From DVD to iPod - Ripping DVDs

"If you obey all the rules, you'll miss all the fun." - Katherine Hepburn

A colleague recently asked the following:

How can I add a dvd movie to my ipod touch?
Some of the responses included the following, as well as my longer musing:
  • I use a tool called Handbrake - Once handbrake creates the m4v file, I drag and drop it onto my device in iTunes.
  • Handbrake works perfectly for Mac and Linux, but it won't rip a copy-protected DVD in Windows.  For Windows you can use a tool called DVDFab Free to extract the content from the disk, then use Handbrake to convert the ripped disk to an MP4 file.  
Another approach is to use the free, cross-platform VLC Media Player, as elaborated in this blog entry:
Copying a DVD with VLC is simple. Just pop a DVD into your PC's drive, start playing it through VLC and click the red record button in the VLC interface. The movie, even, in some cases, copy-protected movies, will record in real-time to a file created on your hard drive...You can save videos recorded with the VLC software in numerous file formats, including MPEG-4, AVI, and QuickTime. The file can then be saved for playback later, copied onto another DVD, or made available for distribution (if you so choose).

Below is an excerpt from my response:
All my ripping is on GNU/Linux and it's so easy. In fact, it was K3b CD/DVD burning tool that pushed me over the edge into using GNU/Linux (well, that and being able to hook up a "Windows-only" scanner to a bondi iMac that was so great). 
My kids know how to rip stuff (for their mobile devices) using GNU/Linux. On their desktop computers, which have been set up to dual boot Windows and UbuntuLinux, they can access all the necessary tools on the UbuntuLinux partition (20gigs) for scanning, ripping CD/DVDs, but flip back to Windows for other stuff they need. They never would have learned this in school...which prompted me to want to offer a class on how to create a bootable, persistent USB flash drive for use on the go.
One of the fun questions to ask is, of all the things that one can do with technology, how much do we actually teach or help others learn in schools? I often wonder if folks in organizations that have a top-down policy ask themselves questions like these below:
  1. Should I continue showing users tools that are "organization approved" but fail to reflect the rich diversity of the tools available on the Internet? For example, using a proprietary solution for web sites when other tools are available for free on the open web.
  2. For example, I'm facilitating a wiki workshop. The approved solution is, but why not introduce folks to Free K-12 accounts and Google Sites (or, PMWiki)? The main reason is that a district may not allow student work to get posted on sites NOT under District control. However, it's easy to introduce people to different solutions that give them the freedom to control their own content.

    That's the freedom in doing workshops for other districts, I've found...I can recommend the non-district controlled solutions based on their merit, not the control they grant to the organization over individuals' content.

Of course, part of the fun here is that learning to use a wiki--or anything else--often isn't about the tool itself but the collaboration these tools enable one to accomplish. Modeling that instead of one tool or another is more important.

As to ripping copy-protected DVDs, well, there's so much great content out on the web now for free that messing with copy-protected stuff is...well...not worth the effort.

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure


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