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Old December 5th, 2007, 03:36 PM   #1
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Converting DVD to Quicktime in FCE

I receive copy protected DVDs that must be edited for broadcast on public access TV. I had received unprotected S-VHS tapes but the provider just moved to DVD format with copy protection without any reason or lead-time.

The S-VHS video and DVDs contains color bars and tone, usually 60-90 seconds worth. Typically I would ingest the tape into the station server, converted through an AJA device which would transfer the S-VHS content into DV format which I could then edit with FCP or FCE through the station's server on a Mac Tower eliminating the tones and bars, and adding a 30 second ending trailer. The remaining content is used as is - professionally prepared by the provider and fully ready for broadcast in every way.

I usually take the digitized S-VHS video with me on a separate 7200 RPM OWC hard drive for editing at home using FCE on a MacBook Pro - early Dual Core Intel platform with 256MB video card and 2 GB RAM. This process though tedious worked pretty well, but lately the station has asked us to download the edited final product into QuickTime format since it is easier for them to transfer and requires no extra work on their part. I have done so, with some help, but still find the selection of which QT aspect ratio and other settings to be something that I am uncomfortable with, not knowing the different choice.

Starting in January all of the content I receive from the supplier will be on copy protected DVDs. I am having a hard time working with this format. I have written permission to use the content in any way I want for local use, including broadcast on public access TV, iPod format for personal viewing, streaming video on an approved website, or podcasts. The provider of the information is trying to be helpful, but for now the copy protection is part of their delivered final product, I can't get the content without it.

The problems are:

1) Capturing the provided copy guarded DVD source - I use Handbrake but when I convert the content to QuickTime movie format it plays fine on my computer, but won't import into FCE or FCP. I also am not very comfortable with all of the features and choices on Handbrake, especially setting the aspect choices. I also find that Handbrake takes an incredible amount of time to process. My DVD footage is 28:30 in length, the Handbrake decoding often takes 8 hours in dual pass, high quality setting. How can I capture the DVD content, edit out the unnecessary information and convert the final output to QuickTime format?

2) Is there a way to create the edited output in other formats simultaneously - EG: Scaled for iPod, iTV, podcasts, streaming video, etc.?

3) As you can tell I'm a novice and I lack many of these skills necessary to accomplish all of these tasks. Is there some way for me to learn what I need to learn quickly and efficiently - recommended books, programs, training DVDs, etc.?

I also have a time issue. I am charged with providing a 28:30 (28 minute 30 second) program every week. So I have to be able to get the DVD, convert it, edit it, create the final output, ingest it into the TV server and repeat every week with a new show for each 13 week "season". Clearly, I need to learn quickly and become very efficient. In addition to the MacBook Pro I have 2 iMacs, the last generation G5 chips, with 1 GB RAM in each running on 17"/20" screens.

Any help is appreciated. Thanks in advance.
Len Capristo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 5th, 2007, 04:09 PM   #2
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Hi Len,
While certain unexpected issues may come up depending upon the method of copy protection applied to your source DVDs.

Although I haven't used Handbrake (or I believe its current form is called MediaFork) my understanding is that it is intended to output the conversion to mp4 or some other type of similarly compressed content - possibly defaulting to iPod video format...I think.

There are other notable options to consider...the most popular being probably mpeg2streamclip which you can find easily on the net as a free download. Check

That free application will let you convert your DVD video files into a quicktime DV file that should drop very easily into FCE.

You can also look at boxed retail options such as Roxio's Popcorn, or one that I use called Cinematize 2 which gives you extensive control over content extraction with options for various chapter points or language content depending upon what the source content contains.

Doing a search on versiontracker will likely yield several other free or low-cost options as this is a quickly growing field.

Good luck.
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Old December 5th, 2007, 04:42 PM   #3
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MPEG Streamclip
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Old December 7th, 2007, 08:10 AM   #4
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Handbrake/MediaFork works, but with extra steps...

You can import from copy protected DVD with both software titles, but you may need to upconvert them to a suitable codec with something like Quicktime Pro. Just be sure to make the initial import a higher resolution so that you have sufficient content to work with in Quicktime Pro. It's been a while since I've done it, and I forget the output codecs available in MediaFork, but I do remember needing to create a second file in the final format that I wanted to use for editing.
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Old December 20th, 2007, 02:28 PM   #5
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I just tried using MPEG Streamclip and could not export the stream that I wanted to capture to QT. The DVD is most likely copy protected and the stream had somewhere in the neighborhood of 14,000 data breaks that began accumulating right in the middle of the segment I was trying to convert. Any other suggestions for capturing and converting a small piece of copy protected DVD content for private use only?

Greg Linhares is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 20th, 2007, 03:07 PM   #6
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You can fix the timecode breaks, and if the DVD is copy-protected, there is a reason for that. Would it not be the right thing to respect the copy-protection?

MPEG Streamclip STILL works.
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