How to Create the Perfect DivX Rip
By Ryan Eglitis
I have created this guide so that even a beginner can create a perfect DivX rip from a DVD.
There are many programs available that can do this automatically by themselves, including Auto
Gordian Knot and Dr. DivX, but with these programs you can't control every aspect of the
encoding like you can if you do it manually. They will usually give you pretty good results,
but you may want them to be better and the only way to do that is manually. For the purposes
of this guide, I will be using the following programs, but you can replace any of them with a
program of your choice, as long as it can perform the same function.
- DivX Pro Codec v. 5.2.1
- SmartRipper v. 2.41
- Gordian Knot Rip Pack v. 0.35
- vStrip v. 0.8d
- DGIndex v. 1.2.1
- Gordian Knot v. 0.35
- VirtualDubMod v. 126.96.36.199 (Optional)
- VobSub v. 2.22 (Optional)
- Nandub v. 1.0rc2
- Cool Edit Pro v. 2.0
- Music Match Jukebox v. 8.2 Basic
Whole process time - 5-7 hours
- Download "DivX Pro Codec", "SmartRipper", "Gordian Knot Rip Pack", "Cool Edit Pro", and
"Music Match Jukebox" from the Internet.
- Install all the programs.
- Open "SmartRipper" by locating the SmartRipper folder in your start menu. After
SmartRipper loads the DVD and authenticates it, you can select one of the three buttons to
the left - "Movie", "Files", or "Backup" - to rip the files from the DVD.
- For movies, I would suggest using the "Movie" button to rip the angle that you want,
usually the longest/largest in filesize. You can do this for TV shows too, but you will
have to go through the ripping process multiple times to get all of the episodes,
grabbing a new angle each time. Sometimes there is a problem with an angle not
containing all of the movie, in which case you'll have to use the "Files" or "Backup"
button and manually grab all the parts of the movie you need.
- Using the "Files" button, you can rip whatever files you think you need without
worrying that they aren't all part of the same angle. This is nice for TV shows because
you can rip all the vob's in one ripping pass and split them up manually later. If you
chose to rip your movie like this, a good tip is to select the first 1GB file and all
the files after that with a similar name.
- The "Backup" button is useful if you don't have time to sort out what exactly is on
the DVD but you know you might want everything. That way you can rip it all, and sort
out what you want and don't want to keep later, using DGIndex.
Caution should be taken, however, if the DVD contains both a standard and a widescreen
version of the movie, as you will have to play around in DGIndex to figure out which is
which. While the widescreen version is usually slightly larger in filesize, if in doubt,
rip all the files and select the right ones later. Next, you should select the folder to
rip the DVD to by clicking the "Target Folder" button. You should select a drive that has
about 8GB free (double disc rips and DVD backups may require more) and make a brand new
folder for the files. To actually start ripping the files from the DVD, you should click
the "Rip" button and then wait about 15 minutes for it to finish. When youíre done ripping
the files, close SmartRipper and open Gordian Knot
- If you have ripped a TV show using the "Files" button method, you simply want to remove
unwanted sections of the movie, or you have found out in the next step that your movie
contains commentary/alternate language credits spliced into the main movie, you need to use
vStrip or go through re-ripping the files with the "Movie" button in SmartRipper. To open
vStrip, click the "vStrip" button in Gordian Knot and then make sure you are on the "1
Input" tab. Click the "Add
" button, select the folder your ripped files are in,
select all the files, and click "Open". Make sure your files are in the correct order - if
they are not in order, select files and use the "Up" and "Down" buttons until they are.
Then select the "3 Output" tab and click the "
" button to chose an output name. I'd
suggest using a new folder that's inside your current ripping directory, since this will
create a lot of files, and using the name "vts" because it will look similar to the
filenames from the DVD you've ripped. After you have the output name, go down to "Split",
select "By CELL-ID", and click "Run". This will split the files into a bunch of files based
on their internal cell structure and name them accordingly. This will take about 15 minutes
because vStrip has to create a split up copy of all the files. When it finishes, close
- In Gordian Knot under the "Ripping" tab, click the "DGIndex" button in the "Prepare the
VOBs" section . Click "File Open", select all the vob's of your movie, and
click the "Open" button. If your vob files aren't in the correct order in the "File List"
window that comes up, select the files that are out of order and use the "UP" and "DOWN"
buttons to fix it. Once they are in order, click "OK".
