have more annoying stuff before the actual movie, this PGC will most likely not be the movie itself (unless the stuff you're trying to remove was mastered directly as part of the movie, which happens for studio logos). You can verify that by checking that the PGC duration shown on the left is small (a few seconds). Be careful though! Remember that if you screw up, you can still revert to the original DVD.
  3. In the case I used above, I hit 2 more PGCs before arriving at the movie:

The duration of the PGC shows 1:20:45, one hour and 20 minutes. You can also check that the title number (here "Title 1") matches what you see in your DVD player when you get to the movie in Step 0.

If you're having problems with this guide, post here and you'll get some help!