How to recover video from DVD's

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This topic contains 5 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by Christian Christian 4 years, 8 months ago.

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    Long ago in a universe far far away…

    A lot of home video was burned to / archives to DVD’s.

    Now I’d like to recover the files in a manner that allows import into Final Cut Pro X (etc.) but haven’t found a way to recover the DVD contents as editable files.

    Suggestions gratefully accepted!


    DVDs use the VOB container format for storing video, audio and subtitles. If Final Cut can’t import those directly, you can use a transcoding tool to convert to something more universal like MP4. I like ffmpeg for this.

    Something like this should do it:
    ffmpeg -i <input-file>.vob -acodec copy -vcodec copy <output-file>.mp4

    The “copy” options tell ffmpeg to put the audio and video streams into the new container (MP4) without re-encoding. Anytime you re-encode you’ll lose a bit of quality.

    There’s a GUI version for OS X here:

    If you want the real deal (the command line tool), there’s versions for OS X here:

    Alternatively, you can get it using Macports or Fink.

    Update: Final Cut Pro might not support AC3 audio in an MP4 container. It might be better to re-encode the audio to the more common AAC like so:
    ffmpeg -i <input-file>.vob -acodec libfaac -ab 384k -vcodec copy <output-file>.mp4

    Finally, I’ve heard there’s a trick where you can simply change the extension from .vob to .mpg, which might help programs that don’t recognize VOB. This works because VOB is just a specific type of MPEG.

    Steve Rea
    Steve Rea

    There is also DVDxDV, iRIP, and Handbrake that can convert the DVD format into a format that FinalCut can import.
    THey probably use ffmpeg under the hood, but are GUI based.


    If you end up re-encoding the video you might as well choose a codec that works really well for editing. Codecs designed for playback such as MPEG don’t store every frame of video which can make for inaccurate/sluggish timeline scrolling. DV is a good choice since you’re working with standard definition. M-JPEG is very similar to DV and works at any resolution. If M-JPEG isn’t available, you can use a codec such as MPEG-2 or MPEG-4 if you set the GOP (group of pictures) size to 1. This forces MPEG based codecs to store every frame, increasing the size, but making editing easier.



    Would winff help convert files for doing this?


    WinFF looks to be the Windows equivalent of FFmpegX, i.e. a GUI for ffmpeg, so if you were on Windows that would be one option.

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