Ripping (SD) DVDs - BEST Quality?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by cosmichobo, Sep 26, 2016.

  1. cosmichobo macrumors 6502


    May 4, 2006

    I've just completed my Classic Era Doctor Who DVD collection - yay. 150-odd DVDs featuring 48min-240min of SD video footage each (plus some higher quality extras).

    My task now is to rip them to a digital format with 2 goals:
    1) Archiving, in case the DVDs rot/etc
    2) Viewing on an original AppleTV (jailbroken with NitoTV)

    I am hoping that the 2 goals are in fact universal... but essentially I am seeking the BEST picture I can obtain, which to my mind means as close to ZERO transcoding as possible. HDD space is NOT an issue here.

    I know I can rip the discs "intact" straight to HDD, and the Gen1 AppleTV can play them.- just like putting the disc in a player... but the main user will be my brother, who has Down Syndrome. As such, I am hoping to replicate the current setup I built for him, which is to say - 1 file representing each story, with cover-art to assist his selection. That way, there's no DVD menus/etc to negotiate.

    Everyone has been telling me to just use Handbrake... and I had a go - MPG4, large file, H.264, RF:20, deinterlaced... And the result was very good! But... Before I embark on 300-odd hours of digitising, I thought I'd ask the question one more time to see what other answers I may drag out of people...

    I have a small budget if I need to buy software...

    What are your thoughts?


  2. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    Handbrake is the best way. If your one try made you perceive anything less than very close to the original, slide the RF switch down a notch to maybe 19 from 20 and let it do it's thing again. Much more than that is quality overkill.

    And instead of "deinterlaced" try the "decomb" option and compare with your own eyes. You might visually like that better.

    I presume you know you can use something like MetaZ, Subler or similar to attach cover art, descriptions, etc. Another tip is to use the TV Show tag instead of "movie" so that you can organize the shows into the proper sequence and into their individual seasons. Again, stuff like MetaZ is good for this too.

    One more thing. If you don't have the time for doing it one at a time, you might use MakeMKV to first rip a bunch of them to hard disk and then que them up for conversion in Handbrake so that it will automatically convert many perhaps while you sleep or over a weekend.

    Either way, it's a big job but also an admirable one for your purposes. Good luck.
  3. flyinmac macrumors 68040


    Sep 2, 2006
    United States
    I use handbrake myself. I get very consistent great results by using the high profile, then setting RF to 14, tune to Film, and speed to Slower.

    I realize it may be overkill on some shows, but I don't have time to redo. So I just use it on everything I convert, and I'm happy with the results.

    Also, you can use external DVD / blu ray drives. I have a stack of 5 drives on top of my Mac Pro. Plus the 2 internals. Gives me 7 total. I just que up all the handbrake jobs and come back later.

    It makes my moving to digital much faster. I don't have to keep coming back and feeding it DVDs. I just check on it later.
  4. cosmichobo thread starter macrumors 6502


    May 4, 2006
    It's been a while... (!) but I'm back again...

    Following from above, I got about 2/3 through the library of DVDs, using Handbrake with slightly higher than standard rates for the classic AppleTV presets. After sampling a few of the rips, I felt quite happy, so went ahead... then got distracted by life...

    So, the other day I actually sat down and watched one of the stories in full... And - as I've previously experienced with earlier versions of Handbrake - all of a sudden the image will undergo a major brightness adjustment. Most notable when the footage is quite dark, and suddenly it will jump up the brightness like it's trying to accommodate... then after a while it may go dark again... :(

    Also, I hadn't been checking very well obviously - the main features are all 4:3... and some special features are also 4:3... but some are 16:9... The ripped 4:3 are fine, but the 16:9 have all been cut to 4:3...

    At any rate... I'm thinking maybe a container changer and concatenator may be a better option to create a "master" library, and then I'll look at compressing copies for my brother. (I have given him back the AppleTV with the 2/3 of the stories... which was another issue - the 160GB drive just isn't big enough... and external drives resulted in major issues...)

    I've just given MakeMKV a go... the results seem to be pretty good... just confused as it "missed" 2 or 3 of the special features... And MKVs don't always play nicely with Macs... But I'll see how I go there.
  5. mic j macrumors 68030

    Mar 15, 2012
    With players on the aTV4, like Infuse, there is really no need to go to the mp4 level unless you are really trying to reduce HDD storage space...and as cheap as storage is now, it's probably better just to get a bigger drive. I use Infuse and have all my DVD/BR's in MKV format (using MakeMKV) and everything plays perfectly.
  6. cosmichobo, Apr 24, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2017

    cosmichobo thread starter macrumors 6502


    May 4, 2006
    I don't own an ATV4...

