Disk Preparation
Copying a DVD Movie
Disk Preparation

Now call me a slacko if you like, but I would rather do things the easy way than the hard way, if such a way exists. Yes I am a technonerd. Yes, I will get to the bottom of a problem, however long it takes. Jeez, I'll even RTFM if I really have to! I just don't get off on doing things the hard way like some people do.

So why the big confession? Well I've been waiting for a way to duplicate DVDs to blank DVDs, in the same way that we are used to copying CDs and up until now, the options have been dire to say the least. Look, if I want to copy a film (legally of course, I wouldn't dream if broaching copyright laws) I don't want to have to make decisions about bitrate and screen resolution and all that crap. I'm not interested. Just give me a goddamn clone of the original and spare me the unnecessary agonies of choice..

So it was with some interest that my mate Tania and her husband Richard slid a litle program my way, during a discussion of the same. In erstwhile times you used to give your teacher an apple, these days it's an 'application for the teacher'. Splendid, splendid. Needless to say, Tania passed her Networking with flying colours. God, I LOVE teaching I.T.

So it's called DVD Shrink, it's a freebie, it's only 830KB in size and it works just fine. No, better than that, the output quality is excellent and often it's hard to tell the difference from the original. What else could you ask for really? All you need is a DVD burner, which are now under $200 and dropping; and a blank DVD, which have also dropped in price and can be obtained throught the right channels for the same a a blank CD (thanks again Tania & Richard).

Whack the donor DVD in the drive and fire up DVD Shrink. Select the source drive..

Source Drive..

Select the region.
DVD Shrink will make the new disk region free by default. Lovely..


DVD Shrink analyses the disc. Turn off 'Enable video preview' to speed things up..

Analysing disc..

Et Voila! Each part of the disc is broken down into individual components, most of them separate movie files. Ripping the whole disc will require the most compression, as blank DVDs only give 4.2GB after formatting.

Removing extras and other languages can save some space and thus reduce the compression required to fit onto the destination disc. However I have found the output quality to be excellent, even when the whole DVD is burned.

Here 'Full Disc' is selected as I wanted the menus and couldn't be arsed to decide what to leave out. Hence we get a compression to 73.7% (i.e. 26.3% compression). Click on the Backup! button when ready..

Decision time..

Confirm the Target device and any other tabbed options and away you go. In this example, I had only the burner. The program rips an image to the hard disk and then prompts for the blank DVD.

Destination drive..

Speed depends on the hardware being used. A faster CPU will churn through the ripping process faster than a slower one. Likewise the faster the DVD burner, the quicker the write operation will be performed.

In this example I used an AMD Athlon based machine, running at 1.67GHz with 512MB RAM and a Liteon external USB2 DVD burner which writes at 4X (5.5MB/sec. A full rip took just over an hour and the burn took around the same time. If like me, you can dedicate a machine to the process then speed isn't that important as you can leave the machine to just chug away. Don't forget to turn off the screensaver and power options..

Note: this article is for demonstration purposes only. The author urges you to observe your country's copyright laws.

DVD Shrink Links - Shrink Guide with a few more options and customising examples
DVD±R Digest - Comprehensive guide to DVD ripping, nice
DVD - Using DVD Decrypter for read or copy protection errors
DVD - General guides to DVD ripping
DVD - "The Ultimate DVD Ripper!"

DVD Shrink

- A.

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