Making backup copies of DVDs

Over the years I’ve bought a lot of movies and some favorite TV series on DVD. There’s nothing worse than getting some scratches or other damage (flood; fire?) so that you can’t watch your cherished videos. And years ago I never realized how fragile DVDs actually are, especially when kids are involved! So a while back I looked around for a relatively easy way to make copies of my DVDs with Linux.

The first application I used about six months ago when I was using Kubuntu was K9Copy. K9Copy was awesome! It worked great, and the nice thing was it would rip a DVD and directly create an ISO file of the video that could then be burned to a blank DVD and played in your DVD player. The only problem is that since July of 2011 K9Copy is no longer being developed (Click on ‘What’s New’ from the K9Copy website for this notification). You can still use it, but no more updates unless someone else decides to continue work on it in the future. Also, since I’m using Xfce/Voyager at the moment, I didn’t want to install K9Copy along with all its KDE dependencies. So after searching for popular Linux DVD ripping software, I next tried AcidRip. This program is also pretty easy to use, and worked well at converting a movie DVD to .avi format. However, every movie I tried converting with AcidRip included subtitles/closed captioning, even though I set it not to include them. I looked around on the web for help, but could not get AcidRip to leave out the subtitles!

Next I tried Handbrake, a venerable application that lots of people love. And Handbrake is what I’m using now, because it’s simple to use and works every time. It converts a DVD video to MP4 or MKV format and I’ve had no trouble using it with old and newer encrypted DVDs. Just make sure you have installed the libdvdcss2 packages on your system to play the newer restricted format DVDs. Instructions for Ubuntu can be found Here.

After ripping the DVD video I use DeVeDe to create an .iso file of the saved video file which I can then burn to a fresh DVD to play on a standard DVD player. DeVeDe is intuitive to use and lets you make simple menus (nice for TV episodes) and use your own image file for a background and even include music.

All the above software is available to install via Synaptic Package Manager or in the Ubuntu Software Center. For newer versions, you may need to use a PPA.

It’s nice to have backups of those beloved videos, just in case of an unexpected catastrophe, or simple human clutziness!