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A how-to guide to transcode DVD to Divx Install
The purpose of this post is to explain how to take a DVD and transcode it to Divx. A DVD has 4.7 GB of data. The equivalent movie in Divx is about 1.3 GB. This allows you to take a number of movies in your hard drive on your laptop to view on a long plane trip. Thus you avoid carrying your valuable DVDs and thus prevent demage to them.

What drove me to do the solution presented here? I tried finding comercial software for the Mac to do this and I could not find any. There are a number of comercial packages for Windows and some Open source options for Linux, however.

The solution that I found for the Mac is a combination of packages. Some are freeware (DVDBackup, Divx), some are open source (mencode, MPlayer) and some are shareware (ffmpeg GUI front end). The solution works well, but it was a lot of work to find the right software and putting all together.

How-to:
Take a DVD that you created with iMovie and iDVD and many hours of work. Extract the files from the DVD using a program called DVDBackup. This will produce a folder called VIDEO_TS containing the filesthat make up the DVD. The DVDBackup program comes with some good documentation. Make sure you read it and follow the steps.

By the way, if your computer has a DVD burner, you can burn a copy of your DVD. This is described in the DVDBackup documentation. This a much easier way to duplicate your DVDs than using iDVD. Not to mention that your iDVD project files may not be around any more, and all you have is your DVD.

Now back to our transcoding project.

In order to transcode the contents of the VIDEO_TS folder to Divx, you will need a program called ffmpeg. ffmpeg is a GUI front end for some command line utilities. The installation documentation may seem cryptic, but if you follow the steps, you will end up with a working ffmpeg. The documentation is on the website. ffmpeg web page also has instructions on how to use it to transcode. My preferred format is MPEG4[.AVI](mencoder) under the Video tab.

The other tabs (Audio, Filters, Options and Tools) may have features that you need for your partucular application of the tool. Make sure you read the documentation. Transcoding is a long process and it can take two hours or more. When it is done, you will end up with a file called movie.avi (default name that can be chagned) of size of 1.4 GB or less. You will notice that QuickTime will not play the file. You need todo one of two options:
  1. Get the free Divx codec for QuickTime from divx.com, and then QuickTime will be able to play movie.avi.
  2. Get MPlayer OS X. I find MPlayer OS X to be better than QuickTime/Divx. QuickTime with Divx is not as smooth.
Final comments
It may be a quit a bit of work to get the software installed and configured properly. I can't stress it enough, read the documentation very carefully. There are many little details that are hidden in the documentation. Once every thing is installed, transcoding is a piece of cake. This was done on a 12" Powerbook with OS X 10.2.

[robg adds: A previous hint described (in less detail) another method of transcoding video.]
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A how-to guide to transcode DVD to Divx
Authored by: ehemmete on Feb 10, '04 11:14:12AM

I don't know a whole lot about the differences, but why choose DiVX over MPEG 4? Quicktime seems to be able to play MPEG 4's with much Less hassle then DiVX.



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A how-to guide to transcode DVD to Divx
Authored by: Fofer on Feb 10, '04 11:19:17AM

Even easier, use HandBrake:
http://www.versiontracker.com/dyn/moreinfo/macosx/21117&vid=122727

For playback, I use QuickTime with the DiVX codec, or even better, VLC:
http://www.videolan.org/vlc/



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A how-to guide to transcode DVD to Divx
Authored by: foobar104 on Feb 10, '04 11:36:28AM

If you're not interested in feeding the Version Tracker click machine:

http://handbrake.m0k.org/



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A how-to guide to transcode DVD to Divx
Authored by: 153957 on Feb 11, '04 02:00:19AM

Yea, jusr use HANDBRAKE, A Killer App, very easy interface, works sooooo much better then all the others, I tries them all, Dvdibbler/forty-six/mencoder or something like that, non of them worked, or came out way to big/ugly, Handbrake is soo easy, and had great results..

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153957 - TheNumberMan - MacFreak



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A how-to guide to transcode DVD to Divx
Authored by: aranor on Feb 10, '04 05:51:19PM

Hrm, this looks like just what I was looking for!

BTW, check out the Useless OpenGL Effects checkbox in the Crop & Scale dialog. Check that, then hit the Next and Previous buttons. It cracked me up!



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This info is about a year old
Authored by: Lectrick on Feb 10, '04 12:00:49PM

Your information is mostly useless as that was the state of affairs at least a year ago.