    The uses for the videos will be:

    1) Lossless copies for editing fan videos for YouTube channel
    2) Viewing on MacMini HTPC (or similar) - network possibly limiting file size, or will have to connect drive direct
    3) AppleTV (Gen1), 160GB internal only storage - thus needs to be around 300MB per half hour of footage
    4) Possibly also viewing via G4 Cube...
  7. mic j macrumors 68030

    Mar 15, 2012
    Sorry, I thought you were doing all of that for the aTV4. After going back through the thread...not sure how I picked that up. :oops:
  8. rhett7660 macrumors G5


    Jan 9, 2008
    Sunny, Southern California
    Like others have mentioned, I would go the MakeMKV route. I know you are limited on internal space, but like you, I have found if there is a scene with a lot of black levels, there can be issues with a handbrake conversion. Heck, you can see this issue without the conversion on some DVD's. I don't see it as much on Blu-Ray's.
  9. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    Maybe try one Handbrake pass from the MakeMKV rip of one of the problematic episodes. See if the issue shows itself again. I appreciate these suggestions to just work with the MKV file but you will get better file sizes if you convert them to m4v files.

    Secondly, since you are experimenting with custom settings, try again with a default preset setting (you making no changes) to see if the problem happens that way too.

    Also, are any of the problematic files perhaps in black & white? If so, there is a handbrake box to check for black & white video: picture settings, filter, check the grayscale box. Test that if some of those classics are black & white.

    As to 16:9 getting chopped to 4:3, be sure you are clicking either a default or custom preset for each file... instead of just selecting file after file but leaving the settings as they were with an earlier file you've done. For example, if you initially select a 4:3 crop file but then load up a 16:9, it's going to chop the latter to the settings of the former... unless you click your default or custom preset again when it should adjust to the proper ratio for the newly loaded file.
  10. cosmichobo thread starter macrumors 6502


    May 4, 2006
    Thanks for the replies everyone.

    The "custom" settings in Handbrake that I mentioned was decombing, and increasing the quality slidebar just a few notches. Looking into it - I think this was actually the cause of the 16:9 footage being clipped - I hadn't noticed had the size setting as part of that feature... :(

    I've also noticed now that if I keep the preview window open, it will auto update to show the track I am looking at ripping, so I can easily confirm its native dimensions.

    Some of the DVD main features are indeed black and white, however the issue with the brightness changing was from colour stories. I'd encountered this before with Handbrake - had put me off the idea of using it in the first place. I'll have a look at the b&w options when I get to those stories - if I do ultimately go with Handbrake.

    As noted, MakeMKV couldn't access several small files, so that's going to ruin my workflow if I go that way... I'm trying Handbrake again right now, but MKV mpeg2enc... I'll see how that goes...

    As noted, I think I'll look at making a "Master" copy for my own use, and then handbrake/ffmpeg to create a 350MB/half hour kind of file for my brother's AppleTV..
  11. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    Are you sure? Check your "Minimum title length (seconds)" setting in MakeMKV preferences. Is the number of seconds in there greater than the number of seconds in those smaller files? If so, reduce that number and the smaller files should show up in the list.
  12. cosmichobo thread starter macrumors 6502


    May 4, 2006
    Thank-you!!! I couldn't see that option, even though it was in plain sight!! Just set it to 30 seconds, instead of 120, and it's picked up the 2 smaller files.

    I'm pretty satisfied then that I'll have the ability to archive all of the DVDs in question, including the subtitles and commentaries. I'll then have to look at re-encoding them to an acceptable size/quality for the AppleTV Gen1 for my brother.
  13. Lycanthrope macrumors 6502a


    Nov 1, 2005
    Brussels, Belgium, Europe
    Would just like to thank everyone on this thread. My old VIDEO_TS rips were not being handled by Infuse on ATV4 so I had to convert to .mkv's

    To cut to the chase, Handbrake was a very cumbersome route and the string hit-and-miss, so I tried MakeMKV as advised and was astounded that it dod the conversion of a while DVD in a matter of seconds, and is clearly therefore a bit-for-bit extraction.

    Super tool!
  14. kokako macrumors regular

    Feb 23, 2011
    Definitely makemkv it’s a 1:1 copy no encoding just taking the video_ts contents and wrappping in another container MKV.i really think you should buy a. Ew Appletv then you can install AIRVIDEOHD and just stream the good doctor straight to your tv from your Mac or wherever the doc episodes reside.
  15. cosmichobo thread starter macrumors 6502


    May 4, 2006
    G'day everyone, thanks for the replies.

    So the old AppleTV is dead. Or at least - being abandoned. The internal HDD died. I spent about a month upgrading it from ATA to SATA and installing a 1TB drive, that could fit everything plus more on it. 2 weeks later the ATV ceased working, showing the ? / hdd icon. I haven't had the chance to exam the device (it resides 4 hours away), however at this point I've instead purchased an ATV2, and am looking at jailbreaking it to instal NitoTV again, as that's what my brother is familiar with.

    I did briefly start using the MKV option... and I agree - it's great to have a 1:1 rip that doesn't involve encoding the data and thus losing quality... and perhaps the ATV2 will be a viable option to play the files too.

    I stopped however as I couldn't then find a suitable option to use the MKV files in Final Cut for my YouTube channel (fan edits).

    If the ATV2 does like the MKV's, then I think I'll continue with that approach, so at least I will have a lossless option on the table... then work out where to go from there.

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