Frustrations of Digital Life: Getting the Movie to the iPod

It was proof-of-concept this weekend. I wanted to take Mission Impossible 3 from DVD to my iPod. Then, of course, I would erase all the files. This is just a test.

There seemed to be credible help via the Web. Handbrake would grab it right from the DVD and create the MPEG file for the iPod. Mark Pilgrim has a great tutorial. It took forever. He recommends “2-pass encoding” which improves quality, doesn’t increase file size, but takes twice as long. I left it running through the night.

Uh oh. I didn’t adjust my Mac energy settings and the computer was sleeping when I checked in the morning. Waking, Handbrake listed zero for time left but the program had not officially finished it’s processes. I finally force quit but the resulting file was corrupted.

Part 2. Get MacTheRipper software and rip the feature presentation from the DVD to my hard disk. Then work it over with Handbrake. Should be faster with access from the internal disk rather than the DVD.

Mac ripped in less than thirty minutes. I told it “feature only.” Then I ran Handbrake. It took forever once again but I remembered to turn “sleep” off. At the end, Handbrake seemed frozen. Zero time left but it wasn’t indicating that it was finished. I started checking the Web for information about Handbrake freezing. Then, after what seemed like forever, it said “Done.” If you use Handbrake, be very patient.

I had a 450Kb file with a QuickTime icon. Double-clicking opened QuickTime, no errors or anything. Pressing “Play” started it up. But wait, right there at the beginning, during the Paramount logo display, were some annoying voices. Turns out that MacTheRipper had grabbed the feature-with-commentary. Not at all what I wanted. No idea how to grab the real feature.

I consumed a lot of time on this “learning experience.” Certainly not for the kids at home to try. I was hoping for quick-and-easy (outside of processing time) and ended up with long-and-drawn-out and nothing to show for it at the end.

The Digital Life often ends in this type of frustration. We accept it and keep struggling but my wife and most of my non-tech friends won’t even bother. We still have a ways to go to wash some of the geek out.

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