- This step is only necessary if you don't know what your vob files contain or if you split
the files up using vStrip. Open each one of your vob files and check to see if it is
something you want to keep. If it isn't, click "File Open", select the file you
were just previewing, click "DELETE", click "ADD", and then in the add file dialog screen
select the file you just had and hit the "Delete" key. This will get rid of the file. Then
select the next vob file to preview in the add file dialog and continue on. If the file is
part of the movie or a TV show episode, you should probably rename it, keeping it in the
correct order, so you can remember what it is later. Once you know what vob's you are going
to keep, load all the ones for the current job into DGIndex in order.
- Under the "Video" menu, make sure "iDCT Algorithm 32-bit SSE MMX", "Field
Operation None", "Color Space YUV", and "YUV -> RGB
PC Scale" are checked. If the movie is too dark or light, you can also click
"Luminance Filter" to correct it. Just click the checkbox to enable the setting, and slide
the "Gain" and "Offset" sliders until the movie looks like it has a good brightness and
contrast. It is usually better to start with the "Gain" slider and only use the "Offset"
slider if necessary as most lightness/darkness issues can be solved without using the
- Under the "Audio" menu, select the English track - normally "Track Number
Track 1". Also make sure "Output Method Decode to WAV (AC3, LPCM)",
"Dolby Digital Dynamic Range Control Normal", and "48 -> 44.1 kHz
Low" are checked. This rips the audio from the vob's to a wav file and usually
results in a 1.1 GB file or so.
- Hit the "F5" key to preview the video and note the "Aspect Ratio", as you will need to
know it to set it correctly later. If the "Video Type" in the "Information" window is
"FILM" or "FILM (some percentage above 94)" after a few minutes of previewing, hit the "Esc"
key, go to the "Video" menu, and select "Field Operation Force Film". Force
Film is used to revert the framerate from the one used on DVD's to the lower framerate of
the original film the movie was shot on (thus allowing a smaller filesize). If the "Video
Type" changed back and forth between "FILM" and "NTSC" and was below "FILM 95%", the movie
was most likely converted to DVD in a method called TeleCine and you will have to inverse
that process in Gordian Knot. This is fairly rare and it can be throughout the movie or
just in certain sections. If the "Frame Type" was "Interlaced" during the preview (and you
made sure to preview past the opening credits), note this fact as you will need to correct
for this later.
- Click "File Save Project", select a name for the d2v file, click "Save", and
wait about 15 minutes for it to finish saving and demuxing the audio. Close DGIndex.
- You have to create your mp3 file before you do anything else, and because the wav files
from movies are usually really quiet, you have to amplify the audio track. Open "Cool Edit
Pro", and click "File Open". Select your wav file, and wait 2 minutes or so for
it to load. A good tip is to change the temp file location to a drive with a lot of space
(1 - 2GB) and to turn off the undo option - this will save a lot of otherwise wasted time.
To change the temp file location, click "Options Settings", select the "System"
tab, and click the "->" button to the right of the "Temp Folder" text box. Browse to the
folder you want to change the temp folder to - I usually use the "System Volume Information"
folder on a drive with a lot of extra space. Repeat the process for the "Secondary Temp"
text box if you have another drive with a lot of space. To disable undo, uncheck the
"Enable Undo" checkbox under "Undo" and click "OK" to save your settings. You will have to
close and re-open Cool Edit Pro in order for the changes to the temp folders to take effect.
