The Librarian of Congress determines classes of works subject to the exemption from the prohibition against circumvention of technological measures that control access to copyrighted works. It is permissable to circumvent the Content Scrambling System (CSS) of lawfully acquired DVD discs for the purpose of criticism or comment in some instances.

Option #1: Handbrake/MPEG Streamclip


Process summary
(this is a two step workflow):

  1. Use the free video transcoder program “Handbrake” to copy/convert (rip) a DVD to an MPEG-4 formatted file on your computer’s hard drive.
  2. Use the free video editor/converter program “MPEG Streamclip” to isolate and extract video clips from the MPEG-4 file created by Handbrake.

Pros: Fastest, least frustrating editing experience. Workflow uses only free, open source software.
Cons: Must initially copy/convert entire DVD to computer taking some time and disk space.

Best choice when: Extracting many clips from a single DVD or have many extraction tasks to complete overall.


Preparation

Install these programs:

1. VideoLAN VLC player (32 bit version)

Note: VLC installs a DVD decryption component (libdvdcss) on the system. We won’t be using VLC itself but Handbrake will use the decryption component that comes with VLC. If you are working only with unencrypted DVDs, you don’t need to install VLC.

2. Handbrake (32 bit version)

Note: Handbrake is an easy-to-use video transcoder program. It is used in this workflow to convert video from MPEG-2 format on DVD to MPEG-4 on your computer hard drive.

3. MPEG Streamclip (latest beta release version)

Note: MPEG Streamclip is a powerful general-purpose video editor and converter. It is used in this workflow to open the MPEG-4 files created by Handbrake.


Workflow

1. Handbrake

  • Insert DVD disc into the Mac’s DVD drive and launch Handbrake.
  • When Handbrake starts it should present an open video source dialog window. Click on your DVD disc to select it and click the “open” button.
  • Handbrake will scan the disc. This may take some time. Handbrake will try to identify the main feature on the DVD and ignore everything else (coming attractions, special features, etc.). Handbrake is usually successful at this task but, if not, you will have to manually select the correct title/clip. You can determine the correct one by opening the Macintosh DVD Player program, navigate the disc menu to the title you want, playing it and then noting its number in the Go > Title menu of DVD Player.
  • If not displayed on the right of the main Handbrake window already, turn the Handbrake presets pane on by clicking the “Toggle Presets” button on the Handbrake toolbar. Select the preset Regular > Normal (this preset will create a MPEG-4 file with the most compatible settings).
  • Although not required, consider turning  Handbrake’s “Anamorphic” setting off. Some embeddable Flash-based media players have difficulty auto detecting anamorphic settings and distort the video display. This is really only a consideration if the clips are to be used on web pages. Desktop media players like Windows Media Player, Apple’s Quicktime Player and VLC detect and display anamorphic media without difficulty. To turn off anamorphic format in Handbrake, click the “Picture Settings” button on the toolbar and select Anamorphic > None.
  • Note and, if desired, edit the “Destination” field for your MPEG-4 file.
  • Click “Start” on the Handbrake toolbar. A progress bar along the bottom of the Handbrake window will indicate the estimated time to completion. Handbrake is fairly processor intensive but you can safely let it run in the background while running other programs or performing other tasks on the computer. Just don’t allow the computer to go into a sleep mode.

2. MPEG Streamclip

  • Launch MPEG Streamclip and open the MPEG-4 file created by Handbrake by going to File > Open Files. The video should open in the playback area of the Streamclip window.
  • Before beginning the editing process make sure Streamclip is configured so any video clip that extracted maintains synchronization with its audio track. To do this, go to the “MPEG Streamclip” menu and select “Preferences.” In the “Conversion” section, check the box next to “Preserve GOPs at In/Out.” This setting will insure that when you extract a clip, it will do so from the nearest beginning and ending keyframes to preserve A/V synchronization. GOPs means “Group of Pictures.” The downside of this is that a clip might end up having a bit of extra video in the beginning and at the end but not more than half a second.
  • Next, use the playhead on the seekbar to go to the beginning of the clip you wish to extract and then go the the “Edit” menu and choose “Select In.” (or skip the menu and just press the “I”  key)
  • Now move the playhead on the seekbar to the end of the clip to extract and go the the “Edit” menu and choose “Select Out.” (or skip the menu and just press the “O”  key)
  • On the seekbar, your clip is selected and ready to be extracted.
  • Go to File > Save as… chose a location on your computer to save the clip, give it a name, and click Save.
  • Repeat as required



