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Handbrake Tutorial: How to Use Handbrake to Rip DVD to MP4/MKV

This is the complete Handbrake tutorial on how to rip DVD with desired quality using the open source Handbrake. Plus, common handbrake errors including no valid source found, libdvdcss error and more are included in the post so that you can better cope with these protected DVDs.

By Bella Brown to Rip DVD, Handbrake|Last updated on Nov 22, 2018

Handbrake has built up a cult following, for sure, due to its open source and cross-platform compatibility. Until now Handbrake 1.0.7 for both Windows and Mac has been all together downloaded in excess of 1,562,369 times on CNET, making it the most favored free DVD ripper for Mac and Windows the market.

As it claims, Handbrake emancipates movies from the constraints of plastic-and-metal prison. It helps to convert DVD to MP4 or MKV and enables to put DVD movie to iPhone iPad iPod for on-the-move enjoyment. Its interface holds all the tools you need but the wide variety of options confuse users, especially beginners, to some degree. How to use Handbrake to rip DVD becomes a Gordian knot. Some people are even in the mood for a detailed Handbrake tutorial. Luckily, this article serves as the Handbrake user guide and lists the generous steps for users to rip DVD movies with Handbrake.


Step 1: Install Handbrake on Windows or Mac

Only if you make Handbrake download on your platform can you rip a DVD with this free DVD ripper for Mac and Windows. Generally, Handbrake is compatible with both Windows Vista - 10 and Mac OS X 10.7 - 10.12 for both 64 bit and 32 bit. So make sure to have 500 MHz processor or better with at least 16MB RAM and be sure the Handbrake version to be downloaded is made for your operating system. See Handbrake Mac version.

Note: For various reasons, Handbrake won't work well during DVD ripping (The latest Mac version V1.0.7 downloaded before 10:30 a.m. EDT on May 2, 2017 is reported to be compromised by malware, but it is now secure to download). On the one hand, Handbrake is unable to rip commercial DVDs like the Disney movie Finding Dory, Zootopia. When ripping protected DVDs, Handbrake fails to scan the right title, crashes halfway, shows error message "No valid source found", etc, even with libdvdcss installed on your computer. On the other hand, it is blamed for the compatibility issue, e.g. it cracks when you update your Mac to macOS Sierra, let alone the latest High Sierra.

So for a smooth DVD ripping, a Handbrake alternative is highly demanded, such as MacX DVD Ripper Pro (or Windows version), for your Mac/PC DVD ripping needs, which supports all DVD protections and built in 350+ readymade profiles for your diversified needs, e.g. support ripping protected DVDs, including the latest DVDs, Disney DVDs with 99 titles, damaged DVDs and even the DVDs unplayable on VLC; copy DVD to computer hard drive with 1:1 image quality to save space; organize and digitize DVD to MP4 AVI and others as short as 5 minutes, depending on the configuration and hard drive of the computer; directly convert DVD to iPhone iPad Android devices in one click; edit DVDs at your disposal to upload on YouTube, and more.

Take downloading Handbrake Mac version for example, if you are running a Mac with a Core 2 Duo or later processor, the 64-bit version of Handbrake is more preferred than the 32-bit version as the former is about 10% faster than the latter, and make sure to download VLC 64-bit version as well in case of ripping commercial DVDs. But for those who have the original "Intel Core Duo" processor, you can only download the 32-bit version. Below is the pic of the step-by-step Handbrake tutorial (V1.0.7). If you are working on a PC, please follow the tutorial about how to use Handbrake to rip DVD on PC.

How to Use Handbrake to Rip DVD

Step 2: Select a Source DVD You Want to Rip

After you launch HandBrake, you will be asked to locate a source. Specifically, there are three options listed including Video File, Folder and DVD Drive Option. In order to employ Handbrake to rip a DVD on Mac, you can insert the DVD into your Mac's DVD drive and simply choose the DVD you wish to rip from the drop down menu.

Note: Handbrake only works with the DVDs that DO NOT contain any form of copy protection. If your discs are encrypted with CSS or region code, you'd better install Handbrake libdvdcss on Mac/PC.

1. libdvdcss, a library designed to access DVDs encoded with CSS encryption, shall be downloaded specifically for your Windows system. And You don't have to rename it to libdvdcss.dll, just keep the file name unchanged and put it in your Handbrake program folder, normally in C:\Program Files\Handbrake.

