By Team Digit Published Date
01 - Jun - 2006
| Last Updated
01 - Jun - 2006
Much as we'd like them to be, movie DVDs still aren't cheap. If you have a lot of them lying around, you probably value them dearly, and are worried about them getting scratched. Then there's the issue of friends borrowing them and not returning them! In general, it's a good idea to back up your DVDs. And no, just trying to copy the VOB files to your hard disk won't do it!

Here we tell you how to back up a DVD movie and convert it to the popular DivX formats-you can then burn them back onto DVD. And yes, it's legal-just as for CDs, it's legal to have one backup of a DVD. Once you create backups, with the movies in DivX format, you can cram three or even four of them onto a DVD! There's a whole bunch of software required to do this, but after you've done it for one movie, it will become routine. So here's the list:

1. DVD Decrypter: This is a very fast and free DVD ripping software. It can rip multi-angle DVDs. Find it at www.mrbass. org/dvdrip/SetupDVDDecrypter_3.5.4.0.exe. The current version is, and it's a 0.86 MB download.

2. DVD2AVI: You use this software to convert the ripped and decrypted VOB files to the AVI file format. DVD2AVI v1.77.4 is freeware, and is available at www.afterdawn.com/software/video_software/dvd_rippers/dvd2avi.cfm. The download is a tiny 0.16 MB.
3. DivX Create: This has a software codec that allows you to compress videos while maintaining almost the same quality as that of the original video. The latest version of is 6.2, and is available at www.divx.com. It is 15-day trialware ($19.99, or Rs 950, for the registered version), and the download is 16.4 MB.

4. LAME ACM MP3 audio codec: This MP3 codec is required for compressing and encoding audio to a bitrate of 128 kbps, which is good enough for most purposes. Windows comes with an MP3 codec, but this doesn't allow encoding to a bitrate higher than 56 kbps, which is way too low. You can download the LAME ACM MP3 codec from www.free-codecs.com/download/LAME_ACM_Codec.htm. Just 214 KB.

5. VirtualDUB: A video capture/processing utility for 32-bit Windows. Freeware. It is very fast, and is used to create DivX videos. The latest version is 1.6.14, and can be downloaded from www.virtualdub.org. It's about a 1 MB download.

Armed with this arsenal of tools, let's rip those DVDs!

A) Insert your DVD into the drive and launch DVD Decrypter. DVD Decrypter will detect the DVD, and its file contents will be displayed in the right pane. Now go to File > Browse and select the destination for the ripped VOB files. Keep in mind that the destination must have enough free space to store the contents of the entire DVD.

After choosing the destination, click on File > Decrypt to start the decryption process. DVD Decrypter removes the Macrovision protection (which is a type of copy protection in video DVDs) by default, and you can set it to remove the region code as well by going to Tools > IFO > Region Patch > Region Free. These are necessary for the next step. After the DVD ripping process is completed, close DVD Decrypter.

B) Next, launch DVD2AVI. Go to File > Open. Make sure the correct track number in the Audio menu is selected. You need to find the correct track number-most DVDs have multiple audio tracks in different languages. This can be checked by selecting one track at a time and playing it. Also click on the Audio menu and navigate to "48 > 44.1 KHz", and select Off. Go to Help > SIMD Technology and select all the optimisations supported by your processor. Now go to File > Save as AVI.

Decide on a file name and choose a location with enough free space. You will now be prompted to choose a video compressor. Choose "DivX 6.2.1" from the drop-down menu where you can select the video compressor.

Under the Certification Profiles, you can choose an appropriate preset profile such as High Definition, Home Theatre, Portable, Handheld, and Unconstrained. When you choose one of the above profiles, it is virtually guaranteed that the encoded DivX file will be playable on any standalone DivX-certified player. Click on Settings. You can select a bitrate of your choice. A higher bitrate means a larger file size and better quality, while a lower bitrate means a smaller file size and lower image quality.

In the Codec tab, you can set the Encoding mode. The default setting is a good trade-off between quality and compression, but if you wish to control the file size, you can state your own mode such as High Performance, Better Quality, etc. Click on OK and then on Save to start the video demultiplexing process. This will take some time depending on the speed of your computer. At the end of this process, you'll have an AVI file and a WAV file.

C) We now get to the creation of the DivX file-putting together the video (AVI) and audio (WAV) files that were created in the previous step. Launch VirtualDub. Under File > Open, browse to the folder where the AVI and the WAV files are stored. Select the AVI file and click Open.

SimpleDivX is, as the name suggests, a really simple, free software to convert DVD movies to formats such as DivX. In this case, too, you need to first decrypt the DVD to your hard drive. The step-by-step, tabbed approach makes it easy for a novice to understand. It is highly customisable - for example, you can even set the location of the directory where the temporary files are stored. "DivX" in the name of the software is misleading - it can convert to MPEG-4 formats of any kind, such as XviD. This is one software worth trying! 

D) Click on the Audio menu and click "Full Processing Mode". Click again on the Audio menu and select "WAV Audio". You will be prompted to open a WAV file. Select the WAV file you created earlier and click Open. Click on the Audio menu and then on Compression. Select "MPEG Layer-3" from the left pane and then select "128 kBit/s, 48,000 Hz, Stereo" in the right pane. Click OK.

E) Select Interleaving from the Audio menu. Then, select the "ms" radio button and input "500" into the "Interleave audio every" dialog box. Click OK. Again, in the Audio menu, select Volume. Check the box and move the slider to 200 per cent. Click OK.

F) From the Video menu, select Direct Stream Copy.

G) Go to File > Save as. Enter a file name of your choice at a location of your choice, and click OK. This, again, will take some time, but not as much as the video encoding using DVD2AVI. After the process is complete, you'll have a DivX backup of your DVD movie.

H) All that's left now is to burn the DivX backup to CD or DVD using your DVD-Writer. Like we mentioned, you can make backups of several movies and cram them all into one DVD. How many depends, of course, on the quality settings you chose during the backup process. Remember, though, that distributing the DVD you create to friends is illegal!

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