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DVD Ripping Guide | How to Rip a DVD Using Handbrake

Today I’ll be discussing a hot topic in the media transfer world, and it’s a question I get asked multiple times per week.

“Can I edit from a DVD?”

Technically, it is possible, but there are some drawbacks. For editing purposes we advise our customers to first transfer their videos to hard drive in DV AVI format, perfect for editing with. You ideally want to be working with the highest quality video you can get your hand on, but there are those times when all you have to work with is a DVD. Keep in mind that editing from a DVD can reduce the quality of the final product. This is due to the fact that the video to DVD is already compressed to begin with.

How to Rip a DVD

In order to extract the video from the DVD, you will need to perform a process known as “ripping”. Ripping is simply the name for the process of copying audio or video content to a hard disk from a removable media such as DVD or CD. The following guide will detail the steps necessary for ripping your own DVDs

First thing you’ll need is DVD ripping software. For this guide, we’ll be using a free, open-source program called Handbrake. You can download Handbrake for both PC and Mac from here:

Once installed, go ahead and open the program up and you will be presented with an interface similar to this. Insert the DVD you wish to rip into your DVD drive.

At first glance, it may look like a lot of options and configurations, but it’s really easy. For ripping a DVD you’re going to want to first select it as the source of your video. Click the source button on the top left of the interface, and this will give you three options. You’re going to want to select the third option, DVD Drive. The program will read the data from the DVD for a couple seconds, and then show up on the interface.

Right below the source button, there is a drop-down menu named “Title:”. You are given a list of titles on the source. Select the one you wish to encode. (Hint: the one with the longest duration is usually the main movie.) By Default, HandBrake will select the longest title to encode. On some sources you may need to change this as it is not always the correct title. If you are unsure which title to select, open the source in a Media or DVD player application and watch what title it selects for playback. Sometimes your disc may have multiple videos on it, in this case just select each title until all of the ones you need have been encoded.

The box beneath Title, is another one called Destination. This is where the output video file will be saved on your computer. You can press the browse button to name your new video and select a folder to save to. To save yourself some confusion you should encode the video to a folder that is easily accessible to you.

Handbrake also comes with the option to use presets. For instance, if you know that you are ripping a DVD in order to put the video on your ipod, you would select the ipod preset which will make the encoded video. For most instances, selecting the “normal” preset will be fine. Once everything is set, just hit the start button up at the top and wait for the encode. The time it takes can vary depending on the presets you used, and the length of the video.

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