Libdvdcss.dll for Windows 32 bit | Libdvdcss.dll for Windows 64 bit

2. If you are running on a Mac Yosemite or older, just download libdvdcss on Mac and double-click to install it.

libdvdcss.pkg for Mac

3. Downloading libdvdcss on Mac El Capitan or newer version can be tricky, because Mac's security feature System Integrity protection prevents the installation of libdvdcss that Handbrake relies on for CSS protected DVD ripping. Some users suggest to get around this with the aid of Homebrew.

To do this, please go to Application > Utilities folder > Terminal > paste the code usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install)" into the app > press return and follow the instructions to download Homebrew > press Command+Space and search for Terminal to launch a command line window > type in brew install libdvdcss and hit enter. Then let Homebrew download and install the library. See how to install libdvdcss on Mac.

Warning: You have to bear in mind libdvdcss focuses on helping Handbrake to rip DVD encoded with CSS. There are still some other copy-protected DVDs. For example, you may run into a DVD with 99 titles of almost the same length, you are probably thwarted by a complicated copy-protection scheme, e.g. Disney X-Project. And many users run into Handbrake 1.0.7 crashing/hanging problem when ripping DVDs though 1.0.7 is the latest version with some bugs fixed. To solve the problem, you are advised to find a DVD ripper for Mac with powerful DVD decryption ability for better results.

Handbrake CSS error

Best Handbrake Alternative for Mac/Win - MacX DVD Ripper Pro

Get no valid source found error when rip DVD with Handbrake? Handbrake neither rips encrypted DVDs nor supports latest devices. Try the alternative to rip protected DVDs to MP4 iPhone iPad with 350+ preset profiles.

Step 3: Choose a Title and Chapters

Once the source data has been loaded by Handbrake, you will see the Title drop-down menu at the upper left-hand corner. For non-commercial DVDs, Handbrake will select the main title for your source by default. Personally, if you want to rip the entire movie, the track with the longest duration is usually the one you shall choose.

There is something different when it comes to ripping an episode of a TV show in Handbrake. Please choose the one with 22 or 44 minutes and kick off DVD ripping seperately. Unless you wish to encode a specific range of chapters, you are suggested to leave the chapter drop-down menus at their default values.

Handbrake choose title

Step 4: Select the Destination Folder.

Click the "Browse" button to choose the path where you want to save the output file in. Then Click "Save".

Tips: You can enable/disable and configure automatic file naming in the program options.

Step 5: Choose Preset for Your Device or Output Format

Handbrake makes a great overhaul on its presets, providing handy presets for general, web, iPhone, iPad, iPod, Apple TV, Android, Chromecast, Windows mobile, Roku, playstation, Xbox, etc, making it pretty easier to rip a movie. On the right side of the Handbrake main window, there are presets for General, Devices, Web, Matroska, and Legacy will appear. Choose the matching output you prefer. For example, if you'd like to play DVD on iPad, simply move the mouse to Apple Device 1080p30 Surround or 720p30 Surround, then you are allowed to rip DVD to iPad on Mac with Handbrake. The same goes on other devices.

Handbrake Choose device profiles when rip DVD

Note 1: "General" is better for outputting videos either for high quality playback or fast DVD rip. This is helpful if you want to watch DVD movie on your computer. The Fast and Very Fast ensure smaller file size but lower quality while the HQ and Super HD go the opposite, resulting in more space occupation but higher quality.

Note 2: At the same time, be sure to choose the 480p preset if you are going to rip a US DVD or choose the 576p preset when the DVD to be ripped is sold in European. The resolution 720p or 1080p handbrake provides won't make the movie look better but only makes the file larger in file size.

Note 3: "Web" is good for outputting the ripped DVD movie for easy sharing or emailing, e.g. upload DVD to YouTube.

Besides, you're also allowed to use Handbrake to rip DVD to MKV or MP4 (M4V) for free. MKV VP9 encoding is added to the latest Handbrake V1.0.0 or later. You can set your encoding settings manually based on the device on which you plan to view the content.

Step 6: Tweak Your Settings

This can be a nuisance for new beginners, but for advancers it is really a boon. You can adjust the output parameters of picture, video filters, video, audio, subtitles, chapters, etc. to make the output videos more personalized and suitable. In this Handbrake user guide, Handbrake video settings, audio settings and picture settings will be specified here to best suit your demand.

