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  1. Member
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    Jun 2021
    North America
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    This is my first time posting here, and my first time attempting to rip a DVD, or use the VLC media player. I know nothing about the process beyond what I found searching online, and very little about computers, or software, in general. Please bear with me. Any and all advice or help that can be provided is extremely appreciated.

    I have a series I'm trying to convert into MP4s using the VLC media player. Followed the steps provided in the webpage I found for ripping a DVD, but things didn't go as expected. I converted the first disc (episodes 1-4) and had it save to a flashdrive, with the file titled 'disc1'. Just testing things out to see how it worked. It took a VERY long time to convert, and went through multiple odd-timed cycles before it finally finished almost 3 hours later. After the first cycle, though, the MP4 was already on the flashdrive, and the flashdrive had stopped blinking, even though the converting process still seemed to be in process. Which led me to believe the rest of the files were being saved elsewhere, for some reason. I hope any of that made sense.

    The problem is, once it was done, I went to view the MP4 file that was on the flashdrive, and it was only episode one, with the director's commentary. I don't know what happened, or how to fix it. Where are the rest of my episodes? Where is episode one without the director commentary? Could the rest of the files have been saved somewhere else? If so how do I find them? Was each cycle overwriting the last MP4 file? I don't mind if the entire disc is saved as one MP4 file, but that's not what happened. It's only one 42 min episode, and I don't know what happened to the rest.

    Again, any help or advice is extremely appreciated. I've tried searching online, but I don't really know what to search to find an answer to this. Please help?
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  2. VLC is not the best tool for this type of simple DVD>Video files task. There are those who do swear by it, but I think most of us would rather swear AT it. VLC is a great player app that can play anything you throw at it: for that primary function it is almost unparalleled. But for conversion? Yuck. For one thing, the results are often terrible. For another, the illogical counterintuitive settings interface for conversion functions was designed by a committee of demented Mad Hatter collaborating with sadistic Red Queen during an Alice In Wonderland drug-fueled tea party. IOW, less than useful. VLC is more of a last-resort conversion option: when you encounter a goofy file that won't even load on other player apps, much less play or convert, sometimes VLC is the only possible conversion route. But for everyday use, consider a different converter.

    What you want is a dedicated, simplified tool optimized for converting dvds to video files. The one most recommended for this is MakeMKV, which you can download from the VH tools library. MakeMKV will automatically package each episode on the disc as a separate MKV file on your hard drive. The drawback to this workflow is the MKV files are large: the same size as each episode on the dvd. That is because MakeMKV does not compress or shrink the video: it just changes it from DVD format to MKV files while preserving the quality.

    If you need smaller files for use on a phone or tablet, you should look into tools like DVDfab, DVDshrink and Handbrake. These convert from DVD to video files like MP4, M4V or MKV while also reducing the size of the final files (at some sacrifice in quality, which you can adjust). You may need to manually choose things like the normal soundtrack vs the commentary track: if left on auto convert, some DVDs that prioritize the commentary track may pre-select that during conversion if you don't override the choice.

    Note its a really bad idea to have any of these tools save their conversion directly to a USB flash drive. Flash drives are dismally slow at saving video files, combined with the necessary processing time of the app you can indeed wait hours and then find the flash drive has failed in some way. Better to make some room on your PC hard drive, and save the files there during conversion. Afterward, they'll copy easily to a flash drive.

    Normal processing time for a half hour TV episode during DVD to reduced-size MP4 conversion is typically about the same or a bit more than the episode running time when using a popular tool like Handbrake. So a dvd with 8 episodes on it will take around 2 to3.5 hours to convert properly. Some tools run much quicker than this, but it varies widely depending on the dvd contents and the specifics of the result you want (format, size, quality).
    Last edited by orsetto; 15th Jun 2021 at 18:16.
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