Sunday, March 4, 2012

DVD Extraction and Encoding with MacTheRipper and HandBrake

I am in the process of copying my DVD collection to my Drobo, and after much experimentation, I found a process that seems to produce very high quality MP4 files that play on all of the following devices:

These are the devices I've tested so far.

DVD Extraction and Encoding with MacTheRipper and HandBrake:

  • Download and install MacTheRipper
  • Insert a DVD into your Mac.
  • Unless you have disabled it, iDVD will start automatically. Quit iDVD.
    NOTE:You can disable iDVD startup on insert under System Preferences:
  • Open MacTheRipper and it should detect the DVD and display some basic information about the DVD.
  • If you see 'DISC RCE: -CLEAR-' in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen, you can leave the 'RCE Region OFF'.
  • If you see "‘DISC RCE: -DETECTED-", then set "RCE Region" to the region from which the DVD was purchased.
  • Besides "RCE Region" you should be able to leave defaults for all other settings.
  • Choose "Save To" fro the "File" menu and choose the target directory for extraction.
  • Click "GO" to begin extraction.
  • You will get a notification once extraction is complete:
  • Download and install HandBrake.
  • Open HandBrake and set the source directory to the MacTheRipper save location.
  • A "Preview Source" window will open with an image from the DVD.

  • Move the slider to a few points in the DVD and make sure the top, bottom and sides aren't being cut off.
  • Adjust the Size Cropping if you believe the automatic crop setting is removing any part of the movie.
  • Set the HandBrake Video settings as follows:

    Format: MP4 file
    Web optimized
    Average Bitrate: 2200 kbps
    2-pass encoding
    Turbo first pass
    Variable Framerate
  • Leave the HandBrake Audio default settings:

  • Set the HandBrake Subtitles settings as follows:
    Select the Track labeled "Closed Captions - (Text) (CC)"
  • And finally, click "Start" to begin encoding the DVD image to an MP4 file.

I keep the full extracted DVD images on my Drobo, so I can access the menus and special features from my Macs and I copied all of the MP4 files to a USB drive attached to my Boxee Box.