Ripping DVDs to MPEG4 with K9Copy
I've blogged about K9Copy's DVD rip and copy abilities in the past, but I only just noticed that it has added one step rip to MPEG4 support. After taking it for a test drive I'm very pleased with the ease of use and plan to use it for most of my ripping needs in the future.
Up until now dvd::rip has been my ripper of choice, but I recently received a stack of DVD's for Father's Day and kept getting errors during the ripping process. I reinstalled some of the libraries, but the issues still persisted. During my search for a replacement I decided to fire up K9Copy, thinking that I could potentially rip to the hard drive with it and encode with dvd::rip. That's when I noticed an MPEG4 button.
Not only does K9Copy now encode, it does everything in one step, including getting the aspect ratio correct without the user having to do anything. It lacks many of the advanced features that dvd::rip supports, but if you just want to get the main movie for easy viewing on a computer like I do, it's a great tool.
I used Kubuntu 7.04 and K9Copy version 1.1.0 for this HowTo.
How To Rip and Encode
Inserting the DVD brought up a dialog box with some options for what action to take with the DVD. I chose Copy with k9copy.
Once in the program, step 1 is checking the configuration. You can do this by selecting the icon that looks like a wrench or picking Configure k9copy from the Settings menu. Click the MPEG4 icon in the left sidebar and make sure the codec, file size, width, and bitrate are what you want. Note that the file size sets a maximum. If the full size is not required it will create a smaller file. Hopefully K9Copy will add a bitrate option for video in the future.
Now it's time to select the audio and video titles. Since I want the main movie in English I selected audio 1 and video from title 1. The length of the video is listed right next to it to help you determine which is the main movie versus special features. In this example I selected a 2 channel audio source, but selecting a 6 channel source is fine too. The MPEG4 encoding will drop it to 2 channels anyway. K9Copy only supports MP3 audio tracks, so if you what something else then this is a case where you need a more advanced program. In addition to the audio, you'll also notice that subtitles can be selected for any of the supported languages.
We're almost done. Clicking the MPEG4 icon from the toolbar or picking Create MPEG-4 from the Actions menu will start the rip. Type in a filename to Save As, select Save, and we're off. One slight bug in the program is visible here, but it doesn't affect the functionality. The Cancel button in the transcoding dialog uses the French Annuler instead of the English Cancel. Of course this isn't a problem if your language is set to French, unless they're just swapped.
For my purposes, K9Copy worked like a charm. It's definitely the most intuitive ripper I've used, and so far the quality has been great. Next time I'll go to it first. The only time I really see needing another tool is if I'm ripping a large number of TV shows and want to run them in batch mode instead of waiting for each episode to finish before manually starting another.