1. Handbrake Video Settings

This section allows you to adjust Framerate and Video Codec you prefer. when using Handbrake to convert DVD, keep in mind that the output quality lies on the size you specify. You can also alter the bitrate of your choice. Remember: the higher bitrate you choose, the better quality you will get but the bigger size the output file will be, hence more time it will take to rip DVD with Handbrake. >> Check the Handbrake iPhone setting if you need to digitize DVD to iPhone using Handbrake.

Note: Handbrake adds the support of HEVC/H.265 encoding in the version after 1.0.0. That means you can convert DVD and video into MP4 or MKV encoded with HEVC with smaller size but higher quality. You can just change the video codec from H.264 to H.265 (x265). But this is relatively time consuming.

Handbrake video settings

2. Handbrake Audio/Subtitles settings

Th sections are where you can adjust audio tracks and choose what movie subtitle you want of your ripped content, especially in a foreign movie, as shown in the above figure. Generally speaking, you can leave this alone. But if you do want to change it, note that the audio bit rate shall be below 160kbps if you are ripping a DVD for your iDevices. You might as well add subtitles to your foreign film from the Subtitles section.

Handbrake audio settings

3. Picture Settings

It's often the case you find horizontal lines in many TV shows of DVD forms. Technically, these DVDs are interlaced, making them fuzzy to watch. The "Picture Settings" button on the top of Handbrake interface is especially designed to get rid of interlacing and makes DVD ripping smooth. What's more, this section also lets you set video resolution and crop video. For example, as 640*480 resolution is the optimized one for iPod Touch, so you can either set up to the same resolution as the original for the lower resolution of the original or set up to 640*480 resolution for the output for the higher resolution of the original. As far as I'm concerned, the crop function of handbrake for Mac is not so practical. Instead, it's just a kind of ornament here.

Handbrake picture settings

Step 7: Commence DVD ripping with Mac Handbrake

Once you finish all the settings, you can go ahead to rip DVD on your Mac computer by simply pressing the "Start Encode" button on the left top of Handbrake for Mac version. Alternatively, if you have a source with multiple titles, you can queue these up using "Add to Queue" button. Once your queue is accomplished, click the "Start" button to begin batch DVD ripping process on Mac with Handbrake.

Note: As is mentioned in the above Handbrake tutorial, Handbrake doesn't work well with protected DVDs, not to mention the limited output formats, say MP4 and MKV. So if you intend to rip commercial DVD movies and convert DVD to more output formats and devices like FLV, AVI, MOV, Kindle Fire HD, Galaxy S7, HTC One 10, etc, Handbrake will let you down.

Handbrake Problems and Troubleshootings during DVD Ripping:

Even with all the steps mentioned above finished carefully, you may also encounter Handbrake not working problems while ripping DVDs, Handbrake 1.0.7 crashing/hanging/stop loading DVDs issues, especially the new DVD movies, since they are bogged down with copy protections. Below are the most comment Handbrake rip DVD issues reported among users and the typical Handbrake errors from video forums.

Handbrake no valid source to find error: Find the solution to fix "No Valid Source Found Error" in Handbrake

Handbrake cannot rip DVD without libdvdcss: How do I rip protected DVDs without libdvdcss. Problems solved.

Handbrake cannot convert DVD to AVI: Handbrake doesn't output video in AVI? Here is the solution

Handbrake won't work on El Capitan: Handbrake won't work on El Capitan, check the page to solve the problem

Handbrake won't rip DVD with VLC 2.0: Handbrake fails to rip protected DVD with VLC 2.0? Here is the answer.

Handbrake cannot read DVD: Learn how to rip copy protected DVD without reading error using Handbrake

Handbrake cannot scan right title: Follow the guide to learn how to scan the right title from multi-title DVD

Handbrake rips DVD to M4V not MP4: Follow the tutotial to rip DVD to MP4 with Handbrake Rather than M4V

Handbrake won't rip 99-title DVDs: Handbrake crashes when ripping DVDs with 99 titles. Follow the Handbrake tutorial to troubleshoot the error.

Therefore, you'll have to switch to a professional yet best DVD ripper for Mac named MacX DVD Ripper Pro that not only works with commercial DVDs with protection measures but also easily copy and rip DVDs to WMV, MKV, FLV, MP4, MOV, etc optimized for iPhone X/8, Android phones and tablets like Nexus 7, Galaxy S8, etc with best video quality.

Still have any problem on rip DVD with Handbrake, just email us >>

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