Ripping a DVD To MP4 Using Handbrake

Disclaimer – my quick research on this tells me the legality of making copies of your digital media is a gray area.  The rule of thumb is that you are allowed to make a backup copy of physical media that you own, but you are assuming any risks that may come from copying your physical media to videos.

My wife watches a series of DVDs she uses for her fitness, and I wanted to get them off of the DVDs and onto her computer, so she doesn’t have to keep lugging around an external DVD player and the actual files.

There are a few options I’ve found in ripping DVDs to your computer for later use, such as:

  • Handbrake – an open-source video transcoder that can pull for all kinds of media.  A little complex to use and requires some setup to get in place.
  • WinX DVD Ripper Platinum is another application I’ve found that you can use for a quick download.  To rip a full DVD, you’ll have to purchase the full version (around $39.95).

I decided to go through and work on configuring Handbrake just to learn a bit more about the process and have something I can come back to anytime I need to rip a movie or other data from a DVD.

First, download and Install Handbrake.  After installing HandBrake, you’ll want to install libdvdcss (32bit, 64bit) in order to bypass any copy protection issues the DVD may have.  Without this file, you may end up with a video that comes back scrambled and unviewable.

Once you download the libdvdcss file, you’ll move it to the HandBrake installation location (usually C:/Program Files/HandBrake).  After this is done, start HandBrake and you’ll see the following:

Assuming you already have your DVD in your laptop (or connected via external drive), you can click on the DVD on the left side and allow it to load all source.  This will take maybe 15-20 minutes to load everything into the application.

Once everything is loaded, you’ll just need to do the following:

  • Select the title that matches the length of your video (usually one of the first few titles).
  • Choose a filename and a destination for the DVD rip output (the movie).

Once this is done, click on ‘Start Encode’, and allow the DVD to start ripping.  At the bottom left, you should see the encode process begin.  Once that’s all set, check the video and see if the encode worked!

Remember, if you end up with something that is scrambled, make sure you set up the libdvdcss file in your HandBrake directory correctly.



Fixing the scrambled video issue on YouTube

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