- Once the wav has loaded, click "Effects Amplitude Amplify" and
select how much you want to amplify the track. Click "View all settings in dB" and "Lock
Left/Right" if they aren't already checked. A good amplification value is usually 15 dB,
but you can go more or less depending on your audio track. You should shoot to "fill up the
screen" - i.e. so that it looks like about 40% of the audio waves touch the 30000 line. You
shouldn't go too high, however, as the audio will sound distorted if most of the peaks touch
the line. You can always listen to the file in Cool Edit Pro to properly judge the
loudness. Click "OK" and wait for like 15 minutes until itís done amplifying. Click "File
Save" and wait about two more minutes for it to save the wav file. Close Cool
- Open up Music Match Jukebox and click "Options File Convert".
Select your ripping folder in the "Source Directory" (assuming that's where you saved the
wav file) and select the same folder for the "Destination Directory". Set the "Source Data
Type" to Wav so you can see your file and select that file. Now pick the "Destination Data
Type" - I recommend "MP3 VBR" (variable bit rate mp3) at 30%, but for a really long movie
(2 and 1/2 hours or more) I would suggest 1% (this doesn't degrade it as much as you would
think). This gives good results at generally lower file sizes than CBR (constant bit rate)
mode. Click "Start" and wait for a minute or so until its done. Close Music Match Jukebox
when it finishes.
- In Gordian Knot, click the "Open" button in the bottom left corner, then browse to the
d2v project file, select it, and click "Open". In the pop-up video window, click "View
Resized" and, if you want, "View Stay On Top".
- Go to the "Bitrate" tab in Gordian Knot, click "Size" under "Audio A" and click "Select".
Browse to the mp3 file you just created, select it, and click "Open". Under "Interleaving
& AVI Overhead", check "Calculate" and select "vbr mp3" from the "Audio 1:" drop-down
box. Under "Total Size", select the size you want - I assume 1 CD or 700 MB. Also, make
sure you select "DivX 5" under "Codec" and "Calculate Average Bitrate" under "Mode".
- Go to the "Resolution" tab in Gordian Knot and make sure you have the right aspect ratio
by selecting "16:9", "4:3", or "1:1" based on the value you noted in DGIndex. Click "Auto
Crop" and make sure it got rid of all the black space around the film. Its usually good to
check if it cropped into the video and adjust the cropping manually so that it only gets rid
of the black areas.
- DivX 5 movies have to have width modules that are divisible by 4 and height modules that
divisible by 2, so select 4 for "W-Modul" and 2 for "H-Modul". You can use values of 16 or
32 for both for the best compatibility, but I've never experienced problems with the lower
values. If you did not select the "Force Film" option in DGIndex because you seemed to have
a TeleCine source, you will need to base your filesize on a framerate of 23.976 instead of
the 29.970 Gordian Knot displays - select the "FPS" drop down box in the lower right under
"Frames" and change it to 23.976. Then Drag the slider near the bottom around until you get
a value of about .210 in the "Bits/(Pixel*Frame)" box and a value that is as near 0 as
possible in the "Aspect Error" box. You really shouldn't go below .19 or above .220 in the
"Bits/(Pixel*Frame)" box - below will not look as good after you finish encoding and above
you can better spend the bits on a larger resolution. However, make sure that you don't
make the resolution larger than its original size Ė i.e. not bigger than 100% zoom - because
this will also degrade the quality of the final video.
- Select the pop-up video window and click "File Save & Encode". If you
seemed to have a TeleCine source, click the "Inverse Telecine" radio button. This undoes
the TeleCine operation and in the process changes the framerate to the 23.976 fps you
selected in the last step. This option won't be available if you clicked "Force Film" in
DGIndex; however, it is not necessary if you clicked "Force Film", so don't worry about it
if you don't see it. If your source was interlaced, click the "Field Deinterlace" radio
button. Finally, select a "Resize Filter". "Bilinear" is usually good but "Lanczos" or
"Bicubic Sharp" will sometimes give you better results. I've been told that the latter two
will produce a larger file, but I personally can't tell the difference between any of them
in quality or filesize. Pick one of the Resize Filters, click "Save", select a name for the
avs file, and click "Save". Change back to the bitrate tab, note the value in the "Average
Bitrate" box, and close Gordian Knot.
