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Old 27th February 2011, 18:54   #1  |  Link
DalienX
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DVD to AVI

Hello doom9 peoples.
I've managed to accumulate a decent amount of dvd's and in order to save them from wear and tear i'd like to convert them all to avi files that i can put on my portable harddrive.
Then i can plug the harddrive directly into my dvd player (it has a usb port) and play the movie.

I tried using a program called "extra dvd to avi ripper" which worked ok but the resulting avi looked like crap and it was 2gb lol.

So i'm looking for a stand alone program to rip the dvd straight to avi and preserves the quality of the dvd.
I don't really care about the size as the portable drive is 1TB, as long as its not stupidly big.
Also needs to be pretty fast as i have a lot to do.
Any suggestions?
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Old 28th February 2011, 00:52   #2  |  Link
yetanotherid
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You may find the USB port won't read a large number of files, such as those on a hard drive. I have one which won't read them all. I have to copy what I want to watch to a thumb drive and play them from there.
Edit: You'll probably also find the USB port won't read anything if the drive is formatted using the NTFS file system rather than FAT.

I don't know of a free program which will convert directly from DVD. It's usually a two step process. First you have to rip the DVD to your hard drive and then convert those files. For ripping I use a program called RipIt4Me. You'll find it with Google. It requires DVD Decrypter and DVD Shrink to be installed. Another option might be to use a program such as AnyDVD which removes the copy protection "on the fly". This may allow you to convert directly from the disc, but I generally rip a "batch" of discs to the hard drive, setup each encode and then let the conversion program convert them. For converting I use AutoGK.

When you convert with AutoGK there's two choices. You can pick the file size and AutoGK will run a 2 pass encode giving the best quality it can for the selected file size, or you can pick a quality (the default of 75% is the optimum quality/file size setting) and AutoGK will run a single pass encode and the file size will be whatever it will be. Each movie is different... the file size depends on how hard the movie is to compress. Anything between 700MB and 2GB would be normal.
The second method is faster (and if file size isn't a huge issue then by keeping the original audio rather than converting it to MP3 you can save even more time) however depending on your DVD player there's a chance you may have to run a two pass encode. That's because some standalone players start to stutter if the bitrate gets too high and the only way to limit it when converting with XviD is to run a 2 pass encode. If you first convert a movie with a lot of action using a single pass encode (or one with a scene where it's snowing or raining) and your DVD player plays it fine then it's probably safe to continue using the single pass encoding method.
(When you install AutoGK it gives you options for selecting standalone player compatibility based on the chipset your player uses. If you don't know, the "ESS" option is the safest one)

Having said all that.... if it were me and especially if I had a lot of DVDs to convert I'd seriously consider buying a similar BluRay player and converting using x264 rather than XviD/AVI, because it might be better to do it "right" the first time.
DVDs don't use square pixels but AVIs do, so when converting a DVD to AVI it has to be resized down to use square pixels and some definition is lost. Often the quality difference isn't all that much or it's barely noticeable, but there is a difference. When converting using x264 inside an MP4 or MKV container you can do so using the same shaped pixels as the original DVD (it's called anamorphic encoding) so no quality is lost through resizing. For converting to MKV I use a program called MeGUI but once again you have to rip the DVDs to your hard drive first. And of course your current DVD player won't play them.

Last edited by yetanotherid; 28th February 2011 at 01:26.
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Old 28th February 2011, 05:40   #3  |  Link
DalienX
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Ahh i should have probably mentioned my player is already bluray,
so whats this x264 thing? never heard of that one.

I tried autogk last night, first i ripped the dvd using dvd decrypter then ran autogk over it, was not sure which of the vob files to pick since it only wanted one.
But i just picked one of the larger files and it worked (got lucky maybe?)
First i tried it at 100% quality, it made a great looking avi that weighed 3.2gb
Then i tried restricting the size to 1.5gb and it worked ok, though looked a little blocky in spots.
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Old 28th February 2011, 08:39   #4  |  Link
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yetanotherid View Post
You may find the USB port won't read a large number of files, such as those on a hard drive. I have one which won't read them all. I have to copy what I want to watch to a thumb drive and play them from there.
It has nothing to do with the USB port. It has to do with the device that tries to read an USB-Device. Never heard of reading the first 20 files and missing the 980 ones. It's a compatibility issue, especially with memory sticks. With USB 2.5" HDDs there's also the problem of insufficient power (the huge majority simply demand more than 500mA, not only on start-up, but also during R/W cycles). Here it might help a powered USB 2.0 hub so in case of a surge, only the hub should be changed and not the (more expensive) player.
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Old 28th February 2011, 10:03   #5  |  Link
yetanotherid
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DalienX View Post
Ahh i should have probably mentioned my player is already bluray,
so whats this x264 thing? never heard of that one.
Just for the record, AVI, MP4, MKV etc aren't formats, they're containers which can hold different types of video and audio. Generally when converting to AVI you're encoding using the XviD encoder.
x264 is the open source version of the h264 encoder. It's a more modern encoder than XviD... smaller file sizes for the same quality... and it's the same format used on many BlueRay discs. Generally when converting using the x264 encoder it's put into an MKV or MP4 container.
If you want to try it out Google MeGUI (it'll also encode using XviD), encode a DVD to an MKV file and see if your player will play it. If it supports playing MKV files you shouldn't have a problem. MeGUI has presets for encoding to various formats and for various hardware players.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DalienX View Post
I tried autogk last night, first i ripped the dvd using dvd decrypter then ran autogk over it, was not sure which of the vob files to pick since it only wanted one.
But i just picked one of the larger files and it worked (got lucky maybe?)
There's usually a bunch of sequentially numbered vob files. If you select the first one AutoGK (and most other encoders) will automatically include the rest of them in the sequence.
Alternatively (using AutoGK) you can select the appropriate ifo file rather than a vob file and AutoGK will then display some details such as the movie duration, frame rate etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DalienX View Post
First i tried it at 100% quality, it made a great looking avi that weighed 3.2gb
Then i tried restricting the size to 1.5gb and it worked ok, though looked a little blocky in spots.
There's really no point going over 75% as the file sizes start to increase dramatically with only small improvements in quality. Run the same encode again at 75% to compare the file size and quality with the 100% encode. Chances are you mightn't see any difference at all but the file size will be a lot smaller.

