Novice - ripping blu-ray and HD DVDs to hard drive.. what format.. - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 02-12-2013, 09:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Ok, I am brand new to this process.. I have two kids and have a lot of DVDs and blu-ray discs for kids stuff and family movies. I started the search on this topic because my kids, though careful, are 6 and 9 and despite their intended caution, do some damage to our discs.. having a few end up out of commission, I decided I would make backup discs and keep the originals aside..

but as I was looking into the options, I have become sort of psyched about the prospect of storing our collection on a hard drive and making a disc if and when I need, or playing from thumb drives into players, or from a laptop.. also, having the ability to convert to an .mp4 file to load onto a tablet or phone for a flight or car ride would be nice to have, too..

I will have both blu-ray and DVDs and want to find out if I'm on the right track.. I have a friend who recommended that I rip into .vob format, as it is recognized by the most players, etc, and I was playing with a trial of aiseesoft's blu-ray ripper that worked well and seemed straightforward.. Before pulling the trigger, though.. I noticed it doesn't output to .iso.

I anticipate that I'm not going to be burning back to a BD.. If the .vob format just fine for my use?

I am not a videophile, but I do want good quality playback when I plug in my laptop to the HDMI port, or plug in the thumb drive into the blu-ray player..

Am I good going with the aiseesoft product, as it seemed like an all in one solution, and I need simplicity.

I just am looking for the pat on the back that for what I'm describing, the .vob is just as good an option for preserving quality audio/video..

In case it matters, I am presently just using TV speakers for audio, and will be setting up shortly my 5.1 surround sound system that hasn't been in service since my most recent move to my current house.. we moved over 5 years ago, so it is definitely nothing fancy.

Any responses and advice are greatly appreciated!! Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 19 Old 02-12-2013, 12:59 PM
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vob files are the segmented video containers used by DVD discs to hold MPEG-2 video streams, they are not something you rip to unless you have a player which understands that a VIDEO_TS folder is a DVD and can play that folder of vob files. m2ts and BDMV folders are the Blu-ray equivalent but hold MPEG-2, VC-1 or H.264 video at HD bitrates.

ISO are disc images, more or less the same as the above but easier to manage as even some player which do support VIDEO_TS/BDMV do not always guess correctly and play the folder whereas they know an ISO is a disc image.

You definitely do not want to rip to vob/m2ts for a tablet or phone.

The most compatible modern video format is H.264 video in the MP4 (also can be M4V) container, this container also supports Dolby 5.1 audio though not all devices will support that DD 5.1 track but newer devices should.

So for video conversion get the free Handbrake if you want high quality encodes of your movies. Feed it the VIDEO_TS/BDMV folder (AnyDVD-HD recommend as decrypt-er) and pick normal or high profile (better quality) then on the audio tab, pick the DD5.1 track and set the codec to AC3passthru, if no DD5.1 then select AC3 encode to get DD 5.1

If you want something simpler than that check out DVDFab it does decrypt and conversion.
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post #3 of 19 Old 02-12-2013, 04:13 PM
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Hi. I'm still new to this too so I wouldn't try to advise you about the best solution for your setup, however for me I've been getting good results so far using DVDFab and AnyDVD (both still in trial) to rip to folders and then using Handbrake to convert to H.264 MKV. I prefer MKV because I like the support for DTS and I don't have any Apple devices that won't play it. Basically what I've learned so far though is that you want to start by knowing what format / container combos will play back on the devices you're using because once you know that and can settle on a single (or a few) profiles for what you want to save, then what can seem like a very confusing, multi-step process can start can start to simplify very quickly. For me it's been:

1) Rip to folders with DVDFab or AnyDVD (MakeMKV also worked for me to start with but then mysteriously started crashing my laptop so I stopped using it)
2) Convert to H.264 MKV using Handbrake or VidCoder (VidCoder uses Handbrake as it's encoding engine and is basically the same thing, although you might find its GUI a little simpler and easier to use)
3) If I want to then author a file to a blu ray or DVD that can play back to any standard player, I use AVCHDCoder to author and save to ISO. (AVCHDCoder is a nice tool because it has a bit rate calculator that will let you set it to utilize all available space on the disk and maximize the quality). And then finally
4) burn the ISO to disk using ImgBurn (note: if you don't care about creating disks that will play in any player and you just want data disks for backup then you don't need to bother with step 3 since ImgBurn can burn the file directly to disk instead)

My other basic tip is to always keep in mind that encoding video pushes your computer probably a lot more than anything else you'll do with it. So don't get frustrated or look for shortcuts to long encode times (if they're fast they're bound to be low quality) and don't ever try to run more than 1 encode on your computer at a time. Handbrake and VidCoder (and I'm sure other tools like it) all have a queue function that allows you to line up your encoding jobs which you can leave running overnight or when you're at work. Beyond that it's all really just trial and error to find out what works best for you. Good luck!
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post #4 of 19 Old 02-13-2013, 04:50 AM
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If you want to keep the original quality then honestly just go with MakeMKV. This will create a single mkv file for your DVDs and Blu-rays. It is also currently free while in beta.

