NOTE: I NO LONGER RECOMMEND THIS METHOD OF RIPPING DVDS. As software has changed--both the Mac OS and Mac the Ripper--the method of ripping DVDs described below is no longer as stable or certain to work. I have moved on and now use Handbrake. I will leave the tutorial up for the curious, and so as not to break any links around the web, but I strongly recommend that you use Handbrake instead. A good tutorial on Handbrake can be found here.
If you nonetheless wish to try this method out, here goes:
This is a brief tutorial designed to show professors and students how to quickly assemble a simple DVD of film clips on a Mac. The tutorial assumes that will be pulling your clips from commercial DVDs protected by DRM, and that your Mac is equipped with a DVD burner. The U.S. Copyright Office has issued an exception to the DMCA that allows instructors and students to circumvent copyright protection in assembling noncommercial videos for the purposes of classroom education, criticism, and commentary. (Read the specific language of the Copyright Office’s exemption here.)
The following instructions are not the only way to do this, but this is a very quick and reliable system. Also, there are many programs that will help you extract and convert video from DVDs, but the ones used in this tutorial are stable, well established, and free (with the exception of QuickTimeMPEG2, which is $20 if it’s not already on your system).
WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
1. A Mac running an updated version of OS X
2. A DVD burner (either an external burner or a built-in CD/DVD reader/burner, which Apple calls a SuperDrive)
3. Two free programs: Mac the Ripper and MPEG Streamclip. Both of these programs are mature, stable, and safe for your computer. Instructions for downloading them are below.
4. One program that is probably already on your Mac: iDVD.
5. A file called QuickTimeMPEG2. Unfortunately this component is not free; you can get it for $20 at the Mac App Store. If you’re not sure whether you have it, look in /Library/QuickTime for “AppleMPEG2Codec.”
NOTE: If you don’t have the MPEG2 component and don’t want to pay $20, you might try an alternative approach to getting clips, which would be to use a free program called Handbrake. There is a good tutorial on Handbrake available here.
Good luck, and please let me know if you have any more questions.
THE PROCESS IN A NUTSHELL:
1. Download the programs you will need.
2. Rip the rough clip you want using Mac the Ripper.
3. Select the exact clip you want (to the frame) and convert it to DV format using MPEG Streamclip.
4. Burn the clip to DVD using iDVD.
DOWNLOAD THE PROGRAMS YOU WILL NEED
First, download Mac the Ripper. Despite its unsavory name, remember that you are legally entitled to circumvent copyright protection for certain educational-noncommercial purposes. Mac the Ripper is a program that enables you to do so.
To download Mac the Ripper, go to http://www.mactheripper.org/ and follow the directions for downloading and installing the program.
Second, download MPEG Streamclip. This program will convert your clip to a format that you can easily work with.
To download MPEG Streamclip, go to http://www.squared5.com and follow the directions for downloading and installing the program.
RIP THE ROUGH CLIP YOU WANT
USING MAC THE RIPPER
Insert the DVD that has the clip you want on it into your drive and open Mac the Ripper. You should have a screen that looks something like this:
The top half of this screen gives you a lot of information about the DVD, such as whether it is copyright-protected using Macrovision, etc. The default settings on this screen will work most of the time for most people: it will remove the Macrovision protection, remove any region encoding, etc.
Next, click on the "Mode" button in the middle of the screen. You should have a screen that looks something like this:
Note that the default setting is "Full Disc Extraction," meaning that it is set to extract the entire disc including the main title, any menus, any special features, etc. Since you only want a short clip, to save time you should extract only the chapter or two of the DVD that you want to show in class. Here's how that looks:
Choose "Title – Chapter Extraction" and then, from the choices on the bottom row, select the chapter(s) you want. In the above example, I want only chapter 19, so I selected Start Chapter 19 ("SChpt 19") and End Chapter 19 ("EChpt 19").
If you are not sure which chapter contains the scene you want, you may have to leave Mac the Ripper, go into DVD Player, and look through the chapters until you find the ones you need.
NOTE: On the Mode page, you can also decide whether to extract subtitles, a second audio program, alternate camera angles, or other elements that your DVD may contain. See the Help info for Mac the Ripper for how to do this. For the purpose of this tutorial, we're assuming you want the primary audio program and no subtitles.
Once you have selected the elements that Mac the Ripper should extract, click on "GO!" and extraction will begin. This should only take a couple of minutes for a single chapter. The first time you rip a DVD with Mac the Ripper, you may get an error message like this:
It is safe to click Continue here. To avoid it in the future, however, click the Disc button (next to the Mode button), and then click the RCE Region button (which is probably set to Off) and pick a region. For more about what regions mean, please see the Mac the Ripper Help info.