- Open "VirtualDubMod", click "File Open video file
", select the avs file
you saved in the previous step, and click "Open".
- If you want to add subtitles, you should have the ifo file from the DVD that you ripped.
Click "Video Filters
" and then click "Add
". Scroll down to "VobSub
2.23" - if you don't have that filter, you need to re-install VobSub and add the Virtual Dub
plugins like it says to in the Program Notes section. Select "VobSub 2.23", click "OK",
then click "Open
", change the "Files of type" box to "Ifos and Vobs", and select the
ifo file you ripped from the DVD. If you don't have this file, you'll need to copy the file
over from the DVD. Select the ifo with the same file name as your original movie vob's,
click "Open", and then select the folder to save the subtitle files to (probably your
general encoding folder). Click the "<-" button to remove the subtitle streams you don't
want to rip and press "OK". After about 15 minutes it will finish ripping and indexing the
subtitles, so when its done press "OK". You can leave all these settings as they are, but
you might want to mess with a custom color scheme. If so, click the "Custom Color" box and
change the colors as you wish - the boxes in order are background, border, text color, and
shadow color. When you are done, Click "OK", then "OK" again. You can preview you
subtitles in the output window by dragging the seek bar around. If you aren't happy with
the placement or color of the subtitles you can go back into "Video
", double click the filter you added and then edit the appropriate
values to your liking.
- Make sure "Full Processing Mode" is selected in the "Video" menu and then click "Video
Compression". Select the "DivX 5.2.1® Codec" from the list of codecs and
then click "Configure". This brings up the "DivX® Codec Properties" window. First we
will set up the codec with the general parameters that don't usually change every time you
encode. You should only need to do this once. Click "Select DivX® Certified Profile",
uncheck "DivX® Certified", click "Next >", check "Use Quarter Pixel", select "Adaptive
Single Consecutive" in the "Bidirectional Encoding" drop down box, and click "Finish".
Change to the "Video" tab, check "Psychovisual Enhancements", select "Slow" in the drop down
box, and change "Max Keyframe Interval" to "50" frames. Make sure "Source Preprocessing" is
"Off", "Scene Change Threshold" is at "50" %, "Interlacing" is "Progressive source", and
"Quantization Type" is "H.263".
- Select "Multipass, 1st Pass" from the "Encode Mode" drop down box and in the "Average
bitrate" box, enter the average bitrate value you noted in Gordian Knot, but add 2-5 bits to
that value, since we know we can usually trim a little bit of extra off the end of the
credits no one will miss. A good tip is to Go for 5 extra bits if the bitrate is above 800
or so and go for only 2 if the bitrate is below 650 or so and to make a guess for the
intermittent values. Click the "Select
" button in the "Multipass Encoding Files"
section, browse to your encoding folder if you're not already there, select a filename for
the log file ("1" or "log" is a fine name as we will be deleting the file after we finish
encoding), click "Save", click "OK", and then click "OK" again.
Click "File Save", type in a name for the file name (this file doesn't matter -
it can be deleted after the first pass), check the "Don't run this job now
" box, and
click "Save". Don't worry about our settings, it saved the job so we can run it later on in
a group with our other job. That way you can do both passes without coming back to set up
the next job after the first one finishes.
- Click "Video Compression" and select the "DivX 5.2.1® Codec" again.
Select "Multipass, Nth Pass" from the "Encode Mode" drop down box, make sure "Bitrate
Modulation" is "0", and that the "Max bitrate" is 10 times the size of the "Average
bitrate", click "OK", and then click "OK" again.
