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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 4:12 am 
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I have been converting DVDs via DVDShrink and AutoGK for a while, and decided to go back to an old favorite, FairUse Wizard (www.fairusewizard.com). I've been very happy with how the free version gets the job done. If you are new to FairUse, it is a (somewhat) "all-in-one" software package for decoding DVDs and then encoding them in DivX, XviD, or h264. Remember that either the XviD or DivX codec, in an AVI container will play with no additional plugins on the 605 (as long as you don't make the resolution too large, or encode the audio in AC3!...but we deal with that below). Note that a particular limitation of the free version is that it can only encode files "up to" 700 MB...for long movies, that may be more compression than you'd like. But an upgraded version deals with that problem.

For those who may be interested in trying it out, I decided to do a series of screen cap(tures) to outline the process (since the program itself has sparse help). See below 9 images corresponding to the major decision points in the conversion process. (I should note that it was a bit of a hassle to get these images properly sequenced...if something looks out of order, please go with whatever makes sense in your installation!)

(DISCLAIMER: As FairUse clearly notes, the program is for the sole use of creating backup copies of your DVDs!)


STEP 1: Load the program, and on the first screen, set up a Project name and directory for your project files. To illustrate, I'm using "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" (widescreen version), with the goal of compressing into a 500mb AVI file, XviD encoding. If you feel like it, select "OPTIONS" (STEP 2), otherwise select "Next" and skip down to STEP 3.

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STEP 2: Here the only changes that I've made are to make sure that XviD is selected, and to set the output file size to 500mb. Everything else I leave alone (you might want to turn off "Run in IDLE base priority" if you're running overnight). I wonder if "Boost audio level" helps with quieter movies (e.g., "Lord of the Rings")?

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STEP 3: Make sure your DVD is in its drive, and select the proper drive letter/location. If you have an ISO of your DVD, and know what it is, you can go that route instead. :)

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STEP 4: FairUse Wizard now does a quick index of your DVD, which in layman's terms (I'm a layman) means it's carving your movie into useful pieces. Note that I've done pretty much nothing here: FairUse has already selected Chain 13 for me, as well as the cache option below. Again, in layman's terms: it found the section of the DVD that has the movie itself (duration = 1:54:46) and is ready to work on it. Nevertheless, before pressing the "Next" button you might check to make sure that what it has selected makes sense to you (e.g., if you've put in a multi-segment disk with 20- or 40-minute TV episodes, your choices may differ).

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STEP 5: Now the chain (i.e., disk segment) you selected in Step 4 is fully indexed. Note that this can take several minutes.

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STEP 6: The basic idea in Step 6 is to refine the appearance of your movie. The only thing I changed here was that I scrolled to where the credits start to roll at the end, and clicked the "Set credits start" button...this allows the program to encode the credits at a lower resolution, which saves some space. If you like, you can also futz around with subtitles and cropping of the edges. I generally trust the "Auto set" button for cropping.

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STEP 7: Step 7 is a bit esoteric, but basically deals with whether your movie has progressive or interlaced images (don't ask me). Again, I select the "Auto Detect" button, and let it decide (OK, I know what it means, but I'm not going to try and explain it!).

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STEP 8: This step mirrors many of the choices that were seen on the OPTIONS menu in Step 2. If you skipped that step, here you can decide what your target filesize will be (I selected 500mb...remember that 700mb is the max for the free version). IT IS ESSENTIAL TO REMEMBER TO CHECK THAT YOU ARE USING MP3 ENCODING FOR THE AUDIO (unless of course you have the Cinema plugin or just don't care). I'd recommend the MP3 codec (you decide the bitrate!), unless you plan to play the movies on your home theater and are obsessed with multi-channel stereo sound. ;) You can either put the job on the queue at this point (see button), or press next to start the job immediately!

Note here that you will also select the dimensions of the encoded file. I didn't check the DVD package for the exact aspect ratio, but decided to deselect the "Show only preferred resolutions" option, and then go with the resolution closest to 16:9 that is 720 pixels wide (i.e., the maximum that the 605 can display). This likely created some minor distortion in the output file.

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STEP 9: If you pressed next, here it goes. :) Good luck.

-Matt

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EDIT: This was added by member KarenLynx. It was buried on page 4 but I thought it very useful due to so many people getting DVD's of TV shows. Again many thanks to averageguy for this great post. I know it has helped countless people. This will also help for those looking for multisessions. Kodiak.

For multi episode DVD's: In step 3, highlight all of the episodes you want to cache using the shift key. Then at the bottom make sure you select cache the "selected program chains [multisession]" option then press next. This will take some time for 6 half hour episodes, maybe 20-30 minutes. Then you will get a screen with a picture of some video where you will select the cropping, etc. Select your parameters and press next. On the next screen you will the select native mode or ivtc (let FU do automatically). On the next screen, you will select the size for each episode. For a half hour episode, I select 250 MB and 128 kps. Then you MUST select the "defer processing" button, NOT the next button. The next screen will show you a list of all your episodes and each one will say "Ready". You will now select the button "process all selections" and let it go, this will take quite sometime. I have been doing Flintstone DVD's that contain 6 episodes and it takes about 4 hours from this point.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 2:06 pm 
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Great summary.

For those who've recently asked about handling episode based DVDs it is worth noting that in step 4 you can select multiple chains so you get all the episodes.

