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Knowing how to rip DVDs is useful for backing up your movies and storing them for easy access on your hard drive. Why search through all those stacks of DVD cases when you can simply cd to a directory? The average 8.5GB DVD can be compressed down to 1.4GB (2 CDs) and retain near-perfect quality. This article describes how to rip DVDs using transcode and dvd::rip.


First you need to enable some USE flags, namely the ones used for DVD authoring. Fire up your favorite text editor and add the following USE flags to your /etc/make.conf: a52, avi, dvdread, divx, dv, encode, fame, mjpeg, mpeg, ogg, quicktime, subtitles, vorbis, xvid.

Install dvd::rip and transcode. Make sure the above USE flags are set. If you have not already installed xvid, libvorbis and libquicktime, they will be installed now:

# emerge -av dvdrip transcode

To get subtitles you have to install subtitleripper:

# emerge -av subtitleripper

If you get following error when starting dvd::rip

# [filterlist] (re)scanning transcode's module path /usr/lib/transcode...

dvd::rip configuration

As dvd::rip is fairly easy to navigate, this part of the wiki goes over the settings that give the best quality video for most projects.

Then choose either Rip data to harddisk before encoding or Encode DVD on the fly as is appropriate for your situation.

RIP Title Tab

Click Read DVD Table of Contents and wait while dvd::rip scans the DVD. Select the title you'd like to rip. If it is a movie, then it is usually the first track, and the longest.

Click RIP Selected Title(s)/Chapter(s).

Wait a long time. This process could take a two or three hours for a movie.

Clip & Zoom tab

Under Adjust Clip and Zoom Parameters, for the Presets option choose Autoadjust, Small Frame Size, HQ Resize. There are many options to choose from, if you have time try a couple different ones and see how they affect the quality of your encode. Click on Apply Preset Values.

Transcode Tab

One thing I find lacking is support for the MKV container format. It handles multiple audio and subtitle streams like ogg.

Video options

There are a lot of choices here. Some of the more popular codecs, for general DVD backup, are DivX and XviD (the open source version of DivX). If you want to research this further indepth, there is plenty of debate and forum out there. A place to check is the doom9 forum, as most of this info is pulled from there. There are no "best" settings for all projects, as it depends heavily on the target size of the encode and the source. The defaults are pretty good, but the changes here are generally good ones.


XviD is a highly configurable codec, and a nightmare for the unprepared. Fortunately, this wiki page is here to help. Select xvid4 and click Configure. It should launch a program called "xvid4conf".


Select Chroma ME, HigQ AC, Trellis Quantizer and Turbo Mode. Select Cartoon Mode if you're encoding cartoon-ish things. Leave the B-Frame numbers alone, the defaults are fine. Enable Quarterpel and Closed Gop, and turn Packed off.

Leave the Single Pass and Two Pass tabs alone. Go to Save/Load, and save this config somewhere and quit.

Select Two Pass encoding and no deinterlacing. Filters can provide a visually better picture, but we aren't going to go over them here. It's okay to leave them off.

Video bitrate calculation

A standard for a DVD movie is a 2 CD (2 x 700MB) rip. It's usually pretty good. If you're encoding episodes, or things smaller than a movie, you don't need 2 CDs.

Audio Options / Target Track

Select an audio track. Unless you want the dual audio, just choose the one in your native language and disable the rest. Using MP3 or Vorbis is personal preference, but Vorbis requires you to use the OGG container. Generally, I would recommend using MP3. 128 kbps bitrate is plenty. Use the highest quality setting, Quality - 0 for mp3, and leave it at 3 or 4 if using Vorbis.

Final Steps

Click on the Transcode button at the bottom, and go do something else. It takes a while.

Alternative: Using MEncoder

It is also possible to use MEncoder to rip a DVD. While you'll have to use the command line, it definitely has its uses. For instance, MEncoder can encode some buggy video files which transcode refuses to read. See MEncoder/Rip DVD for more information.


See also

External links

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Last modified: Thu, 09 Oct 2008 05:39:00 +0000 Hits: 63,162