Option #2: Fairmount/Quicktime MPEG-2 Playback Component/MPEG Streamclip


Process summary (this is a two step workflow):

  1. Use the free DVD decrypting program “Fairmount” to decrypt your DVD on-the-fly.
  2. Use the free video editor/converter program “MPEG Streamclip” to play the DVD with the help of Apple’s Quicktime MPEG-2 Playback Component ($20) and convert video clips on the DVD to MPEG-4 files on your computer hard drive.

Pros: Extract clips directly from DVD without first converting/copying (ripping) DVD to computer hard disk.
Cons: Seeking/queuing video directly on optical DVD drive is slower and less smooth then when video is opened from hard drive. When extracted clips are saved to your hard drive they must be converted to MPEG-4 format which can take some time depending on length of clip. Requires $20 software component.

Best choice when: Extracting just a few clips from a DVD or have just a few extraction tasks to complete overall.


Preparation

Install these programs:

1. Fairmount (install by dragging the Fairmount app only to your Applications folder)

Note: When running, Fairmount decrypts your DVD on-the-fly so other applications can access the video on them. If you are working only with unencrypted DVDs, you don’t need to install Fairmount.

2. Apple Quicktime MPEG-2 Playback Component

Note: This $20 software component is required for MPEG Streamclip to be able to directly play DVD discs due to MPEG-2 licensing requirements.

3. MPEG Streamclip (latest beta release version)

Note: MPEG Streamclip is a powerful general-purpose video editor and converter. It is used in this workflow to directly access the DVD in the DVD drive with decryption functions being performed by Fairmount if required.


Workflow

1. Fairmount

  • Insert DVD disc into the Mac’s DVD drive and then launch the Fairmount application. Faimount will remount your DVD dics in a decrypted state and it will remain that way as long as Fairmount is running.

2. MPEG Streamclip

  • Launch MPEG Streamclip and go to File > Open DVD. Click on your DVD drive in the window that appears and click the “Select” button. Streamclip will take a few moments to read the drive and the video should open in the playback area of the Streamclip window.
  • Next, use the playhead on the seekbar to go to the beginning of the clip you wish to extract and then go the the “Edit” menu and choose “Select In.” (or skip the menu and just press the “I”  key)
  • Now move the playhead on the seekbar to the end of the clip to extract and go the the “Edit” menu and choose “Select Out.” (or skip the menu and just press the “O”  key)
  • On the seekbar, your clip is selected and ready to be extracted.
  • Go to File > Export to MPEG-4..., accept the defaults in the exporter window and click the “Make MP4” button.
  • Chose a location on your computer to save the clip, give it a name, and click the “Save” button.
  • Repeat as required.


Meta

Macs are often configured to launch the Macintosh DVD Player application automatically whenever a DVD disc is inserted. You should be sure to quit DVD Player before trying any copy/conversion/extraction processes. To configure your Mac so DVD Player *doesn’t* launch when a DVD disc is inserted, go to System Preferences > CDs & DVDs and next to “When you insert a video DVD:” choose “Ignore.”

About the MPEG-4 format: Video on DVD is encoded in the MPEG-2 video format. In addition to DVDs, MPEG-2 is a standard used to broadcast digital video over-the-air from terrestrial stations, over cable TV networks and direct broadcast satellite TV systems. The MPEG-4 is still evolving but absorbs many of the features of MPEG-2. It adds additional features like better coding efficiency, better low-bitrate transmissions, more robust error handling, and the ability to encode audio and video in a single stream (MPEG-2 requires separate audio and video streams that must be synced). Because of these features, MPEG-4 is a popular choice for video distribution over the Internet. MPEG-4 video may be streamed by many streaming servers including Adobe’s Flash Media Server. It may be played by Adobe Flash-based players like JW Player and Flowplayer embedded in web pages and by desktop players like Windows Media Player, Apple’s Quicktime Player and VLC.