Use HandBrake to encode. HandBrake is an app that originally debuted on BeOS ;)
http://handbrake.m0k.org/
The quality is very nice, the rip speed is decent when not using XviD (about 3 hours on my powerbook 1.25ghz), it has VERY cool graphical cropping and scaling tools (use them! the uncropped area wastes data), and you can specify the final file size you want (be sure to specify a size about 10MB less, like 690... the calculation seems slightly off). You can also encode up to 2 audio tracks. More features are forthcoming, it is in active development- but right now, this is fantastic to allow me to view movies on the road on my Powerbook.

And use VLC to play, forget mplayer.
http://www.videolan.org/

Wash, rinse, repeat.

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In /dev/null, no one can hear you scream



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HandBrake!
Authored by: danielbaars on Feb 11, '04 12:17:12PM

Wow! I can't believe it took me this long to find HandBrake... EXACTLY the piece of software I was looking for (not hard enough, as it turns out).

Question for the people who have been using HandBrake for a while: what settings do you use and what are your results? I've tried the FFMPEG setting at 768 & 1024 kbps (1-pass encoding) and found the results hard to distinguish from eachother. I was expecting the 768 one to look pretty bad.

What are your experiences with 2-pass encoding? Does it make a difference?

I found the speed on my 1.8Ghz G5 (single) a bit disappointing (but acceptable): the average framerate of the encoding is around 13 (meaning the encoding takes about twice as long as the movie). What are your experiens with the encoding speed?

Thanks beforehand,



Daniel Baars



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A how-to guide to transcode DVD to Divx
Authored by: rickg17 on Feb 10, '04 12:34:56PM

Handbrake looks pretty nice. Also check out DVDibbler (http://sourceforge.net/projects/dvdibbler/)



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DVDibbler
Authored by: pwharff on Feb 10, '04 03:52:39PM

I decided to try out DVDibbler and everytime it gives me this error message: "DVDibbler Application Supprt does not exist or has been incorrectly installed. See DVDibbler Help for instructions."

I checked the help and there isn't anything there for this problem. I tried to manually create the "DVDibbler" folder in ~/Library/Application\ Support/. And I searched their site for info and couldn't find anything but someone who had the same problem with no answer. I tried this program on 3 different Macs so far with all having the same problem. Dang it, I really wanted to try this as "HandBrake" takes forever, 8 hours on a 1.2Ghz G4.



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handbrake speed
Authored by: Lectrick on Feb 10, '04 04:08:25PM

I have a powerbook 1.25ghz. I don't see how this can be much faster than your G4 1.2ghz. I can rip a 1.5hr movie in just over 3 hrs. I noticed that choosing XviD is a LOT slower than ffmpeg. Try that option from the popup.

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In /dev/null, no one can hear you scream



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Handbrake VERY slow
Authored by: SOX on Feb 10, '04 10:19:03PM

I'm running handbrake right now on an 800Mhz imac ripping a normal length movie (no css). it says it will take about 10 hours to finish. Yikes! It is getting essetially all of the cpu time and is not memory starved. I'm ripping of the hard drive video Tos folder not off a DVD.

I have it set for a target size of 4600MB and two passes (1 pass did not seme to go faster).

I noticed an odd effect, the program runs faster if it is not the foreground app and it runs even faster if you use fast user switching to change to another user. It appears that when the app is on screen it burns up a lot of windowserver process time on the CPU and slows down. weird.

Can anyone explain to me the following
1) what is the tradeoff of one versus 2 passes
2) what I really want is an application that can compress a 7-gig video-tos folder (a typical 2-layer dvd size) just enough to fit on a 4.7Gb dvd. compressing further has no benefits to me. I want the highest quality. I view it on an RGB projector not a TV so I want full resolution. I suspect there might be a better application for achieving this. In fact I suspect there might even be a way to trim the original DVD by just throwing out special feature files. But I dont know which ones to keep/throw. Finally it woul dbe nice to write the results out in a Video-tos format that a regular dvd player couldplay. any tips?



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DavideoX
Authored by: ezthrust on Feb 11, '04 02:43:00AM

I have been fooling around with this program for a couple days now, with varying degrees of success. It lets you specify the medium that you want to burn onto and conforms the file to that size. If I can get it to work, this will be the best program I have found.

http://www.mh1.de/home.cgi?main=products



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DavideoX
Authored by: SOX on Feb 11, '04 11:17:17AM

What sort of problems does it have?



