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Transferring DVD Library to Digital

ShadyWoodland 253 93 August 23, 2016 at 05:41 PM
I have a decent sided library of DVDs and am thinking it's time to convert to digital files.

I know this isn't a hard process (install software, insert disc, click button, eat pizza, repeat) but I want to get some insight on best software (my definition of "best" is fast and user friendly), ideal file settings (I want the videos to be good quality but don't want massive files, if possible), and any other tips on making the process run smooth/quickly. Should I keep the files on my computer hard drive, or get a dedicated portable hard drive?

Any insight is appreciated.

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Joined Aug 2005
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#2
Ripping the DVD to disk is fast, but its raw video and not "compressed" so you could not as easily play it especially on a mobile device. If you want to easily play it and smaller files then you need to encode them into something like h.264 mp4 formatted files. This is what takes a long time and is totally dependent on the computing power of your computer.

I can't recommend any specific software as I have not done this in ages. If it's disks you burned it will be easy as it won't have DRM, if its retail disks then you have to break the DRM too.I assume your on windows?

As for your computer hard drive or a portable one that depends on what your looking to do with them. Either way I would advocate for backing up ideally in at least 2 places. Cloud backup works well for many people because it's automated.
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#3
If they're old-school DVDs and not Blu-Ray, then DVD Decrypter [videohelp.com] still works great to get the raw video data to your hard disk. Once they're on disk, the 100% free program Handbrake [handbrake.fr] is your best tool. Do NOT pay any amount for any of the many scam video converter programs out there, Handbrake does it best.
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Last edited by VorlonFrog August 23, 2016 at 07:58 PM.
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#4
Currently using freemake to convert my dvds. Fast and reliable. If its important files then you should upload them in the cloud.
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#5
Ditto on Handbrake to convert. Ripping is different issue. I still use DVD Shrink. It still works on many DVD's not Blu-ray.
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#6
Yep. DVD shrink will rip and compress the dvd's in a shot. Won't most devices play the resulting files (.ts)?
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#7
Quote from ShadyWoodland View Post :
I have a decent sided library of DVDs and am thinking it's time to convert to digital files.

I know this isn't a hard process (install software, insert disc, click button, eat pizza, repeat) but I want to get some insight on best software (my definition of "best" is fast and user friendly), ideal file settings (I want the videos to be good quality but don't want massive files, if possible), and any other tips on making the process run smooth/quickly. Should I keep the files on my computer hard drive, or get a dedicated portable hard drive?

Any insight is appreciated.
I did this to my library (~400 movies and TV shows) a couple years ago. I used Make MKV [makemkv.com] to rip them to disk, which is free (while in beta) and will rip both DVD and Blu-Ray. The free beta has been running for several years now; you just need to grab a key from their forums every few months. This step takes 15-30 minutes.

I then used Handbrake, as others have mentioned, to re-encode the mkv files to a smaller size. I used the guides at rokoding [rokoding.com] for the settings, as I would mostly be playing the files on my Roku. I think they're good settings if you'll be watching on a TV most of the time, even if not through a Roku. This is the part that takes a long time; on my i3, a DVD re-encode would take ~1.5 hours (slightly faster than real-time) and a BR would take 8-10 hours. Luckily you can queue up a bunch of jobs in Handbrake, and I let it run for several days at a time.

I ripped and re-encoded to MKV, though mp4 is also an option. I thought that MKV supported multiple audio and subtitle tracks, whereas mp4 didn't, though it seems that's possible with mp4 as well (maybe more work though?). Raw MKV files tended to be ~8 GB / 25 GB for DVD / Blu-Ray, and encoded MKV files tend to be ~2 GB / 10 GB. I grabbed a 5 TB external drive and put it in a Synology NAS, and have filled a bit more than half of it (I have music, photos, and backups on there as well, but the majority of it is movies and TV). If you have a relatively small movie library, keeping them on your PC's drive may be OK, although external drives are cheap nowadays. It also pays to have at least 1 backup.

I serve all my media through Plex [plex.tv], which handles transcoding the files for my different devices. Plex requires specific naming conventions, so if you're going that route make sure to rename appropriately, although I think their conventions are good anyway. Plex offers a nice UI and metadata about your movies and TV shows, similar to Netflix or Hulu, and can provide bonus content as well (e.g., outtakes, trailers, interviews). You may need to have PlexPass to get the bonus content. Because I have PlexPass, in most cases I didn't bother ripping all of the bonus content from disc - I just ripped the movie, all English audio tracks (including commentary), and all English subtitles.

All said and done, it took me the better part of 6 months to get all my movies and TV shows ripped and re-encoded. I would typically rip 3 or 4 movies a day after work, and then batch the re-encoding to do a dozen or two at a time, while still ripping new discs. I grabbed some cake-box DVD spindle cases, put the discs in those, and threw away (or rather, recycled) all of the cases.