Then in step 8 you can elect to 'Defer processing' so you can repeat the first steps to get all the chains from multiple DVDs cached then use the option in step 1 to 'Process all projects'.


Last edited by MarkT on Mon Oct 22, 2007 5:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 5:05 pm 
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Thanks Mark, I appreciate the feedback. :) I realize this is mostly for noobies, but thought it couldn't hurt.

-Matt


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 5:21 pm 
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It is excellent, highlights just how easy it can be.

There will always be more complex solutions out there for people who need to get into the fine detail but what you have described along with something like DVD43 is all most people will need to make backup copies of DVDs they own.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2007 5:36 am 
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Fantastic DIY!

But I am having problems with FairUseWizard. I have followed the instructions and tried 4 times to convert a movie. The first time two times it locked up my whole machine during the Indexing. I was trying to burn Harry Potter and the Prisoner from Azkaban and something else. The third try (Just Friends) worked. Then I tried Harry Potter again and I got the same result - total system lockup with the hard disk LED lit. I had to hold the power button down 5 seconds to force a power down.

Any idea why?


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2007 11:06 am 
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Are you using Vista?

Which decryptor are you using. DVD43, AnyDVD or something else?


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2007 12:54 pm 
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Robert, I noticed something similar with Cat in the Hat...I figured that I have a bad disk, as pretty much all my other DVDs behave OK.

-Matt


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2007 2:23 pm 
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Maybe it is the movie. I'll try a few others - I have a DVD or two laying around (that I purchased!).

Anyway, the other issue I've noticed is that right after the movie is completely ripped and the window opens with the files in it, Windows Explorer crashes and keeps crashing every few minutes until I reboot.

I have no other issues with the system (I built it) and have all the current drivers. I'm no expert but I'm not too bad with systems either. It is a dual boot with SUSE Linux. Maybe I can find a Linux equivalent anyway. I prefer Linux.

Anyone else having either of these issues with F.U.W.?


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2007 2:26 pm 
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Could you let us know which OS you are using, is it Vista or XP?

Also for clarity could you say which step from the walk through above represents the point that you are getting the crashing problem?


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2007 2:35 pm 
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MarkT wrote:
Are you using Vista?

Which decryptor are you using. DVD43, AnyDVD or something else?


I'm not sure. I am using whatever F.U.W. uses by default and includes in it's installation. I am using no other program.

I am not using Vista, XP SP2.

It seems to crash while Indexing on the Harry Potter disk and during the rip on another disk. Also, I am having a Windows Explorer crash immediately upon completion of the rip.

Thanks again. I would love to get this working correctly! Then I can buy the full version. I see too much compression distortion in 700 MB files. I'm choosing the highest resolution possible with my content (usually no more than 620 across which gives me a compression ratio of 138:1 or something).


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2007 2:55 pm 
I don't know about the ripping but it could be a copy protection scheme.

To get better video increase file size to get a compression ratio of 110:1 or better.

I guess you have the free version so just try using a smaller resolution that will get you to the lower compression ratio. See if the quality is reasonable.


Last edited by Trencher on Tue Oct 30, 2007 3:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2007 2:56 pm 
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robertpetry wrote:
I'm not sure. I am using whatever F.U.W. uses by default and includes in it's installation. I am using no other program.

I am not using Vista, XP SP2.


OK, that is probably where the problem is then as Fair Usage Wizard on its own will not cope with properly encrypted DVDs unaided.

Download a trial version of AnyDVD and see if that solves your problems.

DVD43 is a completely free solution but in my experience it doesn't handle the more complex DVD encryption found on some disks.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2007 2:56 pm 
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Excellent tutorial!


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2007 3:32 pm 
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Hmm,

I was hoping one tool could do it all (of course). Do you need to set anything up differently in FUW when using AnyDVD to do the decryption?


Last edited by robertpetry on Tue Oct 30, 2007 3:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2007 3:34 pm 
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Zero changes, both AnyDVD and DVD43 are all but invisible in use.

Put DVD in drive wait a couple of seconds then continue as before, no changes required no extra steps.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2007 9:24 pm 
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One last question:

Is there any way to add a little brightness to the recording? I find the output to be kind of dark and dull.

Also, I am still getting the "Windows Explorer encountered a problem and must shut down" error.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2007 10:36 pm 
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You don't have the 'shutdown computer when done' box ticked do you?

I'm having problems figuring out how you get a Windows Explorer error when it doesn't use windows explorer, so only other though is do you have something strange set in the option for the final output directory?


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2007 12:21 am 
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Well, I think it actually has something to do with Windows trying to create a thumbnail of the AVI. If I let explorer (basically just the GUI right?) restart all is well. But if I open the folder with my just created movie and select it - Windows Explorer crash.

After I finish ripping this movie I will restart and see if it happens after a restart as well.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2007 9:55 am 
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Change the display format for the destination directory to 'Details' so it doesn't try to display the tumbnail.

Also if Windows Explorer does ever crash don't try to continue with other work it is always safest to reboot.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2007 12:07 pm 
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Thanks for the tutorial, works great!

Just one query, if you have, say for example, four program chains & you want each one to output to a single file, is that possible?

I can cache all program chains ok but then at step 8 the options are either having everything in 1 single file or having all the chapters split up. So as far as i can see theres no option for outputting to a single file per program chain, without running it again for each program chain...

Please correct me if im wrong. Thanks!!!


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