DVD archiving to a media server - best practices?
May 22, 2007 7:03 AM Subscribe
I'm planning on ripping my DVD collection to a media server, with varying amounts of losslessness depending on the film. There are a lot of ways to do this, and I'm looking for the "best" way. After the jump I'll describe my current plan, please comment on and clarify the various technical considerations.
posted by lifeless to computers & internet (11 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
I own about 250 DVD movie titles, and a lot more non-movie DVDs. In trying to reduce clutter from my life and home, I intend to sell all of the movie DVDs except for a handful that have some special significance to me. However, I don't intend to lose the movies, but instead rip them to a fault-tolerant HD array (maybe Drobo, maybe ReadyNAS, maybe something else). Not completely legal, I know, but I'm going to do it anyway.
For proper archival, losslessness is very important. The obvious tricky thing that results from that is the amount of hard drive space required, especially since fault tolerance is a must. There's no way around the fact that a lot of money needs to be spent on hard drives.
To lower the HD costs somewhat, I'll divide the DVD's into two categories: 1) lossless ripping for important films with several discs, particularly good extras or otherwise high bitrate requirements, and 2) lossy ripping for less important films and films with unimportant extras. The lossless option is simple: I'll just decrypt the DVD and copy the VIDEO_TS folder onto the HD array. I have all the tools I need for this part, so the lossy part is the meat of this post.
I'm probably going to divide the lossy category into two subcategories: DVD9->DVD5 for movies where the retention of some extras and "navigable" DVD bits is necessary, and XviD/H.264 for movies where the main feature is enough.
This is where my knowledge ends. There are so many movies that I don't want to spend too much time tweaking individual rips for best possible quality, so I need some general guidelines. Actual questions:
1. Codec: Should I go with XviD or some H.264 variant for the "main feature only" movies? Relevant issues: quality/disk space, openness, quality of encoders, cross-platform compatibility, expected longevity of the format.
2. Continuing from the last question, what if the main feature fits on a DVD5 without recompression? Then it's really only a matter of HD space: 4+ gigs for the original MPEG2, or X gigs for a lossily encoded format. How big would an H.264 encoded movie file have to be before the loss of quality is near-imperceptible from the original? How about XviD? (Obviously I'm not going to scale the picture down from its original dimensions, i.e. 720x576 for PAL movies which most of my DVDs are.)
3. Container format: Matroska is very flexible with multiple audio and subtitle tracks, but sparsely supported by stand-alone players. Currently I'm using Xbox Media Center which works fine, but there's no telling what I'll use in the future. AVI seems too limited, and I don't really know much about MP4. The factors of question 1 apply. Which one should I pick?
4. Audio encoding: I'll want to preserve multi-channel audio: usually DD5.1, but preferably DTS when available. Can VBR MP3 handle these, or do I have to include the audio track as-is even if the video is XviD or H.264? AVI doesn't support multi-channel (IIRC), any caveats with other containers?
Any other relevant considerations are welcome, too. I have access to Mac, Windows and Linux computers, so I'll be able to use pretty much whatever tools you suggest.