Copy video from DVD with Edius Disc Capture

by Harlan Yee on October 11th, 2009

Has a client ever given you footage on a DVD to use in a production only to find that it is a DVD Video disc produced for DVD players instead of a data disc containing files like Quicktime or AVI? That happens quite often to me. But if you happen to be using Grass Valley’s Edius video editing software, it’s easy to take these discs meant for DVD players and convert the video to something you can use on your timeline. Now this isn’t going to give you very high quality video because of the DVD MPEG 2 video compression but it’s ok if this is all you have to work with.


For this example, I’m using Grass Valley Edius version 5.12 on a Windows XP machine (sorry Mac users). Once Edius is launched, create a new project or open an exisiting project. Insert your DVD Video disc into your PC and let it mount up. If the DVD plays, just close the window.


 When the Edius interface is displayed, click on the CAPTURE tab and select Disc Capture from the drop down menu. The Disc Capture software will launch and you’ll be presented with another window.




In the above window, you’ll see the number of programs or video clips contained on the DVD. This particular one has 5 clips and it shows you the duration and file size. By default, all the tracks are check marked. Uncheck any you don’t want, but it’s difficult to know what you want and don’t want. I’ll usually process all of them and decide later when I can actually view the clips. At this point, click on the button on the bottom right that looks like a gear. This will get you into the Disc Capture settings.




On this window, you have some decisions to make. At the top are 3 choices for file settings.

  • Set file names manually while capturing: If you select this setting, you will have to type in a file name at the beginning of each track that will be captured. If you have a lot of tracks, this can get tedius and annoying because it will not start the next track until you name it and hit ok.
  • Set file names automatically: This setting will take the name of the track from the DVD and use it in the final converted file.
  • Set file names from the base file name and track name: Here, you can type in a base name that will be used in all your converted files and they will usually have a number placed after the file name. In this example the first file will be named “Ski Footage 1″ and so on.


The next setting is Capture Directory. This is simply where you want the files to be saved. Manually set it or check the box use “Edius project folder” and all files will be saved to the folder where your Edius timeline is saved. Audio CD settings will allow you to set the peak level of audio tracks captured from audio CDs.

The next 2 settings for DVD Video and DVD-VR lets you to decide how and when to split the tracks when it converts the files. You can experiment with the different settings but the default shown will usually be best for most sessions.




After you hit “OK”, you’ll be taken back to the screen that displays the tracks on the disc. At this point, you’ve told Disc Capture everything it needs to know. Now click the button on the bottom left with the green arrow to start processing.




A progress bar will show up now and will continue to convert all your files you’ve selected. You can now walk away until it’s done, or you’ll have to stick around if you chose to set your file names manually when capturing. Conversion times will vary. Go have a cup of coffee or something.




When you come back, your files will be ready and you can start editing. I’ve found this tool invaluable and is a very nice feature of Grass Valley Edius. For those of you thinking of taking your Netflix DVDs and copying them to your timeline, think again, this program only works with discs with no copy protection.

With that said, I have on occasion had DVDs with no copy protection that Disc Capture couldn’t convert for some reason but for the majority of the DVD Video discs I receive, it works very well. In a future post, I’ll show you a trick to convert DVD Video files to mpeg without the use of special software.

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