Click "File Save", type in a name for your movie, and I usually append "(video)"
to the end of the name to signify that the audio hasn't been added yet. Check the "Don't
run this job now
" box, and click "Save". Go to "File Job Control
and click the "Start" button. This will start the first pass which is simply recording what
the movie looks like in bitrate form so that it can later distribute the bits more
judiciously. It will start the second pass after it finishes the first pass, and the whole
time to encode will be about 5 hours. It usually takes me about 45-60 minutes to get up to
this point. You can leave and go do something for awhile at this point or if you want to
use your computer while you encode you can press "Ctrl + Shift + Esc" to bring up
Task Manager. Select the "Processes" tab, right click on the "VirtualDubMod.exe" process
and go to "Set Priority Low".
- Once its done encoding, in the "Job Control" window click "Edit Delete Done
Jobs", click "OK" and close VirtualDubMod. Open Nandub and click "File Open
", and open your new avi file (if you followed my conventions it will end in
"(video)". Click "Video Direct Stream Copy", and click "Audio (VBR)
MP3 audio". Select your mp3 file, click "OK", then click "Audio
", and in the "Interleave audio every" box, put "10" seconds.
Click "File Save as AVI", remove the "(video)" part from the end of the
filename, click "OK", and wait for like 2 minutes for it to finish muxing the audio.
- Click "File Close video file" and check the file size in Explorer. Itís
probably too big since we added a few bits to the bitrate, but that's easy to fix. Just
Click "File Open video file
", select the file you just saved, and click
"OK". Now you need to select sections of the credits to remove. You can probably remove
30MB if you remove all of the credits, but I like to keep the cast and music parts in there.
Click the "End" button to move to the end of the file and click the "Mark out" button to set
the end of the selection you want to delete. Then click the "Key previous" button to move
back to where you want to start to remove the credits. Click the "Forward" button once,
click the "Mark in" button, and hit the "Delete" key. If you want to remove a section from
the middle of the credits, move to the end of the section using the slider, find the
nearest keyframe you want to keep with the "Key previous" or "Key Next" button, the click
the "Backward" button once, and click the "Mark out" button. The method for selecting the
mark in point is the same as before. The reason for this method is any break in the film
that you create has to have a keyframe on each side, otherwise Nandub/VirtualDubMod will
many times add extra frames that you thought you removed when you go to save the file.
- Click "File Save as AVI", change the name to something temporary (as the
filename you most likely want is taken by the source file) and click "OK". If the filesize
is still too big, repeat the previous step, removing more of the credits this time. If you
have cropped everything you can out of the file and it is still too big, unfortunately you
will either have to live with the file being too big, or you will have to re-encode it at a
- The DivX file is encoded at this point. Copy the ~700MB file to a directory of your
choosing, possibly a "Movies" directory. You can now delete the entire encoding folder
unless you want to convert another section of the vob's you ripped. The End.
(not including install & one-time setup time)
- SmartRipper is a nice DVD De-CSS/Ripper because it can rip files in three different
ways, depending on what you want to do. It can do a movie rip where it selects the files
that it believes are the vob and relevant ifo files for the movie and rip just those, it
can rip a selection of files from the DVD that you define, or it can rip all of the files
from the DVD in a backup mode. The "movie" mode is really useful if your DVD contains
commentary/alternate language titles and credits spliced into the main vob stream. This
mode can just copy the actual movie parts by reading the ifo files stored on the DVD so
that you don't have to use vStrip to do it manually.
- I chose to use Gordian Knot Rip Pack because this seems to give you the most control
over every aspect of the ripping process.
- vStrip is a good program if you need to split a set of vob files you've already ripped
into a set of new vob files based on the internal cell structure of the vob's. This
is useful if, for example, you have a TV show DVD you are ripping and you want to split
the vob's so that you can access all of the episodes individually. That way you don't
have to trim the unwanted parts in DGIndex manually when you save the project file. Also,
if you have a movie where commentaries are spliced into the main movie stream you can use
the split function and DGIndex to preview each cell and only keep it if it is part of the
actual movie. Usually it is easier to do each of these when you rip the DVD in
SmartRipper, as you don't have to check each vob if it belongs in the movie or hassle with
a large number of vob's, but this may not be an option if you were borrowing/renting the
DVD and you had already returned it before you realized you had one of these problems.
