Ripping Your Unprotected DVDs: What You Need To Know

Martin Wilson

Jul 27, 2022

Ripping protected DVDs is a complicated science that is constantly changing. But if you've had a Mac for a while and use it for multimedia, you probably also have a collection of DVD video projects that you burned another disc-burning program or with iDVD. It is less likely that you would like to take specific content from those DVDs and use it elsewhere, such as e-mail to friends and family or re-encoding video clips to put on your website, or taking those clips and putting them into a new project. Let us see if ripping your unprotected DVDs is a good idea?

What Matters

When you open a video DVD on your Mac, you'll see two folders: Video TS and Audio TS. The title set is what "TS" stands for. Everything you need to watch the movie is in the Video TS folder. Audio TS folders were thought of when making audio DVDs. Most of the time, these Audio TS folders are empty, but they are still included because some older DVD players need to see this folder to know that the DVD is a good video disc. When you're working with video from a DVD, you don't need the Audio TS folder.

The Video TS folder has files with the names BUP, VOB, and IFO. IFO files ("Information") tell the player where to look for chapter, subtitle data, and audio. The BUP files save copies of the IFO archives. Video Objects (VOB) files hold all of the video, subtitles, and audio. The gold is in these VOB files.

Playing Video TS Directories

To get the movie data from an unprotected DVD, drag the Video TS folder to the Desktop of your Mac. Once you've made the copy, you can watch the movie on it by opening Apple's DVD Player, going to File >'' Open DVD Media >'' Video TS, and then clicking on the film. It will work on your Mac the same way as an actual DVD. With the right tool, you can also play the VOB files on your own. This tool is the free, open-source VLC (VideoLAN Client). Drag and drop a VOB file onto the VLC program, or utilize the Open command and find the VOB file you want to watch. You can watch VOB files with VLC, but that's all you can do with them. VLC can't be used to change these files.

Converting DVD files

The free program MPEG Streamclip from Squared 5 can change VOB files. It can output in many different formats, such as QuickTime, AVI, MPEG-4, DV, and MPEG. It can also take just the audio tracks from VOB files. MPEG Streamclip is great because it lets you take out only the parts of a VOB file you want. For instance, if your family's recent trip to water polo camp is all saved in a VOB file, you can pull out just the underwater part of the video that shows Junior's very personal foul.

To do this, open the VOB file in MPEG Streamclip, move the playhead to where you want the extracted clip to start, choose Edit >'' Select In, and move the playhead to where you want the clip to end, and choose Edit >'' Select Out. Using this method will save you time. The conversion method is faster than converting the entire VOB file, and you don't have to short down a converted video clip in iMovie or QuickTime Player Pro later.

Copy-Protected DVDs

You probably already know that almost all store-bought DVDs have some copy protection. The idea is that it will stop people from stealing. In reality, it doesn't look like it went very well. Since DVDs took the place of VHS, people have been able to get illegal copies of DVDs. Still, when you rip DVDs, you will have to deal with copy protection. It's a grey area in the law, and if you don't follow the Fair Use doctrine, you might be breaking the law in the US. No DVD ripping software can do it by default because it's unclear how the law feels about it. You will have to figure out how to fix the problem by yourself.

Finding a New Goal

Now that you've made the DVD video file usable, you can do whatever you want. Could you put it in a new iDVD task? Add it into iMovie. You can make versions that work with e-mail, Apple TV, the Web, iPhone, iPod, and YouTube and share them with everyone. After all, it's your video.


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