Dvd ripping¶

Before we can continue processing a DVD movie, we first have to shovel it from the disc onto the hard drive. This must never be done with simple copying, but requires a special program. This is the only way to make sure that only the main movie ends up on the disk in one continuous piece.

(Un)law and order¶

Many DVDs have a digital so-called copy protection called CSS, d.h. the video data is encrypted on the disc. In addition, there is often an analog counterpart called Macrovision and various digital crippling measures. Although all these obstacles can be circumvented ridiculously easy, this is illegal (not only) in Germany. We will therefore use the program PgcDemux, which unlike other rippers can only handle unprotected DVDs.

Unfortunately I can’t mention the alternatives without risking a warning letter. Clearly this is censorship in the ugliest possible way, sanctioned by the legislator. It is also true that we actually have a right to the private copy and even pay a tax for it when we buy hard disk, burner, blank disk, USB stick or a whole list of other devices and media. And no, we are often not allowed to exercise our good right thanks to current copy protection laws.

In concrete terms, this means that PgcDemux is not necessarily the most useful and comfortable DVD ripper to use. However, it is one of the few possibilities to discuss the topic of ripping at all, without being immediately admonished into bankruptcy by lawyer bandits who are on the move.

The file structure of the DVD¶

A video DVD usually contains an empty folder called AUDIO_TS and an important folder VIDEO_TS, where the complete content of the DVD is stored. In this folder we are interested in two file types.

  • VOB is the container format of the DVD and contains video, audio and subtitles. Since VOBs can be no larger than 1 GB, the main movie usually spans several of them. The subdivision into VOBs has nothing to do with the chapter subdivision of the movie!
  • IFO-Files are control and information files that make it easier for us to rip and deal with subtitles.

As you can see from the excerpt from a DVD file list above, most of the files are named according to the same scheme, namely vts_xx_y.zzz. It says xx for a two-digit number identifying a group of VOBs. So all VOBs belonging to the main movie have the same xx. Within a file group the y from 0 from incremented, and zzz describes the file extension (VOB or IFO).

The main movie is in one of the VOB groups. For ripping we need to find out in which. Fortunately, this is not a problem, since the main movie is the biggest chunk of data on the disc, so we may assume that it is in the VOB group, which occupies the most space. In our example case shown here this is the group with the 02 in the middle. The corresponding IFO file vts_02_0.ifo we copy normally via file manager to the hard disk, where the ripped movie should be, and rename it to vts_01_0.ifo since PgcDemux always uses VOBs with the 01 and the middle number in a group must be the same.

Ripping the movie¶

To drag the actual movie to the disk, we start PgcDemux.

DVD ripping¶

At the very top of Input IFO, we select the IFO file of the main movie using the Browse button, from the VIDEO_TS-Folder of the DVD. Under Output Folder we specify the location for the movie on the hard drive. For the complete encoding there should be at least 10 GB free space on the drive. Moreover, the way PgcDemux works must be by PGC, since the DVD essentially consists of a series of such program chains, one of which contains the main movie.

The rest of the PgcDemux options are set as shown in the following picture.

DVD ripping¶

All demux options are disabled, because we will do the demuxing later on. For this we check Create a PGC VOB to create VOBs on the disk. One file per VID must not be checked.

On the right side under Domain we set to Titles and see below all existing PGCs. If the combo box contains several entries, we select the one whose length corresponds to the main film.

With Angle, we choose the angle of the video, if there are several available. A DVD video track can exist in several versions. At Star Wars For example, this is used to display the scrolling text at the beginning in different languages. Also DVDs, which contain cinema version and Director’s Cut of a film, are often realized over view angles (Seamless Branching). The software DVD player tells us which angle is the right one when playing the DVD.

With one click on Process! we start the ripping and wait until PgcDemux has shoveled the VOBs onto the disk. depending on the DVD drive and the length of the movie, ripping takes between a few minutes and half an hour. Then we have normally between 4 and 7 GByte in several VOBs on the disk.

Saving the chapter list¶

Unfortunately PgcDemux can’t read the chapter info from the DVD, so ChapterGrabber has to take care of that. We start the program and load via File ‘ Open File the IFO file of the main movie. So in the example from above that would be the known vts_02_0.ifo. The Chapters window now shows the information from the IFO, i.e. the time markers.

If we enter the movie title in the Title field, we can then use the Search button to search for the chapter name in two Internet databases. That works v.a. very good with English chapter names. Sometimes the result is not so impressive, as you can see in the screenshot. Especially with special characters ChapterGrabber has its problems. Nevertheless, it spares us i.d.R. some typing.

Via File ‘ Save we save the chapter list. Of course, since this is a simple text file, we can rework it to our liking with any text editor.

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