having problems copying a dvd

Roland Smith rsmith at xs4all.nl
Wed Sep 2 05:19:30 UTC 2009

On Wed, Sep 02, 2009 at 04:41:24AM +0000, af300wsm at gmail.com wrote:
> Hi,
> I'm trying to make a copy of a dvd that I have, video, using a technique  
> that I gleaned from this list nearly two years ago that has always worked  
> but now I'm having problems. (When I say always, please bear in mind that I  
> don't do this every day or even frequently). You'll also see calls to dd.  
> These were attempts at "last ditch effort." I usually just use the copy  
> command (got it from a thread entitled, "copying a dvd video," from  
> November of 07). If dd will work but I just forgot to get the block size  
> right, what is that supposed to be.

My preferred technique is to use mplayer:

mplayer dvd://1 -dumpstream -dumpfile dvd.mpg

Be sure to play the DVD with mplayer to check which track is actually the
movie. Usually it is track #1, but not always.

After copying the stream, I tend to re-encode it for backup purposes with the
H.264 video codec with MP3 sound, which makes it a lot smaller. The first step
is to watch the mpeg and see if there are black stripes around the picture:

mplayer -vf cropdetect dvd.mpg

This will give you a continuous list of crop lines, e.g:
[CROP] Crop area: X: 1..719  Y: 74..500  (-vf crop=704:416:10:80).0

Next step is to re-encode the mpeg file in two steps for enhanced quality,
including the crop information, if any:

mencoder title.mpg -ovc x264 \
-x264encopts subq=4:bframes=3:b_pyramid:weight_b:qp=18:threads=auto:pass=1 \
-idx -oac mp3lame -vf crop=704:416:10:80 -o /dev/null; \
mencoder title.mpg  -ovc x264 -x264encopts \
b_pyramid:weight_b:qp=18:threads=auto:pass=2 -vf crop=704:416:10:80 \
-idx -oac mp3lame -o title.avi;

If you want to include a specific language or subtitle, don't forget to
include the correct options for that; see the mplayer manual.

R.F.Smith                                   http://www.xs4all.nl/~rsmith/
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