VLC is a powerful and well-loved application. You’ve probably used it to play media files on your Mac for when QuickTime doesn’t work properly. However, few users realize it can do more than just play files. If needed, you can rip DVDs to your Mac with VLC. This allows you save non-copy protected DVDs to your computer as video files, either for archiving or watching without the disk. For folks with big home entertainmenst systems or a home media server, this is a great tool to breathe new life in to older content.
In general, ripping DVDs is illegal provided you don’t circumvent copy protection. Some DVDs do have copy protection, which others do not. While there are programs out there for removing DRM from DVDs, note that ripping DVDs with VLC won’t defeat any kind of DRM, and it can be a little buggy at times. If you want a more robust experience, Handbrake is an excellent alternative app for ripping even copy protected DVDs. But if you need something quick you can do with software you already have, you can rip DVDs with VLC.
Rip DVDs with VLC
Before we get going, download and install VLC from the developer’s website, if you don’t already have it. Then put a DVD in your Mac’s DVD reader.
1. Choose “Open Disc…” from the “Media” menu.
2. Click the drop-down arrow next to the “Play” button in the lower-right. Choose “Convert” from the drop-down menu.
3. In the next window we can choose some conversion options for our ripped video file.
4. You can click the drop-down box next to “Profile” to select from the available options. If you want to play around with some more advanced options, check out the section below.
5. Click the “Browse” button to choose a destination and name for your file.
6. Click the “Start” button in the lower right to begin ripping the file.
Rip DVDs with VLC: Advanced Options
When you rip DVDs with VLC, you can also specify a format for the ripped file. You can select an encapsulation format which sets the file extension as well as the video and audio codecs. You can even capture subtitles, so long as you work with an encapsulation method that supports it.
All these advanced options are available in the “Convert” dialog box which you’ll encounter after step two above.
1. If you want to make precise adjustments to your encoding format, click the small new document icon next to the Profile drop down to reveal a subset of advanced options. You can also click the adjacent wrench icon to adjust an existing profile rather than create a new one. This exposes a wide array of advanced options.
2. Choose the encapsulation options for your new profile.
As you select different options, you’ll notice the “Features” section change to reflect the options available for that codec.
You might also see a small info box that pops up saying “muxer is not provided directly by VLC: it could be missing.” This means the encoding software is not bundled as part of VLC and will need to be provided separately.
3. Click the “Video codec” tab. Set the video codec for your new profile from the drop-down and make any adjustments necessary. You may need to tick the box next to “Video” to enable video capture before you can select any options.
4. Next, click the “Audio codec” tab. As with video, set the audio codec for the profile, making any tweaks that are necessary. You may need to tick the box next to “Audio” to enable audio capture before you can select any options.
5. If necessary, turn on subtitle capture for your DVD. This may or may not be available, depending on the encapsulation method you chose in step five.
6. Finally, give your new profile a name and click “Create.”
7. Select your new profile from the “Profile” drop-down menu. You’ll find it at the bottom, below all the other profiles.
8. Set a destination for your ripped file and click “Start.”
VLC isn’t the most powerful tool for ripping DVDs, but it can get the job done. It works well for things like preserving older video content on your hard drive, but it’s not perfect. If you do find bugs, especially with the advanced options, don’t be too surprised. Remember that this is open source software developed largely by volunteers, so functionality might not be as robust as professional-grade applications. If you do want a more robust option, the previously-mentioned Handbrake is a good choice. Apart fromt hat, you can use the above guide to create a digital file from any standard DVDs you might have.
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