Hack 62. Rip and Encode DVDs with K3b
Use K3b as an easy-to-use frontend to rip and encode DVDs without touching a command line.
The big success of a program such as K3b is how it gives you much of the power of the command-line tools it uses while still remaining easy to use. K3b is mostly used to burn CDs and DVDs, but you can also use it to easily rip and encode DVDs. This hack will take you through the process of ripping a DVD and encoding it using K3b.
Like with CD and DVD recording, K3b relies on command-line tools behind the scenes for much of what it does. K3b uses transcode for the encoding process, and K3b has a few dependencies for DVD ripping:
With the requirements met, put your DVD in the drive and launch K3b. Click on your DVD drive from the filesystem tree on the left, and K3b reads and displays information about the DVD titles on the right side of the window. Choose the title you want to rip to your filesystem (generally the title with the longest runtime is the main feature, and it's often the first title on the DVD). Right-click on the title and select Copy. Now choose the location on the filesystem to store the DVD's .vob files. Keep in mind that you need over four gigabytes of space for the files, not to mention the final .avi file. Optionally, check "Open encoding dialog after ripping" and K3b will open the window for the next part of the process once the rip is complete. Click the Start Ripping button and K3b will start ripping the files to the filesystem.
After the DVD has been ripped, if you checked "Open encoding dialog after ripping," you will see a new window filled out with information about your DVD. Otherwise click Tools Encode Video and then click the button under "K3b DVD ripping file:" to browse to the directory where the DVD was ripped. Select the The Encoding Video window is split up into three tabs. The first tab is labeled Basic Audio/Video Settings and provides all of the basic options an average person would need when doing a standard encoding. The most important field to fill out here is the Final AVI filename as it won't encode otherwise. In addition, you might want to change the bitrate settings. By default it will encode the video so it will fit on a 700 MB CD. You can also configure which MPEG4 video codec to use.
The second tab, "Advanced Audio/Video Settings," lets you crop and resize the video. It also provides a preview of the video, with a slider that allows you to choose a representative frame from the movie for selecting your resizing and cropping settings. K3b provides you with red boxes that allow you to see the results of your crop settings on a frame of the video. At the bottom is a general resizing slider you can use to shrink the video to a smaller size.
The final tab is labeled "Expert Settings" and provides you with a few extra options, such as the ability to shut down the computer after you have finished encoding. You can also tell K3b not to use normalize to detect optimal audio settings. Enable this if you find audio settings are detected improperly.
After you have tweaked the settings to your liking, click the Encode button to start the process. K3b provides a progress window like it does with CDand DVD-burning, so you can monitor how far along the process is. When it is finished, you will have a shiny new MPEG4 file in the directory you chose. You may want to experiment with different settings to get the optimal MPEG4 file for your tastes.