How can I copy my DVDs to MP4 file format on my Macbook?

Here are my Macbook's specs.
  • Macbook Pro 15-inch, Mid 2012
  • OS X El Capitan
  • Processor 2.3GHz Intel Core i7
  • Memory 16GB
  • 240GB  SSD
  • Graphics Intel HD Graphics 4000 1024 MB (Nvidia graphics card too)
  • Disc burning, HL-DT-ST DVDRW GS41N

I have a lot of DVDs that I would like to discard, but I want to copy them first.  Ideally, I would like to copy the DVD to file format MP4 (so it can be used in iTunes Home Sharing via my Apple TV) and I would like to keep the file sizes 2GB and under.

What are my options?
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Kyle SantosCustomer RelationsAsked:
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Eric CConnect With a Mentor IT Director / Project ManagerCommented:
Check out the open source utility called HandBrake. It's available for Mac and PC:

Here's an article that explains the process. (You can ignore the second part of the article, which tells you how to stream your videos in the cloud, if that's not relevant to you):
serialbandConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Depending on how many DVDs you have, you might need to buy an external storage device, since 1-2 GB is still quite large file sizes.  I just put the copies onto an external disk for easier access, but keep the DVDs.

You should understand that DMCA and general copyright allows you to make a fair use backup copy.  That basically means that you should still save your original DVDs, since those are your proof of ownership.  Discarding them isn't ideal, since ripping them with handbrake to a smaller size actually alters the copy with some data loss.
Kyle SantosCustomer RelationsAuthor Commented:
@ Eric, I use Handbrake to convert video files to MP4 already.  Nice!  I will look into using it to do what I am asking and get back to you.  Thank you!

@serialband, that is really good to know and thank you for mentioning this!
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Maidine FouadConnect With a Mentor EngineerCommented:
Well an option is to use handbrake to do that, It will let you convert your DVD'S to iTunes-compatible files, Its free and very powerful ( you can edit things on the go as well and preview before committing to a setting )  here is a detailed Step by step how to , you can follow it and alter the setting see the screenshot below in my post for optimal results .

this is is the "Workflow" if you choose to use handbrake :

1) Import the dvd via handbrake and Rip the DVD

Depending on the size of what your ripping , it's around 5.28 MB per sec in 4X , your hardware seems to support 8x, but in some cases it can be locked to a certain speed on read  ...  if you have a scratched dvd lower the speed to counter any problem

maximum time per dvd 10-25 mins

2) Choose options to encode :
in handbrake options in the video you can go with the following settings ( you can leave the others as default ) :

Comments on settings :

anything lower then 19  CRF can cause blurry videos , it's the lowest with Good quality video, you can play with this until you find a good quality & size that fits your needs , but you can go with 19 It has done good results for me .

the x264 preset to slow it so to further optimise the video size and quality slower then this does not usually yield better results ,and x264 tuning to Film .

The Other way in Encoding :

They are 2 methods , Constant Quality vs Average Bit rate , The first is the most used one ,you can go with Average Bit rate since you need exactly no more then 2 GB , but then some files will have more bit rate then needed and some less , so some videos will look crappy and others will waste space on your ssd ^^, if you choose so this will ease up choice of bit rate.

3)Preview and commit :

Then you can Preview video to get assured for the quality  , and commit to get the video file
MereteConnect With a Mentor Commented:
I use both VLC and Freemake converter.
 how to with VLC and is also very quick.
Freemake is just a matter of selecting the DVD rom it loads it then choose the output format.
It can also be used to cut video join video
Be aware there is a couple of offers at setup just decline them and it works brilliant.
Kyle SantosCustomer RelationsAuthor Commented:
I have not had a chance to try the suggestions yet.  I will soon.
Kyle SantosCustomer RelationsAuthor Commented:
Sorry for the delay.  In the middle of escrow on a house so this was put on the back burner.  Thanks for your patience.
lol no worries Kyle
Kyle SantosCustomer RelationsAuthor Commented:
Sorry for the delay.  I am still working on this.  I tried one video the other night and the encoded video was messed up.  I tried again and Handbrake kept freezing.  I will give it another go soon.
Kyle SantosCustomer RelationsAuthor Commented:

I am not done working on this project.  Please stop trying to close this.
Kyle SantosCustomer RelationsAuthor Commented:
I will give it another go soon.
MereteConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Kyle I use Freemake, maybe you missed my post,
Just decline the offer of a free scan and to add it to your web browser. etc.
drop your DVD in the rom and wait till it opens any auto run, close them
Open freemake and then select DVD from the top, and the DVD rom then the Video_TS folder  OK
wait a few minutes, it will have a list of vobs and one selected, if there is two selected ok it but then ensure merge is enabled
then select mp4 from the list below
in the next panel is the option to choose mp4 for DVD quality or TV quality in each of these settings is the aspect ration, DVD quality is the I choose as it gives a great quality, note output size is also shown with each choice, that's it set your output destination and start
Freemake can also convert to many formats it also has the feature to cut segments
select DVDmp4 quality
mp4 qualityjoin video
join video
Kyle SantosCustomer RelationsAuthor Commented:
OK great I will check this out!  Thank you, Merete.
Kyle SantosCustomer RelationsAuthor Commented:
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