Hackit: Ripping DVDs


A recent report from Futuresource Consulting states that just under 1/3 of Americans and just over 1/3 of UK residents have engaged in some form of DVD ripping in the last 6 months. Though [Jacqui Cheng] of Ars Technica was unphased, we were very surprised to learn that one of the most common methods is possibly the most low-tech, yet certainly cross-platform: hooking a DVD player to a DVD recorder via coaxial cable or composite. Our toolbelt is somewhat different, as we imagine yours is.

When working on a Mac, we find that Handbrake works really well. It is intuitive and efficient, featuring useful options and a virtually nonexistant learning curve.

Options on a PC are far more diverse. Our goto app is DVD Shrink: finding the download is a little tricky, but once installed, it makes ripping and burning a snap. We really love how easy it is to alter the compression of audio and video, and selectively include or exclude extras, menus, audio streams, and even legal warnings. We only have 4.7GB to work with, so we make space where we can.

When the source DVD is under the size limit, we prefer not to alter it in any way; for this, we use Alcohol 120. It is capable of creating nearly identical copies of any DVD, even copyrighted DVDs or video games.

It is entirely possible, likely even, that all you’re interested in is ripping. There are entirely too many options to name them all, but we are partial to DivX for rip-only operations. It is cross-platform, easy to use, and encodes in the DivX format. Playback is another issue (cough – FFDShow – cough). One of the most accessible ripping options, though, is an often ignored but useful app: Nero Vision. It is part of the Nero 8 suite, and although it is officially DVD authoring software for beginners, it features a functional ripping option that encodes ripped files in MPEG2 format. This is truly useful if you intend on authoring custom menus on the destination DVD, although Adobe Encore is a far better option for the actual authoring.

The great variety of options is part of what surprised us at the popularity of the low tech solution. Still, given the variables (level of user proficiency, platform, destination media, etc.), we wouldn’t be too surprised if our readers all vouched for different methods. That’s the question: what method do you use to rip DVDs?

[photo: William Hook]

Comments

  1. BLKMGK says:

    Slysoft AnyDVD underneath DVD shrink – no compression at all on main movie. Copy it to a media server running unRAID, and watch it using XBMC for Linux. Rip HD media using Slysoft, eac3to, and meGUI to end up with decently sized compressed HD vid – also viewable on XBMC. Nerdvana!

  2. S says:

    For Linux k9copy is a quick way to rip/shrink a DVD.

  3. kroyster says:

    dvd shrink works surprisingly well under wine on the mac

  4. K1ngfunK says:

    I recently fell in love with ripping DVD’s into a Matroska container with H.264 video compression and AAC audio.

  5. Mike says:

    Is AnyDVD/CloneDVD passe? Is it not as good/customizable as the alternatives? Or do people seem to prefer the others because they aren’t commercial software?

  6. matt says:

    DVD shrink works the best for saving space but I use DVD Decrypter to create and burn ISOs that are even copyrighted.

  7. Robert says:

    I use dvd decrypter and handbrake for windows. I rip to mp4 so I can put them on my IPOD. To watch them on my TV I have a Tversity media server and serve them to my XBox 360.

  8. Hyrbid says:

    I keep backups on a home server which i use to play my movies off of. The originals are then stored safely so i dont scratch/damage them.

    To do this can be tricky if on windows.
    1. use DVDFab HD Decrypter to ‘rip’ (awesome tool, im going to get the pro version someday..Works GREAT for removing evil DRM).
    2. Use FairUse Wizard 2 A little hard to find sometimes and is a pay for product but its great for reauthoring to something like an .avi
    3. Enjoy.

    Linux: Handbake …thats it.

    I do not reburn any of my DVD’s as i keep them on the home media server (CentOS5x). It can be accessed by my modded xbox (running xbmc, hooked to my projector/stereo) or my desktop pc in the other room.
    Unlike some ;) i own all of my rips, the hard copy is just stored to keep it safe from damage while i just use my backups to watch.

  9. tjhow says:

    Illegal dvd ripping chat on hackaday?

    Pahhleeease, stop posting this nonsense. All we want is hacks.

