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I have a large DVD collection which I wish to convert to MKV with h264 and audio passthrough (unless there's something much better that the untranscoded AC3 or DTS) with subtitles.

So far I have found MakeMKV which very handily rips DVDs, including multi-episode DVDs, to a set of MKVs in a folder, containing the original MPEG2 and AC3/DTS streams with subtitles.

It's missing all the optional audio and chapter information though.

What I'm looking for is a tool to transcode those MKVs to MKVs, but re-compressing the video to h264 at an equivalent quality.

Also I would like it to automatically chop black bars off if detected.

So, ultimately I'm looking for a method to:

  1. Rip the titles off a DVD, ignoring short titles
  2. Include all the audio and subtitle tracks
  3. Automatically detect and crop black bars
  4. Re-compress MPEG video to h264
  5. Store it all in an MKV container
  6. Set default audio and subtitle tracks
  7. Subsequently fill in the meta-data, Title, etc.

Does anything like that exists?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Handbrake is actually pretty good for what you intend to do: http://handbrake.fr/downloads.php

The PPA for the software centre is here: https://launchpad.net/~stebbins/+archive/handbrake-releases

It meets the following criteria:

  1. It scans DVDs for non-trivial titles
  2. It can include all the audio and subtitle tracks, although not automatically (you have to select which ones you want beyond the default audio track and manually select auto-passthrough)
  3. It default to automatically cropping black bars. Further to this it detects anamorphic, stores the original video, calculates the correct display-as resolution and embeds it in the video. This is even better than scaling the original and compressing that. You should go into the settings though and activate de-comb and de-telecine. Haven't tried with telecined materiel yet, not sure what the output framerate will be (24fps hopefully!)
  4. Defaults to h264, constant quality 20. So far it looks like this needs to go up a bit (which means you actually decrease the number by 1-2)
  5. Supports MKV, although defaults to MP4.
  6. Defaults all subtitle tracks to not-default, one can be marked as default. Not ripped any multi-track audio yet
  7. Does not appear to be any support for MKV meta-data.

The actual package you need to install is handbrake-gtk, handbrake does not exist.

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