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  #1  
09-27-2015, 04:53 PM
kaliree kaliree is offline
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Hello!

(I apologize in advance if I missed solutions already in the forum, but I did try to find them)

Context: In my ongoing quest to migrate physical media to digital files, I have several DVDs that are non-commercial (family events primarily). Usually these are just video slideshows created in generic slideshow programs by relatives or family friends. These were authored as DVDs and not just a bunch of JPEGs on the disk that are referenced.

I have a 2012 retina Macbook Pro with 16GB of RAM and a 2.6 Ivy Bridge i7, as well as a Windows 10 VM in Parallels, so I should be able to implement any recommended tools for OS X or Windows. I can also build a Linux VM if needed.






The actual question: What is the best method/tool(s) to rip the full quality contents of each DVD into an MP4 container?







Footnotes: The files need to be able to be played and organized in iTunes for less tech savvy family members, hence MP4, but other suggestions are welcome.

Last edited by kaliree; 09-27-2015 at 05:23 PM. Reason: To focus question and improve clarity and terminology
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  #2  
09-27-2015, 05:37 PM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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DVD is digital video.

There is no quality gain by changing containers to mp4, which is not an ideal container for MPEG video. Basically, it's a waste of time.

Re-encoding digital video to another lossy codec like h264 for MP4 containers is a quality hit, not an improvement. No one ever improved DVD by simply re-encoding it.

Any DVD or BluRay player, external media server, and most smart TVs can play DVD video. MP4 is not a universal container for MPEG2 -- many devices will not play MPEG2 in an mp4 container.

Is someone telling you that iTunes is some sort of superior player? They're leading you on. Why would clicking on icons for mp4s in iTunes be "easier" than clicking on icons to play other formats and containers? If some one has convinced you that watching Hollywood movies on a PC is superior to watching movies designed for TV colorspaces and gamma curves, then you have been misled.

Of course you can invest in this effort if you have the time and patience. Try AutoMKV or Handbrake. Other free software is available, almost all of it for Windows. Most of them will re-encode MPG2 to the kind of lower quality long-GOP mp4 with lossy re-compressed audio that iTunes can play, and for which mp4 was developed. These are strictly fvor convenience. You will not be able to maintain the original DVD quality with any of these methods. I'd keep the original DVDs around for more conventional playback on devices designed to perform with them..

Last edited by sanlyn; 09-27-2015 at 06:23 PM.
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09-27-2015, 07:15 PM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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By the way, "ripping" DVD doesn't mean changing containers or re-encoding. To "Rip" means to make an exact. 1:1 decrypted (if necessary) copy from some playable media to a PC. Since your DVDs are home issues, you can copy the VIDEO_TS folder from a disc to a PC and play them with any number of media players, although "real" DVD in authored format is difficult with iTunes. VOB2MPG or the newer DVDvob2MPG will rip an exact copy from VOB file to single or multiple MPEG files on your computer with no re-encoding. Windows only.
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09-27-2015, 10:01 PM
kaliree kaliree is offline
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Hi sanlyn! Thanks for the replies and the good info.

Quote:
DVD is digital video.
I know that. Really. I'm not THAT ignorant. I didn't explain myself very well, so let me try again. To be very specific, I want to get all media that is physically separate from centralized computer storage on hard drives, into digital files able to stored on client systems and/or a central media server and played back using the most ubiquitous and long lived formats (and playback applications) possible without sacrificing the original quality of the media (or in the case of films and slides, as close to the quality of the source media as digital formats will allow). This will eventually encompass all photos, slides, video tapes, films, DVDs, BluRays, CD's, audio cassettes, etc. In the end, removing the need for physical players or media and freeing the physical space they currently occupy (with the possibly exception of film and slides/negatives, due to the possible future value for higher quality digital transfers). This is also intended to remove the issues of physical degradation of the medium, loss, theft or damage since I will be able to keep several copies of all media on multiple drives and in multiple physical locations. Sorry that I wasn't more clear before.

Quote:
There is no quality gain by changing containers to mp4, which is not an ideal container for MPEG video. Basically, it's a waste of time.
Oh, okay. I wasn't aware of the container incompatibility issues.


Quote:
Re-encoding digital video to another lossy codec like h264 for MP4 containers is a quality hit, not an improvement. No one ever improved DVD by simply re-encoding it.
Yep. I'm not trying to go lossy to even more lossy or different lossy. I realize I won't be able to improve the quality by changing containers or formats. I don't want to re-encode. I want to maintain the original quality and leave it as unaltered as possible.

Quote:
Any DVD or BluRay player, external media server, and most smart TVs can play DVD video. MP4 is not a universal container for MPEG2 -- many devices will not play MPEG2 in an mp4 container.
That's good to know. This would make MPEG2 in an MP4 container unsuitable for my purpose.


