I'm working on setting up a home media center and this will be my first time ripping dvd's - I've tried to read through a majority of posts on the forum, but still have a few basic questions - sorry if these seem really basic - go easy on me
I have Wondershare's DVD Ripper and have been trying to use that to rip my dvd collection to a high quality xvid or avi, but the filesize is ridiculously large (around 7-10GB/dvd). I've played around with the settings to try to reduce the filesize, but even changing the bitrate or file type it is still staying at quite a large file...
Now if Wondershare is a poor way to go, that's fine - I also have AnyDVD and CloneDVD2, as well as AutoGK. I tried a rip with AutoGK and got a smaller filesize, but the audio did not match the video - Did I just have a setting wrong?
Basically my end goal is to have reasonably sized rips (under 2gb/dvd - would like to be closer to 1gb) without sacrificing quality. These will be played on TVs and not ipods/ipads or anything like that...I'd like to stick to a pretty universal file extension as I am not sure which route I am going to go for playback just yet...Torn between WD Live setup, XMBC, Plesk, etc...There's too many options and I haven't had the time to dig into all of them yet, but want to get a head start on ripping!
Thanks for any help - it really is appreciated!
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How did you rip the DVDs to your hard drive before converting? I've used AutoGK relentlessly for converting DVDs to AVIs and rarely had a problem. It's the program I'd recommend for AVI conversion.
However Xvid/AVI is going the way of the Dodo. If you convert using the x264 format and an MKV or MP4 container you'll have decent playback support on most of today's media playing devices and the quality will probably be better. I use MeGUI for x264 encoding but there's plenty of other alternatives. For reasons I've not been able to understand, Handbrake seems fairly popular, or there's ffcode, HDConvertToX Ripbot264.... the last three have less complex GUIs and possibly involve less of a learning curve to use them.
First of all, ripping and converting are 2 different things.
Trying to rip from DVD with AutoGK is as wrong as it can be for many reasons. I can't believe that this actually seemed to work unless the only DVDs you tried it on were ones you made yourself or maybe Wondershare (never heard of it) is working in the background like AnyDVD to provide decryption services. Yes, rip to the hard drive first and only then convert. AutoGK is fine for making Xvid. hello_hello has a point about MKV (avoid MP4 unless you are a Mac head) but there's nothing at all wrong with making Divx/Xvid if you want. Divx/Xvid is quite capable of excellent quality as long as you use a high enough bit rate. H.264 and x264 can give you similar quality at lower bit rates if you want to go that route.
hello_hello - People like handbrake because it's easy to use. MeGUI is actually fairly complicated to use and my personal experience is that the AviSynth scripts it generates never work without editing by a human. I can't recommend it to anybody who doesn't already have good AviSynth skills or is willing to learn it.
would like to be closer to 1gb) without sacrificing quality.
I agree with hello_hello that xvid/avi is falling from favour.
Everyone has their favourite methods & software, but here's what I do. It mightn't suit you (or anyone else) but it works for me:
1).. If the DVD isn't copy protected, use Freemake Video Converter (freeware) to transcode 'on the fly' to .mkv format with H.264 video & AAC audio. 850kbps video bitrate, 128kb audio bitrate, up to 720x576 resolution & 2-pass encoding gives acceptable quality at around 700Mb for the average length main movie from DVD. Plenty of scope to increase the bitrates for better quality if you are OK with upto 2GB files.
2).. If the DVD is protected, rip it to your HD using DVDFab Decrypter or DVDSmith Movie Backup (both freeware), then use VOBMerge to merge the multiple .vob files into 1 big .vob. Open Freemake & import it using the 'video' option & transcode as in 1).. above.
Media player-wise, I use & recommend XBMC but use Splash Pro instead of the internal player. XBMC is a little daunting to setup but once you get it running & get used to scraping the online databases for movie info you'll love it. The forum community for it is huge so help isn't far away.
If you want a simpler approach then forget the HTPC route & go with the WDTV Live. It has a much better WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor) & will play just about anything you throw at it. The std. user interface is 'functional' (a polite way to say a bit boring) but if you are OK to void the warranty period you can get a hacked firmware package that allows for an XBMC-like experience with a bit more work.
Hope this helps.
Last edited by The Mariner; 18th Apr 2012 at 01:42.
