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How to Rip a video DVD (Or How To Copy A Film On Your PC)


If you have a look at the structure (in terms of files and folders) of a DVD-video disk put in the optical drive of your PC, you'll find 2 folders : AUDIO_TS and VIDEO_TS. The AUDIO_TS folder is empty (it is used for DVD-audio disks) while the VIDEO_TS folder contains files :

  • Video_ts.bup
  • Video_ts.ifo
  • Video_ts.vob
  • Vts_01_0.bup
  • Vts_01_0.ifo
  • Vts_01_0.vob
  • Vts_01_1.vob
  • Vts_02_0.bup
  • Vts_02_0.ifo
  • Vts_02_0.vob
  • Vts_02_1.vob
  • Vts_02_2.vob
  •      ...  
The bup files are used to save ifo files (bup for backup). The ifo files contain information about your film and its structure (Chapters, Languages, Subtitles ...). At last, the vob files contain the actual video and audio data. The main video - your film - is in the files named Vts_xx_1.vob, Vts_xx_2.vob, ... that are about 1 Giga in size. If you want to copy one of these files on your hard drive disk (HDD), using a simple drag-and-drop, you'll have the vob file on your disk, with the correct size, but if you try to play it with your favourite multimedia player, the picture is very bad : the Macrovision technology scrambles the video (sound is not affected). To get the original video, it is necessary to rip it from the DVD disk. There is a lot of software allowing this kind of operations, they are called DVD ripper.

What you will need to rip a DVD-video disk ?

Stuff You'll Need

From a hardware point of view, a drive able to read a DVD is necessary. So any DVD drive or DVD burner will do.

As for the software, you'll need a DVD ripper. In our section presenting the "Best Video Rippers and Encoders" you'll find some useful tools, all for free. The most known are DVD Shrink, FormatFactory, Free Movie DVD Maker or Free Video Converter but K9Copy (Linux) is an excellent soft. Our preferred is DVD Shrink. It has very nice features : DVD Shrink can backup your DVD discs or re-author them before copy. Re-authoring your DVD allows to suppress the subtitles you don't want, to choose the language you want to keep, to suppress the bonus ... : thus you can reduce the amount of data you want to copy and make your movie able to fit onto a single sided/single layer recordable DVD-/+R disk.

Set DVD Shrink Parameters

We suppose you have just downloaded DVD Shrink. If you haven't, just do it using the following link Download DVD Shrink. It's a Zip file so use an unzip utility to decompress the file (see our section Zip/Unzip for free software). After the file is decompressed, double-click on the exe-file to run the setup.

Once the installation is completed, insert a DVD-video disc in your optical drive and run DVD Shrink. You should have something like :

DVD Shrink Interface

In the "Edit" menu, choose the "Preferences" entry, as shown below :

Set the right parameters for DVD Shrink

This window let you set some different parameters (Preferences, Preview, Output Files ...). For each of these parameters, you have to make a choice. Just look at our settings.

    Preferences Setting

      The copy must fit onto a single sided/single layer
      recordable DVD disc (4.7 Gb)

    Preview Setting

      If you have a 5.1-channel surround sound system,
      change "Stereo" to "5.1"

Output Files Setting

Stream Selection Setting

      All languages selected

      English subtitles only

File I/O Setting

      Check "Enable burning with Nero" only if you
      burn with Nero just after the encoding step

When done, click "OK" to close the window preferences and go back to the main window. You are ready to rip your DVD !

Ripping with DVD Shrink

Now click on the "Open Disk" button : if you have many drives, just select the drive containing the DVD you want to rip and click "OK".

Drive Selection

First of all, DVD Shrink performs a quick analysis. It can take a few minutes : just wait.

DVD Analysis

When done, you can see the structure of your DVD.

DVD Structure

   By default DVD Shrink computes the compression ratio automatically ("Automatic") so that the copied DVD would fit on a single-layer recordable DVD

   English subtitles only
   (as wanted)

You can verify that all languages are selected as choosen in "Stream Selection Setting", while only english subtitles stay. As you can see, by default DVD Shrink set the compression ratio automatically ("Automatic") so that the copied DVD would fit on a single DVD-R/+R as choosen in the "Preferences Settings" window. Here the compression ratio is 50.7% : that is to say DVD Shrink would have to shrink the files we want to copy by a factor 2 to make them fit onto a single sided/single layer recordable DVD-/+R disk.

If you think this compression ratio is too high, you have two choices. One solution is to re-author your DVD to keep only the items you really want. This solution is explained later. Another solution is to keep the whole thing, applying no compression, and burn it on a dual-layered disc. In order to do this just change "Automatic" to "No Compression" in the drop-down menu. Now, you can see the ripped DVD will need more than 7.4 Go.

DVD Structure

In this case, if you want to backup the whole DVD, it is necessary to change "DVD-5" to "DVD-9" in the "Preferences" window as shown below.

Using dual-layered disc (DVD-9)
DVD Structure

When your mind is set (compression or not ?), everything is ready to start the process so just click on the "Backup" button and read the next !.

Eventually, you want to re-author your DVD because you don't want to burn it onto a dual-layered disc and you really find that the compression ratio is too high. So let me show you how to do that ... See the next !

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