  10. CalcProgrammer1 says:

    DVD:Rip for Linux is my tool of choice. Nothing I’ve tried for Windows has yet to compare with the tons of formats and features that DVD:Rip has. The hard part is getting the DVD codecs installed but after that it’s a piece of cake to use and produces great quality files that I can watch on my PDA (Axim X50v) in Xvid format

  11. Birdman says:

    Yeh DVD Decrypter is the way to go

  12. Jeffrey Baitis says:

    I’m curious why people bother ripping DVDs to anything other than hard drives. It seems SO much easier for me to keep track of files on disk than to decode 8.XX gigabytes and then re-encode to fit on some lousy 4.2 GB media, when I can just copy the thing onto some cheap rotating magnetic platters :P

    Any thoughts?

  13. brokenlcd says:

    I’ll have to cast my vote for dvd:rip for linux.

  14. skunkmere says:

    hard drives are still expensive and dvds are portable and easy to copy

  15. Nikola says:

    I don’t really like the fact that this “hack” is kind of assuming that we’re going to be pirating software. And if its not you should assume that we own Alcohol 120, Nero 8, and Adobe Encore. I really don’t mean to bitch because I’m fairly positive that it’s very hard to find content every day. but this DOES NOT belong on hackaday for 2 reasons. 1 being what I stated before you shouldn’t basically tell us to go pirate stuff this is a diy blog which leads into number 2, hackaday used to be for people doing small (sometimes large) engineering feats on their own and little guides on how to do stuff yourself… most of us cant do them but that isnt the point, we love seeing what people can do!

  16. “hard drives are still expensive and dvds are portable and easy to copy”
    (1) Your $/per/gig cost for a DVD is MUCH higher than your $/per/gig cost for a harddrive.
    (2) And on top of that you can shrink the file to 1/4 the size and still get the same quality playback.
    (3) Since when is copying a DVD easier than Ctrl+C Ctrl+V ?

  17. Christopher Reitmann says:

    I also use DVD shrink, though for some of the more pesky protected disks *cough*Grudge 2 and National Treasure 2*cough* I use Magic DVD Ripper for ripping. Though the copies still are unable to be burned with D.S., and I just don’t want to trust M.D.R. for compression, since there are no settings for it. I don’t see why anyone would go so low tech as the way you spoke of. The quality must be horrible.

  18. Michael Croes says:

    I use ‘dd’ to create an exact copy of the dvd to a file, mythdvd can play these fine so I don’t have to put the dvd in but I still have the menu’s and other features like subtitles that can be turned on/off.

  19. Aquify says:

    Can i just ask. what the fuck is this doing on a hacking forum..

  20. Skyler Orlando says:

    I’d like to point out that this is not necessarily wrong(I won’t say illegal because I’m not a lawyer and i know how picky they are sometimes) if you’re ripping DVDs you own to make backup copies. I know our family sure could’ve used backup copies of about, oh, a dozen dvds so far.

    That said, the way I usually rip DVDs is take them out in the backyard and let ‘em rip, Frisbee-style. :D

  21. MechaD says:

    I typicaly use something diff’t on the PC. I have a capture card installed with a PS2 connected to it. I use the software that comes with it and can rip down a dvd thats 4.7 gigs to around a gig in excellent quality. On my mac though, I use Mac The Ripper.

  22. joegeek says:

    I WAS a big fan of DVD shrink, I soon was forced into using DVD43 with DVD Shrink due to copy restrictions and protection schmes – I recently had to dump DVD Shrink due to various reasons including new protection methods. I too now use DVD Fab and I am blown out of the water with it’s versitility – 11 on a 10 scale in MHO. It’s been 100% copy completion for me unlike DVD Shrink. I still wonder what went wrong with DVD Shrink and when did they stop the support. TY All for the great posts. Soooo much DVDCopier trash out now – Hard to find the right direction for something so simple.

  23. pelrun says:

    I don’t care about the legality issues of ripping, or whether this belongs on HAD or not… I just wish that people would spell “unfazed” properly! :)

  24. A_Blind_Man says:

    i use explosives, they completely rip dvd’s

    but i normally use dvd decrypter or dvd shrink

    i only use alcohol 120 for making stubbron iso’s of video games work

  25. Pedro says:

    No love for AutoGK?
    http://www.autogk.me.uk/

  26. Boxcar says:

    K9 on Linux, with the right dependencies, makes it simple. It will even (single click) clone burn, reducing the quality to fit a dual layer original onto a single layer DVDR.

  27. Terc says:

    Set up a dvd ripping app to rip to a directory when a dvd is inserted, and eject when finished. Combine it with the following script, and an AppleTV and you’ve got yourself a home built Kaleidescape.

