What’s the best program to backup my DVD’s?
Sounds like a simple enough question, lets see if we can provide some answers. Believe me, I’m no expert; I’m in an intermediate range when it comes to DVD transcoding. But let’s face it there seems to be unnecessary division among the ranks as to good……better……best, which makes for tough, biased choices if you’re a newbie. We all have, and are entitled to our own opinion, but can we safely shoot our mouth off about our ‘treasured applications’, without shooting ourselves in the foot? Is their really a best program, and method? Are they all the same, or at least so similar it doesn’t matter? Is it maybe just subconsciously we prefer a certain interface, status bar and catchy icon on the desktop?
To begin I downloaded some of the most popular available trials- DVD2one, Clone and Any DVD, Intervideo’s DVD Copy 3, Nero Recode and lets not forget those freeware beauties, DVD Decrypter and DVD Shrink. Most of these programs require Any DVD or a similar Decryption driver to work correctly, or conversely you can simply rip with DVD Decrypter then encode. (Believe me all you DVD RB Fans I did want to include this app, but it involved a little too much, considering that it all comes down to the encoding engine used, and being that there are 4 different encoders to choose from, 2 freeware and 2 shareware. So I gave it a miss, but am currently studying up on it.)
What The Figures Below Mean
To understand what the figures below mean we first need to understand the terminology. Bitrate: defines how much physical space one second of audio or video takes in bits. (Not to be confused with bytes*) Therefore the Peak Bitrate is mostly inconsequential to the quality of picture. It’s the Average Bitrate were looking for to define the overall quality. So the higher amount of useable data there is to read per second will equate to a better quality picture. So what we want is a higher Average Bitrate.
The two types of bitrate are: CBR or Constant Bitrate, and VBR or Variable Bitrate. CBR: Means that the bitrate doesn’t vary during the video or audio at all, but is the same throughout the clip. This means however that sometimes bitrate is wasted, as it will unnecessarily make parts of a clip a higher bitrate than they need to be (eg credits or black parts of a film) and others lower than what they should ideally be. (eg bright outdoor scenes and digital special effects) It does however make it easy for an appliction to accurately predict how much space the total clip will take up and will generally encode more quickly. VBR: Means the bitrate fluctuates to whatever bitrate the application calculates is required at that particular moment, therefore being as close to the original as possible, through use of a “Deep Analysis” function.
“The best way to understand why this is used is to think of a movie – when there are shots that are totally, absolutely black, like scene changes, normal 1-pass CBR encoding assigns the exact same amount of data to that part as it would for complex action scene. By using VBR and multi-pass, the encoder “knows” that certain piece’s of the clip are Ok with a lower bitrate and so that extra bitrate can then be used for more complex scenes, thus creating better quality for those scenes that require more bitrate.” (taken from Afterdawn.com’s Glossary)
Quantization is somewhat complicated, and does have an impact on overall picture quality. “Quantization techniques generally compress by compressing a range of values to a single quantum value. By reducing the number of discrete symbols in a given stream, the stream becomes more compressible.” (Taken from datacompression.info) This number can describe the quality level. From my research I’ve found that the higher number declares higher compression - worse quality, the lower number means less compression - better quality. Some encoders use the standard linear Quantization tables, and others use their own custom, non-linear tables. But nevertheless while different encoders use different algorithms and tables to compress, the main compression factor depends on the Quantization table stored in the originals stream. So with the Quantization figures on the table below, we’re looking for a lower value.
To some this can be an important factor, as no-one wants to wait for extended periods of time waiting to transcode one backup after another. But are they really that slow? Or are us Human Beings just getting more impatient? Shown below are the times taken by each application on my system**. As we have found though DVD Shrink is quick for some and slow for others so please take all these times with a grain of salt, and treat them all as estimates. One thing I did find is DVD Shrink can be significantly slower when reading directly from disc. (Even with Any DVD) By ripping with DVD Decrypter and reading from the Hard Drive you can reduce time taken, although the time taken to rip almost negates the saved time itself (LOL). Left out are burn times, as we all have varying speed burners, with times that are pretty much set in stone.
Nuts and Bolts
What did Bitrate viewer reflect of samples provided by each product in question? The samples, were the entire movie uncropped. No Menus or special features were included. Cropping a movie is the extreme enthusiast’s way to surrender more physical space for a higher Bitrate. By removing start up promotional footage, intro’s and end credits, more space can be utilized for picture quality. This plus removing of subtitles and unnecessary audio streams can free up a few hundred Mb’s as well.
(note: all apps were current versions)
Using the movie: “Titanic” (title only, high compression, roughly 50%, with no removed audio and no removed subtitles) Total size= 7250Mb
DVD2ONE (in conjunction with Any DVD)
VBR BP-5599 BA-2076 QP-8.69 QA-3.97 Time-17:48
DVD2ONE (in conjunction with Any DVD)
CBR BP-3652 BA-2011 QP-8.91QA-3.97 Time-19:27
Clone DVD (in conjunction with Any DVD)
BP-6297 BA-2024 QP-9.33 QA-4.33 Time-18:09
DVD Copy 3 (in conjunction with Any DVD)
BP-4410 BA-1847 QP-8.33 QA-3.24 Time-24:12
DVD Shrink (in conjunction with Any DVD, using Deep Analysis)
VBR BP-4558 BA-2001 QP-8.80 QA-3.65 Time-49:27
DVD Shrink (in conjunction with Any DVD, without Deep Analysis)
CBR BP-4167 BA-1994 QP-8.95 QA-3.64 Time-25:08
Nero Recode (in conjunction with Any DVD, using Deep Analysis)
VBR BP-4613 BA-2006 QP-9.78 QA-4.72 Time-42:18
Nero Recode (in conjunction with Any DVD, without Deep Analysis)
CBR BP-4167 BA-2023 QP-8.95 QA-3.63 Time-16:48
Uncompressed Movie- BP-7899 BA-4644 QP-6.88 QA-3.23
1 Click DVD (in conjunction with Any DVD)
Clone DVD/DVD X Studios
DVD Fab Express
DVD Decrypter Entire Disc Rip Time-14:37
DVD Rebuilder is a very different program indeed. I’ve read from various posts It makes use of an ‘encoding’ engine as opposed to a ‘transcoding’ engine.* It can use single or multipass VBR, (dependant on user settings) first analyzing the DVD then stripping it down and encoding each individual cell # according to what the analysis has determined. It then rebuilds the cells and structure of the DVD.
