Scott's Weblog The weblog of an IT pro specializing in virtualization, networking, open source, and cloud computing

Making Backup DVD Copies

I love DVDs. Ever since I bought my surround sound system around Christmas of 2000, I have preferred DVDs over VHS for any new movies that we purchase. The big problem, though, is that DVDs aren’t nearly as durable as videotapes, and in a family with kids that’s a big deal. I have younger kids, and it doesn’t take much for a kid to scratch a DVD when putting it into or taking it out of the DVD player. All it takes is one scratch and that’s pretty much the end of that movie.

Even before I switched to Mac OS X, I have been making digital copies of every CD that I purchase, so that I can quickly and easily make another copy in the event that the original CD gets damaged in any way. The introduction of iTunes and my iPod have made this easier. I hadn’t considered, even with the introduction of the 5th generation iPod with video capabilities, that I could do the same with my DVDs until just the other day.

So I set out to see if it was possible to do the same with my DVDs. I’d researched this a little bit earlier, so I already knew about MacTheRipper (MTR), a program for extracting the digital video from a DVD. I used MTR to extract the video for I, Robot to an external FireWire hard drive attached to my PowerBook. That process went well, didn’t take too terribly long, and the resulting VIDEO_TS folder created by MTR worked flawlessly using VLC. I then turned to a program called DVD Imager, which is designed to turn a VIDEO_TS folder into a DVD image that can be burned to a DVD. The problem, however, was that the VIDEO_TS folder and the resulting DVD image were 6.87GB in size. As a result, I was not able to burn the image back to a standard DVD-R using my PowerBook’s SuperDrive.

I tried another DVD (Robots this time) and ended up with 4.62GB of data. OK, I thought, a single-layer DVD holds 4.7GB of data so I should be fine. Wrong! That didn’t work, either.

That means I’m currently stumped as to the next step. A number of online searches have turned up recommendations for Popcorn (from Roxio), but I’m trying to see if I can avoid having to purchase software and instead make do with freeware and/or open source applications.

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