Ripping a clip from a DVD VOB (Video OBject)

To re-encode to different format (MPEG-1, AVI) or different resolution (not the VOB default of 720x480), use "Ultra Video Splitter" !!

To rip without re-encoding, to a 720x480 MPEG-2 (VOB-to-MPEG-2), use VideoRedo

To rip into single clips with the most highly compressed format *.mp4 (mpeg-4), use Nero Recode 2
NOTE:  for Nero mp4 files, you will need an mpeg-4 codec that handles mp4 files - use 3ivx, download it Here

*** also see VOB to DivX Converters  (for other tools) 

Sure, you can always rip an entire DVD, and then burn it to a DVD/R, but how often have you wanted to share a short segment of a DVD with your friends?  Or put up a clip on your website?  The goal is to be able to pull a quick rip from the DVD VOB file, of just the portion you want.    In addition, you want to rip it to a format where you do not have to apply additional processing - if possible.  Here's How  .  .  .

What is a VOB ??

VOB, Video OBject, is an MPEG-2 video file on a DVD with AC-3, MPEG, or PCM audio. The problem with ripping VOB's has always been their structure.  They are not traditional files !!  In fact, a DVD is not a file-based structure.

Each VOB file usually contains multiple video clips (or chapters), each of which has its own timecode.  Many converters are file based and will only "see" the first chapter in the VOB file.

Therefore, a VOB file is simply two or more streams of data with a "wrapper" that holds them together.  TMPGenc pulls off the wrapper (or "header"), and inspects its contents on the VOB.  Most DVD's have an MPEG2 video stream, and either an MPEG Layer 3 (MP3), AC3 or a LPCM (Linear PCM) audio stream.  A wav file is encoded with PCM - Pulse Code Modulation.

The old way - ripping the two streams and Re-Combining Them

Method 1

Break the DVD into separate VOB files, each of which contain one chapter only, and that allows many traditional MPEG2 converters, such as RiverPast's Video Cleaner, to access the file.  To break a VOB into multiple VOB's . . . one per chapter, you can use the links from Riverpast's website and grab both "GPL MPEG-2 Decoder (or try the Publisher's Link)" and "AC-3 Decoder Filter".

Method 2

Convert the entire VOB to long elemental streams that contain all chapters in sequence.  For example, TMPGenc will convert a VOB into one M2V (Mpeg2 Video) video file and one MP2 audio file. 

NOTE:  TMPGenc will recognize both MPEG1 and MPEG2.  It names the files either as an m1v file which is an mpeg1 video elementary stream, or an m2v file which is an mpeg2 video elementary stream

Then you had to use TMPGenc to combine the two streams into an MPG1 or MPEG2 file.  Finally you could open the MPG in Premiere, cut out the sections you do not want, and export it is an AVI, MPEG, or WMV.  That's a lot of steps !!


OK, what about the "Quick Rip" ??
A.K.A. - the "New Way"

The new way converts any portion of the VOB to a single multimedia clip (containing both video and audio) in one step.

However, to get the clip the way you want it, you want to use a second step - open that clip in Premiere and add effects, refine the IN and OUT points, and convert it to another format if need be

To rip an entire VOB (most are about 1 GB) it takes a lot of time.  However, if you just want to rip a short clip from the VOB then it really doesn't take much tme.

There are a ton of new utilities out there, that will spilt, combine, duplicate, and rip DVD's.  Since most of them are new, small utilities, and they are either free or they cost a small amount  .  .  .  the quality usually is not good.  Therefore, you need to find one that can just do the basics but do them well, and as fast as possible.    But you could spend a lifetime and a ton of dough figuring out which one is best.

Or you can trust me, since I have tried several of them.  Here I have list one that is excellent, called Ultra Video Splitter - so you can stop looking.


What format to Rip To ??

-  the $64,000 question  .  .  .  bottom line, if any video editing is needed after the rip - then rip to uncompressed AVI !!  If you are able to set your IN and OUT point exactly where you want them, then MPEG1 is an excellent choice (smaller file size than AVI and any player can handle MPEG1).

Which Utility ??  Ultra Video Splitter !!

I have tried several, but for now I am using:

Ultra Video Splitter ($25  -  the demo will only encode half the video length that you select) - Excellent !!  It allows you to split the VOB into numerous MPEG, AVI, or WMV files - but who needs to do that?  The best use for this is to "Rip a Clip" !!  Just set a Start and End point in the preview window, enter the easy-to-follow settings, and click the "Split" button to rip the clip !!

Recommended Settings: 

NOTE:  set the IN/OUT points first, using the viewer, then make your settings, and click "Split"

Here are a few others that I have tried but decided not to use:

Problem with Ultra Video - which may be a blessing

I have since found a problem with this utility.  I made some test files to find out how to make a fairly clear DVD using the smallest files possible. Originally I was using VCD MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 files (352x240) which are non-interlaced, with DVD Author. The results are too blurry.

So I tried 352x480 MPEG-2, which is also acceptable as part of the MPEG-2 standard, and the picky importer on DVD Author does accept them. The results were not nearly as good as using full-blown 720x480 MPEG-2 files, but much better.

Here is the surprise, using a short 10-sec segment on all files, using Audio of 224 kbps in all cases:

File Type    Bitrate    MPG Size    Burned VOB Size
MPEG1      352x240      1522 kB          1401 kB
MPEG1      352x480      1510 kB          1387 kB
MPEG2      352x240      1381 kB          1502 kB
MPEG2      352x480      1397 kB          1518 kB
MPEG2      720x480      1503 kB          1635 kB

I used Gspot to verify the resolution of the files and they were all correct. BUT The resolution of 352x48- is twice that of 352x240 yet the file sizes and bit-rates are basically identical.  And even the full 720x480 file is not much larger than the 352x240 !!!

Now, I can understand the VOB files being the same size since the DVD Author will have to convert all the files to MPEG-2 at 720x480 and then wrap them in a VOB header. But for the MPG files I am perplexed.  As a comparison, Cucusoft converted the various file and the results were wide variety of sizes, as expected.

Lastly, there was virtually no difference in viewing the final DVD full-screen using PowerDVD. The quality was the same using MPEG1 352x240 input files, as it was for MPEG-2 720x480.  So the algorithm is doing something vary odd. 

Blessing??  I will say this, though - these are the smallest 720x480 MPEG-2 files I have ever seen.  So you can take a DVD, recode the VOB's to MPEG-2's  (tiny file sizes as noted above) and then re-author the DVD, converting the MPEg-2 files back to VOB's which will be much smaller than the original VOB's.  This could allow you to fit a lot more on one DVD (see Super-Compressed DVD's for other methods).

This method converted a VOB from 1 GB to 273 MB  -  a 75% reduction !!!