DVD Ripping and Encoding - some success achieved
#125 Henry, Friday, 08 July 2011 10:58 PM (Category: Linux)
(Tags: slackware dvd rip)

Up till now, I have been ripping and encoding DVDs on my Macs. I use Mac The Ripper to rip the DVD and store the entire thing on disk in a VIDEO_TS directory. Then I use HandBrake to encode those VIDEO_TS directories to single files in a mk4 format, and for the foreign films I get it to include subtitles.

But my Mac is worn out and the DVD drive will no longer work. Mac The Ripper has disappeared. The Mac way does not suit my workflow. I wanted to try and move the process to my Linux Slackware desktop. Last time I tried this was with Slackware 13.0 and I failed at installing dvdrip. Now I use Slackware 13.37 and I had hopes that I could get something installed.

I struggled to install dvdrip, and eventually I got it to install. Unfortunately it will not rip my DVDs. There is some mismatch or error and it will not work. I have abandoned dvdrip for the time being.

I discovered a different path and have gone down it.

I now use a number of tools to do my ripping.

I use vobcopy to rip a DVD and create a VIDEO_TS directory with all the components of a DVD in it. I mount the DVD first, not sure why I have to do this, but I mount it, then run vobcopy. Like this:

mount /mnt/cdrom
vobcopy -v -m -i /mnt/cdrom -o /data/Movies

This works exactly like Mac The Ripper does on my Macs, except there are some minor problems. I have only tried it with Region 1 DVDs so far, and don't know how it will handle other regions yet. I have tried it with foreign language films (Hong Kong Hustle, Curse of the Golden Flower, House of Flying Daggers) and it will get part way through the DVD and then lock up. These are still Region 1 DVDs, but they are foreign language with subtitles. On the other hand, I have Watchmen and it has subtitles but does not lock up. There is something strange with this that I do not understand.

The second part of the operation is to create a mk4 or mp4 file, some small encoded file with the just the essential movie in it that I can play on a laptop. The first step is to determine what title on the DVD is the actual movie. I use dvdrip to view the VIDEO_TS directory. It selects the title it thinks is the movie, probably by the length and the number of frames or chapters. I can play it from dvdrip to make sure I have the right title. Once I am sure, I quite DVD and move to the next tool.

I installed HandBrake. This gives me a command line version called HandBrakeCLI. There are instructions for the command line version of Handbrake. The title number I discovered in dvdrip goes in switch -t. For my first cut, I am using this command line to create a mp4 file:

HandBrakeCLI -v --preset=Normal -t1 -i /data/Movies/BUBBA_HO_TEP/VIDEO_TS -o ~/Bubba_Ho_Tep.mp4

Just like on the Mac, HandBrake takes time to do this encoding. I haven't mastered subtitles yet, but it's supposed to handle them. The end result is very nice when played back with mplayer, but xine has a really hard time with it. Lots of playback errors, pixellation, stuttering. I will have to experiment with the settings to get a format that is rock solid.

So, despite major ups and downs with installing software, I now have a method of ripping and encoding most of my DVDs on my Linux Slackware desktop. It's a good start. I will keep working at it, and try and solve the subtitles, and try and solve the foreign language ripping problem.