We’ve certainly discussed Handbrake in the past, but we’ve neglected to actually show you how to use it to rip a DVD. If you haven’t gotten into Handbrake because you’ve found it a little confusing or intimidating, here’s how to get started.
The video above will walk you through the entire process and provide some additional information, so you’re best off watching it if you really need to know how Handbrake works. Nonetheless, here are the general steps you’ll need to take to get ripping with Handbrake.
Step One: Select a Source
Open Handbrake and you’ll be asked to locate a source. Choose a DVD, DVD image or a VIDEO_TS folder. You can also choose pretty much any video file too, as Handbrake will convert standard video files as well. If you’re ripping a DVD with copy protection, you’ll also need to have VLC installed. Once you have your source selected, open it up.
Step Two: Choose the Title You Want to Rip
Once Handbrake has loaded your source file, in the upper left-hand corner you’ll find the Title drop-down menu. Select that and you’ll see a list of all the tracks Handbrake can rip. You’re really only getting track numbers and lengths here, so choosing the right one involves a little bit of guess work. Fortunately this is pretty easy to figure out. If you’re ripping the movie, the track will be the length of the running time of the movie. It’ll also be the longest of any of the tracks in most circumstances. The same goes for TV episodes. Just select the track you want and you can move on to choosing your settings.
Step Three: Choose Your Video and Audio Settings
Next you need to decide how high (or low) you want the quality of your ripped content to be. In the video panel, you can drag the Constant Quality slider from left to right to adjust the quality. (Right is higher, left is lower.) Alternatively you can set an average bit rate (we’ve created a calculator to help you find the perfect bit rate) or use a Handbrake preset for a specific device. Once you’ve chosen your video settings, click the audio tab and make your audio choices. For the most part you can leave this alone, but this section is where you’ll set things like the audio language of your ripped content. You can also change the audio bit rate here, but note that if you’re ripping content for an Apple device you cannot set that bit rate above 160kbps.
Step Four: Start Ripping!
Now that you’ve got all your settings in Handbrake you can go ahead and rip that DVD. If you’re only ripping a single file, press the Start button up top. If you want to batch-rip more content, click the Add to Queue button (also up top) and repeat this process for the addition content. Once you’ve got it all in your queue, go ahead and press the Start button.
That’s it! Happy ripping!