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Ripping and compressing Blu-ray to MKV - full guide with settings

Discussion in 'Blu-ray' started by nukeyp, Aug 25, 2011.

  1. nukeyp

    nukeyp Member

    Aug 25, 2011
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    Hey there

    As my first post, I thought I would provide something that you may find useful, especially for our newer members / visitors that may not be entirely clued up on the art of copying a Blu-ray title.

    There may be other guides available, but I intend to go very deep into the process step-by-step to make it easier for people to follow. I have seen in the past with some other guides that the information is there but they end up stuck, especially with things like settings and knowing basically what to do when they hit certain brick walls. Some other people may also find the quality isn't what they expected after waiting a long time for an encode to finish. This guide will hopefully prevent this.

    This guide has no preference to any particular type of Blu-ray you want to copy. Please obey the laws within your country; some countries allow you to back up a previously-purchased retail movie for your own use, while others forbid this. Please seek legal advice if you are not sure on the rules surrounding this. In no way do I support piracy; this guide is aimed at legally backing up your own purchased content.

    In this guide I'll be showing you how to copy a Blu-ray title into an MKV file with good video and sound quality, chapters, subtitles and more.

    The end result will be an MKV file of around 8-11GB in size, with subtitles (if required), additional audio streams (if required) and chapters. The audio will vary based on your preference; check further in the guide for this.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2011
  2. nukeyp

    nukeyp Member

    Aug 25, 2011
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    Part 1: The tools needed for the job

    I aim to show you the how-to with as most freeware software as possible. However there is one piece of software which is a pay-for title which may be required for some content.

    AnyDVD HD - Home page 30 day trial
    AnyDVD HD is a piece of software which enables you to copy a title which contains copy protection.
    **Note - when you install this you may need to restart your computer**

    tsMuxerGUI - Freeware
    tsMuxerGUI is used to extract chapter information, separate audio and video streams from a particular disc or structure and deselect unwanted streams or objects from a particular release. Don't fancy Korean subtitles? You use this program to remove them from the feature.
    **Note - this software has no installer - extract to its own folder and run the software from that folder OR save to Program Files (x86) and make shortcuts to it if you like to keep your system looking clean**

    AviSynth - Freeware
    AviSynth is the software which is used to encode the files themselves and runs in the background. When you install it, there is no need to go back to this software and open it specifically. It simply runs in the background.
    **Note - This is required for RipBot264 to run**

    FFDSHOW - Freeware
    FFDSHOW is a set of DirectShow decoding filters which enable certain video/audio types to be played back / understood by your computer.
    **Note - This is required for RipBot264 to run**

    Haali Media Splitter - Freeware
    Sounds rather exotic, but it's not... Haali Media Splitter is simply a DirectShow splitter for certain types of files, such as MKV and M2TS. No need to worry about this one, it just runs in the background, just like FFDSHOW and AviSynth.
    **Note - This is required for RipBot264 to run**

    Microsoft .net Framework Redistributable - 32 bit or select the 64 bit version based on the system you are using.
    **Note - this is required for RipBot264 to run**

    RipBot264 - Freeware
    RipBot264 is a freeware encoding suite which enables you to tailor the compression to your liking. I chose this over Handbrake because there has been issues with Handbrake in the past falling over towards the end of an encode, causing an encoded video file to be corrupted at the end / at the beginning. That particular software has also been known to crash on occasion, too.
    **Note - You will need a 7-zip archive extractor to extract this package. Also, this software has no installer - extract to its own folder and run the software from that folder OR save to Program Files (x86) and make shortcuts to it if you like to keep your system looking clean**

    Already pre-installed on your machine, as you will know already. We'll be using this rather basic tool to store out chapter information, temporarily.

    ChapterGrabber - Freeware
    This is used to request chapter times and titles from the Internet for your particular title. We will be using this in conjunction with Notepad to ensure the chapter information is correct for your feature.
    **Note - You must have the .net Framework 3.5 installed from Windows Update to run this software**

    MKVToolNix - Freeware
    MKVToolNix is used to create change and get information about Matroska files. We will be using the MKVMerge portion of the software.
    **Note - this software has no installer - extract to its own folder and run the software from that folder OR save to Program Files (x86) and make shortcuts to it if you like to keep your system looking clean. The file you need to create a shortcut to is "mmg.exe" or simply listed as "mmg".**

    VLC Player - Freeware
    VideoLan will be used to test the videos afterwards to check they play. VideoLan plays everything you throw at it, but ironically, not Blu-rays themselves. Still, for what we are doing, that won't be needed anyway.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2011
  3. nukeyp

    nukeyp Member

    Aug 25, 2011
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    Step 2: Getting the video onto your computer

    Before I start, I must stress that Blu-ray media will take up a lot of space. You might want to make sure you have enough storage to store the originals. Each movie will be around 20-50GB in size, unless it's Lord of the Rings. Otherwise, you'll probably need an entire datacentre to store the file. And that's just the opening credits!

