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.

      Program Notes

  1. Download "DivX Pro Codec", "SmartRipper", "Gordian Knot Rip Pack", "Cool Edit Pro", and "Music Match Jukebox" from the Internet.

  2. Install all the programs.

  3. 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.

    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

  4. 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 vStrip.

  5. 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".

  6. 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.

  7. 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 "Offset" slider.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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 Edit Pro.

  13. 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.

  14. 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".

  15. 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".

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. Open "VirtualDubMod", click "File Open video file…", select the avs file you saved in the previous step, and click "Open".

  20. 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 Filters…", double click the filter you added and then edit the appropriate values to your liking.

  21. 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".

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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".

  26. 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 video file…", 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 Interleaving…", 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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 lower bitrate.

  29. 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.
Whole process time - 5-7 hours
(not including install & one-time setup time)

Program Notes: