How to Protect, Backup and Enhance Your DVD Discs

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The protection of DVD discs is commonplace in many people’s eye. However, we are likely to have overlooked the fact that overtime, DVDs can become scratched, damaged and even completely unusable. Odds are that we use a brand new DVD disc smoothly for the first time, and the next time we play it, it fails to work normally. I am sure no one is willing to see this happen. As a matter of fact, we can avoid the frustrating situation if we pay attention to the following tips:

1. Handle discs by the outer edge or the center hole. Keep dirt, foreign material, fingerprints, smudges, and liquids from the disc and wipe them with a clean cotton fabric in a straight line from the center of the disc toward the outer edge.

2. Store discs upright (book style) in original jewel cases that are specified for CDs and DVDs and not store discs horizontally for a long time (years).

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3. Leave discs in their spindle or jewel case to minimize the effects of environmental changes. Store in a cool, dry, dark environment in which the air is clean — relative humidity should be in the range 20% – 50% (RH) and temperature should be in the range 4°C – 20°C. Do not expose recordable discs to prolonged sunlight or other sources of UV light.

4. Use a non solvent-based felt-tip permanent marker to mark the label side of the disc. Do not write or mark in the data area of the disc (area where the laser reads).

Protecting your DVDs is essential of course, while maximizing their value is of greater importance. Therefore, to make a step further, you can do more to backup and enhance them.

Commercial DVD movies are copyright protected. You are not allowed to copy them to your hard drive. However, we sometimes do need some DVDs for personal use or recreation. In this case, we can turn to a DVD ripping program for help. Here I’d like to share HandBrake with you, since my OS is based on Mac. It can extract any DVD-like source: VIDEO_TS folder, DVD image or real DVD (encrypted or unencrypted) to your Mac within a few steps. Download and install HandBrake and insert the DVD you wish to convert into your Mac’s DVD drive. If your Mac’s DVD Player application opens, exit the DVD Player application. Open the HandBrake application and select Detected volume and click on Open. Wait as HandBrake detects the titles on your DVD. Leave the default settings or choose the settings you wish. For best quality, select Video: 2-pass encoding. The whole ripping process is within a few simple steps. But since it is totally free, it does have some limitations.

Firstly, it only supports MP4 format. If you want to rip DVD to a lot more popular video formats, HandBrake offers no solution.

Secondly, I sometimes center on more video editing functions. However, HandBrake frustrates me a lot.

Thirdly, not all DVD’s are supported by HandBrake. Those with protection methods other than CSS are not supported and must be handled externally with third-party software.

In terms of these three points, I made a Google search for other Mac DVD ripping programs, and Wondershare DVD Ripper for Mac came to my attention, though, unlike HandBrake, it is shareware. What attracts me most is that it supports various video and even audio formats including those utilized by online video sharing sites like YouTube and those compatible with portable devices. Moreover, it offers lots of pretty good video editing functions. For instance, if you want to get a short clip or a wonderful scene from a DVD movie, you can use the movie length trimming function of this program to select the clip or scene to rip in the precision of second.

Sometimes, we may want to burn to a blank DVD disc our favorite DVD movies, video clips, music collection and so forth for backup and enhancement. The built-in burning application for Mac OS would be definitely your best choice. For instance, if you want to burn video files to DVD, simple follow the steps below. Open and launch the Burn application. Firstly, choose a format in the popup. Burn can create four types of video disks. They are VCD, SVCD, DVD, DivX respectively. Here just tick DVD. Secondly, select some video files from your Mac. Most video files are supported except that some protected QuickTime files may not work. Thirdly, drop the selected files in the list. If the files are already the right format they will be added. Otherwise, Burn will ask to convert them to the right format. At last, click on Burn to burn the disk. Note: By clicking on the expand button, you can choose options how to handle recording. Burn will save these options and they will be used for future disks.

Note: Understand the copyright law in your country. It is illegal to rip DVDs for commercial usage. You may be able to rip a copy of copyrighted material for your own use under the concept of Fair Use. Don’t use this technique for piracy. Ripping a DVD for your own collection may be fine. But it is illegal to share the copy with others. You may be caught by police if you do this.

Source by Sonia Deng

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