    I'll assume that you've got everything all set up and ready. You probably saw the length of the forum post and had a heart attack: but don't worry, it's not a long drawn out process like you think it is. You'll be a pro in no time at all!

    You've put the disc into the machine, and AnyDVD HD popped up with a tooltip telling you it is scanning the title, and Windows finally recognises it. This is what you need to do:

    Open tsMuxerGUI. You will get a window like this appear:


    When this is open, move the window to one side, we will need to access the drive that the Blu-ray title is in. So browse to Start Menu > (My) Computer and open the drive with the movie. You must open this by right-clicking and selecting "Open", otherwise it will try and play the movie and you'll get an error. This is what you should see:


    You might see other bizarre looking folders there but don't worry about those. What we need to access is the folder with the playlists in. This is where we need to navigate to:


    As you can see, it is the BDMV > PLAYLIST folder you need.

    Right. There are one of two things you will see now. You will see either a window with 10 or so playlists in, or you will see a window with hundreds.

    We will keep that window to one side for a moment.

    You now need to open RipBot264. This is just to make sure we get the correct playlist.
    When you open RipBot264 this is what you should see:


    Click on "Add" at the bottom. Select the top dropdown and select the Blu-ray drive the disc is in. Open BDMV. Then open STREAM. Click on the top of the Size column to sort the files by largest first. Select the first, largest video file in the list and select "open". A window like this will appear:


    There will be a file name there in the top box. In this case, it will be "01115.mpls, 1:36:22". That is the playlist number we need. Close the "little "Blu-Ray Structure" window with the red X, and close the "New Job" window.

    Let's go back to the tsMuxerGUI window. It should be empty. So bring your Explorer window into view with all the playlists in, and select and drag the playlist into the top of the window:


    There is a reason we aren't just dragging the single video file within STREAM into tsMuxerGUI. If we were to do that, we would lose the chaptering in the file. Also, not all blu-ray titles have one big file for the video. Some Blu-rays have the main feature split into many different files within the STREAM folder. By selecting the playlist, we are able to get the whole movie, in the right order, with all the features we need. You would be surprised on how randomly the videos are stored within the STREAM folder! One feature may consist of one file: 00001.avchd -- one file, 26GB, no problems. Others may require the video to be played in this order: 00001.avchd; 00352.avchd; 00006.avchd (and so on). If you were to drag one file in on this case, you might end up with only the first 25 minutes of the feature. In other cases, you might not even see the correct feature at all, you might end up with a trailer!

    What you should see now in the TSMuxerGUI window is this:

    The first part of the window, we don't need to worry about. The second part is the bit that we do. First, you can uncheck all of the features you don't need, such as foreign subtitles or dodgey director's commentaries which you may have absolutely no interest in.

    You can either uncheck the box on the left, or, select the track you want to remove and directly to the right of this, select remove (don't click the remove button on the first section, that'll delete what you just dragged in!).

    Just a little note here about what you are going to be playing your content back on. If you are playing these back purely on a PC, then you shouldn't need to touch any of the tracks, other than removing the ones you don't want. If you are going to be streaming this on a dedicated media playback device that supports MKV, such as the Western Digital WD TV Live Hub, you might want to check to see what the device supports.

    I'm talking mainly about audio and subtitles here. If the playback device will accept and output DTS Master Audio or Dolby True HD, then you don't need to change any of the tracks. If your device only supports Dolby Digital or DTS Standard/EX, then you must select the track and tick this box:


    What this will do is extract the core (the innards of the track) without all the extended bits and leave you with a file with a standard Dolby Digital / DTS soundtrack.
    If you are unsure, then tick the box.

    If the track says that it is LPCM - then you won't have a box to tick. You will continue through this, but there will be something we (may) need to do later on.

    If you want a file with just the audio for the movie, and the video, then deselect all of the tracks except the DTS-HD/LPCM/TRUE-AUDIO and the video itself. If you have two video streams, 720 and 1080, then deselect the 720 stream. This will give you a simple file with just the video and audio.

    On the subject of subtitles now, you might want to check if the playback device will support what is known as PGS subtitles. PGS subtitles are like little videos of their own, but they aren't videos, so-to-speak. If you will just be playing this back on your PC then you can leave the subtitles on (and skip the subtitles section of the guide later on), but some devices only support SRT subtitles. If your playback device does not support PGS, then you should de-select the tracks or remove them completely.

