Well, I got it working!
Since I put out my call for help, I’ve been spending some time trying out different programs that boasted the ability to rip chapters from unprotected (i.e. homemade) DVDs. Using the trial versions of the programs, I was able to rip anywhere from ten seconds to two minutes, put the clips into iMovie and iDVD and burn to disc… with varying degrees of quality and success. In the end, I found that Cinematize 2 worked the best. The workflow is this:
- Insert DVD (external drive since I’m working with mini-DVDs and my MacBook Pro is slot-loaded).
- Fire up Cinematize 2. Import the DVD and apply these settings:
- Video – Decoding: Decode to Quicktime
- Video – Decoding Mode: Automatic Selection
- Video – Output Codec: DV/DVCPRO – NTSC
- Video – Output Quality: Lossless Quality
- Audio – all default settings
- Subtitle – all default settings
- Output – Save Chapters: As Separate Segments
- Output – Save Quicktime As: Self-Contained, Files With All Data
- Output – Output Format: Quicktime File
- Hit Extract Data and go have a bagel or something. Each chapter on the DVD is being ripped into its own Quicktime file.
- Fire up iDVD or iMovie. I’m actually just using iDVD for the most part, because I’m not too interested in cutting my own stuff. Maybe someday I’ll take the time to edit the clips, but for now, I just want the clips on a DVD that I can stick a decent menu on and send to my parents.
- Once everything is in iDVD, I move it all around, give the clips their names and burn. Done!
That’s all there is to it. The quality of the burns is great – granted, I won’t be winning any Best Photography awards, but if Kevin Smith can build a career on Clerks, I can accept the quality of my home movies. No need for a big investment in Final Cut Pro or anything, and no need for a dozen different programs to accomplish the task. True, Cinematize 2 isn’t free (or cheap, depending on your point of view), but for $60 I can’t complain. I’ve paid as much for some video games that were more disappointing and less useful.