However, I see you mentioned about possibly using your Blu-ray player to play back. Keep in mind that typically Blu-ray players are severely hampered in the formats that they support, and they also have Cinavia which will block playback on certain movie titles.

If you want to encode your files to an m4v format (mobile friendly) use Handbrake. Just keep in mind this is a CPU intensive process, so depending on your PC it could take a while for each movie. Also, because you are encoding you will suffer some quality loss (the amount of loss all depends on the settings you choose).

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post #5 of 19 Old 02-13-2013, 07:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbone1026 View Post

If you want to keep the original quality then honestly just go with MakeMKV. This will create a single mkv file for your DVDs and Blu-rays. It is also currently free while in beta.

However, I see you mentioned about possibly using your Blu-ray player to play back. Keep in mind that typically Blu-ray players are severely hampered in the formats that they support, and they also have Cinavia which will block playback on certain movie titles.

Good point. This is why I was saying he should start off by finding out what format/containers his devices will play back. I do playback through my blu ray player also (an LG BD690) and although it's fine with H.264 MKV it won't play back any other format as MKV. So MakeMKV worked as a 1 stop solution for some of my blu rays but all DVD rips (MPEG-2) and blu rays in other formats (M2TS or VC-1) I would still have to use Handbrake to convert them anyway. Plus there's the issue of file size. I haven't figured this out yet myself but for example, my rip of my Shutter Island blu ray using MakeMKV saved as something like a 28 or 29GB file for the main movie only while running it through Handbrake reduced it to barely over 5GB with no noticeable reduction in quality (to my eyes anyway). Not sure how that happened since the movie was in MPEG-4 AVC to begin with which I thought was the same thing as H.264? Anyway, between that and finding I still had to use Handbrake on most rips anyway I just decided to make it my default to rip to use DVDFab or AnyDVD (still haven't decided between them) to rip to folders and then convert everything to H264 MKV.

As for Cinavia, that hasn't been put on my player yet and I'm being careful to find out about all firmware updates first before I accidentally install it. Not sure if that means that I won't be able to play disks with Cinavia on them, I just know I don't want it. Beyond that I still need to do some more reading to find out exactly what it is.
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post #6 of 19 Old 02-13-2013, 07:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElJimador View Post

Good point. This is why I was saying he should start off by finding out what format/containers his devices will play back. I do playback through my blu ray player also (an LG BD690) and although it's fine with H.264 MKV it won't play back any other format as MKV. So MakeMKV worked as a 1 stop solution for some of my blu rays but all DVD rips (MPEG-2) and blu rays in other formats (M2TS or VC-1) I would still have to use Handbrake to convert them anyway. Plus there's the issue of file size. I haven't figured this out yet myself but for example, my rip of my Shutter Island blu ray using MakeMKV saved as something like a 28 or 29GB file for the main movie only while running it through Handbrake reduced it to barely over 5GB with no noticeable reduction in quality (to my eyes anyway). Not sure how that happened since the movie was in MPEG-4 AVC to begin with which I thought was the same thing as H.264? Anyway, between that and finding I still had to use Handbrake on most rips anyway I just decided to make it my default to rip to use DVDFab or AnyDVD (still haven't decided between them) to rip to folders and then convert everything to H264 MKV.

As for Cinavia, that hasn't been put on my player yet and I'm being careful to find out about all firmware updates first before I accidentally install it. Not sure if that means that I won't be able to play disks with Cinavia on them, I just know I don't want it. Beyond that I still need to do some more reading to find out exactly what it is.

As far as filesize once you use Handbrake it encodes the file down. It has nothing to do with the video codec. The resulting file size will be dependent on the variables/profile use within handbrake. Either way there will be quality loss. Whether or not you notice is is really dependent on your viewing setup, TV size, profile used, etc...

Cheers,
Damian

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post #7 of 19 Old 02-13-2013, 08:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice, guys.. I picked a copy of aiseeoft's blu-ray ripper which seems to be a one stop solution for me, and simple is best for my aptitude.

I will play around with different output formats as this thing does .vob, H.264/MPEG-4 AVC and all sort of other options. It lists as output HD MKV Video Format (.mkv).. is that the same as H264 MKV referred to above?
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post #8 of 19 Old 02-13-2013, 09:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WitsBusa View Post

Thanks for the advice, guys.. I picked a copy of aiseeoft's blu-ray ripper which seems to be a one stop solution for me, and simple is best for my aptitude.

