High fidelity DVD ripping
August 25, 2009 8:28 PM   Subscribe

High fidelity DVD ripping: collecting short videos from separate DVDs without losing any quality


I have a bunch of short movies on separate DVDs that need to be strung together without losing any quality. This is for a screening so, if it is possible, preserving the image fidelity is important. Also note that these are independent artists so there are no copyright/encryption concerns here. I was thinking of a couple of different ways of tackling this and I was wondering if anyone with experience could let me know which is most likely to succeed and suggest software to accomplish this. Different solutions:

I) Rip the DVDs uncompressed to laptop hard-drive and play from there

My concern here is that the uncompressed DVD video will be gigantic and I don't know if the laptop graphics card can handle the data rate (I don't have the specs handy - it's not mine that will be used - it's about 1 year old and mid-range quality). Will the laptop play them back smoothly? What software would you recommend for lossless rips?

II) Rip the DVDs to a hard-drive, burn a new DVD containing all of them

This will work - but will there be quality loss in the uncompression/recompression? Any tricks for eliminating/reducing the quality loss?

III) Copy the video data directly

I don't know if this can be done, but it'd be great to just grab the raw DVD data, copy to the hard-drive, and burn it to a disk containing all of them - either to play consecutively or with a menu (the entire image as an iso won't be useful as it's not just a copy of a single disk I need to make). If this can be done, what software does it?

Thanks for any help in advance.
posted by sloe to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
x264 at CRF 18 is visually indistinguishable from the original in a huge majority of cases. I would do the following:

1. Rip with DVD Decrypter to get only the PGC/VOB you need.
2. Index with DGIndex, cutting as appropriate to get more specific segments and demuxing the audio.
3. Frameserve with Avisynth, deinterlacing or IVTCing where necessary.
4. Fix all audio delays with delaycut.
5. Encode all segments with the same parameters in x264 and mux with the audio.
6. Append in the appropriate order with MKVMerge.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 8:32 PM on August 25, 2009

Best answer: On computers these days, DVD video isn't that big to store (especially for a one-off project like this) and is not taxing on CPUs or GPUs to play. Option I would be the easiest. Play the resultant video files with VLC.
posted by zsazsa at 8:38 PM on August 25, 2009

Rip the DVD snippets to mp2, the native DVD format. Check videohelp.org for techniques that don't involve re-encoding, but you'll then be able to burn the mp2's to DVD without re-authoring.
posted by rhizome at 9:00 PM on August 25, 2009

I agree with zsazsa: just ripping the DVDs directly without doing any transcoding would probably be the easiest and fastest and give you the best quality. If the laptop is capable of playing the physical disc, it's capable of playing the ripped file.

I don't know what operating system you're using, but if you've got a Mac, MacTheRipper is good. You can choose to extract only specific titles/chapters from the disc as VOB files. After that, just make a playlist of them in VLC and play them directly off the hard drive.
posted by shammack at 9:09 PM on August 25, 2009

DVD is not "uncompressed", and ripping a DVD to your computer without changing its encoding will not make scarily large files. A typical movie-length commercial DVD is usually 6 to 8 gigabytes, including all the bonus features; the actual movie usually weighs in about 5 gigabytes. Shorts will be proportionately smaller. Data rate is not an issue either, since the data read rate available from a typical laptop hard disk drive will be an order of magnitude bigger than the read rate available from its DVD drive - if your computer can play movies from a DVD, it can play the same movies more reliably from a hard-disk copy of that same DVD.

For aggregating multiple video files (in just about any format, including VOBs ripped from an original DVD) into a new DVD, DeVeDe works well.
posted by flabdablet at 9:12 PM on August 25, 2009

DVD video isn't that gigantic. It is actually compressed in MPEG2 format. All you need is a tool like VOB splitter.

As for playback, MPEG2 requires very little CPU resources to decode unlike newer codecs.

Any DVD menu creation tool will let you take the cut up VOBs and create a menu.

FWIW when you rip a DVD you actually are copying the files off.
posted by wongcorgi at 9:12 PM on August 25, 2009

Response by poster: great info -
going to go with the advice of zsazsa as it is the most straight forward for this project

thanks again all!
posted by sloe at 9:04 PM on August 26, 2009

« Older Help me seal the deal in the GTA.   |   Looking for kiddie music and music videos in... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.