Okay, so if you're out to seed films, or even just backup your own collection, maybe copy something you've borrowed from a friend, you might at some point need to learn how to copy, aka 'rip' DVDs.
This guide is already a little out of date. With more and more home users having their own DVD burners and cheap DVDrs, copying entire DVDs, extras and all is increasingly possible.
If however like me, you want to quickly copy your file to say a friends PC, you might like this method, a 700 meg CD sized file is very easy to share.
"But Borgs!" you ask, "How do we get a 4.6 gig DVD complete with extras and such into a 700 meg avi file?"
(you were going to ask that right? )
The answer takes several forms, but I'm going demonstate a multi-step procedure which covers the essential disparate elements of DVD ripping
Step 1: Get DVD
Now these days many people have DVD collections. Even me. Borrowing DVDs is fun, however you are only legally allowed to backup your OWN dvds, please bear that in mind.
Bear in mind there are such things as double sided DVDs, with different data on each side of the disc.
Found something you want to copy? Good.
Step 2: Rip DVD
"But Borgs!" you cry "isn't the whole process calling ripping?" Well yes it is. But ripping also applies to this stage specifically, the copying of the relevent DVD's data onto your PC.
I recommend smartripper, download here.
Put the DVD in your DVD drive, quickly install and run the programme. It will look something like the image on the left.
The critical values you'll need to know about are where it says "Program Chain 1 -> Angle 1(02:16:13)" - this is refering to the data on your DVD which is the length of the feature programme. Items such as "Program Chain 2 - Angle 1(00:00:12)" are likely DVD menu items or in some cases special features, items we will not be ripping in this tutorial.
With the primary track selected, all you then need to do is browse for a directory with 'target' at the bottom to copy your files to. When I'm ripping DVDs I tend to make myself a working directory for the various file types involved, e.g. c:\dvd\
Let the files call themselves vts_01 it doesn't matter. If you're ripping several DVDs in a row, you might want more helpful file names however.
Next click 'Start' and the ripping begins! It should take about 20 minutes to rip the files, potentially limited if you have a slower DVD drive of course.
Step 3: Get Encoding Programme
Ah the joys of codecs, compression and encoding. Scared? Well you don't have to be. The programme I'm going to be demonstating for the purposes of this step is dvdx, download here
Dvdx comes with lots of options, fortunately you won't need to touch most of them.
First up after installing, you go to the menu and go to 'file' then 'Open IFO' Now you browse for the files you ripped earlier, the .ifo file especially. If you have no .ifo file you have likely ripped your DVD incorrectly.
Step 4: Make Sure You're Encoding Exactly the right Things - Input
Now with your file 'open' (or rather selected, you can't do much with it) you must go to 'settings' and 'input options' to bring up the first set of menus.
I'm going to ignore most of the fields so don't worry!
The 'Index' field should be set to default - you've only ripped one file right?
The 'Angle' should be left at '1'
The audio track may be left at default. BEWARE however, DVDs with a directors commentry or other languages may be with your files. You may have to do some trial and error until you get the right version. Everyone's got the wrong audio track at some point before, so don't worry.
'Deinterlace Filter' you may wish to enable if you're getting horizontal lines in your video. (you may be seeing this screen again!)
Most other settings you can leave alone. Select 'okay'
Step 5: Make Sure You're Encoding Exactly the right things - Output
Next you have to bring up the 'output settings' from the settings menu again.
This is where it can get tricky
Important things to look out for is your output resolution -> if you're ripping a widescreen film make sure the ratio there is also widescreen for instance!
Where is says 'max frame', be sure to click the 'Whole' button, for some reason DVDx initally assumes you only want to encode a limit of 10,000 frames - but you want them all!
The drop down menu in the top left discusses the type of file output you're going to be making. You can make MPEG, MPEG2 or Avi. Don't ask, we're making Avi.
Now an aside is needed to explain that videos can be compressed in different ways. Ironically, whilst this has benfitted all sorts of web applications and streaming video, it was this sort of technology used with piracy that pushed the limits of getting the highest quality picture in the smallest file size.
The leading competitor in this area USED to be Divx, however they now charge for their patented encoding technology. Never fear, xvid has continued where divx left off, offering FREE high quality/low file size encoding.
You will need to download a xvid binary to encode to xvid, e.g. this one. Now with that installed onto your system, most of your video playing programmes will now read xvid encoded video, and programmes such as DVDx can now encode to xvid too. Handy.
Step 6:Video Compression Settings
Xvid and video compression has come a long way since its infancy. Gone are the days of trial and error encoding, instead xvid manages most of your settings for you.
Click on 'calc'.
* The target size of your film will be 716800kb, that's a CD size.
* Input the length of your film.
* Under 'audio' - choose 'MP3-CBR' and 'Av Bitrate' at '128' -> more later one why
Step 7:Audio Compression Settings
The audio's going to get compressed with a good old MP3 codec. From the 'output settings' under the audio settings choose 128 bit stereo. This is good quality, you don't need better or worse.
Click 'Apply' on the output optionsStep 8:Encode - Fingers crossed!
Now with all the settings set (we hope!) we're ready to encode. Have one last check of your settings now!
On DVDx click the 'select destination' button and point it at your working directory. You might want to call the file '1.avi' because you might be doing this a few times at first!
Click the encode button. The magic begins!
After the film has encoded a couple of minutes worth, stop encoding the video and try and play it.
* Is the video watchable?
* Is the aspect ratio correct?
* Is the sound correct?
* Any other problems?
If you have any of these problems, NOW is the time to go back and change settings, NOT later.
You'll thank me for this later
Now with your settings CORRECT start encoding. Depending on the speed and type of your processor, encoding a film will take about 2 times the length of the actual film.
So for example, if you're encoding a one and half hour film, it may take about 3 hours to encode. OR EVEN LONGER!
Because encoding is so processor intensive, you won't be able to play computer games or certain applications at the same time as this. If you go to 'settings' the 'priority' and set 'idle' your machine should be fast enough that you can surf the net etc whilst you're encoding.
If you are sure you have the settings right, you may want to leave your machine on overnight.Thus ends the guide. If anyone can spot any errors, ommissions, broken link/images or anything else to add, please do so!Step 9: Finished?
In all likelyhood when you're getting started, you'll end up having to encode and reencode again and again until you get the knack of things.
But if all has gone well, you'll have a 700 meg file of your film. This can be burnt to CD for backup/swapping, or even seeded via bittorrent etc. That's how it's done.
Much more flexible than a normal DVD in my opinion
If you want to find out more about different tools for DVD ripping, Doom9 'The Definative DVD Backup Resource' has even more guides each covering the different stages and software involved in this process.
However, if you want real answer, now, you can ask me right here!
For a more easily readable version of this guide, consider viewing the origonal thread at www.torrentforge.com which has nicer image formatting