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Author Topic: How to make MakeMKV better?  (Read 231 times)

Deozaan

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How to make MakeMKV better?
« on: October 13, 2020, 05:56 PM »
In years past I've casually ripped some of my DVDs here and there using HandBrake. Recently I've started ripping the rest of my DVD collection in earnest, using MakeMKV. I noticed that the resulting files produced by MakeMKV don't show thumbnails from the videos like the files produced by HandBrake do. This led me to further investigate the differences between the files produced by these two programs, and here's what I found:

MakeMKV encodes the videos in MPEG2 format, and the audio in AC3 format.
HandBrake encodes the videos in MPEG4/ISO/AVC (x264) format, and the audio in AAC format.

Also, in an example movie that is 90 minutes long, the file made by MakeMKV is 3.24GB in filesize. In contrast, the file made by Handbrake is only 854 MB in size. Playing the two videos side-by-side I don't see any difference in video quality (remember that this is DVD-quality video, so ~480p at best).

If the audio and video quality of each file are going to be indistinguishable from each other, then this leads me to believe that the files output by HandBrake are the superior choice, being a fraction of the filesize. And it kind of makes me regret using MakeMKV to rip so many of my DVDs in recent times due to all the time and effort I'll have to spend re-ripping them with HandBrake if I can't figure out a way to configure MakeMKV to produce better output.

While MakeMKV is very convenient in nearly automatically and easily ripping the different titles, there doesn't appear to be much in the way of configuring the output. Or am I missing something? Does anyone here know how to change MakeMKV to use more modern codecs? Or should I just go back to using HandBrake for my DVD ripping needs?
« Last Edit: October 14, 2020, 02:43 AM by Deozaan »

4wd

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Re: How to make MakeMKV better?
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2020, 07:24 PM »
MakeMKV encodes the videos in MPEG2 format, and the audio in AC3 format.

MakeMKV does not encode, it remuxes the source streams into an MKV container.  Since DVDs are basically MPEG2 + AC3, that is what you will end up with.

Therefore:

Or should I just go back to using HandBrake for my DVD ripping needs?

Yes, if the visual/audio quality is sufficient for your needs.

BTW, if your DVDs have copy-protection then you'll still need something like MakeMKV to rip them first: eg.
AnyDVD, DVDFab Passkey - both commercial software,
Passkey Lite - free Lite version of DVDFab Passkey,
DVD43 - old device filter,
RipIt4Me - this or DVD43 are all I've ever really used.

AnyDVD, DVDFab Passkey (Lite), and DVD43 are implemented as driver filters, they will try to decrypt the DVD on-the-fly, eg. HandBrake will be able to read a copy-protected DVD directly.

If any DVDs you have already ripped had copy-protection then you really haven't wasted any time by ripping with MakeMKV first, just feed the MKV into HandBrake, (personally I prefer VidCoder).
« Last Edit: October 13, 2020, 08:45 PM by 4wd »

Deozaan

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Re: How to make MakeMKV better?
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2020, 02:40 AM »
In the past I used the combination of DVD Decrypter + HandBrake and it worked well for me. I know DVD Decrypter has been dead/abandoned/killed for close to a decade by now, but I haven't come across a DVD yet that it wouldn't let me rip. "If it ain't broke..."

If any DVDs you have already ripped had copy-protection then you really haven't wasted any time by ripping with MakeMKV first, just feed the MKV into HandBrake, (personally I prefer VidCoder).

Hmm... I tried using Avidemux to convert (or re-encode, I'm not sure what the proper terminology is) one of my MKV files into x264 format, but the visual quality was inferior to the original, so I assumed feeding the MKV into anything else would also result in a loss of quality.

Thanks for the tip. I'll try feeding the original MKV into HandBrake (or VidCoder) and see if I can find some settings which result in indistinguishably different quality between the two files. :Thmbsup:

4wd

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Re: How to make MakeMKV better?
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2020, 03:11 AM »
RipIt4Me, also discontinued but still can be downloaded, was a frontend to DVD Decrypter and DVDShrink.
It 'parsed' the .IFO files, pretty much the same way that a user would navigate the menus, and fed the result to DVD Decrypter to remove VOBs that weren't called, 'empty' VOBs, menu tricks, etc used by the manufacturers to complicate copying.
It was the first program to do so, then, IIRC, DVD Fab picked up on the same modus operandi.

I don't think I found a DVD it couldn't handle.

DVD43 worked pretty well for what it did, transparent decryption, but I think it sometimes had problems with some DVDs.  I haven't used it since Win7 days so no idea whether it still works, if it did then it's just a matter of opening the DVDs directly with HandBrake/VidCoder.

As for VidCoder, just drop the MKV on the interface, choose a preset under Builtin->General if there's one that matches framerate/dimensions, if there is multiple audio tracks or subs, select the ones you want to keep, then hit encode and see what the output is like.  If you need more quality you can pick another preset or tweak the video encoding settings, (it uses HandBrake cli as the encoding engine).

« Last Edit: October 14, 2020, 05:12 AM by 4wd »