Monday, June 11, 2012

Back up blu-ray movie the rigth way

First you need to use DVDFab 6 or other such tools to back up from a Blu-ray disc to your computer's hard drive. Then you need to use HandBrake to compress the 30GB or so file to an about 5GB MP4 file.


Why Handbrake?
  • Fast, really fast. If you have an Intel i5 laptop such as the HP Pavilion dm4 (recently for only $300 in Staples), compressing is about realtime, i.e., a 2 hour movie takes about 2 hours to compress.
  • Extremely good quality. The x.264 is incredible, I cannot see any difference on a 50" plasma TV.
  • Widely available for virtually any OS: Windows, Linux and Mac.
  • Very easy to use, you simply open the source and click on the start button. The first time you need to specify the output folder.
Why bother to take time to do this?
  • Now you can store about 100 movies in you laptop or a portable hard drive (assuming the hard drive size is 500GB, quite normal these days). Before you can only have 16.
  • Now You can watch these movies on your phone and tablet.
  • Now you can stream these movies over WiFi.
Need subtitles?

Then you need two more tools: HdBr Stream Extractor and Subtitle Edit.
  • Use HdBr Stream Extractor to extract SUP file from a movie.
  • Import the SUP file into Subtitle Edit and convert it into SRT file by OCR.
  • Import the SRT file into HandBrake. Remember to "Add All" before you click the Start button.
  • Too see the subtitle, you need the latest Media Player Classic - Home Cinema.

Some tips:
  • Make sure you check "Large file size" or the compressed file won't play.
  • Do a 120 seconds preview to make sure things look right or you might waste 2 hours.
  • You can compress several movies automatically without human involved, using HandBrake's batch processing feature.
  • Subtitles look much better if you select English, (plain text).
  • Few of movies are dominated with very bright, detailed or grainy and fast scenes and the end file could be as large as 18GB. If you still want the size to be about 5GB, then you may select Avg Bitrate instead of Constant Quality and set it to 5000 or 8000 kbps.

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