I have written a few guides on converting movies before and since there are new gadgets out there I need to to it again. I am telling you now, if you want to convert movies you must use DVDFab. It is hands down the best DVD Converting software out there. DVDFab is great because they have all kinds of different flavors. There is an option just to backup DVD’s to your hard drive or convert DVD’s to a mobile format, which is what we will use for the iPad. The version we are using is DVDFab DVD Ripper (DVD to Mobile)..
There are two ways to convert movies. You can put a DVD into the drive and convert once the disk is recognized. The other way is two copy the DVD to the hard drive first, then convert it from the hard drive. The advantage to the second option is with DVDFab you can queue up the movies you want to convert. Ripping the movie to the hard drive is extremely fast. Encoding the movie to a mobile format takes more time but you can schedule 5 or 10 to run over night if you use the second option. It’s up to you which route you take the steps after that decision is pretty much the same.
Let’s get started.
Preliminary – How to Queue the DVD to Disk
A great feature of DVDFab is how they let you buy the components that you need. If you just want to copy movies from DVDs to the hard drive, use DVDFab DVD Copy. If you want to convert a movie for a device like the iPad get DVDFab DVD Ripper. I like to use both options for a streamlined procedure. Copy a bunch of movies to the hard drive covert, them all at the same time.
There is a free version of DVDFab DVD Copy that allows you to copy the movie off of the DVD. When the copy is compete you will have a folder with the name of the movie saved to the hard drive. In that folder will be another folder called VIDEO_TS. This is the folder that contains the movie.
The paid version of DVDFab DVD Copy gives you a ton of options such as scaling the size of the movie down, or copying just the main movie files. Being able to make the size of the copied movie folder smaller, was enough for me to pay for it. Which ever route you go the value here is to copy movies to the hard drive then queue them up for conversion. This method requires less baby sitting.
To Copy the movie to the hard drive simply choose the Full Disk option under the DVD to DVD Section of DVDFab.
Now Insert your disk. Once the disk is loaded select a target destination for DVDFab to copy the movie to. You can do this by clicking the folder icon in the Target section of DVDFab.
Once you have the DVD loaded it will show up in the source and the name of the DVD will be in Volume Label. If you have the paid version of DVDFab DVD Copy you can adjust the Quality which basically allows you to make the Files smaller. This is a great option if you are doing a lot of movies.
When DVDFab is finished, you will be able to browse to the location you chose in the Target section, and see the movie on the hard drive. (usually DVDFab creates a folder called Full Disk in the location you selected. The movie will be in there.)
Encoding Movie for iPad Playback
Now that we have gotten that out of the way we can now convert the movie for the iPad. This portion requires DVDFab DVD Ripper.
Choose the format that you want to convert your movie to. DVDFab has a list of devices that it supports out of the box. In this case just select the iPad on the left hand side of the screen.
Now you need to insert your DVD into the drive or browse to the location where you saved your DVD in the preliminary section. If you are starting with a DVD then place the disk in now and move to the next step. If you previously saved your DVD to the hard drive hit the Folder Icon highlighted below. (If you want to queue up a bunch of movies read the last section of How to Convert a Movie for Windows Phone, Zune, Zune HD)
Next browse to the copied DVD location and highlight the Video_TS folder and hit OK.
Weather you loaded a movie from a DVD or hard drive, from here on out the steps are the same.
After the movie is selected you will see a blue loading screen it may take a few seconds to a few minutes, but once the load is complete you are ready to move on.
Select where you want your movie to be saved. To achieve this go to the Target section, click the Folder Icon and browse to the location you want the finished file saved to. Once you select the folder hit OK.
Now that we have the source and target taken care of, it is time to select the portion of the DVD we are converting. Usually DVDFab will automatically select the main movie file, but if not, it’s usually the longest playtime in the middle of the screen. We will also take this opportunity to select the Language and if we want a Subpicture (Subtitles) or not.
Now it is time to select a Profile. The Profile is a grouping of configuration of settings for the output file. Usually it controls if the final file will be DIVX or MP4 and so on. I won’t go to deep here because the iPad only has one for you to choose.
We can get into some deeper settings by clicking the Edit Button next to the Profile section. This brings up the Conversion Settings page.
On this page we can change the File Name or the Title of the Movie. We can also choose the Frame Resolution settings which controls the final size of the Video. At the bottom you can choose the Audio Format. Depending on the Profile you selected, sometimes you can choose 5.1 surround sound. I find that DVDFab does a great job with the defaults but, if you want, you can mess around with these settings if you are not happy with the final video. Personally, I only adjust the title and file name
When you are finished adjusting the settings hit OK.
You are now ready to covert the movie. As a final check hit the Open Queue button on the bottom right. This will bring up a list of all the movies that are about to be converted. This option is especially good when you are converting more than one movie or two multiple formats (Zune, PSP, iPhone, iPad). If you need to adjust the settings on a movie just highlight it and hit Conversion Settings.
Hit the X when you are done to close the screen.
At this point hit the Start Button at the Bottom right and just wait for the conversion to finish.
The conversion time is pretty accurate. The speed of the conversion is really based on the machine that you are running DVDFab on. I normally queue up 5-10 movies and let it run while I sleep that way who cares how long it takes.
When the conversion is done you will see this screen.
Enjoy your movie
At this point it is just a simple matter of adding the file to iTunes and syncing with your iPad. Locate the directory that you selected in the Target section of DVDFab.
Drag the file into your iTunes library or Locate the file from iTunes by clicking File | Add to library.
The File will be in a .m4v format which the iPad supports. Once your iPad is synched up you will be able to watch your movie.
I started off saying, DVD Ripper (DVD to Mobile). is the best movie converting software available. You only need to use it once to get the hang of it. When you buy a device like the iPad you instantly want to add movies to it. It’s great to download and stream new movies from iTunes, but why not also convert the DVD’s you already have?
Enjoy your movie