- DGIndex is not really replaceable unless you can also replace the Gordian Knot core, as
it uses DGIndex project files. DGIndex lets you adjust the gain/offset
(brightness/contrast), strip the audio as a wav file and downsample it to a useable
44.1kHz, and undo the Film to DVD conversion so that the video rate is correct and the
stream doesn't include extra frames.
- Gordian Knot is the actual GUI core of the program. It is used to calculate the bitrate
the video should be encoded at given the length of the video and the size of the mp3
audio. It is also used to create the avs (frameserver) file that the encoding program
uses as it's source file. Gordian Knot is also useful for resizing the resolution of the
video and cropping off the letterbox (black bars at the top and bottom used to maintain a
widescreen aspect ratio) so that it will not look bad at 100% resolution. It lets you set
the aspect ratio of the source file so that you can make sure people and objects in the
movie don't look stretched out or squished down. Finally when you go to save the avs file
you can correct for interlacing (de-interlacing) and select a resizing filter.
- VirtualDubMod is another modification of Virtual Dub, similar to Nandub, but more
advanced. However, it does not contain the option to do DivX 3.11 multipass encoding, and
retain's all the video options of Virtual Dub. It allows you to open your source video
file and select any number of filters as well as control the frame rate, compression type,
color space, and range to work on. It can also do advanced stream processing, such as
adding multiple audio streams in a variety of formats, adding chapter markers, and
scanning both audio and video streams for errors. It can also process an audio stream,
compressing it if you wish, and add it to the video stream as you encode it. However, I
would not recommend doing so as you may need to re-encode the video if you get it wrong or
if you plan on doing two pass encoding, and doing this additional audio processing will
take more time. You can also save into ogm (Ogg Media File) and mkv (Matroska Video File)
formats, in addition to avi. Sometimes Nandub will fail to mux your audio file into your
video file, and in that case you'll want to use VirtualDubMod to do the muxing. Even so,
you don't want to do this all the time, because whatever method Nandub uses to do it's
audio muxing is about twice as fast as the method VirtualDubMod uses so you will normally
get a big time savings using Nandub instead.
- VobSub is a program used for adding subtitles to an avi file. It is only useful if the
movie has foreign language parts that have subtitles that are not embedded into the movie,
or if you simply want to add subtitles from another language. Otherwise, you won't need
to use this program.Note, in order to add subtitles to a file, you must select the Virtual
Dub plugins when VobSub is installing. Just make sure to select the VirtualDubMod folder
instead of the Virtual Dub folder when the installer asks you to locate it and then you'll
be able to add subtitles.
- Nandub is simply a recode of Virtual Dub that lets you add variable bitrate mp3's to a
video file, usually to save even more space for video. Nandub also added support to do
multiple passes in DivX 3.11, as this was not possible to do natively in the codec like in
DivX 4 & 5. However, in doing so Nandub removed the option to choose the compression
format so that in this guide it is only really useful for doing audio muxing (adding an
audio file to a video file) and removing unwanted sections of already encoded video (i.e.
credits). In addition to supporting VBR mp3 audio, it supports a similar Ogg Vorbis
format and the ac3 format the sound on DVD's is usually encoded in. Both of these audio
options may be of interest to you, but for the purpose of this guide they are not used.
- Cool Edit Pro is a wav-editing program. Since the audio files we are ripping out of the
DVD's are wav files, this program is very good for refining the audio track in the movie.
Especially useful is the amplify filter, since nearly every single DVD can benefit from
some amount of audio amplification to increase the audio volume. Cool Edit Pro also
contains a large number of other filters you can apply depending on what your audio source
- Music Match Jukebox is a good program for converting wav's to VBR mp3's, as it can
compress a 1GB wav file about 13 minutes faster than LAME Mp3 Encoder and it can compress
to any intermediate values down to about an 86kbps average. LAME will most likely give
you better results at the same file size, but the increase in quality is not easily
noticeable and the increase in time is very large.