With the emergence of mobile devices, smartphones, tablets, notebooks, Chromebooks and laptops, there is an insatiable need for content. The obvious source of content is our personal movie DVD library. All that is needed is to convert the DVD content into some sort file format with playback capabilities. The process is known as DVD ripping, capable of extracting an 8GB DVD content into a 800 MB file with little to none quality loss. It can also be customized to fit the playback device, iPod, iPad, Android tablet screen format.

Prerequisite for this tutorial

  • Download the latest DLL to handle the DVD protection.
  • Download the latest version of HandBrake from HandBrake.fr.
  • Microsoft Windows 7.
  • A DVD movie or more.

Steps Overview

  • Download the latest libdvdcss for Microsoft Operating System, 32 bit version or 64 bit version.
  • Download HandBrake.
  • HandBrake Settings for a DVD movie, a single track
  • HandBrake Settings for a TV show, a multiple tracks

Installation

Download the 32 bit or 64 bit based on your Windows 7  Operating System and run the HandBrake installer.

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Once the application is installed, renamed the “libdvdcss-2.dll” to “libdvdcss.dll” and copy/move it into the HandBrake folder, by default located at, “C:\program files\Handbrake\”.

Single Track DVD

Launch HandBrake.
Click “Source” (#1), go to the DVD drive (#2)

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The software will scan the DVD content for about, or less than, one minute.

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The track with the longest duration is assumed to be the movie track (#1).
Select a destination with the output file (#2).
Leave “Picture” settings (#3) as default.
HandBrake has a list of “presets” for known devices. If the DVD rip is intended for a specific device, this is the place to select one. Else, select “Regular” > “Normal” (#5) for TVs, computers.

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In “Video” (#1) settings, the “Quality” (#2) can be adjusted. The lower the number is, the bigger the file output. By default, the value is set to “18″, which create about an 1GB MP4 file. I set it “23″ for a 800MB(ish) file.

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“Audio” Settings, lower the Bitrate would make a file a bit smaller, “128″ is a good compromise. Unless you want to change the language, that’s about it.

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“Subtitles” Settings can be left alone, unless there is a need to sub-title the movie in a foreign language.

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That is about it for the settings. Before starting to launch the ripping process, you may want to set the process CPU priority. From the main application, “Tools” > “Options” will bring you the screen below.

Click on “Advanced” (#1) > “Priority Level” (#2) to adjust the CPU priority for the video conversion process. If you plan on walking away from the computer or if you are not doing anything that requires a lot of horse power, set the priority level to “High”. Default settings is “Normal”.

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Click on “Start” to launch the process.

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The status bar provides some stats about the process, FPS rate and estimated time. Looks like is is going to take about under 13 minutes to rip a 115 minute movie on my workstation (i7-X 980 / 24 GB /Crucial M4 SSD).

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Enjoy the movie!

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Multiple Tracks DVD (TV shows)

Insert the DVD, select the drive “Source” and once the application scanned the entire DVD, click on “Title” and locate the longest tracks in duration.

In the example below, there a 6 episodes, about 21 mins long each. Then, select the first one on the list and go through the settings as explained above.

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Click “Add to Queue” and move on to the next title until all are queued.

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Click on “Show Queue” (#1) and Click “Start” (#2).

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Wait for all the tracks to be converted.

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The final product, Space Adventure Cobra by Buichi Terasawa, one of my favorite anime shows growing up.

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Legality

Copyright is a big deal. The assumption is once a DVD, CD, Blu-Ray is paid for, the buyer owns the product and do with it as he sees fit, not so fast. U.S. copyright law, Title 17 of the US Code, states that making a copy of an original without the consent of the copyright owner is unlawful.

There is no explicit exception made for “personal use”.  Ripping legally owned music CDs and transfer them to an MP3 player for instance is not allowed or forbidden. The court system has acted on issue with the music sharing and not the act of ripping. Unlike DVDs, CDs are not protected.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998 made it illegal to manufacture devices or services that have no other real purposes other than removing the disc protection layer. While the DMCA recognizes, under the “fair use”, the right for the lawful owner to make a copy of the disc, however, it is illegal to make or provide a tool that facilitates individuals to make such copies. (Source: RealNetworks vs DVD CCA, 08/2009).

Recently, AACS LA (Blu-ray copy protection) obtained a preliminary injuction against DVDFab (Chinese company) for violation of the anti-circumvention clause (DMCA, 17 USC 1201).

So… is it or is it not legal?

The RIAA itself is ambiguous on the matter.

Copying CDs

  • It’s okay to copy music onto an analog cassette, but not for commercial purposes.
  • It’s also okay to copy music onto special Audio CD-R’s, mini-discs, and digital tapes (because royalties have been paid on them) – but, again, not for commercial purposes.
  • Beyond that, there’s no legal “right” to copy the copyrighted music on a CD onto a CD-R. However, burning a copy of CD onto a CD-R, or transferring a copy onto your computer hard drive or your portable music player, won’t usually raise concerns so long as:
    • The copy is made from an authorized original CD that you legitimately own
    • The copy is just for your personal use. It’s not a personal use – in fact, it’s illegal – to give away the copy or lend it to others for copying.
  • The owners of copyrighted music have the right to use protection technology to allow or prevent copying.
  • Remember, it’s never okay to sell or make commercial use of a copy that you make.

From the RIAA website

In other words, it is technically NOT legal to make a copy but it is unlikely that someone would be prosecuted for it, as long there are no attempts to make a profit or share the product.
As a disclaimer, use it at your own risks.

Filed in Computers . Tags: dvd and software.
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