Did you keep the original audio or convert it to MP3?
The 1.5GB encode was probably blocky because either 1.5GB was too small or you set an output resolution which stopped AutoGK from adjusting it etc. When you run a file size encode (especially if you're not running everything in auto mode) have a look at the log file as AutoGK encodes. The compression test is run before encoding and after the compression test AutoGK makes it's adjustments. After the first pass AutoGK will report an expected first pass quality. Ideally you'd want it at about 70% or higher. If it's much lower you either have to increase the file size and/or reduce the resolution and start again or accept a reduction in quality.
Unless there's a need for file size encoding though, I'd stick to a single pass encode at 75%. It'll average out. This DVD might convert to a 1.8GB AVI, the next one may only be 800MB.

You can reduce the file size by fixing the output resolution at a width of 640. Anything above that when encoding DVDs to AVI doesn't increase the quality much. Once again you could run a single pass encode at 704 or 720 pixels wide, then run it again using the same quality setting at a width of 640. The file size will decrease by about 15% (I think) but if you compare the two running full screen on your monitor you may not see any difference in quality at all.

All the same trade-offs basically apply when using the x264 encoder. Instead of a percentage quality setting you select (for single pass encoding) a CRF value. The lower the value the higher the quality (20 is the default used by a lot of encoding software). I encode DVDs with MeGUI using a CRF of 19, using anamorphic encoding, and I keep the AC3 audio rather than convert it. The end result is file sizes similar to or even larger then the AVI equivalent but you get to keep the 5.1ch audio and the quality is better. I think it's worth it though as hard drive storage is pretty cheap these days.

You're going to fill that 1TB drive in no time anyway, especually when you start encoding BluRay discs, then you'll buy another, and another..... trust me on that... I've got eight TB of external drives filling up fast.

Hard drive docks are the way to go. Then you can just buy standard internal drives and swap them around when need be. Something like this (USB3 preferably):
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applicati...0Drive%20Docks
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Old 28th February 2011, 15:56   #6  |  Link
DalienX
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Thanks guys, lots of good info there i need to study and experiment with.
Got no plans to try bluray disks at this stage since my pc doesn't even have a bluray player, so my 1tb should last a while.
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Old 28th February 2011, 21:53   #7  |  Link
CWR03
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Something to keep in mind is tha you're not going to find a free, all-in-one program that is fast and outputs a good quality file in a reasonably small size. AutoGK is about as close as it gets, and in many cases it can't read directly from the disk. It doesn't utilize the x264 codec, so you won't get a compact file with good video quality. Your best bet is to find a process that works for you. Mine is many steps (Rip with DVDFab, demux audio with DGIndex, resize/crop/encode audio when needed/output .avs file with Gordian Knot and encode with VirtualDubMod). I can quite easily achieve a file far superior in quality with about half the size of a file from AutoGK, and it takes less time to encode than the runtime of the video.
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Old 28th February 2011, 23:12   #8  |  Link
yetanotherid
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CWR03 View Post
Mine is many steps (Rip with DVDFab, demux audio with DGIndex, resize/crop/encode audio when needed/output .avs file with Gordian Knot and encode with VirtualDubMod). I can quite easily achieve a file far superior in quality with about half the size of a file from AutoGK, and it takes less time to encode than the runtime of the video.
I assume you're referring to using the x264 encoder instead of XviD?

Would I also be safe in assuming you're resizing to square pixel dimensions rather than anamorphic encoding?
I'm just curious as I find when resizing to square pixels the file sizes with x264 are definitely smaller (although I wouldn't say the quality is far superior) but when it comes to anamorphic encoding because there's more pixels to encode than there is when resizing down, the file sizes tend to be fairly similar (although I guess it depends on the CRF used).

Last edited by yetanotherid; 1st March 2011 at 06:28.
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Old 1st March 2011, 07:50   #9  |  Link
CWR03
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yetanotherid
I assume you're referring to using the x264 encoder instead of XviD?
Yes; I thought it was implied but it must not have been clearly enough.

Quote:
Originally Posted by yetanotherid
Would I also be safe in assuming you're resizing to square pixel dimensions rather than anamorphic encoding?
Yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by yetanotherid
I'm just curious as I find when resizing to square pixels the file sizes with x264 are definitely smaller (although I wouldn't say the quality is far superior) but when it comes to anamorphic encoding because there's more pixels to encode than there is when resizing down, the file sizes tend to be fairly similar (although I guess it depends on the CRF used).
For years I did a 2-pass encode using XviD and in order to avoid a blocky output I would have to downsize the video, which of course loses detail. With an upsized image and the right CRF setting I keep the detail I like and always end up with a much smaller file than what I had to choose with 2-pass encoding.
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