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Convert DVD video to MP4 for iPod RRS feed

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  • This guide will show you how to convert video from a DVD (can main movies/feature or extras) to MP4 files to store and view on a video iPod. This guide is intended mainly for new users who want to save a few bucks by converting TV shows or other content from their DVD collection instead of buying them again from iTunes (as it is your right to do so). It will work for pretty much any DVD as long as it is not encrypted. This guide uses commercial software from the infamous and highly respected SlySoft - the company that brought us CloneCD, CloneDVD and AnyDVD. Their products are of high quality and are easy to use. The software I use in this guide, CloneDVD Mobile, is no exception.

    What are the capabilities of CloneDVD mobile?


    CloneDVD Mobile can open a DVD folder stored on your Hard Disk Drive and then give you an option of what you want to convert to MP4. Besides supporting converting for iPods, it can also output video for a Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP), iAudio X5, Creative Zen Vision players, Windows Mobile SmartPhones and more.

    One possible problem for users however, is that CloneDVD Mobile, like CloneDVD 2, cannot handle copy protected DVDs. For this reason, most retail DVDs have to be decrypted and "ripped" before you can open them with CloneDVD Mobile.

    A word about DVD Ripping


    The AfterDawn Administration was forced to remove content that provided details on copy protection circumvention (even though they were meant for use while making legal backups and other processes protected by fair use) and tools that were capable of circumvention to comply with Finnish copyright laws that went into effect on January 1st 2006. For this reason, this guide cannot provide you with in depth details of using such software to rip DVDs and assumes that your DVD is already unprotected (or already ripped) to your HDD. For more information, please read http://www.afterdawn.com/guides/archive/afterdawn_guides_copyright_law.cfm.

    If you would like to know a little more about the copy protection found on 99% of retail DVDs, check out our Glossary entry for Content Scrambling System (CSS).

    Introduction & Requirements


    CloneDVD Mobile - You can get a trial of this software from AfterDawn, but to buy the fully unlocked software, visit the SlySoft homepage. Our users swear by the quality of SlySoft products, which are affordable to pretty much everybody, and you can always rely on free updates to keep the products in line with advances in technology.

    This guide assumes that you know how to use iTunes to add video to your iPod (File --> Import, select the video you want, then click Videos in iTunes and drag the video to your iPod) so that isn't covered. At the end of this guide you will have a resulting MP4 file that you can view on your computer, and then send straight to your iPod through the use of iTunes.

    I recommend that for long conversions you disable any screensavers or scheduled tasks. Scheduled tasks could include virus scans, updaters, malware scans etc. These could slow down the conversion to a crawl.

    Note: Many of the images in this guide have been cropped to avoid destroying details during resizing.

    CloneDVD Mobile Interface


    As with any SlySoft product, the CloneDVD Mobile interface is good enough for users of any levels from beginner to professional. The first screen you are met with, the Welcome screen, as you can see here, consists of just a software logo, Slysoft logo, two buttons and a nice list of portable devices.

    The About button will show you registration information. When you want to begin, click Apple iPod Video in the list and click the Next button.

    The Title Configuration Window


    The next window allows you to select an input DVD folder. Lets take a short look at it first before we do that. The first thing you see is a field to select the source of your DVD video files. To browse to the folder where your DVD files (VOB, IFO, BUP) are stored, click the little browse button beside this field.

    Below this are two main sections. To the left you have an Information and Preview window that you will soon be able to switch between by clicking the appropriate tab. These won't work until you open a DVD folder of course.

    To the right is a video Titles List. This will give you some information about the DVD. DVD discs are made up of titles, and usually on a retail movie DVD or TV Series DVD, all features have separate titles (like each episode would be a different title). You won't have to worry about not knowing the correct title as you will be able to preview the video. It also shows how many chapters are in each title, the run time and audio settings.

    Now click the Browse button and locate your DVD folder. I have ripped my personally owned copy of Ransom to my HDD for this guide, so I would have to click the small browse button beside the DVD video files field and browse to C:\DVD\Ransom for my DVD files. When you open your DVD, you will see something like this.