Quote from LiquidRetro View Post :
As for your computer hard drive or a portable one that depends on what your looking to do with them. Either way I would advocate for backing up ideally in at least 2 places. Cloud backup works well for many people because it's automated.
Depending on the size of the library, cloud backup may not be a cost-effective option here. Even re-encoded, a library can occupy several TB of disk space.
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I

Depending on the size of the library, cloud backup may not be a cost-effective option here. Even re-encoded, a library can occupy several TB of disk space.
Ya it depends on who you use. Backblaze and Crashplan are both unlimited. In general cloud backup works for people best but in some cases other solutions work too.
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#9
Quote from LiquidRetro View Post :
Ripping the DVD to disk is fast, but its raw video and not "compressed" so you could not as easily play it especially on a mobile device. If you want to easily play it and smaller files then you need to encode them into something like h.264 mp4 formatted files. This is what takes a long time and is totally dependent on the computing power of your computer.
Quote from VorlonFrog View Post :
If they're old-school DVDs and not Blu-Ray, then DVD Decrypter [videohelp.com] still works great to get the raw video data to your hard disk. Once they're on disk, the 100% free program Handbrake [handbrake.fr] is your best tool. Do NOT pay any amount for any of the many scam video converter programs out there, Handbrake does it best.
Quote from 3rdtimesthecharm View Post :
Currently using freemake to convert my dvds. Fast and reliable. If its important files then you should upload them in the cloud.
Quote from repitall View Post :
Ditto on Handbrake to convert. Ripping is different issue. I still use DVD Shrink. It still works on many DVD's not Blu-ray.
Quote from JimBanville View Post :
Yep. DVD shrink will rip and compress the dvd's in a shot. Won't most devices play the resulting files (.ts)?
Quote from mmathis View Post :
I did this to my library (~400 movies and TV shows) a couple years ago. I used Make MKV [makemkv.com] to rip them to disk, which is free (while in beta) and will rip both DVD and Blu-Ray. The free beta has been running for several years now; you just need to grab a key from their forums every few months. This step takes 15-30 minutes.

I then used Handbrake, as others have mentioned, to re-encode the mkv files to a smaller size. I used the guides at rokoding [rokoding.com] for the settings, as I would mostly be playing the files on my Roku. I think they're good settings if you'll be watching on a TV most of the time, even if not through a Roku. This is the part that takes a long time; on my i3, a DVD re-encode would take ~1.5 hours (slightly faster than real-time) and a BR would take 8-10 hours. Luckily you can queue up a bunch of jobs in Handbrake, and I let it run for several days at a time.
Thanks for all the great insight. Reps all around.

So I'm thinking DVDShrink or MakeMKV to rip the actual file and then Handbrake to compress is a pretty safe option, correct?
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#10
Quote from ShadyWoodland View Post :
Thanks for all the great insight. Reps all around.

So I'm thinking DVDShrink or MakeMKV to rip the actual file and then Handbrake to compress is a pretty safe option, correct?
Right, but DVDShrink wont rip them all. Hasn't been updated in years. You may have to find an alternative for some..
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#11
Quote from repitall View Post :
Right, but DVDShrink wont rip them all. Hasn't been updated in years. You may have to find an alternative for some..
How do u know for sure that DVD shrink won't work on all of them? Even if I were correct and it only worked on half of them, that is HOURS SAVED!
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#12
Quote from JimBanville View Post :
How do u know for sure that DVD shrink won't work on all of them? Even if I were correct and it only worked on half of them, that is HOURS SAVED!
I don't, except from my own experience, there are some titles that it can't rip. You won't know which ones til you try. Of course, use it when you can.
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Quote from repitall View Post :
I don't, except from my own experience, there are some titles that it can't rip. You won't know which ones til you try. Of course, use it when you can.
I ripped ~400 movies and TV shows using MakeMKV and only had 1 title it couldn't rip. The disc may have been too scratched up, though. Looks like DVDShrink will only rip DVDs, too, and not Blu-Rays. MakeMKV will do both. If the OP has Blu-Rays, it doesn't seem worthwhile to install 2 different programs to rip, when 1 will suffice.
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#14
One vote for makemkv, that's what I use for ISOs and Discs. However, I despise handbrake, although there are few good alternatives. I use FFMPEG, but it insanely obtuse and command line only. I actually have a text file where I keep all my commands and then just copy paste them in, if you want it I can post it eventually.
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#15
I did this years ago with Handbrake and put all of my DVDs into iTunes so that I could watch them on my Apple TV. I even added cover images and metadata to make it pretty on the TV laugh out loud

After Vudu set up the disc-to-digital, I did this as well. This obviously had a cost to it ($1 per movie at the time) so it might not be an option for everyone. I didn't do them all at one time. I spread it out over a few months so that the hit didn't seem as bad.
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