[MPlayer-users] Can I get a few tips on DVD ripping?

Miriam English mim at miriam-english.org
Sat Sep 9 23:58:24 EEST 2017

Rui Correia wrote:
> On Fri, Sep 8, 2017 at 2:18 PM, Miriam English <mim at miriam-english.org 
> <mailto:mim at miriam-english.org>> wrote:
>     Hi Rui,
>     I always rip my DVDs to my computer as soon as I buy them. The
>     plastic they make DVDs out of is so easily scratched I like to
>     play them just the one time, in ripping them to the computer. Then
>     I put them away in my DVD case to be taken out again only if the
>     hard drive gets damaged and my ripped video corrupted.
> Hi Miriam,
> I've been failing to do that, hence why I already have a couple of 
> "broken" DVD's. They still play but they have a lot of skipping. They 
> skip 3 or 4 minutes of playtime due to scratches.
> Not a big drama, they were cheap but it's kinda dumb to allow that to 
> happen and then having to buy a new DVD from the bestbuy. I teach my 
> daughter to take care of her stuff, and I know she's careful but once 
> in a while "accidents" happen and a DVD ends up on the floor under 
> people's shoes...

I've sometimes bought secondhand DVDs. Often they are very badly 
scratched. There is a way to fix them, but it takes a lot of time and 
patience. Get a cotton bud (like people use to remove makeup) and a 
small amount of clean water. Now sit in a comfortable chair and gently 
rub the wet cotton bud on the scratched DVD radially, not tangentially 
-- that is, from edge to center and center to edge, at right-angles to 
the tracks. Don't rub in the same direction as the tracks because 
scratches in those directions confuse the laser tracking. It can take an 
hour or two to smooth out the worst scratches. I prefer to do it while 
watching a movie or listening to a talk.

I've bought some very badly scratched DVDs in the past that wouldn't 
play at all. I've managed to rescue some by using a small motorised 
handheld device (forgotten what it's called) that has an interchangeable 
rotating disk/grinder/polisher attached to the motorised body by a 
flexible neck. Anyway I attached a soft polishing disk and very, very 
carefully polished out the worst, deepest scratches, always taking care 
to polish radially. This is much faster, but leaves the surface with 
hundreds of thousands of fine, tiny scratches. The afterward I polished 
them out by hand using the wet cotton bud technique.

>     You don't need dvdnav:// as that's used for showing the DVD menus.
>     Simply dvd:// is sufficient. Also the video will rip as a vob
>     file, not as an iso file.
> I was trying to find out the right Title with the Main Movie hence why 
> I was using dvdnav. On the remaining ripping commands I forgot to move 
> to dvd instead.

I think it will work with dvdnav:// too, sorry.
And I made a mistake reading your command. It didn't occur to me that 
you were ripping from an iso file. Silly me. Be careful of that though. 
If you've already ripped a damaged DVD to an iso file you'll have an iso 
file with damaged information. So you'll get GIGO (garbage in, garbage out).

To quickly find out what titles are on a DVD I use a small program 
called vobcopy that came with my operating system. I find mplayer does a 
better job of copying the vobs from the DVD, but vobcopy has a lovely 

vobcopy -I

which displays a list of all the titles on a DVD. You have to mount the 
DVD beforehand, but I put it in a small script that precedes it with 
"mount /mnt/dvd" and follows it with "umount /mnt/dvd".

Recently I bought a DVD which had 99 tracks, most of which were fake. I 
used the videolan player "vlc" to find out which were the real titles on 
the disk. I use it to play a video from the DVD's menu, then while it's 
playing, pull down vlc's "Playback" menu, then go down to the "Title" 
item and note which title is ticked on the submenu. (That probably 
sounds confusing, but it is simple to do, complicated-sounding to describe.)

If I want to find out information about a particular title on the DVD I 
use mplayer:

mplayer "dvd://$1" -v -nosound -vo null -frames 0 2>/dev/null | grep -E 

That lists just the audio track info and subtitle info.

>     If the track I want is track 2 then I use:
>     mplayer dvd://2 -dumpstream -dumpfile videoname.vob
> And by track I would assume it is the same as Title?
> Interesting. The result is a VOB, not an M2V? Wow.
Yes. I meant title, sorry. :)
mplayer will play vob files directly. My understanding is they are mp2 
encoded mpeg video files, which you could call m2v, I just haven't seen 
them called that. (That's not to say that isn't common, just an 
indication of my ignorance.) Re-encoding them with one of the mp4 codecs 
can achieve tremendous filesize reduction with no obvious loss of 
quality if you're careful in the parameters you choose.

--- snip ---
> Wow, there's so much info on ffmpeg and mencoder on your message that 
> it will take me some time to digest.
> I'll get back in a couple of days after I test all this.
> Thanks a bunch, Miriam.
No worries. Glad to be of help. If stuck on anything give me a yell and 
I'll see if I can help further.


     - Miriam

There are two wolves and they're always fighting.
One is darkness and despair. The other is light and hope.
Which wolf wins?
Whichever one you feed.
  -- Casey in Brad Bird's movie "Tomorrowland"

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