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Import DVD Video to iMovie

Posted by Micronion on the September 18th, 2007

So you’re working on the next big home-movie film production with your new iMovie (or other video editing software) program and you want to use footage from a DVD disk in your project. There’s good news and there’s bad news; the bad news is that iMovie does not support using DVD video in projects — however, the good news is that there IS a way to convert your DVD video to a format that iMovie CAN use!

Remember, it’s illegal to copy video clips off of a copyrighted DVD! Make sure the DVD you are copying video from is not copyrighted OR make sure you have the correct legal permissions to be ripping files from the DVD.

So how do you get video clips off of a DVD?

  • First we need to copy or “rip” the video files off of the DVD disk.
  • Next, we need to convert the raw video files (usually called .VOB files)
  • Finally, we can import the file into your video editing software. (next step)

How to “rip” video files off of a DVD disk

The first question you need to ask yourself is “is this DVD encrypted?” — most commercial DVD disks have encryption to prevent illegal copies of the disk from being made. There IS software available on the internet that will let you remove DVD encryption as you rip the video files — HOWEVER, this software may or may not be legal to use in your country. In general, however, as long as you’re not using the software to decrypt copyrighted materials then you should be fine.

open dvdThe program I am going to recomend to rip and decrypt DVD files is called DVD Shrink. You can download DVD Shrink here (Windows computers only!). Mac users will need a different program like MacTheRipper (this tutorial will focus only on DVD Shrink). After you download one of these programs, install it then move on.

Re-author DVDOnce you have the program open, make sure your DVD is in your computer then click “Open Disk” (left) and select the DVD. The program will analyze the entire disk which could take a few minutes. You might see an animated preview of the videos it’s processing — just be patient.

Assuming you want to rip only select scenes from your DVD, click “Re-Author” (right). Use the next page to select exactly which clips you would like to rip; browse the right box for the movie from the disk you want then drag and drop it to the left box. If you only want part of a movie you selected, click the blue “in/out point” arrows to set in the start and stop points of the clip you want (see screen shot below).


set in out point

save to desktop Click OK on the “Set Start/End Frames” window. Next, click “Backup!” at the top of the program. Save your files somewhere that you can find again, like the desktop (right). Click OK and wait patiently while DVD shrink rips your files.

In the meantime, it’s important to understand that the program is creating “.VOB” files which most video editing programs CANNOT use. This is because “.VOB” files are a format that DVD players use to read videos and all DVD shrink is doing is copying the files to your computers hard disk (as well as removing any encryption that might be present).

The next step is to convert these “.VOB” files to something your video editor can handle.

Go to the next step: converting .vob files to .avi files

3 Responses to 'Import DVD Video to iMovie'

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  1. John Wood said,

    on January 26th, 2010 at 7:19 am

    Thanks for the guide. QUite a few of my precious dvd are getting scratched, so time to make some backups!

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