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  1. Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    United States
    Search Comp PM
    Here's the situation:

    I've ripped several of my dvd's to my pc. I can either use DVDShrink and convert them to ISO files or I can use Nero and convert them to MP4 files. The thing is, I need to know which format is best for: video quality, playablility on my macbook pro, editability in imovie, retaining subtitles, and easiest to convert to other formats.

    I'm not a tech guy, so any help would be appreciated.
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  2. Always Watching guns1inger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
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    Miskatonic U
    Search Comp PM
    You can't retain the subtitles while editing in iMovie. The version of iMovie will also determine the best video format, as Apple has a habit of changing the video formats that work best with every version. Some will happily import a DVD and edit it, other versions will not. The most universally editable format is DV, but convert it on the Mac so you get it in the mov container.

    For subtitles you have two choices

    1. Export them, convert them and edit them in a separate subtitle editor, after you have edited the video,

    or

    2. Encode them into the video as hard subs when you convert the format to something editable, so it doesn't matter how you edit the film. The subs will always match
    Read my blog here.
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  3. Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    United States
    Search Comp PM
    Thanks. The subtitles are not needed for the editing. I just want to be able to open the video in imovie or final cut and take clips out clips for presentations and music videos.

    Otherwise I just want the ripped dvd's in a single high-quality file format. I've scoured the internet and still have no idea how to convert either ISO or Nero's MP4's into another format that can be easily edited.
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  4. Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Palo Alto, California USA
    Search Comp PM
    A few rules of thumb:

    1) The fewer conversions, the less the quality loss. The ideal number of conversions is therefore zero.
    2) Formats for delivery to an end user satisfy different objectives than those for editing. MPEG, for example, is a fine delivery format (hence its use in DVDs), because of its reasonable filesize/quality tradeoff. However, editing MPEG is tricky. That's why tools like iMovie, for example, edit in DV. DV files are large, but that's what you get if you want high quality and ease of editing. A standard workflow if you're starting from a DVD is to convert to high bitrate DV (to minimize quality loss), edit the DV version as you desire, then reconvert into DVD (or to whatever format you ultimately want for viewing the result).

    Everything is a tradeoff. What we all want is easy editing, tiny file size and great quality. Unfortunately, you can't have all three at once.
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