Ripping Family DVDs

25 Mar 2019

I’ve been working on a fun little project lately. A few years ago, my mom had all of our old family tapes converted to DVDs, which have since sat in the basement at their house gathering dust. I decided a few months back that I should probably digitize them somehow. This is my current process.

The main tool I’m using for this is a handy program called Handbrake. In case you haven’t used it before, Handbrake is free and open source software used for converting video to and from pretty much any format you’d like. Most useful for me, it offers both DVD ripping and a command line interface!

When ripping these DVDs, I use two different methods depending on how the chapters in each DVD are setup. If the DVD has 12 separate chapters (determined by looking at the slip of paper provided in the case) I use the CLI. If the chapters are not split into 12 distinct parts, I use the GUI.

In my case, the CLI consists of a PowerShell program that I adapted from a StackOverflow post which, unfortunately, I can’t find at the moment:

for ($chapter=1; $chapter -le {0}; $chapter++) {
    &"{1}" --input F:\ --chapter $chapter --preset Normal --output "{2}"
}
[System.Console]::Beep(1000, 300);
[System.Console]::Beep(1000, 300);
[System.Console]::Beep(1000, 300);
cmd /c pause | out-null;

{0}: number of chapters on the DVD. In this case, 12. {1}: location of your Handbrake .exe file. In this case, it’s D:\Videos\Family Videos\HandBrakeCLI-1.1.2-win-x86_64\HandBrakeCLI.exe. {2}: output filename. In this case, it’s {0}_$chapter.mp4, where {0} is the DVD number from the company that made the DVDs.

For each DVD, I just change the DVD number in this file and run it with PowerShell. Easy peasy.

When I need to use the Handbrake GUI, it’s a little weirder.