    Now, further down, select the M2TS muxing radio button. Then choose a temporary location to store the pre-encoded file, such as a documents folder (or) even better -- a different, seperate drive on your machine! - Not only will this be easier on your computer's resources but it also means they will be seperate location which will be easier to find.

    Now select the Blu-ray tab on the top. You should see something like this:


    Select the contents of the Chapters: box and right click, copy. Open Notepad, and right click, Paste. If you are ripping more than one title, then at the bottom just type the name of the title at the bottom, so you know what it is. Save the file with the title's name, so you know what it is for, and then close Notepad.

    **Note - if you see chapters which look incorrect, such as this below, this means you may have the wrong playlist selected.**

    00:20:00.000 Etc.

    This above would indicate you have the wrong playlist. If the chapter times are a lot more "mixed", then this would mean you have the right one selected.

    Now, please switch back to the Input tab at the top.

    When you are ready to rip the movie, you should have something like this:


    When the correct output path all set, click on "Start Muxing" at the bottom. This will then start to rip the title, straight from the disc, onto the computer, minus all the tracks you didn't want.

    When this is finished, we will be done with tsMuxerGUI, so you can close it.

    Step 3: Encoding the video you just ripped

    You have just created an M2TS file from a Blu-ray. You may think this is good enough, but the file will be huge, your device probably won't support it because of its size and without chapters seeking the file will be tricky on the end device. This is of course if the end playback device supports chapters anyway. It's always good to have them anyway, especially for PC playback.

    Let's fire open RipBot264. You might have it minimised already, have a poke about your taskbar at the bottom. It'll probably be hiding there somewhere!

    So, we are back at this blank window. I'll show you a picture of it again, just like before:


    This is where it gets interesting. What you need to do is click on "Add" and select the file you have just created. You will then get a window appear which will show some brief information on the file itself. Something like this:


    Click "Ok", and this may appear:


    ...followed by this:


    You will see above that it will "demux" the stream. Basically what it is doing is seperating the audio and video apart from each other, and stuffing them into some temporary folder on your computer. Usually it will be found in the root drive of where the content is stored, so in my case, it will be in H:\Temp\RipBot264temp.

    When this is finished, you will get a window like this appear. It'll be the same as before but all the options will have come to life:


    Those settings above we will NOT be using. If you were to use those, the quality would be worse than a knocked off dvd from your local market stall. You won't want that. We will do this:

    First, at the bottom, select "SAVE AS" - .MKV file. Keep the "Lock Size [MB]" box UNticked.

    VIDEO: Leave as it is
    PROFILE: Leave as it is
    FPS/FRAMES/DURATION: These are greyed out anyway
    MODE: Select 2-Pass
    KBPS: Type in 10490
    AUDIO: Leave as it is

    Look at the Audio field. If it says "PCM" or "WAV", and your playback equipment does NOT support this, then:
    PROFILE (right-hand side): 5.1 Aften AC3 640kbps

    If it does support this, or if the Audio field says "AC3" or "DTS" (and is supported), select:
    PROFILE (right-hand side): "x.x C O P Y S T R E A M"

    FREQUENCY/CHANNELS/DURATION: These are greyed out
    LANGUAGE: <select the language of the feature, usually "English [eng]">

    Choose where you want the file saving to, but don't click "Done" just yet.

    It should look something like this:


    We are almost done, but there are some more (advanced) settings we will need to change.
    Next to where it says "Profile (left-hand side)", there is a button with an ellipsis in [...]. Press that button.

    Please look at the screenshot below. The settings need to be exact. Even where it says "Master" at the bottom. This will save the profile for later use to save you having to configure the software every time you want to encode something:


    Then click "Ok", and double check it will be outputting to the right location.
    Click on "Done", and should you not have anything else needing ripping, just click on "Start". This will start the process.

    This process may take a very long time to go through, on my i7 975 3.33GHz on stock speed it takes around 7-8 hours per movie; of your system is of a lower spec then it may take longer.

    You should see that the file is now encoding:


    Part 4: Getting the chapters right

    Now that the video is encoded , we just need to get the chapters for this file. You can skip this if chapters aren't needed, but it is always useful to have.

    First of all open that notepad file you made with the chapter information in. Then, you will need to open ChapterGrabber. It might ask you for an e-mail address. You can type anything you like in there, it isn't checked.

