Edited by Ben Stockton
November 5, 2020
How to Use VLC to Rip a DVD to MP4
In the age of streaming services like Netflix, it’s becoming less likely that you’ll have a dedicated DVD drive to hand when you’re looking to play an old movie or box set. Thanks to software like VLC and Movavi Video Converter, however, it’s never been easier to rip DVDs into video files that you can play on other types of devices.
To help you learn how to rip a DVD with VLC or Movavi Video Converter, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide to get you started. Before you begin, you should be aware that if you convert a DVD to MP4 using VLC, you may lose some quality in the process.
You should also check that the DVD is under copyright (and has copyright protection) and whether it’s legal to use VLC to rip a DVD.
How to Rip DVDs with VLC on Windows
If you’re using Windows, it’s quite likely that you may already have VLC Media Player installed. It’s one of the best freeware media player software available for Windows PCs, but one little-known feature is that you can also use it to rip DVD videos to MP4 without installing any other additional software.
If you want to rip DVDs with VLC, here’s what you’ll need to do.
Step 1: Install VLC for Windows
Before you begin, you’ll need to make sure that you have the latest version of VLC Media Player installed. If it isn’t, you can download VLC for Windows by following the link below.
You’ll also need a suitable DVD player connected to your PC. Once VLC is installed, insert your DVD into your DVD drive and open VLC to begin.
Step 2: Load your DVD content in VLC
If VLC is your default video player, then it may begin to play your DVD content automatically. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to load it manually by pressing Media > Open Disc.
In the Disc tab of the Open Media window, you can configure some playback settings before you begin to convert a DVD to file. Most video DVDs that you purchase will come with playback menus that allow you to select different video or audio tracks.
Select DVD from the Disc Selection options, and ensure that the correct DVD drive is selected in the Disc device option box. As DVD menus are unnecessary when you’re saving DVDs as files, make sure to click the No disc menus checkbox.
To begin the conversion, press the arrow icon next to the Play button (not the Play button itself), then select Convert from the options menu that appears. You can also press the Alt + O keys on your keyboard to begin this process automatically.
Step 3: Configure MP4 output for DVD ripping
At the next stage, you’ll need to set the output options for your new MP4 file. When you convert a DVD to MP4 using VLC, the entire disc (excluding menu) is saved as a single file. VLC will begin playing the video files at a faster speed to allow the contents to be saved, although the output file itself will be at normal playback speed.
In the Convert window, make sure that the Convert option is selected. If you want to watch the output of the conversion as it takes place (to help judge the current progress), click the Display the output checkbox.
You can also select to enable or disable deinterlacing. Most video DVDs won’t require this, but if the DVD is much older, you may find that enabling this ensures a higher quality video. If that’s the case, click the Deinterlace checkbox to enable it before you use VLC to convert a DVD to MP4.
Step 4: Set video and audio transcoding options
When you rip a DVD to MP4 in VLC, you’ll need to set how the video will be saved, what codecs it will use, etc. This determines the file size, quality of the video file, and the number of devices that will support playback.
VLC for Windows offers a number of preset video and audio transcoding options to choose from in the Profiles drop-down menu in the Convert window. For instance, if you wanted to save the video to post on YouTube, you could select the Video for YouTube options here.
MP4 files are among the most well supported video file types. To convert a DVD to a file in the MP4 format, select Video - H.265 + MP3 (MP4) from the drop-down menu. This will save your video as an MP4 file using the H.265 video and MP3 audio codecs, which should offer maximum compatibility with other devices.
Step 5: Set output file destination
With most of the MP4 output settings set, you’ll need to select where to save the output file next. Click Browse next to the Destination file box to select a location on your PC to save the file.
In the Save File window, select the location and confirm the file name for your output file, then click Save to save the settings.
Step 6: Begin ripping DVDs with VLC
Double-check that the settings you’ve selected in the previous stages are correct, including your video and audio transcoding options. If they are, you can begin to rip your DVD to MP4 using VLC by clicking the Start button.
