DVD Rip Using DVDfab and Handbrake

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HandBrake is an open-source, GPL-licensed, multiplatform, multithreaded video transcoder, available for MacOS X, Linux and Windows. It allows you to convert digital video, such as from a DVD source (MPEG2) to the more advanced MPEG4 H.264 format.

On a Linux system Handbrake can read encrypted DVD source when used with the VideoLAN Player (VLC). On a windows system an encrypted DVD would first have to be decrypted with another program and copied to the system harddrive.

As of 2012 a second guide, DVD Rip Using DVDfab and FairUse Wizard has been added. In this guide a DVD is backed up and encoded using the impressive H.264 format. Note that both Handbrake and FairUse Wizard can produce XviD and H.264 output.

Handbrake: Review


This is the latest video conversion tool to be reviewed, and when compared to traditional tools Handbrake comes out a clear winner. This software is completely free and it can compete head on against expensive commercial applications to do the same thing.

For the software's specific purpose, converting MPEG2 to H.264, Handbrake receives one of our highest ratings! Handbrake doesn't have all of the different conversion format options and editing functionality of some commercial packages, but it is designed to be a very specific tool for a very specific task, and for that it is clearly a rock star.

Handbrake is fast. On a multi-core processor system Handbrake completes the encoding process in about 1/3 the time as some of the traditional free encoders we have tested.

The developers of Handbrake do not expect nor accept monetary or material donations. They do appreciate contributions by open source developers. This issue is covered in the Handbrake FAQ.

DVDfab versus SmartRipper

Either software is able to accomplish the task. DVDfab is a stripped down free version of commercial software while Smart Ripper is an absolutely free application. DVDfab has a simpler interface, however, Smart Ripper has a lot more features and functionality as both free versions are compared.

Handbrake & DVDfab: Complete Process Guide

Guide- DVD Rip with DVDFab and Handbrake Free Software.png

Handbrake: Subtitle Options - forced only, burned in, default

Whether you choose "burned in" or not depends on the container. With MP4, you have no choice (the subs will be burned in), with MKV, it's up to you to decide whether you want soft subs (not burned in) or if you prefer the subs burned in the video.

When encoding, go into the subtitles section, select English from the list and then tick all three boxes next to it "Forced Only", "Burned Inn" and "Default". This will burn subtitles for foreign audio into your movie.

  • Track: Foreign Audio Search (Bitmap)
  • Checkboxes: Forced Only, Burned In, Default

Forced Subtitles can be captured and burned into the source video. HandBrake can scan the source for subtitles that appear only 10% (or less) of the time in addition to scanning for the presence of any forced subtitles. To enable this functionality within the HandBrake user interface, from the “Subtitles” tab select the “Foreign Audio Search (Bitmap)” option from the “Track” dropdown menu and click the “Forced” Checkbox.

If you do not get a foreign section only subtitle track in your output file, then you may have to manually find and select the correct subtitle track from the “Track” dropdown menu.

Handbrake: Audio Settings

Normalize makes the audio peak 1.0dB and adjusts the volume across the board to slide it "up" or "down" to reach that peak. Relative volume between scenes will still vary widely - soft will still be soft, loud will still be loud, but the overall volume will be louder.

Dynamic range compression makes loud sounds softer and soft sounds louder, "flattening" the volume somewhat across the entire rip.

Use HandBrake's DRC (Dynamic Range Control) to flatten the highs and lows. Increasing DRC (dynamic range compression) reduces the difference between quiet sounds and loud sounds.

Handbrake: Quick Review of Settings

On the Video Tab:

  • Output format MP4 file
  • Video Codec: H.264 (video tab)
  • 2 pass encoding and turbo first pass (not the default so double check!)
  • target size: 700MB

On the Audio tab:

  • Source: Automatic
  • Audio Codec: AAC (faac)
  • Mixdown: Dolby Pro Logic II
  • Samplerate (kHz): 44.1
  • Bitrate: 128
  • DRC: 2

On the Subtitles tab:

  • check all three boxes: Forced Only, Burned In, and Default

On the Chapters tab:

  • uncheck "Create chapter markers"

Handbrake: Double Side / Two Disk DVD Sets

An example is the movie "The Right Stuff" which was released as a double sided DVD with the first half of the movie on side (a) and the second half on side (b). This ends up as two directories on the harddrive which, with normal processing, results in handbrake producing two video files. Handbrake cannot combine them because it can only recognize one directory of VOB files at a time.

Solution: Concatenate the VOB files using MS-DOS.

copy /b part1\VTS_01_01.VOB+part1\VTS_01_02.VOB+part1\VTS_01_03.VOB+part1\VTS_01_04.VOB+part1\VTS_01_05.VOB+part2\VTS_01_01.VOB+part2\VTS_01_02.VOB+part2\VTS_01_03.VOB+part2\VTS_01_04.VOB+part2\VTS_01_05.VOB EVERYTHING.VOB

Using MSDOS copy (binary) will accomplish the same thing as an old program called VOBMerge. The problem with VOBMerge is that it has glitches which make it difficult to use with more than one directory, this is why you should use MSDOS COPY instead.

This will not preserve chapters. To do that you will have to use a software utility which may require re-encoding.

DVDfab: Audio Types to Rip - AC-3/5.1 DTS/5.1 AC-3/2

  • DTS is what is the so called high definition audio
  • AC-3/2 is Dolby Digital 2 channel (stereo)
  • AC-3/5.1 is Dolby Digital 5.1 channel (surround sound)

Since we are targeting size with reasonable quality, Select AC-3/2 for regular stereo audio from the DVD.

Handbrake: Troubleshooting

  • Stuck on Muxing: this may take awhile...

HandBrakeCLI window displayed the message "Muxing: this may take awhile...". The ETA was at 00h00m00s and the fps information was not changing. Stayed in this state until user halted.

Condition seems to be related to using Framerate "Same as Source."

Here's a forum thread of someone having the same issue using Handbrake version 0.9.4. The previous version did not suffer from this condition, which is the result of a bug introduced into this release.

In the support FAQ read the section "My video looks jerky!" Adjusting the framerate can have undesired results. It is important to understand Telecining before messing around with the framerate.

DVDfab: Troubleshooting

Determining which Title(Angle) to rip

Some DVD have 2 complete movie tracks, often a "rated" and "unrated" version. Typically the longer one is what you want, but not always. Sometimes it has been observed that the more desirable "unrated" version was a minute or more shorter. DVDFab seems to favor the first of the two occurrences without regards to size or which version. The point was originally with DVD to have 2 different camera angles but that is less common. Sometimes you have to use the Internet search to find out which is the correct angle. A list of Movie Censorship information sources is also useful to determine which track you want to make a backup of.

There are online resources to locate information about your DVD and which track is the unrated version.

  1. http://www.movie-censorship.com/
  2. http://www.cduniverse.com
  3. http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/43598/hot-tub-time-machine/
  4. http://video.barnesandnoble.com/DVD/Hot-Tub-Time-Machine/John-Cusack/e/883904206040#TABS

Error while reading! Please choose what to do? retry, abort, ignore, ignore All

  1. Clean this movie disc and your drive tray first, and then insert the disc in to see if DVDFab can read it successfully;
  2. Open "Common Settings" window, click on "Read", select "Ignore all the reading errors automatically", then try again to see the result;
  3. Go to "Common Settings/Pathplayer" setting panel, deactivate pathplayer to copy this DVD again to see if this works.

How to copy scratched movie with DVDFab

Choose "Full Disc" mode for backing up a scratched disc. This mode will skip all the sectors which can't be read, and fill the gaps with empty sectors.