I will play around with different output formats as this thing does .vob, H.264/MPEG-4 AVC and all sort of other options. It lists as output HD MKV Video Format (.mkv).. is that the same as H264 MKV referred to above?

An mkv is nothing more then a container that houses the audio and video codecs. It could be H264, VC1, etc... depending on the source. If any encoding is being done then odds are it will be an h264 mkv

Cheers,
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post #9 of 19 Old 02-13-2013, 09:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks.. and you are correct. I didn't pay attention to the settings initially, but it was H.264. Is that what I would want to use? I didn't look at other options yet.

I did want to ask about the other default settings - I'll put them up for each of the formats I try to get some feedback on what recommendations would be.

MKV:

Resolution: It was set at the highest 1900 x... whatever it was.
Video Bit Rate: 8000 - had higher options
Frame Rate: 24 - I changed to "original"
Audio - MP3 - I changed it to AAC or whatever so I had the option of 5.1
Sample Rate - 441,000 Hz
Audio Bitrate: 192 kbps


Other than the resolution, each had higher options, and as I quickly looked, at least frame had the option of "original".

I'm going to check on settings for the HD mp4 and look at the .vob settings too and will post if you all don't mind giving me some feedback on your recommendations.

Thanks!
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post #10 of 19 Old 02-13-2013, 09:29 AM
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Best bet, pick one movie and encode several times (using different settings) so you can gauge the difference (file size, picture quality, etc...). I don't usually lock in a bitrate but instead go with the CQ option (Constant Quality) set around 20. I think I usually bump to the audio bitrate to 320 kbps

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post #11 of 19 Old 02-13-2013, 09:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks.. I didn't notice a constant quality option, but I wasn't looking carefully at all.. I'll take a look more carefully when I have some more time. Thanks again.
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post #12 of 19 Old 02-13-2013, 12:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok.. another question. Is my understanding correct that if I want to burn a hard drive copy of a movie that I've ripped, it needs to be in iso format or .vob?

The ripper that I'm using doesn't have iso capability, so in my first couple attempts, I'm maxing out the settings and saving to .vob as from someone I talked to, that would be the closest to the original disc, and will allow me to burn back to a disc if my kids destroy the originals.

Then, when I want to use a thumb drive to play via usb, I just need to convert that .vob to a .mkv or .mp4..

Am I understanding correctly? And those two formats are good to copy onto the tablet for trips or whatever for the kids?


Another question -- will a conversion from .vob file to .mkv or .mp4 be as good as converting from the original blu-ray or DVD? I understood that the .vob folders were not compressed, so if I jacked the settings equal to or higher than the properties on the original disc, there shouldn't be any greater degradation in quality going from my saved .vob to .mkv or .mp4 versus the original disc, right?


Thanks in advance for any thoughts.. I really appreciate the info and advice, and appreciate any responses to, I'm sure, these very rudimentary questions.
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post #13 of 19 Old 02-13-2013, 12:33 PM
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There is software that will convert your files to DVD Compliant files for burning (can't remember which one I used but it worked converting an MKV to a DVD structure for burning)

As far as a tablet, it depends on which tablet. If you are using iOS you will want to go with an mp4 file as that is pretty much the only one it recognizes (unless you jailbreak the tablet, then you can play back other formats). With an Android tablet you can play back a variety of formats (mp4, mkv, avi, etc...)

As far as vob vs mkv vs mp4 keep in mind that these are just containers for the video and audio codecs, they have no bearings on the quality. The quality is determined by what settings you choose when switching from one container to another. You can easily go from a DVD to an mkv with exact 1:1 quality, but you can also go from a DVD to mkv but encode which will result in some loss in quality (once again all dependent on your setup, settings chosen, your eyes, etc...)

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post #14 of 19 Old 02-13-2013, 01:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbone1026 View Post

Best bet, pick one movie and encode several times (using different settings) so you can gauge the difference (file size, picture quality, etc...). I don't usually lock in a bitrate but instead go with the CQ option (Constant Quality) set around 20. I think I usually bump to the audio bitrate to 320 kbps

WitsBusa, just to piggyback on dbone's comment here, if you're going to convert to H264 MKV I'd encourage you to use a Constant Quality option also with a variable bit rate. I've never used aiseeoft but I assume it will let you choose those settings and if it doesn't then I'd suggest experimenting with it to rip your movie to a folder and then run it through Handbrake or Vidcoder where you do have those options. It's a lot easier than trying to figure out what you want the bit rate to be and once you find a setting your happy with you can save it as a profile and then start using it for all of your rips going forward instead of feeling like you have to reinvent the wheel each time. For me, I started from the default high profile setting and after a little experimentation set my CQ to 21 for blu rays and 19 for DVDs and chose auto passthrough for the audio setting and everything I've saved so far with those settings has come out practically indistinguishable from the original disk.