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DVD - DVD-r
Authored by: lebnjay on Feb 11, '04 03:13:27AM

What you need is DVD2onex, an amazing program.
http://www.dvd2one.com
It transcodes the dvd to your specified file size in about half an hour, and looks great. Really the only software to use for working with dvd folders.
For more information on this topic you could check out the mac video forum at:
http://www.dvdrhelp.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=9

Here is a very thorough tutorial, choose the beginner one:
http://webpages.charter.net/ernsta/DVD2ONE.htm

-lebn



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DVD - DVD-r
Authored by: SOX on Feb 11, '04 11:12:26AM

Thanks! Now, to be cheap, I wonder if there is less expensive program than this one. Its $50 plus shipping. And there's no indications about what sort of arifcats/quality it creates and no pressure to optimize these like in open source.



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DVD - DVD-r
Authored by: danielbaars on Feb 11, '04 12:19:50PM

Believe me, DVD2One is WELL worth the money! Quality is amazing unless you push it too hard (like trying to fit two 8gig DVDs on one 4gig DVD-R - still watcheable by the way but obviously not as good as the original).



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DVD - DVD-r
Authored by: lebnjay on Feb 11, '04 06:51:14PM

Dvd20nex is shareware so you can download it from their page and try it out. It will process the first 30 minutes of your movie exactly like it does the full thing so you can see the quality for yourself. Then if you decide to buy it you are just paying for the serial number that you enter from the program.
I'd give it a try and see what you think.
The development of this was pretty amazing, this program existed for windows first. Then under pressure from the mac community, especially those at the dvdrhelp.com forums, the developer bought a g4 and wrote it for the mac also. He was able to put out a fully working program for os x in just a matter of weeks. If you were trying to do what this program does before it came out, you needed several different programs and many many hours of waiting for all the different steps to complete.
-lebn



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A how-to guide to transcode DVD to Divx
Authored by: Whosawhatsis on Feb 10, '04 02:21:33PM

I use OSEx and OpenShiiva (both available at macupdate.com) with the 3ivx codec. It produces better quality and playback than DiVX and faster playback and encoding than XviD with about half the filesize of the the DiVX. Encoding takes a long time, but you can just let it run overnight.

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I was offered a penny for my thoughts, so I gave my two cents... I got ripped off.



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OpenShiiva speed
Authored by: C14ru5 on Feb 11, '04 01:21:52PM

Encoding takes a long time? I don't think so.

OpenShiiva defaults to the XviD codec which produces great quality at the cost of slow encoding. The 3ivX codec is almost as good and twice as fast at similar settings. I usually do a constant quality QP=7 rip with no scaling at between 25-30 fps on my Dual 2GHz G5, which calculates to being real time (add 20 minutes for 0Sex to do its job).

Now tell me: How can OpenShiiva be slow when it encodes in real time? :-)

If you want a really fast encoder, use DiVA and the method that macman13 describes so well further down this comments thread...



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Dual G5
Authored by: Cantus on Feb 11, '04 09:14:50PM

Well, Mr, most people don't have a dual G5 processor to achieve that real-time speed. Think about it.



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Forty-two
Authored by: scaryfish on Feb 10, '04 03:15:09PM
Or you could use forty-two. There is the free version, or the shareware versions, both of which use the freeware/open software mentioned, but provide a very nice, simple to use interface, and do a lot of the calculating for you - for example if you want a divx to burn to CD it changes the resolution and bitrate to get the right size movie out the end.

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=)


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Forty-two
Authored by: pwharff on Feb 10, '04 03:58:35PM

How long does it take?



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Best size/quality ratio with mencoder
Authored by: vogunaescht on Feb 10, '04 04:16:11PM

I achieve the best quality/size ratio with the almighty mencoder and fine-tuning of the parameters. If anyone is interested in my kickass parameter list to encode a .vob file with mencoder to a great quality mpeg4 avi, here it is (3 pass encoding):

for the audio:
mencoder -ovc frameno -oac mp3lame -lameopts mode=1:q=0:aq=0:vbr=3:br=96 -o frameno.avi movie.vob

video pass 1:
mencoder -oac copy -ovc lavc -lavcopts vcodec=mpeg4:vbitrate=700:vhq:vqmin=2:vlelim=-4:vcelim=9:lumi_mask=0.05:dark_mask=0.01:vpass=1:vmax_b_frames=1:v4mv:trell:cbp:idct=8:vfdct=5:vstrict=-1 -sws 2 -vf crop=714:428:5:74,scale=608:256 -o movie1.avi movie.vob

the same for video pass 2, just change vpass=1 to 2 and movie1.avi to movie2.avi

if the resulting smile is too small for you (meaning you want to fill a cd with it), just use a higher vbitrate.



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Best size/quality ratio with mencoder
Authored by: c15zyx on Feb 10, '04 06:21:59PM

XviD has superceded libavcodec mpeg4 for a while now since api-4.

