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How To Convert Your Physical Media to Digital

In the 2nd article of our two part series on getting the most out of your media, we’ll discuss how to convert movie discs into digital files that can be watched on a variety of devices.

First, we’ll need the following things:
1. A Computer with plenty of free hard drive space.  A typical DVD movie takes 6 GB on hard drive. A Typical Blu-ray movie takes 20 GB.  Don’t worry, the end result will be much smaller.

2. An appropriate disc drive (DVD or Blu-Ray). In case this isn’t obvious, you can’t rip a Blu-Ray disc with a DVD drive.
3. Some time for setup, and some time for the entire process to run on an idle computer (typically overnight).
4.MakeMKV (free 30 day trial, then $50) OR AnyDVD Software (free 21 day trial, then $50). MakeMKV takes the video from the disc in a proprietary and usually encrypted format and converts it into a set of MKV files, preserving most information but not changing it in any way. AnyDVD is a driver that decrypts the inserted DVDs in the background.
5. Handbrake Software (free)
6. Some patience to get the hang of this, and time to adjust for personal preference, based on file size and quality.

Got everything? Let’s get started!

1. Put the Disc in, and decide what your goal is. Do you want just the movie, or do you want the special features and bonus material on the disc? If you want the special features/bonus material, run AnyDVD. If you just want the movie, run MakeMKV.
1A. If using AnyDVD, let AnyDVD read the disc for a couple of minutes. When it’s done, go through and make the appropriate selections for your needs – like “removing annoying ads and trailers”. Then, press “ok” and let the disc rip to .iso.

1B. If using MakeMKV, with the software select/open the disc and choose the content you want. Chances are, you want the “title” video – the largest one. Set output folder (where you want it to be saved on your hard drive) and push the “Make MKV” button.






2. Once the previous step is done (regardless of the method you chose), you’ll need to open Handbrake.
3. Once Handbrake is open, select the source file, and make sure to set up the destination for the end file, along with what you want to name the file. I would recommend choosing .mp4 as the resulting file type, but either one should work.


4. Make sure to choose the correct format based on device on the right side. For most purposes, normal should be fine, unless you’re encoding for a specific device. We refer to these as pre-sets.
5. Change the file size/quality as necessary. For mobile devices, the file size can be smaller (and quality can be lower) as it’s a small screen and file size may be a problem depending on your amount of available storage.
5. Start the encode process! Go out and do something else, this will take some time.
6. Test the output. Make sure it plays. check the file size. Unhappy with anything? Re-start the process from Step 3.
7. Copy the resulting file with a naming convention that makes sense to you. I usually use “Name of Movie (Year – Resolution).mp4” – an example would be “The Hunger Games (2012 – 720).mp4”
8A. For an iPhone or iPad – Add the file to iTunes, then attach device, click the “video” tab, and make sure the movie is set to move to the device.
8B. For an Android device, laptop, or any other device – Just copy the file over directly.

That’s it! Get started as soon as possible. You’ll undoubtedly learn from your mistakes, but you’ll be an expert at this is no time – setting up a disc in the morning and one at night – finishing your movie collection before you know it, both Blu-Ray and DVD.

By |2012-10-16T19:23:46-04:00October 12th, 2012|Categories: Articles|0 Comments

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