Basically the CQ and variable bit rate settings are there so folks like us don't have to figure out different bit rate settings for different kinds of movies. So they are pretty essential tools if you're tying to keep things as simple as possible.
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post #15 of 19 Old 02-13-2013, 02:00 PM - Thread Starter
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hey dbone.. thanks a lot for taking the time to help me out.. I think you just turned the lightbulb in my head.. so presuming .vob files, in that format, can be burned to a disc, that would be the only benefit of me ripping them to that format..

As I understand you, if I max out the settings higher than the original settings on the disc I'm ripping in any of those three formats, I'm going to get the same quality from .vob, .mp4 HD or .mkv, right?

While it was mentioned previously, the "container" term didn't really sink in until your last post.. I think I'm finally starting to "get it" better.

Again, I appreciate you taking the time to school me!

Just to confirm, if I have a 1:1 copy in .mp4 or .mkv that I can play directly onto my players, and later if I have a need to burn a disc, I can convert it with the same settings to .vob and I'll have the exact same quality, just in a different format, right?

If I'm following correctly, it makes perfect sense now. Gracias, again.
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post #16 of 19 Old 02-13-2013, 02:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Can you set the bitrates too high? Based on the extremely brief help note on the program screen when I hit the pulldown menus, it seemed to say the higher the better. Wouldn't just the max of whatever the original movie settings convert over if I max out the ripper program settings? I can't find the type of constant quality setting on this program, but I will keep looking when I have more time.
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post #17 of 19 Old 02-13-2013, 02:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbone1026 View Post

As far as filesize once you use Handbrake it encodes the file down. It has nothing to do with the video codec. The resulting file size will be dependent on the variables/profile use within handbrake. Either way there will be quality loss. Whether or not you notice is is really dependent on your viewing setup, TV size, profile used, etc...

Thanks dbone. I expected Handbrake to shrink the file size some due to variable bit rate and some of the other settings I have selected. It's just that from ~28GB to just over 5 was a lot more than I expected. Maybe there's more quality loss there than had struck me initially. I've only watched about 5 minutes of the resulting file so far to test it and I don't have the world's biggest TV (a 40" that I watch from about 8' away). So maybe I need to give it a longer screening to test it again.

It gets to that question though of where to draw the line between quality and file size. Before I started ripping any of my movies I had read a lot on forums like these and had convinced myself that I wanted to keep all of them in their native formats as much as possible and not shrink anything. But when my player's limitations conspired against that and I started converting to H264 out of necessity I turned around completely on that. Especially when you start shopping for a real NAS and figuring out what that costs and how quickly you could fill it up if you really want to be a purist like that. I still respect people who take that approach but for me it just doesn't make sense. Not now anyway. Maybe after I've been doing this a while I'll start to develop a better eye and will start noticing quality loss that's not apparant to me now.
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post #18 of 19 Old 02-13-2013, 02:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WitsBusa View Post

Can you set the bitrates too high? Based on the extremely brief help note on the program screen when I hit the pulldown menus, it seemed to say the higher the better. Wouldn't just the max of whatever the original movie settings convert over if I max out the ripper program settings? I can't find the type of constant quality setting on this program, but I will keep looking when I have more time.

Dbone would probably be better to answer this question than me since I've only ever used the CQ settings but my understanding of saving by bit rate instead is that you can't set the bit rates too high if all you care about is quality (unless you're setting it beyond the ability of your player to play the file at all which you'd probably have to expirement to see on that). The tradeoff you're making when you set the bit rates higher than necessary is that you wind up with a file that's way bigger than it needs to be without any noticeable difference in quality.

Check out Handbrake's page on CQ vs. average bit rate since maybe this will help to explain it -- https://trac.handbrake.fr/wiki/ConstantQuality
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post #19 of 19 Old 02-13-2013, 03:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the link. I will take a look.

I'd still like to confirm my presumption that even if I set some bitrate at 100000; if the original disc only at 15 (totally just pulling numbers out of the air), the converted copy would only be at 15.

I'll see how large the files are coming out. Do you guys generally rip all the previews and other stuff? Isn't a lot of those different "chapters" just redundant to the main movie file anyway?

The program I am using has an option to just set "chapters" 15 minutes apart on the conversion which would be just fine for my purposes.. am I missing something with respect to converting ALL those different parts of the blu-ray disc?
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