    Now just to let you know here, ChapterGrabber can be a bit buggy when you use it. Which is why I would recommend you do the following:

    1. Open the ChapterGrabber software
    2. Type in the title of the feature you are looking for chapters for
    3. COPY the text you just typed (Ctrl+C or right click > copy)
    4. Click "Search" and select "ChapterDB" (TagChimp never seems to work and gives us wrong information)
    5. Select the title on the right you are looking for and compare this to the notepad and list of chapters you created earlier

    If the chapter information is incorrect, you will need to CLOSE the ChapterGrabber program and re-open it before searching again, or the titles won't come out correctly (strange bug, I know). But this way, it works.

    If you find a title where the chapter information is correct, then click File > Save > Select type as "Matroska Chapter XML File", give it a name, choose the Desktop and Save.

    If the timings are correct but the text isn't, then select Edit > Reset Chapter Names. Then, click File > Save > Select type as "Matroska Chapter XML File", give it a name, choose the Desktop and Save.

    If the chapters arent found at all, you will need to make some instead. Click the + Sign at the bottom until you have all of the chapters you need, then just copy and paste the timings in one by one. Will only take a minute or two. When this is done, click Edit > Reset chapter names. Then, the same as before, click File > Save > Select type as "Matroska Chapter XML File", give it a name, choose the Desktop and Save.

    Close ChapterGrabber. You have now completed the Chapters section.

    Part 5: Searching for subtitles

    I know for a fact according to the rules I am not allowed to point you into the direction to download Subtitle files. If you have already selected PGS subtitles and are happy with these, these will already be in the file and you can skip this. If not, then you will have a bit of searching to do.

    There is a certain website on the Internet who's name I can not mention which is very big when it comes to downloadable subtitles. If you search in google, you may come across this certain website. You'll know if you are in the right place because the background will be coloured green ;)

    Have a look there. If you don't need subtitles, then you might want to look anyway, because not all movies are 100% English. Some have non-English parts, and without checking if they are already hard coded, you may be left with titles without a translation (which will leaving you scratching your head halfway through the feature).

    Look for a non-English parts subtitle. If there isnt one listed then it isnt needed; if there is one listed then it may well be needed. Open the SRT file you obtain and open the video you just encoded. Seek to one of the times listed in the file where they say something foreign. Check if the video is hard coded with subtitles. If it isn't - check the subtitles will sync in time with what is being said. When you have an SRT file with perfect sync, save it as an SRT with the XML chapter file you made earlier (and the movie itself) and proceed to the final part!

    Part 6: Stitching it together

    We are nearly done. All you need to do now is:

    Open MKVMergeGUI (or "mmg").

    Drag the video file into the top part of the window:


    If you have a subtitle file, drag that in too.

    If this file is for a non-English part, then you MUST select the file, set the language correct at the bottom portion, set "Default track flag" to "yes" and "Forced track flag" to "yes". See below:


    This means this forced the player to play that subtitle with the feature. If you are just adding normal subs to it and are not for non-English parts, then you can set "Default track flag" and "Forced track flag" to "no".

    Then, give your video a name in the output filename box where you want to save your finished article.

    Click "Global" at the top, remove the contents of "File/Segment title" (or even give it a name if you like), then further down, next to where it says "Chapter file", select "Browse" and select your chapter XML file, then click "Open" at the bottom.
    Select "Language" underneath and select "English" (Or the language of the movie itself", then finally...

    Start muxing

    That will be your end result. An MKV with digital surround audio, subtitles, chapters, and ready for streaming.

    A few things to note:

    If you end up with the wrong image on screen (for example, commentary, introductions, etc), then this means you haven't ripped the correct playlist file. You should check the video before loading it into the tsMuxerGUI; when you are sure it is the correct video, then look for it in the top section of the tsMuxerGUI application. If it is in there and listed, you know it is the right playlist.

    If you are streaming from a NAS or computer, you will need an Ethernet connection to stream, because the bitrate of the video will be too high for wireless. The bitrate for this video will be around 10Mbps - which is ideal for archiving but without losing too much quality. With 2-pass, you won't get the blocking all over the image on fast motion scenes, and the image will generally look Blu-ray-like.

    File sizes will vary; a 1.5 hour video at this bitrate will be around 7-7.5GB. You can experiment with the bitrates to increase this - but if you do this, then you will have to change both the Mode / Bitrate on the first "New Job" screen, as well as the "Buffer size" and "Max bitrate" on the Encoder Settings screen.

    When your system is all set for copying, then ripping will be a quick and easy process - simply drag, drop, rip, load into RipBot264, encode, then stitch together. Simple really. If you do get stuck, just say so, I'll happily help you out!

    Have fun with your library!
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2011

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