Summary: DVD Shrink is a software program used to make backups of DVD movies. Using DVD Shrink, you can read data from one DVD then write it to a blank DVD or to your hard drive. The copied disc can be played in standalone DVD players or computers that contain a DVD-ROM with the appropriate DVD player software. Part 2 discusses first considerations when deciding if and how to backup a DVD.
Note: This tutorial may not be used to illegally reproduce copyrighted materials. American readers should review the Digital Millennium Copyright Act before attempting to circumvent any form of copy protection.
Before attempting to backup a DVD movie, there are several factors to consider -
Is this Legal?
Before even attempting to backup a DVD, consider whether doing so is legal. Copyright laws vary from country to country: Americans must refer to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) while European moviegoers should look at the EU Copyright Directive. In practice, consumers can to backup movies they own without much fear of prosecution, but absolutely should not give backups of movies to others or make backups of rented/borrowed discs. In other words, backing up your Battle Star Galactica DVD set for safety’s sake is ok, while duplicating the Mandingo DVD rentals are not!
Is a Separate Program Required for Ripping?
DVD Shrink is able to decrypt and read unprotected discs and standard CSS-protected discs. However, the program is unable to decrypt discs with some of the newer protection schemes like Sony’s Arccos. The solution is to use an external DVD ripper that can decrypt the special protection, mount the resulting disc image on a virtual DVD drive, then run DVD Shrink on the mounted disc image. The cost of this process (apart from extra time) is that up to an additional 9.4GB of space will be required to store the disc image. The disc image method is fully described in the section titled â€œIn Action: DVD Backup using Disc Imagesâ€.
What blank DVD Media Should be Used?
Several factors must be considered when selecting a blank DVD for movie backups:
DVD+R vs. DVD-R
DVD-R was the first recordable disc format (maintained by the DVDForum), originally created for professional use and later enginneered for consumer use. DVD+R was released later and is maintained by the DVD+RW Alliance. Both formats are equally good for backing up movies and typically cost the same to purchase.
Earlier generations of DVD burners could only write DVD-R or DVD+R discs, while most recent DVD burners can write to both formats. Check your recorder specs to determine which formats are supported.
Recordable (R) vs Rewritable (RW)
DVD-R and DVD+R discs can only be written to once; however both formats have rewritable versions â€“ DVD-RW and DVD+RW. Rewritable discs allow users to â€œeraseâ€ burned discs and burn new data afterward. Generally speaking, rewritable discs are more expensive than recordable discs and burn at slower speeds. One might use a RW disc to create a â€œtest burnâ€ before committing a final project to recordable disc.
Single Layer vs. Dual Layer (DL)
Until recently, the standard DVD-R/W and DVD+R/W capacity was 4.7GB â€“ roughly half the capacity of some store-bought DVD titles and generally less than most titles for sale. The release of dual layer discs (named in contrast to previous blank DVD media that stored its data on a single disc layer) nearly doubles recordable capacity to 8.5GB. Most titles will need minimal or no compression when backing up to DL blank discs. Conversely, backing of a title that’s not much larger than 4.7GB to dual layer discs would be a waste of space (and money â€“ DL discs are still relatively new and considerably more expensive than regular blank DVDs).
When using a new disc brand, try the first burned disc on a few different players to check whether the movie skips or pauses. Be sure to verify that the last 20 minutes of the movie play properly â€“ some cheaper DVD players have problems reading the outer region of burned DVDs.
Full Disc vs Movie-Only
By default, DVD Shrink backs up all movie-related components of the DVD: the main movie, menus and extras. However, backing up larger amounts of data requires greater compression and the resulting backup will have low video quality. Additionally, the user may be interested in just the movie and not wish to navigate menus or sit through mandatory commercials (the latter being an increasing problem on DVDs from a select number of film companies that shall remain nameless). To address these issues, DVD Shrink has a special mode called â€œRe-Authorâ€, which allows users to drag and drop video titles onto a template. DVD Shrink will create a backup consisting only of those video titles selected.
Note: Re-Author mode destroys all menus and as a result may not be appropriate for episodic discs (eg Simpsons episode DVDs).
Part 1 – Introduction
Part 2 – First Considerations
Part 3 – Software Installation
Part 4 – Performing a Regular DVD Backup
Part 5 – Performing a DVD Backup from a Disc Image
Part 5 – Part 6 – What’s Next