Haven’t been posting for a while. Too lazy… >_<
Anyway, I'm going to talk about blu-ray ripping. I haven't had a DVD player (discounting the game consoles) for ages. Everytime I bought a DVD, I rip it and encode it into an H.264 video, and store it on my NAS. DVD is stored in pristine condition, and I can watch the movie anytime anywhere quickly (without having to fast forward thousands of ads and previews). Simple.
DVD ripping is very straightforward nowadays. I use a free ripper called DVDFab decrypter. It will rip any pretty much any DVD and get rid of region codes too. Then I use handbrake, a free and extremely versatile encoder to encode the DVD into either matroska and/or iOS compatible m4v video. Easy, straight forward, and simple.
Now, I’ve also starting to purchase blu-ray videos, watching them using my PS3. The HD picture is great, especially on a large screen TV, but it is quite inconvenient having to find the disc, load it on the PS3, and wait, wait, and wait for the blu-ray to load non-stop crap (BD-live, previews, ads, etc) just to watch the movie. I’ve been holding up on ripping blu-ray videos as it feels complicated and requires a lot of disk space, thus enduring the boatload of crap everytime I want to watch a blu-ray movie.
Well, not anymore. I finally decided to get an external blu-ray drive. Blu-ray drives used to be expensive, but their prices are now closer to DVD burners not too long ago. Acceptable.
As for the software, I figured out that the same software I use to rip DVDs, DVDFab decrypter, can also rip blu-ray videos. Yay! Even better, handbrake will recognize the ripped blu-ray structure. Sounds like a straight forward procedure, right? Well, it was, until I found out that handbrake doesn’t recognize the subtitle in the ripped blu-ray structure. Thus the tinkering begins.
So, what to do. First, DVDFab decrypter actually contains demo versions of other functionalities in the software, to encode things. These are demo only, and will require purchasing a license, thus I’ve been avoiding them since handbrake is free. Tried the mkv rip function as it can rip the blu-ray subtitle into idx/sub files, it seemed to work well, but everything is out of sync. Unacceptable. Exploring the net, I found a software called makeMKV. It’s also a ripper software. Long story short, the result is also out of sync. Hmmm, not good.
Delving deeper, I found out a command line utility called eac3to. It’s described as audio conversion tool, but it can actually rip subtitles from ripped blu-ray structures into a sup file. Thanks to the community, somebody made a GUI for the command line, HD-DVD/Blu-ray stream extractor. Great! But now what do I do with the sup file? Well, there’s a utility for that, called BDsup2sub. This will convert the sup file into a more usable idx/sub file. Also, it can customize the subtitle, including the color and size. A lot of times Hollywood movies put obnoxious subtitles that are too big and cover half of the movie. With this utility, I can reduce the size of the fonts, and even change the color (most commercial DVDs/blu-rays use white, which is not ideal in bright scenes. I find yellow to be the perfect color).
The final utility is mkvtoolnix. It has a utility called mkvmerge, and also a GUI for it. This utility is simply merging whatever you tell it to merge into 1 mkv file. More explanation later.
So, here are my steps in ripping my blu-ray movies:
1. Rip blu-ray using DVDFab decrypter
2. Extract the subtitle using eac3to.
3. Convert the subtitle into idx/sub using BDsup2sub
4. Encode the ripped video into an mkv file using handbrake.
5. Now this is where the mkvtoolnix comes in. I use the mkvmerge utility to merge the mkv produced by handbrake with the idx/sub subtitle file. The resulting file is an mkv file with soft sub, supported by players like VLC, and even hardware devices like WDTV Live. Sweet!
So there you go. Blu-ray ripping is not as straight forward as DVD ripping if you need subtitle. If you don’t care about subtitle, you can simply rip using DVDFab decrypter and encode using handbrake straight, just like DVDs. All in all, now I can enjoy my HD movies without having to deal with finding the disc and enduring the loading and previews crap. ^_^