How to get episodes off of a DVD set and burned to DVD-R in a new order?
February 21, 2014 11:35 AM   Subscribe

What's the current workflow for pulling television episodes off of a DVD set and putting them back onto DVD in a new order?

American Gothic was put onto DVD in the incorrect viewing order. Worse yet, the known-flaky DVD-18 format was used; some discs have skipped on me during playback in a set top DVD player before. I would like to pull the episodes off of disc (I bought an additional DVD set just to deal with bad discs) as separate files, re-order them, and then burn them back to a reliable DVD-R brand at two episodes per disc for a problem-free, in-order, high-quality, smooth experience.

I do not require chapter menus into the episodes themselves, a simple "Episode 11, Episode 12" are all that is required. I used to use Adobe Encore for this sort of thing but I suspect it is overkill for this. I am handy enough with ffmpeg.

Target OS: Windows XP or Windows 7.
Budget: Under $100.
Target format: DVD-R.

I know playing episodes out via HDMI from my laptop could happen, or Roku, Plex, and so forth; that's not an option here.
posted by adipocere to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe check out this youtube video, that uses Handbrake.
posted by czytm at 11:42 AM on February 21, 2014

I was going to suggest Handbrake, too. You could also try DVD Shrink, another free DVD ripping/tweaking program. Here's another guide that uses a few programs along with DVD Shrink.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:49 AM on February 21, 2014

Yes, Handbrake is the right answer to your problem. It's free.

If Handbrake fails (as it sometimes does on copy protected disks) you should get the beta (trial) version of MakeMKV, which has ~100% success on DVDs, to output mkv files, and then use Handbrake to transcode those mkv files to a more convenient size.

Further, if you want to hear more than you ever thought possible about transcoding and ripping video, here is a link to Vector episode 22, where Rene Ritchie talks to Don Melton, former Engineering Director of Internet Technologies at Apple (i.e., the person who initially built Safari and WebKit) about that. A bit OS X-centric, but all the software is available on Windows as well.
posted by RedOrGreen at 11:54 AM on February 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

"Yes, Handbrake is the right answer to your problem. It's free."

No its not. Why the hell would you use Handbrake or MakeMKV if the aim is to put it back onto DVD? You'd be transcoding MPEG-2 -> H.264 -> MPEG-2, which simply wastes time & video quality.

The simplest way to rearrange episodes on a DVD, if you don't care about keeping the pretty menus etc., is to rip/extract each episode to separate .vob files (if your mastering program can import whole .vobs) or audio/video/chapter/subtitle files (if it can't), then reassemble them into a DVD using a mastering program (eg. Adobe Encore, DVDLab, any of the dozens of shitty freeware so-called 'mastering' programs, etc).

IIRC Encore can import .vob files directly & keep the subtitles & chapter points; DVDLab will kinda-sorta handle them with some limitations. If you've got Encore and are comfortable with it, you may as well use it - just make a standard menu layout with 2 or 3 entries, import it into each project, rename the menu entries to suit, point them at each episode, master your new DVD, and burn it.

(It can also be done with a bunch of open source / freeware tools e.g. IFOedit, dvdauthor, etc. Most of the freeware/rip-off GUI tools are simply front ends to these, of varying quality & usefulness…)
posted by Pinback at 12:40 AM on February 22, 2014

One trick with Windows-- before attempting to rip the DVD using any of the above, take a few seconds to play the DVD in a supported windows player, such as the free and reputable VLC media player. This has the effect of "unlocking" the DVD. Maybe it's not necessary anymore, but 10 seconds of playout could rule out an error that can result in failure to copy, or else the strange "Too many secrets" error in Windows.
posted by Sunburnt at 12:44 AM on February 22, 2014

Try Freemake @, pulls content from DVD and burns the results to a new one and you can drag the play order to be what you desire. Wonderful for Youtube too.
posted by Freedomboy at 9:47 AM on February 22, 2014

>>"Yes, Handbrake is the right answer to your problem. It's free."

> No its not. Why the hell would you use Handbrake or MakeMKV if the aim is to put it back onto DVD?

Ah, I see. Apologies for the reading comprehension fail there - I didn't realize the desired output was a set of playable DVDs. If so, yes, definitely avoid transcoding - working with the .vob files directly would be best.

Handbrake etc. are only useful if you'd like to extract the DVD to digital files that could be played off other devices like a Roku or AppleTV.
posted by RedOrGreen at 9:52 AM on February 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

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