DVD copy?

Dear Lazyweb,

What's the easiest way to copy a video DVD on MacOS without spending any money? (I.e., "don't say Toast".) It's not encrypted, it's a disc I made myself with iDVD, but I don't have the project file around any more. I just want to make a bit-for-bit clone of it.

Answer: Disk Utility; Select the drive of the DVD; "New Image", "DVD/CD master"; Select that file; "Burn".

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32 Responses:

  1. sc00ter says:

    Create a disc image with disk util and then burn the image.

    • jwz says:

      I was under the impression that that doesn't work reliably, because a valid video DVD is more than just a data DVD whose file system has the right files in it.

      • a valid video dvd is a UDF data dvd with the right files on it: the VIDEO_TS and AUDIO_TS folders. the point is just the udf file system, if you burn the folders with toast using 'mac + pc' you'll get a data dvd with the folders in it, but burning them using 'UDF' will give you a perfectly compatible video dvd.

        • obviously this is valid for an unencrypted dvd, as you say yours is.

        • herbie says:

          Nope, sorry. Just because a disc is UDF, doesn't mean it's a valid video DVD. Additionally, the physical location and order of certain files must be maintained in order to be a valid DVD, hence hte following option in mkisofs:

          Generate DVD-Video compliant UDF file system. This is done by
          sorting the order of the content of the appropriate files and by
          adding padding between the files if needed. Note that the sort-
          ing only works if the DVD-Video filenames include upper case
          characters only.
          Note that in order to get a DVD-Video compliant filesystem
          image, you need to prepare a DVD-Video compliant directory tree.
          This means you need to have a directory VIDEO_TS (all caps) in
          the root directory of the resulting DVD and you should have a
          directory AUDIO_TS. The directory VIDEO_TS needs to include all
          needed files (file names must be all caps) for a compliant DVD-
          Video filesystem.

          That said, an image that's made by a real bit-for bit scan of the disc should work. I think that Disk Utility does the same thing as dd when ripping an image, so that ought to work, but I may be wrong. Certainly if you do create an image using dd and burn it using Disk Utility, the disc will work.

          • well, right. i was speaking from my experience: i *did* copy quite a few unencrypted dvds simply by dragging the folders on the desktop and re-burning them with toast. and they worked fine.

            • omni_ferret says:

              I think that Toast would automatically order them in the order required for DVD.

              Although he could copy the files & then burn them with something that sorts the files in the correct order, it seems simpler to copy the DVD as an image.

      • gnuyen says:

        The disk image made from disk util will be a byte by byte copy if you make it from the image. You can make the image with dd as well and burn it with disk image. iDVD outputs disk images that are mountable which are recommended by apple to be burnt with disk util.

        • gnuyen says:

          Err if you make it from the disc "device" so to speak, not from the mounted filesystem, sorry

          • strspn says:

            Does anyone use the dd-from-device file for anything but full or nearly-full DVDs? Doesn't it take forever? Or does it know to return EOF at the end of the data?

            • hawke666 says:

              I'm pretty sure that DVDs, like CDs, are always treated as "full" filesystems, even if they don't use the whole potential capacity of the disk.

            • omni_ferret says:

              I use it for hard drive backup. ... Actually, I might pipe directly into a compressor.

              I take that back; cat's easier to bust out at the command line. :)

      • jwm says:


        According to the mkisofs man page, the magic properties of a proper DVD video formatted image is the correct sort order for the files, and padding between them if necessary, so a bit for bit copy should work, in principle.

        I've used dvdbackup to extract a DVD to a local file system, then dvd+rw-tools to write them out again, via said mkisofs option, and it's produced DVDs that have worked on standalone players. Er, under linux, so that's not much use to you, except as a data point for what ought to be possible.

        I gather DVDBackup does the same sort of thing for the Mac, so if your burning software just uses mkisofs under the hood (odds are good), you might be ok.


      • psw says:

        This isn't random uninformed speculation: I've done what you're trying to do many times using only Disk Utility. Here's how:

        1. Insert your DVD. Quit the DVD player app if you need to. Then start Disk Utility.

        2. You'll see your DVD appear on the column at the left. You may see one or more indented partitions under the DVD too. Click on the top-level disk, not one of the partitions.

        3. Click "New image" at the top of the window. Give the file a name. Set the image format to "DVD/CD master" (which tells Disk Utility to create a physical image file that you can burn from).

        4. Once your image has been made, you'll see it appear by name at the bottom of the left-hand column. Select the appropriate file, then click "Burn" at the top of the window. Enjoy!


  2. ioerror says:

    You could use 'dd' or 'rsync' or you can go the more complicated route and use Handbrake.

    I think a disk image feature in in the disk utilities application will also work.

    I've found Handbrake to utterly fail on some DVDs and work perfectly on others.

  3. autopope says:

    I believe you are looking for Mac the Ripper ("This product is made to backup DVDs you have legally purchased for personal use. MacTheRipper sets the disc's region code to '0' for region-free by default.")

    If all you want to do is to rip a DVD to MP4 for playing later, use Handbrake.

    • sc00ter says:

      Mac the Ripper won't do what he wants. It doesn't create a disk image that you can burn, it just removed the encryption and dumps the output into a DVD_DISC_NAME/VIDEO_TS (and AUDIO_TS) folders.

      He would still need something to create a workable image based on that folder output. Something like DVD2OneX (payware)

      ffmpegX (nagware) I think can create a disc image, but I'm not positive. I've used it to convert avi's to DVD images.

  4. revgeorge says:

    The next RSS item after this for me was a description of LiquidCD which, according to FreeMacWare can "even duplicate a DVD."

    Not necessarily easiest, but it looks like a couple clicks would get the job done.

  5. ninjarat says:

    If the video is unencrypted then use Disk Utility to make a disk image and then burn that image to another disc.

    If the video is encrypted then it is a little more complicated. Mac the Ripper will rip and decrypt the video. You then need something to remaster a new DVD-Video project with the ripped video.

  6. baconmonkey says:

    I don't have the answer.
    I'm going to demonstrate my reading comprehension skills by not posting a description of how to convert to quicktime and then to CD and back to DVD.

    However, http://www.videohelp.com has loads and loads of tutorials and tools and the like for dealing with DVDs and other video-related stuff. it's mostly PC, but they do have mac sections in both the tutorials and tools areas. It may be of some use for this, and will almost certainly be useful in the future.

  7. grafster says:

    You can also use DVD Imager:-

    to create a dvd image from a VIDEO_TS folder (which may be useful if you happen to have that, but not an existing DVD to do a bitwise copy of)

  8. romulusnr says:

    You can't copy your own DVD, silly, how else will the MPAA make sure the artist is compensated?