Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Video from DVD to External Hard Drive and Memory Stick on an iMac

All my early videos from the early 1990s on were stored on playable DVDs. Digital storage in the days of Hi-8 and then miniDV tape was very expensive. DVDs deteriorate with time and with ‘smart’ televisions having USB sockets and streaming from macs to televisions being a matter of routine, I decided to transfer all the completed videos on DVD to hard drives and memory sticks.

All the information on the best way to do this on the Mac can be found on web sites. However, I never did find it all in one place. This is the routine I eventually used for DVDs having no menus or only one item in the menu.

1 Copy the VIDEO_TS folder from the DVD to the desktop

2 Use the VIDEO_TS folder as the Source in the free software, Handbrake, and Desktop as the destination

3 Copy the resulting .mp4 file to two external hard drives

Large files cannot be copied to the standard format (FAT32) of a USB memory stick on a Mac. Our ‘smart’ television (a Samsung that with its video recorder has the worst user interface I have ever known and wish I had never bought) uses Windows compatible memory sticks that cannot be produced by the standard software on the Mac. I therefore bought Paragon’s NTFS for Mac OS X which adds the option to format any drive to the Windows NT filesystem in Disk Utility. Windows NT Filesystem appears as an option when using Erase to reformat a drive, in this case a memory stick, in Disk Utility.

4 Plug in a new USB memory stick and format it using Disk Utility to Windows NT Filesystem

5 Copy the .mp4 file, or collection of files depending on the storage capacity, to the usb memory stick

The only complication comes with the different items of a DVD with a menu of more than one item. The different menu items will appear as options in the source window in Handbrake but can only be converted one at a time. In other words, the different Menu items are output as distinct .mp4 files. This did not affect me since the few DVDs with such menus held separate files anyway and had only been lumped onto one DVD for convenience. If the items are related or follow on one from the other, then the separate .mp4 files can be recombined in Quicktime Player and saved (a slow process) or using video editing software.

In the end I finished the job over several days and now have all my early videos on two external hard drives and on memory stick, the latter being very convenient for playing on a smart TV.

Handbrake: http://handbrake.fr
Paragon NTFS for Mac OS X (US $ 19.95): http://www.paragon-drivers.com/ntfs-mac/