How-To: Create Unencrypted Disc images of Your DVD Movies

This quick guide (geared more towards Linux users) leverages two free open-source command line tools that will rip the contents of your DVD movie to your hard drive, unencrypt the files in processes, and then creates an ISO disc image that you can use for playback on your PC or digital media adapter (if it supports ISO playback of unencrypted images). The main reason you would want to follow this process is: 1) you want to backup your movies to your PC in minutes instead of hours; 2) you want an unencrypted copy of the movie that can be played back in its original quality (with DVD menus) from your hard drive; 3) you’d like to have an original digital copy that can be easily transcoded to a single video file for use on other devices.

Requirements: vobcopy, mkisofs [assumes you already have libdvdcss2 installed]
* Both applications should be available in your Linux distribution repository — Windows and Mac users need to track them down on the Web (instructions may be slightly different).

To begin, pop your DVD movie in the PC drive and then in your Terminal change to the directory you want to copy the movie to. Next type in these simple commands:

$ vobcopy -m

Doing this will tell vobcopy to mirror the contents of the mounted DVD (which it will auto-detect) and in the processes will remove CSS encryption.

$ mkisofs -v -dvd-video -o ../MOVIE_NAME.iso .

The above jumps you into the movie folder vobcopy created using the disc’s original name (in this example it’s called MOVIE_FOLDER) and then mkisofs creates a standards compliant ISO disc image with the folder’s contents just like the original disc. Be sure to change MOVIE_NAME to the name you want to call your disc image. That’s it!

Aside: you can use k9copy to then “shrink” the files of the ISO image to burn on a 4.7GB DVD-5 disc or create a smaller sized ISO. Also, VLC works great for ISO playback.

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