Don’t you hate it when your dvd’s can only be played on your computer or tv? Want a really, really easy way to copy your dvd’s to your computer, and from there to pretty much any movie player you want? I’ve put together a really, really easy tutorial that’ll have you ripping your vids in no time. All you need are 2 pieces of [free] software and a dvd drive.
The software you’ll need is…
- DVD 43 (free, as I said) if you’re on a pc
- Fairmount DVD Decrypter and VLC Media Player (free also) if you use a mac.
- Handbreak (also free. Isn’t it fantastic?)
Read more to continue.
Step 1: Decrypting your dvd’s.
First of all, you’ll need to install an on-the-fly DVD decrypter. What this simply means is that as SOON as you put a DVD into your computer’s DVD drive, it strips all the encryption off of it so programs like Handbrake can go to work converting them to a format that your computer can save. You literally don’t do anything. There are 2 different options, depending on if your a Mac person or a PC person (I, for one, am a PC person, but only because PC’s are clearly loads better).
For the PC folks…
DVD 43. What this does is it scans dvd drives for dvd’s, and strips any encryption off of them. You’ll know its working because its tray icon will spit out a little message when its decrypting, and you’ll see a little green smiley face when its done. How nice. From this point, you can really simply drag the files off of the DVD onto your computer, but thats not what we’re going to do for right now. DVD 43 supports most types of encryption, and is updated as new ones come out (so check their website for updates frequently). You can continue to step 3 now, or you can read the Mac section if you’d really like, although that’d be pointless.
And the Mac people…
The program Fairmount DVD Decrypter works almost exactly like DVD 43, as described above,with one exception; you need an additional piece of software, called VLC Media Player. Install this first, and Fairmount second. Fairmount runs like this; whenever you pop in a DVD, a little window that looks like a DVD getting slathered with whipped cream on it pops up, and your DVD icon turns into a removable drive icon. Simple as that. Now then, onto the fun part.
Step 2: Getting everything ready.
The next thing you’ll want to do is to install Handbreak. It used to be a Mac-only program, but by the grace of popular demand, there is now a PC version widely available as well. Handbreak used to have a nice dvd decrypter built into it, but in order to not suck at ripping DVD’s (for example, the audio and video wouldn’t sync up, so it looked like a poorly-dubbed Japanese film), it had to remove it, which is why we needed DVD 43 or Fairmount. It works now, which is what really counts.
Ok. First things first. Make sure the dvd you want to use is already loaded and decrypted (see step one if its not). Secondly, you’ll want to open up handbrake, select “Source” (its a big huge button) and select the DVD you want to rip. I will be ripping Robin Hood, Season 1, Disk 3. Best show ever, as you may have guessed. Handbrake will take about a minute or so to ‘read your source,’ which pretty much familiarizes it with everything thats on the disk (like movies, chapters, subtitles, etc). Next, go to the “Title” box and select what you think is the movie from your DVD (here’s a hint: its typically the LONGEST file, and HandBrake often selects it for you). Next, select where you want to save your new ripped movie file. I like to shove ’em in my Videos folder, but its up to you.
Step 3: Selecting your output and ripping
Here’s the real beauty of handbrake: On the right side, pick the format that you’ll ultimately want to play your video on. I personally pick “iPhone & iPod Touch” so I can take my insanely good Robin Hood clips with me everywhere, but Apple Universal works well if you have a bunch of iPods (for whatever reason). It also sports some nice selections for popular consoles like the PS3 and Xbox 360 (except the Wii, because, as we all know it has yet to spit out DVD support). When you’re done, hit start.
Handbrake will open a console window on a PC (not sure what it does on a Mac) and opens up a Queue window. Just let it go; For me, a typical movie finishes in about an hour and fifteen minutes, while a Robin Hood episode takes only 30. Thats it! Read on for some advanced tweaking.
Ripping multiple DVD’s, and ripping TV shows.
Say you want to rip a lot of DVD’s at once, but only have one drive. This is a lot easier than you’d think. First off, start by running your decrypter. Secondly, insert the first DVD you want. Put its “VIDEO_TS” folder in a folder by itself. Repete this with all the other dvd’s, and make sure the VIDEO_TS folders are separate, as they will otherwise overwrite eachother.
Then, open handbrake. Under “Source,” select “DVD/VIDEO_TS Folder” and complete the rest of the steps as you would normally. However, rather than hitting “Start,” hit “Add to Queue.” Do this with all of your dvd’s. When you’re done, hit start. It will convert all your dvd’s in the order that you queue them, and save them to the folders you told them to save to. Thats it!
The same method applies to TV show DVD’s (Like Robin Hood!). When you select ‘Source,’ select your dvd (not the ‘DVD/VIDEO_TS Folder’ option) and choose the first episode you find on your dvd (its around 30-45 minutes long). Finish the rest of the steps, and add it to your queue. Repeat this for all the episodes on your dvd. Just like that, you can rip an entire Robin Hood DVD all at once. How fantastic is that?