    #!/bin/bash
    #Version number
    VERSION=0.3
    ###################################################################################
    ## Written by Terc ##
    ## May 2008 ##
    ## Encodes using hard coded settings (I developed these settings with the help##
    ## of the Handbrake forums to take full advantage of the Apple TV 2.x decoding##
    ## cababilities, inluding 5.1 audio. Tweak audio settings as needed, but ##
    ## video is probably best left alone unless you plan to play this on something##
    ## other than an Apple TV. ##
    ## ##
    ## This script requires HandBrakeCLI 0.9.2+ ##
    ###################################################################################

    #The following are variables you will need to configure for your specific setup

    #Directory that MacTheRipper stores rips (and RipWrap grabs stored DVDs from)
    READY=”/mnt/Storage/RipWrap/DVD Rips/Ready”

    #Location to store files while encoding
    ENCODING=”/mnt/Storage/RipWrap/Encoding”

    #Directory to move sources (The DVD Files) of completed DVD Rips to. Usefull when encodes do not go as expected
    FINISHED=”/mnt/Storage/RipWrap/DVD Rips/Finished”

    #Location to move completed encodes to
    ENCODED=”/mnt/Storage/Music/Movies”

    echo “################################################################################”
    echo “”
    echo ” _______ ________ ______ ______ _ “
    echo ” (_______)(_______/(_____ \ / _____)( ) “
    echo ” _ ____ _____) )| / |/ ___ “
    echo ” | | (___ \ (_____ ( | | /___)”
    echo ” | |_____ _____) ) | || \_____ |___ |”
    echo ” \______)(______/ |_| \______) (___/ “
    echo ” “
    echo ” ______ _ _ _ _ “
    echo ” (_____ \ (_) | || || | “
    echo ” _____) ) _ ____ | || || | ____ ____ ____ “
    echo ” (_____ ( | || _ \ | ||_|| | / ___)/ _ || _ \ “
    echo ” | || || | | | | |___| || | ( ( | || | | |”
    echo ” |_||_|| ||_/ \______||_| \_||_|| ||_/ $VERSION”
    echo ” |_| |_| “
    echo “”
    echo “################################################################################”
    echo “”

    OLDIFS=$IFS
    IFS=$’\n’
    cd $READY\

    for SOURCE in $(find * -maxdepth 0 -print); do
    DESTINATION=$ENCODING/$SOURCE.m4v
    echo Ripping DVD “‘”$SOURCE”‘” to $DESTINATION
    sleep 2
    echo “Begining encode…”
    #Encode
    HandBrakeCLI -L -F -m -P -q .69 -e x264 -E faac -B 384 -R 48 -6 6ch -x bframes=7:ref=5:merange=24:subq=7:me=umh:no-fast-pskip=1:trellis=1:bime=1:brdo=1:direct=auto:vbv-maxrate=4500:vbv-bufsize=3500 -i $READY/$SOURCE -o $DESTINATION

    #Wait for encoding to finish
    wait

    #Now that the encode has finished, move the DVD Source to the Finished directory
    mv $READY/$SOURCE $FINISHED

    #Now that the encode has finished, move the resulting file to iTunes Library location
    mv $DESTINATION $ENCODED

    echo Finished encoding $SOURCE.
    echo “”
    sleep 2
    done
    IFS=$OLDIFS
    echo “Finished processing videos”

  28. patrick says:

    Roxio Toast for Mac does a good job as well for copying. Also JackTheRipper and Handbrake do the trick.

    You can use JackTheRipper and then point the Mac OSX DVD Player to the Video_TS folder and have it play straight from there.

  29. @8 : it’s not illegal if you own the disc you are copying

    not everyone likes the dvd format you know

  30. BLKMGK says:

    DVD Decryptor etc. has never worked out well for me. DVD Shrink and DVDD are no longer supported and the newer DVDs trip up their decryptions. I know that you can script DVDD to get aoround much of that but still – it’s a hassle and Shrink does all I want except handle newer DVDs. So AnyDVD under it, constantly updated, handles the crypto.