This process will take some time to complete. VLC will play the video file at a high speed, saving the output as the MP4 file using the transcode settings you selected.
If VLC fails to convert to MP4, you’ll need to double-check that the settings you’ve used are correct, as well as confirm that your DVD can be successfully read. If the DVD is scratched or damaged, VLC won’t be able to read or rip it correctly.
How to Rip a DVD with VLC on a Mac
While Mac users can use the default QuickTime video player app to play videos and DVDs, this doesn’t support DVD ripping. If you want to know how to rip a video from a DVD, you’ll need to start by installing third-party software like VLC instead.
VLC for Mac has many of the features and settings that its Windows counterpart offers, including the ability to use VLC to rip a DVD. If you want to rip a DVD with VLC on Mac, you’ll need to follow these steps.
Step 1: Install VLC for Mac
If you want to rip a DVD to MP4, then you’ll need to first download and install VLC for Mac. You can download the latest version of VLC for Mac using the link below.
Once you’ve downloaded VLC, open the file and drag the VLC icon to the Applications folder in the Finder window to complete the installation.
Step 2: Open your DVD in VLC on a Mac
Unless you’ve set VLC as your default media player in the System Preferences app, your DVD won’t automatically load and begin playing in VLC on Mac. Instead, you’ll need to load it manually.
To do this, press File > Open Disc from the menu bar.
Because you want to rip the DVD as individual video files, any included DVD menus won’t be needed. To make sure these are switched off, make sure to click the Disable DVD menus option in the Disc tab of the Open Source menu.
Once you’ve done that, press the Stream Output checkbox, then click the Settings button.
Step 3: Configure MP4 output for DVD ripping
In the options menu that appears, you can configure the output settings for your ripped DVD files in the MP4 format.
To extract a DVD as an MP4 file, you’ll also need to change the Encapsulation method from MPEG-TS to MPEG-4 before you can proceed. Make sure that File is selected from the Streaming and Transcoding Options category, then press Browse to select a location on your Mac (or external drive) to save the output file.
In the Save File window, choose a filename and file location, then click Save to save your settings.
Step 4: Set video and audio transcoding options
Before you can extract a DVD, you’ll need to set the video and audio transcoding options. This converts a DVD’s video and audio tracks into a suitable format that different devices can play.
You’ll need to enable the Video and Audio checkboxes in the Transcoding options section to be able to do this. Once enabled, you can select different options from the drop-down menu.
For maximum compatibility with modern devices, set the Video option to H.264 and the Audio option to MP3 from the drop-down menus. Other options, such as FLAC, will ensure higher quality audio, but will result in a larger output file.
Once you’ve made your selection, click OK to save your settings.
Step 5: Begin ripping DVDs with VLC
To begin the conversion process, double-check that the settings you’ve selected above are correct. If they are, press OK to start the process.
Depending on the transcode settings you selected and the size of the video, this will take some time to complete. Ripping DVDs with VLC works by “playing” the video content at an increased speed and saving the output (at a normal speed) as a new video file.
This will work well for movies, but for TV series or other types of content, you may then need to trim your video with VLC afterwards to ensure that each video is saved in separate files, as the link below explains.
Using a VLC DVD Ripper Alternative if VLC fails to convert to MP4: Movavi Video Converter
If VLC fails to convert to MP4 using your DVD as the source content, or you’re unhappy with the output quality, you may want to try Movavi Video Converter. Movavi Video Converter is a VLC DVD ripper alternative for Windows and Mac that offers more features and functionality for easier, faster, and higher-quality ripping.
Movavi Video Converter comes with a 7-day free trial for you to test out its features. The trial offers full functionality, but a “trial” watermark will be applied to videos you save until you upgrade to the full version of the software, along with some additional trial limitations, as the link below explains.
Step 1: Install Movavi Video Converter
To use Movavi Video Converter, you’ll need to download and install either the Windows or Mac version (depending on your operating system) by following the links below.
Windows users can use the on-screen installer to safely install it. For Mac users, open the installation file and double-click the Movavi Video Converter icon to begin the installation process.
