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Backup Your DVDs On A Mac

written by: CBumeter•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 3/20/2009

We all know how difficult it can be to keep your DVDs from getting scratched or nicked, thus causing skips or them not working at all. This how-to article shows you how to make backup copies of all of your DVDs and burn them to a blank DVD.

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    I can't tell you how many DVDs I have had in the past, that I no longer can play in a DVD player. This is mainly because they were dropped or scratched and are no longer readable. So I did some experimenting, and found out how to create backup DVDs for all of your favorite movies.

    *Note* It is illegal to make copies of commercial DVDs that you have not purchased or own. It is also illegal to copy commercial DVDs and then sell them. I am not advising you to illegally pirate films, the advice in this article is for backup purposes only. So don't go getting yourself heavily fined by the government because you wanted to save a measly $14.

    Before we get started there are four main components to doing this. Keep in mind there are other ways, but the way I will show you will consist of using these applications, MacTheRipper, which is free, and Toast Titanium from Roxio, which can be a little chunk of change but for which there are numerous uses. You will also obviously need some blank DVD's. You can purchase these at any place that sells electronics, Wal-Mart, Target or Best Buy, just to name a few. Of course finally, you will need the DVD that you wish to make a backup of. Remember, you must own it or it's technically stealing.

    Due to the increase of pirating activity, DVDs are becoming more and more complicated to rip. Newer DVDs have little tricks built into their data that prevents applications from ripping and burning to DVD. A title I purchased, and immediately wanted to backup was The Dark Knight, one of the greatest films in a long time. As I attempted to rip it, I got errors saying there were VODS that were disrupting the rip, so you'll see not all DVDs especially newer ones, can be ripped.

    So you have all of the things above, now it is time to get to backing up all of your favorite DVDs.

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    Sample contents.
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    1. You first must insert the DVD you are looking to rip, what you are doing first is ripping the components of your DVD to your hard drive. Most DVDs can be about 7GB's so make sure you have sufficient space on your hard drive. It wouldn't be a bad idea to pick up an external hard drive if you wish to keep the files on your computer in case something happens to the backup.
    2. You will now open up MacTheRipper, it should automatically detect the DVD, if not try reinserting the DVD. Once it has been detected, you will see two tabs, Disc and Mode. If you click on the Mode option, you can choose to from a few things. You can do a full disc extract, that will completely rip all components of the DVD. Or you can do just the feature, meaning just the film, or you can rip by chapters.
    3. Now that you have chosen what you want to rip from the DVD, you are ready to rip. Click the "GO!" button and you will be prompted to choose where you wish to save the files. Again, make sure you have plenty of space on your hard drive, because the DVDs can be pretty big. The ripping process will take about 45 minutes for a full DVD rip to about 20 minutes for just the main feature.
    4. When MacTheRipper finishes ripping your DVD, you will be ready to burn it to a blank DVD. Eject the real DVD and insert a blank DVD into your drive.
    5. Open up Toast Titanium, as a note, I am using Toast 9, but the earlier versions should still do the trick as well as any in the future. Once you have Toast open, click on the tab at the top for video. Once you do so, you should see the word "video" in big blue letters with a bunch of options below it.
    6. Click on the Video_TS Folders option, and then you should see it say in the middle of the screen "Drag Video TS_folder into this area." You can drag the file or simply click the add button down below and find the folder that way. You then just drag the entire folder into this area and you should see it pop up saying how many movies and extras there are. To the right of your file you should also see an "options" button.
    7. When you click on this options button, a new window will pop up. What this is telling you, is how much compression must be made of the movie to fit on a standard DVD. Here you can choose custom, main movie or all. You will also see how much the video quality will decrease, to fit the DVD.
    8. Once you have chosen what things you want to be compressed, you are ready to go. Click "ok" from that box and you are ready to burn.
    9. Your last step is the easiest, just click the large red "burn" button in the bottom right of the screen and you're off to the races.

    The whole writing and burning process with Toast should take about 30 minutes. Once it is finished, it will go through a verification check, this makes sure all the files and such are working properly. You can choose to skip this process if you wish, it's not a big deal. After this, your DVD has been backed up. The newly burned disc should play on almost all standard DVD players, including Xbox's and Playstations. Older DVD players may have issues, so it will all depend on how current your DVD player is.

    There you have it, so make sure that when you are done burning you put the DVD in a safe place, perhaps a DVD case to keep it protected.