Ripping/Backing up DVDs using SmartRipper
SmartRipper is a free DVD Backup tool which make the resulting backup Region Free and also removes the copy protection (Macrovision). It gives you the ability to rip out just the parts of the DVD you want such as the main movie, individual chapters and also allows you to select which particular Audio track you want etc.
You can download SmartRipper from here. It doesn't come as an installable package so you can just copy the files into a directory of your choice and run it from there.
Insert your DVD and run SmartRipper
As SmartRipper checks your DVD, it may tell you that some files are locked.
To get around this problem, you just need to launch the DVD with your normal program such as CyberLink's PowerDVD or perhaps even the VLC Media Player. After you have successfully launched the DVD with your progam, you can click the Retry button and it should launch you into the main program.
Smart Ripper automatically selects the largest program chain on the DVD as it assumes this is the main movie. You need to check if the Program Chain is correct as you may be ripping a TV Series DVD which has multiple episodes and that the Target directory is the one you want to put the DVD copy into.
Next Click on the Stream Processing Tab.
As most DVD's come with multiple audio tracks and subtitles, you will may wish to remove the options you don't need here. This will produce a smaller backup and will make it simpler if you are re-encoding to another format such as DiVX or XVid at a later date. It is not a highly important thing to do as most conversion tools can select which subtitle and audio tracks are required.
Next, click on the Settings button.
You don't really have to change anything from the default on this page but I prefer to increase the Change the File-splitting to max-filesize and the max-filesize to 8GB. It just means that you have less files to worry about if you are re-encoding at a later date.
Thats it for the Settings so press OK and then from the main screen press Start.
The Progress screen show you whats happening and depending on your PC, and where you are ripping the file to, it should take anywhere between 5 and 60 mins.
Problems with SmartRipper
The ripped content produced from this software and from Smart Ripper does not seem to work with Divx Converter. It will either crash or tell you that Divx Convertor does not support this file type, even though it does.
I have also found with some DVD's such as "The Usual Suspects" which was in Widescreen format 1:2.35, the resultant rip did not produce a file with the correct aspect ratio.