obsolete ways of thinking

A while back I converted all of my old-and-decaying VHS tapes full of music videos to DVDs. (Well, all of the tapes that would still play at all, that is.) This was a pain in the butt. Then yesterday I tried to play one of them, and my DVD player wouldn't read it. It looks like the last track is scorched, and for some reason that renders the whole disc unplayable to a PS2 (though the iMac will play most of it).

This has made me see the error of my ways: what the hell was I thinking, trying to store things that I care about on little plastic discs? Haven't I learned this lesson many times over already? Why yes. Yes, I have. I should have been storing them as normal files in my well-backed-up home directory all along, just like I do with music.

So of course I didn't save the original intermediate files, and find myself re-ripping from the DVDs I burned. (Well, I still have the VHS tapes, but I doubt I'm going to lose any perceptible quality by ripping from the DVDs, and that's faster).

What's the difference between MPEG4 and H.264? The files that Handbrake writes seem to be the same size (around 7MB/minute), but the Quicktime Player interface seems more responsive when playing H.264 than MPEG4.

I suppose it would be pointless to save the video at any resolution higher than 320×240, given the source material? Or might that lose detail, given how many trips through the encoding ringer they've made now?

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this should be an easy question, but I'm sure I'll drown in stupid answers anyway

Dear Lazyweb,

I have an unencrypted DVD-R (originally burned with iDVD).

I would like to put it in my iMac and end up with a separate Quicktime file for each track on the DVD.

  • By "track" I mean "what the next track button on the remote control does".
  • By "quicktime" I mean: some sane, standalone format for movies, e.g., Sorensen+AAC, not some DVD-oriented VIDEO_TS nonsense.

If you have something to say that doesn't work on MacOS, or that requires me to spend money, or that solves some problem that is not what I asked but that kind of reminds you of what I asked, I implore you to keep it to yourself.

Answer: Handbrake works good.

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