Wednesday, 11 March 2015

DVD Back-ups

You know, I’ve not written much about the technology I’ve got.

Much as I’d LOVE to be working for MacWorld … ?   Frankly, I don’t the technology know-how.

But … ?

I DO know that I write well: and that, when I feel I have something to write about, I try to: as clearly and as distinctly, as possibly.

This post is — hopefully — going to be one of those occasions.

It’s about … 

Backing up … 


I’m aware that — in this day and age — many of us are selling or passing on our DVDs: either to charity shops or places like CeX: places that buy in used DVDs, blu-rays and video games and sell them on.

I’ve done plenty of that, to be frank.

I’m also aware many of us have kept our DVDs.

I know blu-rays and streaming are slowly replacing them.   But many of us have them still.

And — possibly — want to have a spare copy, JUST in case.

I believe I have one solution to offer.


You’re probably aware that I‘ve always believed we should be free to rip copies of DVDs to our computers.   I feel that — once we’ve bought a film in the format — we should be able to watch that film on whatever device we chose.

Whether that device is a DVD player and TV, a computer, a tablet, a media streaming device like an Apple TV or Chromecast: what have you.

To that end?

I’ve used Handbrake to turn the film on a given DVD into something — usually an m4v — I can then watch on my iPod or AppleTV.

It’s legally considered rather a grey area, but I’ve always had the impression that, post-Hargreaves, one can get away with it.

If the copies are for personal use.

Given that, one SHOULD have no problems.


For my birthday?

I‘ve recently been given a copy of the latest Benedict Cumberbatch film, The Imitation Game: a biopic of computing pioneer, Alan Turing.

Nope: I’ve not seen it yet.

I hope to watch it, tomorrow.

I had, of course, used Handbrake to transfer a version to my hand drive.


I’d had — for many years — a trial copy of RipIt.   Made by The Little App Factory, RipIt allows us to make a copy of a DVD — for back-up purposes — that we can store on a computer.

I’ve usually used on DVD’s that — for reasons I can never quite work out — Handbrake has trouble dealing with.

Handbrake usually has no trouble dealing with the resulting folder.



However, RipIt can also be used to create an exact copy of a factory-produced DVD.   One that I knew, in theory, could then be burnt to a blank DVD, and played like the original it’s a copy of.

It’s only tonight — given a DVD to copy, the relevant software, and some blank, dual-layered DVDs to copy to — I thought to try.


I need to ‘rip’ the DVD using RipIt.

Which is simple.

After installing RipIt, we then open it.

THEN we — as prompted — insert the DVD we wish to copy.

At the NEXT prompt, we hit the ‘Rip’ button.   The DVD icon in RipIt’s window will spin: until the app has finished copying the DVD into our Movies folder.   (/Users/Home/Movies, so you know.)

The content of the folder RipIt creates in our Movies folder will be called something on the lines of Example.dvdmedia.   (We can remove the .dvdmedia extension if we choose.)

That folder will contain what’s called a video.ts folder.

That latter video.ts folder is what we need to burn to a separate blank DVD.


To do that?   To do that, I personally chose to use a piece of open source burning software: called Burn.

It’s another piece of software that’s been around for a while: and one I know has been capable of turning a media file into an (unfancy) DVD.

I’ve also been aware that it can be used to burn video.ts: something I tried, tonight.

The results were perfect.

At least, perfect: a perfect functional copy of a DVD, that worked in MY TV, and was indistinguishable from the original.


Now … 

I realise this is not going to work for everyone.

I’ve used this process on a Mac, running OS X 10·7·5: with a copy of RipIt 1·6·6 and Burn 2·5·1.

Not something every one has available.

But for me, this is something I found to make a workable back-up copy of a (factory made) DVD: purely for personal use.

And something I hope will be useful to you.

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