It seems that every other day there is someone asking how to convert their dvd's to a video file either to back up or transfer to a portable media player. So, instead of repeatedly answering each individual thread, I thought I'd compile this one so the link can just be posted since we all know nobody else checks the ultimate sticky.
In this thread the encoding walkthroughs will be done using handbrake. (download
I am currently using it on a computer running OS X, but it is a multi-platform app and most of the settings/options will be the same in some form or another.**
It's a great multi-platform video encoder that does pretty much everything the average and some advanced users would need to do. It offers encoding in multiple formats, and through use of multiple widely-popular codecs. If you decide that handbrake is too simple for you and you really want to have absolute control of what you're doing, then check out http://www.doom9.org/
. There's plenty of walkthroughs there that will help you configure your encoding down to every little detail if you so choose.
The first step before you encode is choosing your source. The source is the VIDEO_TS directory on your DVD, or in your directory you ripped the DVD to on your hard drive. Handbrake should be able to rip most movies straight from the dvd, but if it complains, then you will need to decrypt them using either DVDFab
for windows, and MacTheRipper
for OS X.
Also, this is important
when encoding all files in the Windows version os Handbrake, it will not auto-determine the file type. You have to select the correct one when you choose the Destination file. **
What is your purpose for encoding?
Answering this question first will tell you what settings would be a good ballpark to work around, the ones I'll supply in this thread are based on my experiences and what I recommend, but may not always be the best for other users.
For an iPod/zune: Handbrake comes by default with some great presets. Two of which are speficially for the iPod, and will also work with the new zunes (will also work with the old zunes, but the zune software will automatically convert the videos to .wmv before transfer). Generally the low-res iPod preset will be good enough, especially since these players tend to have small screens. If you just want to rip your movie as fast a s possible, select the iPod low-res preset, hit start and you'll be good to go. If you want to up the quality a little more bump up the average bitrate to 1000 kbps and/or enable 2-pass encoding. I personally always recommend using 2-pass encoding, it will make your encodes take substantially longer, but the quality is noticeably improved.
This is what the windows version looks like
**When encoding for an ipod/zune make sure the preference option "Use ipod-friendly .m4v extension for mp4 files" is checked**
Backing up to Hard Drive: If this is your goal, then you're going to have to decide between movie quality and file size when you go to encode.
**For all movie encodes of this type I recommend keeping the picture settings default. On windows however I believe you have to specify using auto-cropping, which you want.**
This is how mine looks
If your goal is a small file, then I recommend using a Target Size of your choice, in addition to the following settings:
A Target Size of 700mb will give you about the quality of Axxo's movies if you're familiar with his releases. I wouldn't recommend going too far below 700mb.
If your goal is a decently good quality rip, with a relatively short encoding time, and relatively small file size, then I recommend using the following settings.
Here's the windows one for comparison
Where the constant bit rate is anywhere from 1500 - 2000 kbps depending on the quality you want. Increasing the bit rate will increase your file size.
If you decide you want your video quality to be even better, then you're going to want to switch over to the h.264 codec. The encoding times are quite a bit longer (about 1.5 times), and the file sizes are quite a bit bigger (about 1.5 or 2 times for a rip with comparable settings)
The settings I recommend for a standard h.264 rip are as follows, they should be about the same as the "Normal" preset in handbrake with a few minor changes. Also you can change the file type to whatever you please, but if you use .avi you will not be able to use AAC audio. I recommend either .mkv or .mp4 for h.264 encodes.
The advanced settings are left as default.
Again these are just my recommendations to get new people started with using handbrake. Messing around with the settings, especially the advanced h.264 encoder settings is the best way to find out which is best for you. I recommend picking a single chapter in a movie and encoding it a bunch of times with different settings to figure out what you like best.
Many of you may already have videos that you want to transfer to your portable media player. A recommendation I see posted a lot is the Videora iPod converter (download
). I'm not a fan, but it will work and is pretty easy to use, it's got a pretty good step by step right in the program.
My personal preference is using quicktime. You do need quicktime pro, so if you're having trouble acquiring that send me a PM. Here's how:
1. Open Video in quicktime.
2. Click file -> export
3. Choose movie to ipod
The best option, of course, is to rip it to ipod format/resolution straight from the source dvd.
I'll answer any questions you may have and update this thread frequently.