Handbrake in Linux

Easily Rip DVD Using Handbrake in Ubuntu 23.10

Rip DVDs for personal use using Linux knowing a few simple tricks. There is some extra software you need to add and then only a few steps using the Handbrake program to rip multiple files at once. There is very good documentation at the Handbrake Website which you should read if you are a complete beginner. The target audience for this article is me, who forgets how to do stuff, and people who are already a little familiar with Ubuntu Linux.

NOTE: You can get in a lot of trouble in the US if you distribute copies of copyrighted material. There is some ambiguity about making a copy in your private home for use by only you. You need to be responsible for finding out the rules where you live. You can find off-copyright and freely shared movies at archive.org.

Add additional software including handbrake

There is a very good explanation of getting the software you need to play DVDs in the Ubuntu Documentation pages. In my case, I had selected to add additional software for playing media during install, so there was only one package I needed in addition to handbrake.

me@myhost:~$ sudo apt install handbrake libdvd-pkg

You will find in the instructions one more important point. After installing libdvd-pkg, you need to run a command to finish installing the software. There is some interaction needed: You need to agree to the install and should probably accept the automatic updates as well.

me@myhost:~$ sudo dpkg-reconfigure libdvd-pkg

Using handbrake to rip DVD

After inserting a DVD and starting handbrake, you need to get the software to read the contents of the DVD. This is done by using the “OPEN SOURCE” button. A “file open” dialog box will open with a very helpful toggle at the bottom. Make sure to drop it down and select your DVD location. If you only have one DVD drive, there will probably be only one choice.

handbrake linux rip dvd

After you “Open Source” by using the “Open” button, you need to wait for the progress bar to be completely finished. In some cases it will never finish, though, and there is nothing you can do about it except trying to clean the DVD. You can’t go on without finishing this step.

handbrake linux scan dvd

Next choose a “Preset” scanning quality. The default is “Fast 1080p” but a standard DVD is 480p, so this is overkill. The sweet spot seems to be “HQ 480p 30surround”. The quality is very good and you do get surround sound with newer DVDs. The file size tend to be 800-1k MB for many 45min TV shows.

handbrake output format

Ripping multiple tracks at once

After the steps above, you could rip one “Title” on the DVD if you know the track number. Just press the Start button and wait a good long time (this is why there is a cocktail icon in the app). To rip multiple tracks at once and REALLY have some free time on your hands, you can go through each track number, give it a “Save As” name, and use the “Add to Queue” button to create a list.

handbrake using the queue

In the example above, “Second_Chorus” is the name of track #2 and it has been added to the queue. After selecting track #3, the “Save As” box will revert to the disc name “40s_DISC1” and it can then be overwritten and added to the queue.

NOTE: The “Title” drop-down can get filled with “bonus features” and other graphics stuff. It takes a little bit of preparation to get the names of all the tracks and the approximate times BEFORE you put the disc in your computer.

When you are done adding tracks to the queue, open the “Queue” dialog box and press the start button. There is a small chance it will get “stuck” on a track and I don’t think there is anything you can do about it. Start over and leave out the problem track.

handbrake rip dvd multiple tracks

I hope this helps if you forgot the tricks to using handbrake. The other related articles I have are in the Computer category, but the search box works well too.

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