    I like many others OWN many DVD. I have to use DVD Profiler to keep track of them it’s so many. I do not worry about destruction so much as organization and theft. About the 2nd time someone comes into your home to do work and oohs over your collection you begin to realize the issue at hand. I no longer have a wall of DVD to ogle over, it’s all in crates safely away. Friends no longer beg to borrow either :-) XBMC organizes it all well too so choosing a movie is easy…

  31. Wwhat says:

    Since the article states most people ‘rip’ DVD’s by connecting a DVD player to a DVD recorder that is in fact a hardware ‘hack’ isn’t it?
    Also since people might very well be doing that massively so they have a backup or if it’s a HD recorder more easily accessible they probably do it with legally purchased DVD’s.

    Also hackaday had a deluge of hardware projects lately and every one of them would take several days to do yourself minimum, so all those “I want hardware hacks” people should be busy making stuff. and not see this small article.

  32. Korvost says:

    I use DVD Decrypter + AutoGK, gets a movie down to 700/1400 MB, à la scene standard. :P

  33. mikey g says:

    lol @ coax cables

  34. Peter says:

    For all those wondering why you’d want to rip a DVD, I do it so I can have something to watch on my iPod during long flights. It’s smaller than the rental DVD players or a laptop, when the movie’s over, I can listen to music, and the small screen size…well, let’s just say that space on the plane is pretty limited, so I’m holding the iPod pretty close anyway.

  35. MindHacker says:

    Dvd decrypter -> Gordian Knot -> Xvid

    It’s so much more convenient to have all my movies on a single harddrive. Doom9.org is a wonderful resource, and will teach you everything you need to know, and everything you want to know if you want to get into the ins and outs of dvd encryption schemes.

  36. jeff says:

    for Linux, k9copy is excellent. makes DVD9 to DVD5 copies, retaining everything including menus and stuff.

  37. Your wife\'s secret lover says:

    “oh my god!! This is not about hacking!! Why are you putting this on hackaday??”

    All the whiny bitches can STFU

    I use Mac the Ripper for the ripping chores and Popcorn for the Burning, and Turbo.264 for the transoding.

  38. PaulJ says:
  39. DCMAWTF says:

    @29:

    All decryption of DVD’s is illegal. Digital Millennium Copyright Act made sure of that. Even if you own the movie, decrypting it, even for “fair use” & otherwise legal reasons is against the law and punsishable by law.

  40. pistolpete3521 says:

    DVDShrink, is the best IMO. Clone DVD is too unstable and is nowhere near as usable as DVDShricnk, + it is much less memory intensive. If you aren’t going to burn them, like me. Rip them with no compression on the movie and some on extras, etc. to save space and retain viewing quality.

  41. hello says:

    omg. thiz is so haaxors. deeveedee rippin is so illigulz. i cunt believe u to put thiz on the paig! wuy shuld i brak laws?

    dumbass whiners. read up on copyright laws dipshits.

  42. richard rivet says:

    juan is this you from ottawa

    richard rivet

  43. Jon says:

    My first thought on reading that people use a DVD player hooked up to a writer was “that’s odd, why don’t they just use a computer?”

    Thinking about it, though, that’s exactly how we’ve thought about it for years. VCRs were used exactly like this for years – if it works, why fix it? Most laypeople are more bothered about copying their disks for backup or friends, anyway.

  44. Joel says:

    I use DVD Decrypter to rip any dvd, then if I’m burning to a physical disc, I’ll use DVD Shrink, then burn using DVD Decrypter. But I almost never burn DVD’s. Too much work involved, plus, my laptop is almost always hooked up to my big screen. I usually go the way of encoding the DVD into an avi file via AutoGK.

  45. A N Consumer says:

    Hi,

    Here at consumer central, home of normal consumers and the less geeky, we have simplicity itself:

    A HP media Smart server.
    Several TB of hard drives
    MyMovies 3 server software (a simple add-in)
    AnyDVDHD (installed with MyMovies3)
    Slim Server (Now a logitech product)
    An external USB BlueRay Drive.
    An ASRock HDMI/NVidia ION enabled “NetTop”
    Windows 7 Ultimate
    PowerDVD 9 Ultra (HD enabled)
    Windows Media Center
    A slimp3 audio player

    Now say hello to scalable, protected, networked storage all round the house.
    All your DVD’s/BlueRays/CDs available anywhere in the house. Fabulous user interface, auto updated movie info, multi room music, perfect HD pictures and great sound, no messing with settings, everything is automatic just feed it the discs.

    Job done, actual discs now reside in the loft not in the house, films can be watched on the plasma, projector, kitchen tv, den pc etc.

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