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Kool Tools: DVDxDV, DVDxDV Pro

Volume Number: 24 (2008)
Issue Number: 07
Column Tag: Kool Tools

Kool Tools: DVDxDV, DVDxDV Pro

Converting DVD Media into files you can actually use!

by Dennis Sellers

DVDxDV screen shot

If someone asks you, "What's the best way to get media off a home-made DVD?", what's your answer? "Handbrake" The free, open source multithreaded DVD to MPEG-4 ripper/converter is good, but a little intimidating for some.

A better answer might be, "Try DVDxDV." It's an application that transforms DVDs into digital media that can be read by a Mac. Using DVDxDV, clips from various home movie DVDs can be brought together to make a new movie.

Insert a DVD into your Mac, and you can use DVDxDV to preview it. You can extract the entire DVD or choose a part of the video to capture. Once captured, you can import the footage into any application that can read the QuickTime movie format.

Note that DVDxDV can't read DVDs that contain Content Scrambling System encryption, which includes most commercial DVDs. Sorry, but you can't insert Will Smith as a co-star in your home movie.

DVDxDV comes in two different versions: a US$25 consumer version and an $80 professional version. The consumer version is for the home video enthusiast and allows DVD video to be extracted from a DVD and imported into iMovie, Final Cut Express and iDVD.

The pro version is designed for video professionals and allows Final Cut Pro and DVD Studio Pro users to extract high quality multi-channel audio from DVDs. Each individual channel in a sound track can be exported to a separate 24-bit AIFF sound file. What's more, DVDxDV Pro lets you reverse the original interlaced field ordering of a DVD. (DVDxDV uses the same video extraction engine as DVDxDV Pro, but exports all audio to a stereo two channel mix.)

DVDxDV can read a DVD in three ways. It will read an unencrypted DVD directly from your computer's DVD-ROM drive. It can read a DVD that has been copied to your Mac's hard drive. Or it can open an individual ".VOB" file.

Using DVD's preview functions, you can scrub through the video timeline and specify a scene to extract by marking "in" and "out" points. Select the "New Movie" item from the "Extract" menu to extract the video clip. At this point, you're offered a list of presets, from which you can choose (depending on what you plan to do with the extracted video). You'll also be asked to choose where you want the file saved. Then DVDxDV starts extracting the video.

The extraction process can take minutes or hours depending on how much footage you're grabbing and how much power your Mac packs. DVDxDV can preserve the native interlaced format of the DVD. In the pro version, the interlace field order can be changed to lower field or upper field dominant.

DVDxDV can automatically break a movie file up into chunks. For example, the iMovie export setting splits a movie into segments that are small enough to be imported into iMovie.

One use of the application is to save space on your Mac's hard drive. Video footage consumes storage resources rapidly and most people burn their home movies to DVD. However, there are times you may find that you want footage already erased from a hard drive to insert into a new film masterpiece. With DVDxDV, you can find the DVD that has the particular video clip you want, insert the DVD into you Mac and run DVDxDV to grab the footage you want.

You can also use the software to, for instance, grab the entire contents of a DVD, add extra titles, more music, etc. In other words, you can go back and do a "Director's Cut" of that DVD you made weeks, months or years ago.

Both the standard and pro versions have recently been updated for Mac OS X 10.5 ("Leopard") compatibility. DVDxDV Pro can now can resize 16:9 and 2.35:1 anamorphic video so it displays correctly on an iPod or iPhone screen and can direct export from DVD to Apple TV.

Both versions of DVDxDV require Mac OS X 10.3.9 or higher and QuickTime 7.0.3 or later.



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