Also, since you're using frameno, you should always specify the bitrate (-ofps 24000/1001 for example) otherwise for NTSC vfr mpeg2 it may interpret vobs as 29.97 and waste space padding a 23.97 fps source to 29.97.

I also use mencoder 3 pass, but encode lame mp3 audio manually because I can use a52dec to normalize the ac3 file. XviD 1.0rc2 defaults + qpel is incredible.



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A how-to guide to transcode DVD to Divx
Authored by: elcuco on Feb 10, '04 07:34:54PM

I've been using OSex for ripping and Diva for encoding with the 3ivx encoder. I've had great results; no sync problems with video and audio.



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A how-to guide to transcode DVD to Divx
Authored by: Bellboy9000 on Feb 10, '04 08:51:56PM

I found the info useful to a certain extent, but I need to encode video for the web from an unencrypted DVD. I've found that that getting a DVD into a MOV/MPG format for use on the web is a royal pain. I've used just about everything that versiontracker could cough up.

I did find that the best one for me (so far) is D-Vision2 along with DivX Doctor II (from 3ivx). The only bummer is that you would have to download the 3ivx plugin to view a web movie and I'm trying to avoid making web visitors do that. D-Vision has a great interface and the cropping tools work great--ffmpegX's cropping tools didn't work for me at all.

I just wish that someone would come out with a tool that would take a VOB file to a final MPEG or MOV file without all of the hassle. Anyone know of an app out there that can do all that?



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A how-to guide to transcode DVD to Divx
Authored by: RideMan on Feb 10, '04 10:49:26PM

The latest version of the 3ivx codec is somehow different from the previous version in that QuickTime 6 correctly identifies 'new' 3ivx movies as MPEG-4, and can play them without whining about the codec. It always could, but for some reason never "knew" that it could before.



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How to transcode with subtitles?
Authored by: rubikube on Feb 11, '04 09:54:36AM

I wonder if anyone knows how to transcode DVDs into .avi format (I'm using handbrake and it took me forever) with subtitles included - I watch a lot of foreign films and subtitles are a life-saver so if anyone can help me out here that would be great.

cheers



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OpenShiiva does subtitles
Authored by: allanBook on Feb 13, '04 05:37:51AM

Have you tried using OpenShiiva yet? I go with the old OSEx to OpenShiiva route, and always use only the Japanese language tracks and English subtitles when putting one of my Japanese DVD rips into my iBook.

It works great for me (I actually did a Mazinkaiser DVD rip-to-mov with it last month).

---
"Mr. Simpson, this is the most blatant case of fraudulent advertising since my suit against the film The NeverEnding Story." -Lionel Hutz (of Simpsons fame)



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A how-to guide to transcode DVD to Divx
Authored by: macman13 on Feb 11, '04 10:36:17AM

Here is the fastest most consistent method I have found for making good quality backups of DVDs:
1. Rip the DVD with OSEx.
2. Make sure you have the 3ivx driver installed.
3. Use DiVA to rip the video that OSEx generated.
4. Use mAC3dec to convert the audio portion of the rip.
5. Combine the audio and video created in steps 3-4 with Quicktime.

After doing this, I usually generate a .mov file that is anywhere from 856Mb to 1.5G depending on what quality setting I put in DiVA. If yo need smaller size files, you could import into iMovie and break them up or break it up into smaller pieces when you rip wit OSEx. I use DVDs to back up the movie file so this is not a big issue for me, but it may be for others. OSEx is the fastest DVD ripper I have found yet. Handbrake does all of these steps in one app, but it is about 7-10 times slower.

Good Luck.
SA :)

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\\\"I can do everything on my Mac I used to do on my PC, plus alot more ...\\\"
--Me



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A how-to guide to transcode DVD to Divx
Authored by: atr on Feb 11, '04 10:15:45PM
This is just my two cents. I love my powerbook but I've grown very fond of using transcode and dvdrip http://www.exit1.org/dvdrip/ It's the swiss army knife of encoding. Doing over 100 xvid (1 and 2 cd) rips, it's perfect. Generally, I'll rip on the mac using DVDXBackup (search macupdate for it) and then ftp over gigabit to one of my encoding servers.
Can you say netflix :)

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A how-to guide to transcode DVD to Divx
Authored by: Anonymous on Feb 23, '04 09:35:31AM

You can also try DivXRay 3, the GUI is really impressive

http://2004.mpcnet.de/2004front/products.jsp?action=title&id=7&page=1

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Thomas Deniau



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