28 April, 2009

Video Conversion: DVD to iPod

There are so many websites and tools available for getting DVD's onto the iPod it's difficult to know where to start. I've been using Videora for converting files to toi play on the iPod, but the Videora does no not handle DVD's directly. After much trial and error I've settled on the following process for ripping my DVD movie collection.

Step 1: RIP the DVD
There are lots of tools available to copy (backup) your DVD library to your PC. My personal choice is RipIt4Me. I skip the step to re-burn a copy to a black DVD, I just store the raw DVD Rip on my External USB Hard Drive.

Step 2: Convert RIP'ed DVD to iPod
Again there is a wide choice of tools available. The best free application I've found for this is Handbrake. Originally for the Mac, the latest version is now available for Windows. As with all of the video conversion tools I've tried you have to set the various conversion options which can be a bit daunting. I've settled on two different profiles, depending on the type of DVD I'm converting. A Basic profile for cartoons and TV shows and a High Quality profile for movies.

Basic Profile
Encoder: H.264 (iPod)
Width/Height: 320 x 240
Cropping: Auto Crop
Video BitRate: 768
Advanced Output Settings: none
Audio BitRate: 128
High Quality Profile
Encoder: H.264 (iPod)
Width/Height: 640 x 480
Cropping: Auto Crop
Video BitRate: 1500
Advanced Output Settings: 2-Pass encoding
Audio BitRate: 160
Remember to give the output filename an .mp4 extension. And ensure you've selected the H.264 (iPod) encoder not just the H.264

Step 3: Copy video to iPod
In iTunes you can select Add File to Library... to add the movie file to the Movies section. Then Sync your iPod. Done.

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