How to Copy Family Movie DVDs to my MacBook Air

Banich2

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Apr 21, 2015
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Hello. Several years ago my Dad sent a bunch of VHS tapes with old family movies to Walgreens and they were turned into DVDs.

I have a MacBook Air running the Public Beta of High Sierra and a Superdrive.

I'd like to copy the DVDs to my computer and then convert the files into MP4s so that I can add them into the Photos app and into iMovie.

Before I spend a bunch of money on software, what is the best way to do this?

Thanks!
 

ColdCase

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Feb 10, 2008
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I think Sierra still has the disk utility app which you can use to create an image of the DVD on your hard drive. Use "DVD/CD master" as the image format. That will get you a DVD disk image on your hard drive you can mount and play as any DVD. This is a good way to archive aging DVDs.

Since your original DVD is not copy protected, you should be able to use the free Handbrake app to extract the video from the image (or directly from the DVD).

So you don't need to spend money, unless you want to edit the video and don't have iMovie handy.
 
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Boyd01

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Just use Handbrake as the others have suggested, it's free and also really good. VHS is horrible quality compared to what we are used to now, but of course it's worth preserving your family history. I don't see much reason to create disk images from the DVD's, the Handbrake files will be more than good enough and they will be dramatically smaller.
 

ColdCase

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Creating the image preserves DVD menus and authoring production values. Some of our family videos are interactive. It will play like a DVD, and you can burn replacement DVDs from the image if you should ever want too. Handbrake will only give you a bunch of individual video/audio tracks. So if one wants to preserve more than the video clips, its simple and quick to make an image and disk drive space is cheap.

By the way, VHS may be relatively poor quality, but most of our home video was originally recorded on the better Hi8 or DVT, plenty on HDDVT. These can make pretty good looking DVDs on a decent player and large screen TV.
 

Boyd01

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Those are all good points @ColdCase. But I was responding to what the OP said:

Several years ago my Dad sent a bunch of VHS tapes with old family movies to Walgreens and they were turned into DVDs.

So I'll concede, if you want to preserve the production values of the VHS tapes you took to Walgreens, then you can make disk images that will be 4gb each instead of 1gb.

Seriously, you made a good case for your own use of disk images. The OP really didn't sound like his situation was the same though. I have a lot of disk images archived from DVD's I made of theatrical performances between 2001-2011. Have ripped them all with Handbrake and added them to my iTunes server. This allows me to watch them on my Apple TV's, Macs and iPhone.

After ripping the DVD with Handbrake, you can just drag it to iTunes where it will be automatically added to the "Home Movies" category. You can then customize it with "Get Info" in iTunes where you can give it a name, write a summary and add an image for "cover art".
 
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ColdCase

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Yeah, I was responding to the comment "why would anyone want to retain DVD images", just to provide some examples. There may be others. If the company walgreens contracted with enhanced the VHS video source, like correcting color, then the DVD may actually be better than the typical VHS to DVD conversion, but still not very good by todays standards.

Over the years I also have converted hundreds of VHS, Hi8, and DVT tapes to iTunes after editing. I typically add a Subler step before moving the video clip to the "automatic add to itunes" folder. I use Subler to add meta data such as descriptions and filter/sort aids as finding a 1 minute clip in thousands of video clips can be daunting :) Seems that not everyone in the family finds every clip interesting.

The kids and grandparents love the DVDs as they are a well indexed collection of short clips. They don't have to fast forward through 30 minutes just to view the 30 seconds of interest to one or another, or they can just sit and view the entire two hours or so. They expect one every Christmas holiday... so I'm kinda stuck. I have to keep an old MacPro with DVDSP running just to keep them happy :) They have also been known to lose/damage a DVD, so I may have to replace say a Year 2006 vintage DVD now and then.

Anyway I digress, the OP doesn't have to spend any money to do what he wants.
 

Boyd01

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Yeah, I was responding to the comment "why would anyone want to retain DVD images"
FWIW, I did not say what you have quoted there. I said: "I don't see much reason to create disk images from the DVD's" which was not a general statement about "anyone", it addressed the OP's question specifically. :)

Anyway, your idea is fine if someone wants to preserve the exact same experience as offered by the original DVD. I stopped using DVDSP in 2011 and have not burned a DVD since then. Ripped my library of over 1000 DVD's with Handbrake, added metadata and put them on my iTunes server where I can access on my Apple TV's Macs and iPhone. Have not watched a physical DVD or used a disk image since about 2013 and don't miss them. :)
 

CNYinLA

macrumors newbie
Aug 18, 2017
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For homemade family movie DVDs, Handbrake is the way to go.
Handbrake's settings are so confusing. I wish they would just offer a simple 'like for like' option for quality when converting to MP4

Which Handbrake settings do you think would be best to do for archival quality. I want to be able to view it without it losing any of the quality it currently has on DVD.
 

Boyd01

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I've been impressed with the results using the "SuperHQ" settings in the newer versions of Handbrake. Click the Toggle Presets button to see all the commonly used settings. Sort of depends on the source video, but I'll assume you have standard definition 480i60 material on DVD. In that case, I would choose "SuperHQ 480p30 surround", then click the "picture" button in the main window and choose "Yadif" from the Deinterlace dropdown menu.

Do a test and see what you think, there are various other things you could tweak depending on the original video.
 

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