When the process is complete, you will have a folder on your Desktop with the name of the DVD (for the above example, mine was "CITYLIGHT FILM Title 1 (Ch19)." That folder should contain another folder entitled "VIDEO_TS." And that folder should contain a .VOB file, also with the name of the DVD.
The next step is to open this .VOB file in MPEG Streamclip.
SELECT THE EXACT CLIP YOU WANT (TO THE FRAME)
AND CONVERT IT TO QUICKTIME USING
Open MPEG Streamclip; it should look something like this:
Now you simply drag-and-drop the .VOB file that you created with Mac the Ripper onto that middle square with the five dots:
In a few seconds, you should see a screen, with the play button, time slider, etc., right under it; this is the chapter that you extracted from the DVD:
You can now watch your rough clip by hitting the play button. You can also use the slider to quickly jump to a different point in the clip.
Now you can select the exact clip you want, to the frame, simply by setting an "In" point (i.e. the first frame you want) and "Out" point (the last frame).
First, play the clip until the first frame you want comes on and hit pause; you can use the right and left arrow buttons on you keyboard to move through the clip frame-by-frame.
Once you have the starting frame that you want, press "I" (for "in") on your keyboard. You'll notice that everything before that point in the slider gets grayed out, and there will automatically be a frame count entered in the In/Out box on the lower right:
Similarly, find the last frame you want and press "O" on your keyboard to set the out point:
Everything in the slider timeline should be light gray except for the segment you want, which should be dark gray. For most users most of the time, the default settings for video, audio, etc. should work fine. You are now ready to export this clip to iDVD.
To convert the clip, click on the "File" menu in MPEG Streamclip and choose which format you want. You'll notice that you have many options; for NTSC and PAL users, the quickest and easiest for throwing together a quick clip DVD is the DV (digital video) format. Select "Export to DV":
You will get a screen that looks something like this:
Make sure the desired standard (NTSC or PAL) is selected; other than that, the default settings will once again work for most users most of the time.
Click on "Make DV" on the bottom right. On the save screen, select the name of your file and where you want it saved, and MPEG Streamclip will begin exporting your clip as a DV movie. This will only take a few minutes for a short clip:
Once MPEG Streamclip has finished exporting the clip, you are now ready to assemble a clip DVD using iDVD.
BURN THE CLIP TO DVD USING iDVD
iDVD is Apple's simple program for creating DVDs; if you have a DVD burner built into your Mac, you should have iDVD on your computer. If you are using an external DVD burner, refer to the directions that came with the burner on what software to use.
For iDVD, it is a simple matter of choosing a "theme" or look for your DVD, dragging-and-dropping your QuickTime files onto the workspace, and burning the DVD.
When you open iDVD, you get the following screen (note that I'm still using an older version of iDVD, but the basic procedure hasn't changed):
Select "Create a New Project," then pick a name for your DVD and where to save it. When iDVD opens, choose a theme for the DVD by clicking on "Customize" and selecting from the different presets. Because all I need is simplicity and functionality, I like to use the "Brushed Metal Two" theme:
Once you have a theme you like, you can replace any text by clicking on it and writing your own titles, captions, etc. Then you can drag-and-drop your clips onto the workspace, which represents what you will actually see when you play the DVD:
If you want a different frame from the clip to appear on the menu, just click on the picture and use the slider to select a new frame:
You can add more clips as desired in the same way so that all of your clips for a given lecture will be on the same DVD. You can also organize your clips into folders by clicking on the "Folder" button to add a new folder; clicking on that folder will then take you to a new screen where you can add clips or more folders.
In the above example, clicking on "Chaplin Lec." will take the user to a new screen with my Chaplin clips:
Once you have all of your clips assemble, organized, labeled, etc., you can "test drive" the disc by clicking on "Preview" on the lower right. This will simulate the operation of your disc in an actual DVD player. This brings up a virtual remote control with which you can navigate through menus, make sure all of the clips play, etc.
When everything is to your liking, you are ready to burn the DVD. Insert a blank DVD and click "Burn" on the lower right.
NOTE: For best results, use higher-quality, non-rewritable DVDs. I have never had a problem with Maxell DVD-R discs, which have always recorded flawlessly and have played in every player I've tried them in.
After your disc has finished burning, eject it and then put it back into your computer to see if it will play using your DVD Player. If not, then you know right away that something went wrong and can try again; if it does play,that usually means that everything went just fine and the disc is ready for classroom use. Obviously, it pays to test your disc in your classroom player before class starts to make sure that the disc plays without a problem, especially if using older equipment.
If you have any questions, problems, or suggestions, please feel free to email me:
This tutorial is covered by a Creative Commons license and may be freely shared for educational and other non-commercial uses Please send suggestions or corrections to firstname.lastname@example.org.