Quote:
Is someone telling you that iTunes is some sort of superior player? They're leading you on. Why would clicking on icons for mp4s in iTunes be "easier" than clicking on icons to play other formats and containers?
No. I am not under the delusion that iTunes is a superior player. I am quite fond of VLC and MPH-C myself, but simplicity is best for my parents and several other relatives. They are able to figure out iTunes (mostly), but dealing with file structures, aliases and file type associations is beyond them for the foreseeable future. Keeping all the video so "you just click the music note at the bottom to see your videos and listen to your music" is best for them. That also makes it easy for them to sync to their iPhones and iPad, as well as stream to their Apple TV. This was actually the primary reason I didn't just use MKV and associate it to play in VLC.

Quote:
If some one has convinced you that watching Hollywood movies on a PC is superior to watching movies designed for TV colorspaces and gamma curves, then you have been misled.
No, I have not been convinced of this either. I have no doubt you are correct for commercial DVDs. The "slideshow" DVDs that I am primarily working with are the creations of PC applications that used JPEGs as sources, so I don't know how carefully crafted they are for broadcast color spaces, but I suppose I could be wrong.


Quote:
Of course you can invest in this effort if you have the time and patience. Try AutoMKV or Handbrake. Other free software is available, almost all of it for Windows. Most of them will re-encode MPG2 to the kind of lower quality long-GOP mp4 with lossy re-compressed audio that iTunes can play, and for which mp4 was developed. These are strictly fvor convenience. You will not be able to maintain the original DVD quality with any of these methods. I'd keep the original DVDs around for more conventional playback on devices designed to perform with them..
I appreciate the suggestions! I am familiar with Handbrake and have used it in the past (though I'm far from expert). I'll check out AutoMKV. Would it provide any advantages over MakeMKV?



Quote:
By the way, "ripping" DVD doesn't mean changing containers or re-encoding. To "Rip" means to make an exact. 1:1 decrypted (if necessary) copy from some playable media to a PC. Since your DVDs are home issues, you can copy the VIDEO_TS folder from a disc to a PC and play them with any number of media players, although "real" DVD in authored format is difficult with iTunes. VOB2MPG or the newer DVDvob2MPG will rip an exact copy from VOB file to single or multiple MPEG files on your computer with no re-encoding. Windows only.
Fair point. I actually found a post by LS on another site making that distinction, but I didn't have a chance to correct my mistaken terminology here yet. I didn't know that I could just play the VOB files directly. It sounds like DVDvob2MPG is just what I'm looking for as I should be able to import those MPGs into iTunes for my parents.

Thanks for your help! Much appreciated.


Edit: After reading back over this, maybe I'll just copy the VOBs, associate them with VLC and set VLC to be the default video playback application for my folks. Won't be too much more complex than using iTunes for audio and video for them, save for syncing to their iOS devices.
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09-27-2015, 10:34 PM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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Thanks for clarifying the issues you're dealing with. The best way to remap VOB is with VOB2MPG. True, VOB is a container for the MPEG codec, and MPEG is an MPEG container as well, but they're not exactly the same container. They differ in their hidden data markers and whatnot, with VOB set up specifically for playback as a stream format from disc and to match up to menus that control them. Some people simply rename VOB to MPG, but that's not quite the same thing either -- it just changes the file extension, not the container type.

If you do have to re-encode to get mp4 or mkv from VOB/MPEG2, I'd suggest an application with a GUI that has known good conversion performance. One would be TMPGenc Video Mastering Works, which seems to give better results than most automated freebies and has cleaner h264 encoding than SONY and Adobe for MP4.

MKV would be better for MPEG than MP4, even if not exactly ideal. But MKV isn't so universal either. Still, you can migrate VOB/MPEG directly to MKV containers with no re-encoding using MakeMKV.

While MPEG is still the most universal format around, to get picky about it there's no real totally "universal" container or format, in purely practical terms. Sometimes it's more practical to have MPG in most playback systems, but for convenience a properly re-encoded mp4 might be required. A proper encoder would be able to make that conversion without too great a loss, especially if the viewers aren't so discriminating. You might want to experiment with the TMPGenc app and others mentioned. Often, one format can't serve perfectly in all situations. You might want to do some editing of several encoded sources, so for simple cut and join you'd need a smart-rendering editor able to handle the codec(s) you're using. The better smart rendering apps can input and output multiple formats. And it's a good idea, as you mentioned, to archive the original when the material is important and can't be duplicated.
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  #6  
09-27-2015, 11:24 PM
kaliree kaliree is offline
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Thanks! I will have a few more questions later, but for now, why do you recommend VOB2MPG over DVDVob2MPG to convert VOB to MPG?
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  #7  
09-27-2015, 11:46 PM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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"VOB2MPG" by habit. The newer version is DVDVob2MPG. The older name was an old standby for so long that many people still use the older title. They will both work for standard DVD.
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