Convert DVD to MP4 / H.264 with HD Decrypter and Handbrake

Note: This article is part of our archive and is likely out of date.
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Are you looking for a way to convert your DVD collection to high quality MP4 files? Today we are going to take a look at using DVDFab HD Decrypter along with Handbrake to convert DVDs to MP4 using the H.264 codec.

Process Overview

Handbrake is a great file conversion application, but it unfortunately can’t handle DVD copy protection. For that we will use DVDFab’s HD Decrypter. HD Decrypter is the always free portion of the DVDFab application. What HD Decrypter will do, is remove the copy protection from your DVD, and copy the Video-TS and Audio-TS folders to your hard drive. Once the copy protection is gone, we will use Handbrake to convert the files to MP4 format with H.264 compression.

Note: You’ll get full access to all the options in DVDFab  during the 30 trial period. However, the HD Decrypter is free and will continue to work.

Ripping the DVD

Install both Handbrake and DVDFab HD Decrypter. (Download links below) Once the applications are installed, place your DVD into your DVD drive and open DVDFab. On the welcome screen, click “Start DVDFab.”

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You’ll be prompted to choose your region. Click “OK.”

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The disc is analyzed and opened…

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You’ll be brought to the main interface. Make sure you have the Full Disc option selected at the left panel and “Copy DVD-Video (VIDEO_TS folder) is selected. Click “Start.”

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Don’t be confused by the “DVD to DVD” option pop up. We won’t actually be burning to DVD. The HD Decrypter portion of the DVDFab suite is part of the DVD to DVD option. Click “OK.”

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The DVD will be ripped to your hard drive.

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When the copy process is complete, you’ll be prompted to insert media to start the write process. We aren’t going to be burning to disc, so just click Cancel then close out of DVDFab.

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Converting to MP4

Now we are ready to convert Open Handbrake and click on the “Source” button at the top left. Select DVD / VIDEO_TS folder from the drop down list.

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Now we need to browse for the location where DVDFab HD Decrypter copied your movie. By default, that location will be the \DVDFab\Temp\FullDisc directory in your Documents folder.

For example, in Windows 7, it would be: C:\Users\%username%\Documents\DVDFab\Temp\FullDisc\[Name of Your DVD]

Select the folder, and click “OK.”

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You may be prompted to set a default path in Handbrake. This is an optional step. Click “OK.”

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If you’d like to set a default destination folder, Go to Tools on the top menu, select Options. On the General tab, click “Browse” to select a destination output folder. Click “Close” when Finished.

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Next, click the dropdown list next to “Title.” Select the title that matches the length of the movie. It’s possible you may have see more than one title with a similar length. If so, consult the DVD information, or a site like IMDB.com, to find the proper movie title length.

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Select your container under Output Settings. This will be your final output file extension. We will be using MP4 for this example. You also have the option of MKV.

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If you didn’t set up a default destination folder, you’ll need to select one by clicking the “Browse” button.

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You can manually customize the output file name and change the output file extension to .mp4 (Unless you prefer the iPod friendly .m4v extension).

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Settings

There are a variety of custom settings that can be changed either through the tabs listed under Output Settings, or by selecting one of the Presets to the right.

If converting exclusively for any of the devices listed in the preset list, simply click on that device and the settings will be automatically applied in the Output Settings tabs. For more Universal (non-Apple) devices or output, select the Normal profile.

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For the most part, the presets will suit quite nicely. However, you can further customize settings if you’d like. The Picture tab allows you to tweak the size or cropping region. You must change Anamorphic to Loose or Custom to change the size.

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The Video tab allows you to choose your codec. H.264 is the default. You also have the option to choose a target (output) size. The Constant Quality is recommended to be set between 59% – 63%. Anything over 70% will likely result in an output file larger than the input without any improved quality.

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On the Subtitles tab, you can select an available subtitle from the dropdown list and click “Add” to add it to the output file.

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When you’ve finished any customizations you are ready to begin the conversion process. Click “Start.”

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A Command window will open and you can follow the process. You’ll probably want to find something to do in the meantime as the process could take a couple of hours.

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When the process completes, you’re ready to watch your video.

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Although it’s a time consuming process that involves a couple steps, this method will give you high quality H.264 video files. If you want to rip and burn your DVD’s to ISO check out our article on how to rip and convert DVD’s to an ISO image.

Links

Download DVDFab HD Decrypter (Part of the DVDFab suite)

Download Handbrake

Andrew is a media center geek with some serious Windows skills. He's never far from a WiFi connection or a great cup of coffee.

  • Published 03/24/10
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