Mar 16, 2009

Faced with a new technical challenge, I came across another Sheep-DAW classic, at least in my book. Let's say you have a DVD from wich you want to extract the sound for, say, educational use (cough!). This seems like a very simple concept to grasp but, as I found out, not a simple one to put to pratice. Before you start to wonder wich cable to buy to connect your DVD player to the input socket of your computer's soundcard, hold your horses. Thou shall not waste your precious money, I tell thee! You just need your DVD-R drive and the googling I'm about to save you.
Want you want to do is to rip de DVD into your hard drive and convert the resulting .vob (video) extension files into wav files. To rip de DVD on to your hard drive, you'll need the DVD Decrypter app from DVD Videosoft, wich is malware-free (AVG scanned) and as freeware as they come. It's not open source, wich I find suspicious, though, so DO scan it senseless with all you can throw at it. This simple app just creates the vob files in a designated folder. There are not that many options: It's pretty much video origin specification, destination folder specification and go! The DVD I ripped was converted into eight different vob files and I don't know how or why. It doesn't really matter much if you're not ripping the DVD for the movie content, though it would be nice to undestand why.
So now you have vob files wich are only good for watching on your media player or for burning back to DVD. You'll need the small open source wonder that is VirtualDub and an encoder needed for it to do it's thing. The encoder is an executable updater, not your regular .dll, so you'll just need to unzip the folder, double-click the .bat file and you're good. Virtualdub is pretty oldschool and doesn't need installation: just unzip it and the executable file IS the software, not an installer - keep that in mind, for your own folder arquitechture concerns.
What VirtualDub does is converting vob video files into almost whatever format (yep: avi, divx, wmv, mpeg, the whole shebang) and with a lot of compression options in the video and sound department that, frankly, I never really explored because I always went straight to the 'save as wav' option that's sitting on the 'File' menu, waiting for a music producer to drool over it. I did preform a vob-to-avi conversion once and it worked out fine.
And that's it. No fuss DVD to digital video and digital video to digital audio conversion. All free. File it under Sheep-DAW.

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