Setting up DVD RB isn’t as hard as it used to be. You should go here first and download Avisynth. You’ll need to install it before DVD RB which you can get from Here This current DVD RB install pack pretty much sets itself up. You only need to specify which encoder you wish to use. This installer comes with QuEnc and Rejig included and ready to go.
Nuts and Bolts using DVD Rebuilder
DVD Rebuilder (in conjunction with Cinema Craft Encoder Basic, 2 pass)
DVD Rebuilder (in conjunction with Cinema Craft Encoder SP, 4 pass)
DVD Rebuilder (in conjunction with QuEnc, 2 pass)
These results above may make you gasp at first. (as I did) I then looked at comparisons from a transcoder to an encoder in a different light. I looked at the graphed results, as well as the numbers. Look below at the Bitrate to Quantizer scale using CCE Basic compared with Clone DVD (Elby) and DVD2One as examples.
Green- Quantization Scale
Yellow- Bitrate Scale
DVD Rebuilder using CCE Basic
DVD 2 One(using VBR)
So what we can gather from this is DVD Rebuilder via an ‘encoding’ engine is a much more precise tool than any of the one click ‘transcoding’ solutions. The conformity of the graph from DVD RB via CCE Basic shows how accurately it compresses the data dependant on the bitrate it selects at a certain point. These two lines follow each other almost perfectly from start to finish. Looking at Clone DVD and DVD2One the graph is very messy, the two lines cross each other at many points and have enormous gaps between at some points. And not to forget higher peaks make for higher averages, and the peak is generally meaningless. What we could assume from this is: even though DVD Rebuilders average Bitrate is lower, and its average Quantization level is higher, the quality of picture should be better. This is probably only discernable with a High Definition TV. It would however seem from the numbers above that comparing ‘Transcoders’ to ‘Encoders’ is most likely pointless.
*Definition of Encoding according to Videohelp.com- Encoding is the process of changing data from one form into another according to a set of rules specified by a codec. The data is usually a file containing audio, video or still image. Often the encoding is done to make a file compatible with specific hardware (such as a DVD Player) or to compress or reduce the space the data occupies.
Definition of Encoding according to Afterdawn.com- Encoding is opposite of decoding. Encoding means that a file, whether it is an audio, video or picture file, is compressed to another format that normally takes up less physical drive space than the previous format.
Definition of Transcoding according to Videohelp.com- On this site generally another name for encoding. A more technical term would be “The reformatting of content, without changing the source, to another type of content - most often of a different format than the original (but does not have to be)”
Definition of Transcoding according to Afterdawn.com- Transcoding or more specifically Compressed-domain Transcoding means normally a re-encoding process that changes the video or audio features, such as resolution or bitrate, by changing parts of the a/v content, but not by reconstructing the content again (which is the case in encoding process). Compressed-domain transcoding also maintains the format of the file same as in the original file.
#Cell- A ‘Cell’ is a small segment of a chapter (or part). It is the smallest resolution at which DVD navigation commands can act (e.g. ‘Jump to Cell 3 of Part 4 of Title 2’). Typically one chapter contains one Cell but on complex DVDs it may be useful to have multiple Cells per chapter.
- Bit = a zero or one, that makes up data and commands in the Computer world. Short for ‘Binary Digit’.
Byte = a group of 8 bits, a byte is the common measurement of space and data in the
** My system: XP2600 @ 2249Mhz, MSI K7N2 @ 346FSB, 1Gg DDR RAM, IDE ATA133 HDD, NVIDIA FX5600 375/625 128Mb. Reader Sony DDU 1612.
I’ll now leave that up to you. This test was not done with the aim of selling you a product or telling you what to buy. It was done as an unbiased study to present some facts that may help you understand all the parameters that come into play, therefore allowing you to make up your own mind.
Again the verdict is up to the reader. Times can vary quite a bit from system to system, so realistically the times I’ve posted here may be far from what you might get.
Lets not forget the all important dollar, or whatever your currency might be.
DVD Decrypter- Free!
DVD2One- $51.00 USD
Clone DVD- (combined with Any DVD) $59.00 USD (Separate: Clone and Any DVD $39.00 USD each)
DVD Copy 3- $99.95 USD
DVD Shrink- Free!
Nero Recode- $50.00 USD
1 click DVD- $99.95 USD
Clone DVD from DVD X Studios- $99.95 USD
DVD Fab Express- $39.95 USD
DVD Rebuilder- Free!
QuEnc Encoder- Free!
Cinema Craft Encoder Basic- $58 USD
Cinema Craft Encoder SP- $1950 USD
In conclusion, what can I say? I did this simply as an exercise for myself, but felt maybe I should share it with a forum that has shared so much with me. Remember I’m no expert, if I’ve missed something please point it out, if you disagree don’t hold back. I researched as well as I could, all readings were taken twice and if necessary an average was made, to be sure there were no major anomalies. Standard DYS3 firmware was used. I hope I’ve been of some help.
(To view the results as a table in word.doc format click the link)