Try having a look at VidCoder
Its 100% free and will take any DVD or blu-ray folder and convert it to a high quality MKV file which is way better quality than a divx/xvid video file for the same bitrates
The default settings are good enough for a media centre, unless you intend to watch it on a 60" plasma/lcd/led TV or projection system. What size TV's are you looking to play it on, the bigger the screen size the more bitrate you need and the bigger the final video file
The settings are very easy to understand and even comes with basic video filters that actually work, and you can see the immediate change simply by clicking the 'preview' button. More importantly the preview actually works, unlike some I have tried that fail miserably or just refuse to do what it claims
If you can tell us what hardware you intend to use as your player will give more help in advice on what software (if any) would be better. If your using a media player box, I use the Ryan PlayonHD which plays pretty much everything, even disc ISO images are played without any problems and can be connected to a network so you could even stream the movies directly off your main computer or laptop if you wish, or plug in a USB drive and play movies from that if the internal one is full
1GB is really pushing it for not losing quality, just checking using VidCoder a 1 hr 30 min film is only getting 1300 bitrate with 192 audio. That's really poor quality and the longer the film the less bitrate which means even poorer quality video, so your better forgetting the size and choosing something like an average bitrate of say 3000 which still isn't great but if you only intend to watch them on TV's you should be ok
For bitrate suggestions, the following gives a very rough guide to what quality :
VHS : 1500
DVD : 4000-8500
Blu-ray : anything from 8000 to 22000
So if you try to convert a very long film, in blu-ray to a 1GB file it will take forever to convert, and VidCoder will squeeze it to 1GB size if you insist but the final quality will be pretty poor. a 4 hour film like Lord of The Rings squeezed to 1GB would be awful to watch
If your just ripping DVDs, then personally a 1.4GB filesize should be okay for most 1 hr 30 min films, but a 2.2GB filesize should be okay for pretty much everything, unless you use a 60" TV. VidCoder can easily have the settings changed so regardless of the video is will always be about 2.2GB in size and adjust the bitrate automatically
That works out at about 100 movies per 250GB hard drive, so a 1TB hard drive, which the majority of decent media player boxes can handle, should give you around 400 movies
Have a look at VidCoder, its free and pretty much ready to go once installed
Last edited by steptoe; 18th Apr 2012 at 02:17.
CloneDVD but if it shrinks the DVD as it rips in order to fit it on a single layer blank, then you don't want to use it as you're effectively converting the DVD twice. If Clone DVD can simply copy the DVD to your hard drive then that's probably okay.
If not try the free version of DVDFab. I'm pretty sure it has a mode to rip just the movie from the disc to your hard drive and from there you can convert it.
The other possible reason for not converting directly from the disc is to keep the wear of your optical drive to a minimum. It should be able to rip the DVD to your hard drive in 10 to 15 minutes, but it might have to work for a lot longer while a program is converting. Plus if there's a problem with the ripping process (scratched DVD, copy protection) it's better to find out before you start converting, not during the middle of it.
Personally, I completely ignore any "rules" regarding bitrates when converting as there are none. If I convert using AutoGK I pick a set width and file size and let AutoGK run it's compression test. If the result isn't between 70% and 75% I adjust the file size and start again. It can be a bit of trial and error to get it right, but as a result my AVIs range from 450MB to 2GB or more (average is probably around 1GB with 128K MP3 audio), however they're all the same quality relative to the source.
Likewise when encoding using x264 I use quality based encoding, but because x264 can do it without running a 2 pass encode, there's no need to mess around with running compression tests and adjusting the file size etc. Regardless of the encoder you use you should be able to run quality based encoding (if you can't, use something else). You'd pick the quality you want (in the case of x264 it's called a CRF value) and let the encoder do it's thing. The final file sizes will vary all over the place but once again the quality relative to the source will be consistent. I generally use a CRF value of 18 or 19 for DVDs (lower values = higher quality) and the file sizes probably average around 1GB to 1.5GB, while keeping the original AC3 5.1ch audio. The last DVD I encoded is still on my hard drive. Using a CRF value of 18 the final file size was 975MB and the bitrate was only 1565Kbps. Likewise using a CRF value of 19, my 720p Bluray encodes seem to range from about 2GB to 5GB.
If you encode using a predetermined file size or bitrate you're basically picking the quality in advance without knowing what it'll be. Unless there a particular reason to stick to a specific file size, quality based encoding is, in my opinion, the way to do it.
Handbrake again. It has been quite a while since I've used it, but for me it's a bit like StaxRip in that maybe there's nothing wrong with the program as such, we just don't play well together. You know how some software seems to think the way you do, while other software seems.... well..... not to?
I'm not sure how long it's been since you've used MeGUI but I rarely edit a script it creates unless I want to do something that's easier to add manually. However yes, I'd agree, it probably does have a bit more of a learning curve than other GUIs, but in my case it seems to think the way I do.
Last edited by hello_hello; 18th Apr 2012 at 02:54.
I agree about encoding from a DVD to 1 GB ... you can't do it without losing quality.
If you didn't have much luck with handbrake try vidcoder. It's based on handbrake but the interface is a bit easier.
One thing about handbrake and vidcoder is the profile settings. As installed they default to the standard profile. You don't want that unless you're encoding to a mobile device. Use the high profile, always, unless you're going to watch the video on a device that won't support it. I don't think that'd be an issue for you here.
You can get some pretty damn good h.264 rips from your dvds in a pretty reasonable size, but unfortunately it involves the h.264 advanced settings. And they're complex. There aren't advanced presets because not all source video benefits from the same settings. But if you're going to archive a lot of dvd's I think it may be worth learning them.
The GUI won't help you with those settings, unfortunately. I find myself using handbrake more these days than vidcoder. It doesn't need 3rd party codec packs that shouldn't be used with windows 7. It doesn't require you to be a video geek to get started. I'm maybe half a video geek.
Another thing about handbrake is the docs are excellent. I've used many paid programs where they weren't half as good.
I don't mean to scare you off by talking about those settings. The thing is, while h.264 is the best format now, it ain't magic. The data is basically the same as other formats. In addition to somewhat better compression, the big difference is that it has better features for tweaking the encoding. I've found that's where my dvd encodes got way better.
Personally I think most people are far better off not trying to "tweak" the encoder and just use x264's default speed presets. Adding a "tuning" is probably not a bad idea at times (tune film for example) but you really need to know what you're doing before you start messing around.