Step 2: Open your DVD in Movavi Video Converter
Once Movavi Video Converter is installed and running, you’ll need to load your DVD content. To do this, click Add Media > Add DVD in the top-right, then select your DVD player from the list.
This will load the video and audio tracks for your DVD from the menu. If the DVD is protected by copyright protection, you’ll see a “Protected” icon next to each video track and you won’t be able to proceed.
Unlike VLC, if your DVD has multiple video files, these will be separated into individual output files once your DVD has been loaded into Movavi Video Converter.
Step 3: Select file output settings
If you are able to proceed, you can select the video and audio settings for your output file using the drop-down menus. You can also determine whether or not you’d like to add subtitles to your videos.
Using the bottom carousel menu, select MP4 as your video output option. Selecting MP4 will ensure that your video can be played on most modern devices as, by default, the H.264 codec is used.
Your audio track will be selected automatically. If you want to replace this with alternative audio, select a new audio track using the drop-down menu next to the Edit button.
You can also change the file size and quality of your output video. To do this, click the drop-down menu next to the audio track options.
In the menu, move the File Size slider left to decrease the file size or right to increase it. The rating underneath will give you an indication of how much this will impact the overall video quality once the file has been created.
If you want to see a sample of the video first using these settings, click the Convert sample button.
To add subtitles, click the drop-down menu directly above the audio track drop-down menu. From here, you can add a third-party subtitle track to your video before you convert it.
Movavi Video Converter will automatically select a name for your individually-ripped video tracks. If you want to change this, press the Edit button next to each video track name.
Step 4: Begin ripping DVDs with Movavi Video Converter
By default, Movavi Video Converter will save your output files to a special Movavi Library folder. If you want to export them to another location, press the Save As button in the bottom-right.
If you only want to convert a single video track on a DVD, select this using the checkboxes next to each listed video. Otherwise, make sure that all videos are selected by pressing the Select All button in the top-right.
If you’re happy with the settings you’ve chosen, you can begin to convert a DVD to file by pressing the Convert button in the bottom-right.
This will take some time to complete, depending on the size of the DVD, the number of output video files, and your chosen quality settings.
Comparing VLC and Movavi Video Converter
|Category||VLC||Movavi Video Converter|
|Operating System||Windows, Mac, Linux||Windows, Mac|
|Pricing||Free||Paid, 7-day trial|
|Speed||Slow||Fast with SuperSpeed mode available|
|Video and audio editing support||No||Yes|
|Output quality||Medium, difficult to configure||Low to very high, depending on your chosen settings. Extensive options, easy to configure|
|Features||Video playback, basic DVD ripping into a single file||Dedicated video converter, supports all major file formats, better quality and configuration, allows you to save DVDs into separate videos|
Whether you use VLC to rip a DVD to MP4 or you prefer the functionality of Movavi Video Converter instead, you’ll be able to banish the physical media and save your newly-ripped video files to PCs, TVs, and mobile devices.
If you want to edit your videos, or start to create your own, then our learning portal has a number of useful guides to help you get started. For instance, you may want to learn how to convert MOV to MP4 in VLC if you have video files saved in another format, as the link below explains.
Frequently Asked Questions
When you rip a DVD with VLC, the length of time it takes to complete the process will depend on a few factors, including the length of the video track, the output quality, and the video and audio codecs you selected before beginning the conversion.
When you’re using a VLC DVD ripper, you can select to remove the video track and save the audio by choosing an audio-only file format. If you select to rip it as an MP3 file, for instance, the video track will be ignored and only the audio will be saved to your PC or Mac.
If you’re using VLC for ripping DVDs, then you’ll need to check the laws in your country to determine if it’s legal or not. If you created the DVD yourself and you own the copyright to the contents, then it should be entirely legal to convert DVDs to MP4 in any region. If you don’t, and the disc contains copyrighted material, then copying it into another format (even if you own the DVD) may not be legal in your location.
Movavi Video Converter
The ideal way to get your media in the format you need!
- Convert video, audio, DVDs, and image files
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- Improve quality, adjust sound, trim and join files before converting
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