    Selecting the content you want


    Once you open your DVD folder, your Title List will now be populated. You might have a preview play straight away of your main feature (or rather the longest feature on the DVD). Use the preview option to determine which title you want.

    The Information window (to get there click the Information tab while you have a title selected) will show you the number of chapters, audio streams and subtitles available in a track. We will have to choose these options shortly.

    If you want just a selection of a title, such as a song performed as part of a concert DVD, then click the Preview tab when you have a title selected and we can select individual chapters. If the preview play button doesn't load immediately, wait patiently, it usually will show up.

    Selecting individual chapters


    When you have your title selected and you click the Preview tab, you should see something similar to what the picture accompanying this text displays. The only thing you wont immediately see is the marks for new chapters or the Start Selection and End Selection icons. To see these, click the Cut button (looks like a small scissors).

    The marks for each chapter point will appear. Another bar will appear under it with two icons on either side. To the left is the Start Selection icon, and to the right is the End Selection icon. You can click and drag the start selection icon and end selection icon across the chapter marks. These will only settle on a chapter point.

    In the picture for example, I have selected Chapter 5, by dragging the Start Selection icon across to the 5th chapter point. I then dragged the End Selection icon across to the 6th chapter point. This selection does not include the 6th chapter though, it ends at the start of the 6th chapter.

    Now CloneDVD Mobile will only convert the 5th chapter for me, so that is useful if you have a concert DVD where every song performed is in a separate chapter. When you are done with all this, click the Next button.

    Audio Settings


    Now you have the chance to select your audio track to be converted. If there are multiple tracks on the Title you selected, it will arrange them by language.

    Make your selection by ticking the circle radio button beside each audio stream listed under Title # stream configuration (with # as whatever Title number you selected on the previous screen).

    When you have made your selection, click Next.

    The Output Method Window


    This window allows you to change some quality settings. Notice on your left there is a DVD configuration window. This is just really a reminder of what exactly you selected in the previous windows to be encoded. On the right we have the Output method options.

    First is Resolution. One problem with iPods so far is users report they can be picky about Resolution. Generally speaking, higher resolution produces higher quality, but you must also remember that iPods have small screens. Therefore an average resolution is fine. CloneDVD Mobile resolution options vary.

    Next there is a video quality slidebar. It ranges from the numbers 13 - 33, the higher the number, the higher the bitrate, the higher the quality and the higher the file size (which is estimated just below the bar). Higher quality is always better of course, but you probably don't need to push the whole way to 33, the difference probably wouldn't be too noticeable from a slightly lower figure. The button beside the slidebar will set to the default setting, which is 23.

    Enter the filename to write is the next thing that needs to be changed. The button beside the field will open a save window that will let you choose an output directory and filename. The last option is Label; the is the name of the video segment you will output, so if its a TV show, give it the episode name or something. Think creatively ;-).

    Starting the Conversion


    The only thing left to do to start the conversion is click the Go! button.

    The Conversion Process


    The time the conversion will take depends on the length of the video that has to be encoded and the speed of your computer. You can switch between Snapshot, Summary and Log during the encoding process if you want to. Snapshot provides somewhat of a preview, but as it sounds, it just shows every few frames as opposed to an actual video preview.

    The process should go fine, but keep the Log tab open just in case there are any errors. Automatically shut down the computer when done is a good option to select if you are encoding over night. You can Cancel or Pause the process at any stage. You can minimize it and continue working but don't use any resource demanding applications while encoding.

    Finally


    You should know enough about CloneDVD Mobile to use it frequently for DVD to iPod conversions now. If you have any problems, refer to our Discussion Forums. We have a specific forum for iPod discussion here. If you find any problems, mistakes or have any feedback on this guide, send me a Private Message (you need to have an account to send a PM). My nickname is Dela. I hope this guide helped you, hope you stick around :-)
    Wednesday, February 28, 2007 4:06 AM

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