For this article I’m going to make some assumptions:
- You have handbrake installed
- You have the proper codecs installed for DVD playback
- You’re backing up your own movies
If none of these things don’t make any sense to you please be patient, I’m working on a longer article describing the installation of Handbrake and DVD playback codecs on Xubuntu Linux. For this article it really doesn’t matter whether you’re using Linux, Windows, MacOS, or another operating system that Handbrake can run on as most of what’s written is more specific to Handbrake than any operating system.
The first thing to know about Handbrake is that it can queue multiple titles from the same DVD. In the case where you have 2, 3, or more movies on a DVD (such as those “8 Horror Films” on one DVD packs) you can set the options for each video and add the movie to a queue of movies to be ripped all at once. The same holds true for television shows, each episode (Title) can be queued up before staring the ripping process.
Begin by loading the television show in Handbrake (File > /dev/sr0 – ). Once the show is loaded a default Title is chosen, usually this is the longest, or first title Handbrake thinks is part of the show/movie. For television shows I click the arrow down beside the Title to see how many titles are similar in length to the title chosen. Sometimes handbrake messes up and picks a title that’s obviously not a show (a 15 second clip). In this case just select what you think would be the first show in the set. In the example shown there are 5 shows in the 20 – 25 minute range. Likely this disc has 5 episodes.
Handbrake also gives us a bit more information we can use. If you look at the area about the Title, the Source is 640×480 with an aspect ratio of 4:3. In other words this isn’t widescreen. On most modern displays we’ll see black banding on the left and right sides of the show. From this same line we also know there are 4 audio tracks and 5 subtitle tracks. Why is this information important? To some it might not be important, but if you ever decide you want to learn another language, one of the great ways of learning a language is to watch movies in that other language. When you rip a show in Handbrake by default it selects the first audio track and no subtitles. You can tell Handbrake to include other audio tracks and multiple subtitles (in the case of the MKV format). Handbrake normally defaults to ripping videos to .mp4 format. The format may have changed, but the last time I looked the .mp4 format only supported including 1 subtitle whereas .mkv supports all subtitles. (more on setting Presets in that longer article I mentioned earlier) But I’m getting a bit distracted.
With the first title/episode selected I normally go straight to the bottom and name the file in the save as section. In this case I’d name the episode something like: Futurama – s01e01.mkv. Next click over on the Audio tab (just below the Preset section there are a bunch of tabs beginning with Summary, Dimensions, Filters, Video, Audio, Subtitles, Chapters, Tags). I normally click the Add All button to add all the audio titles. Next click the Subtitles tab. As with the previous tab I click the Add All button. One extra step I make on this tab is to double click on the English subtitle and select the Select Default Track checkbox in the new window that appears. If you do this extra step then the movie will start with English subtitles turned on.
If you don’t select a default subtitle track, but select all subtitles, you won’t see any subtitles play until you select a subtitle in whatever program you’re using to play the video file (in my case our KODI entertainment system). The keen-eyed will also notice there is a burn into video option. I don’t recommend setting this option as it burns the title right into the movie file. If you just choose Set Default Track, but not burn into video, you can always turn the subtitles off, or switch to another subtitle. But if you burn the title into the video whatever subtitle you burn in will always display on the screen.
Now we’re almost done with the first episode of our show. I like to select the title at the bottom and do a CTRL+C to copy the title, in order to make it easier to paste the name into the second episode. The final step with the first episode is to click the Add to Queue button at the top. Once you clcik the Add To Queue a number will appear in the Queue icon on the right-hand side showing how many titles you’ve queued. This comes in handy if you’re not sure how many episodes/titles you’ve queued.
Now select the second episode from the Title area, paste in the Save As title, change it to reflect the next episode (for example: Futurama – s01e02.mkv). Click the Audio and Subtitle tabs and repeat the process from the last paragraph. Do this for each of the episodes on the disc. Don’t forget to click Add to Queue for each episode or you’ll lose your work changing the title/episode and options. Once you have all titles queued up click the Start button to start the ripping and encoding process. Handbrake will then start ripping each title and encoding it. The time required depends on a couple of factors:
- Your CPU. The more cores and faster each core the better. But past 6 cores it’s diminishing returns.
- The speed of your DVD player. Some DVD players have riplock which slows down the ripping process.