Useful utilities from The Little App Factory. (December 1st, 2010)
If you buy DVDs, you should back them up, and RipIt makes that an easy and painless process. If you like to watch YouTube and other movies, you can do that on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod, with the free utility Evom. Both programs created by The Little App Factory are easy to use and work well for most files.
Product Manufacturer: The Little App Factory Pty. Ltd.
Price: $24.95 US
- Makes it simple to rip DVDs.
- Works well.
- Produce video formatted for iPad/iPhone/iPod.
- Converts .AVI files for iOS devices.
- Not very flexible.
- Can't rip a single scene or just the movie.
- Cannot burn a disc with Toast.
- Does not work with RipIt produced files.
- Produce video formatted for iPad/iPhone/iPod.
If you ever wanted to take some of your movies on a trip to watch on your laptop, you know you're putting your expensive media at risk. In addition, your kids watch the same movies over and over, but they are not careful how they handle the DVDs and consequently the discs get scratched. The solution is to make a copy of those DVDs, so you can preserve the original media in its pristine state. This means you should get an application to pull the content off the DVD, which is called ripping.
RipItRipIt from The Little App Factory is a simple, easy to use DVD ripping program. RipIt can take your DVDs and turn them into .dvdmedia files that the Apple DVD Player plays just as if they were the original discs. The Little App Factory notes that these files do not work well in Toast, so if you want to burn your media back to a disc, you must use another product, such as DVD2One.
Creating a .dvdmedia file with RipIt is simplicity itself. You launch RipIt and insert the DVD into your DVD drive. The RipIt window has two buttons: Rip and Compress.
You click Rip, and your work is done. RipIt reads the disc and creates a .dvdmedia file on your hard disk, giving you a nice animated window while it is doing so. This is not a fast process though. Using my Mac Pro a 100-minute movie took about 25 minutes to rip. You can even set RipIt's preferences so that it will automatically start ripping when you insert the disc, and when the process is completed, RipIt will eject the disc, and you can insert another.
While this is going on, the dock icon shows you how much longer the process will run, so you don't have to keep the window in view.
Once you have a movie ripped, you double click on the .dvdmedia file, and the DVD Player application launches and plays the movie. Since the movie is just another file on your hard disk, you can copy it, move it to another disc or file server, or back it up using Time Machine or any other backup program.
If you prefer to watch your movies on your iPad, iPhone, or AppleTV, RipIt can rip to .m4v files formatted correctly for a particular device. You set the target device in the preferences, and then click Compress in the main window, rather than Rip. Though the developer described this feature as a work in progress on their blog, I had no trouble at all creating movies for my iPad.
The first time you compress a movie, RipIt informs you that it needs the "Handbrake CLI" tool, and it will ask you for permission to download it. Once that it done, you can begin compressing. Compressing is significantly slower than ripping; first, the disc is ripped, and then ripped file is compressed. A long movie took about 35 minutes to rip, and then about 70 minutes to compress on a Mac Pro. Slower machines would be even longer.
RipIt worked flawlessly in my testing. The company claims that they have ripped more than 250,000 different discs, and had problems with less than 0.0001% of them. They offer a guarantee: If a disc fails to rip, they will buy a copy and fix the program so that it can rip that disc.
However, simplicity has its price, and sometimes that price is a lack of flexibility. I would like to be able to rip only the movie, and omit all the extras that movies come with these days. RipIt does not support this; it does all or nothing. However, the developer has indicated that they are working on the ability to specify ripping individual scenes from a movie.
RipIt costs $24.95, but they also offer a "household bundle", which lets you install RipIt on up to five computers in the same household, for an additional $10.00. You can try out RipIt, but without a license, it will only rip eight discs.
EvomAnother program geared to creating movies for your iOS device made by The Little App Factory is Evom. This free program is a work in progress, only works in Mac OSX 10.5 and up, and hasn't even made it to version 1 yet. (I tested version.99j.)
Evom does not yet work with RipIt .dvdmedia files, but it can take most YouTube videos and create versions you can play on your different devices. When Evom launches you see a simple window upon which to drop the media or link to same to process it. Even though the instructions make it look like you can drop any type of video file, it only works successfully on Flash videos, if they are not behind a protective firewall or other types of security.
I had good success converting YouTube videos and .avi movie files to iTunes and iPod playable media. You can even pull just the audio out of a video, which is nice. After you drop the file or URL to convert, the dialog in which to choose your target pops up and you press Convert. You can convert multiple files at the same time.
The quality of the converted file depends on the quality you fed it in the first place; so garbage in, garbage out. Generally, I was pleased with the resulting file. The program still has a some glitches to work out, such as the inability to rename a file. Some of my converted files received amazingly long numeric names. If you save the files into iTunes, you can change the name in the Get Info dialog, but if you happen to save it elsewhere, the numeric name sticks. I convert a folder with a Video_TS file in it, which worked fine, but I ended up with many empty files in my iTunes library. The trick is to figure out which one of the .VOB files has the movie in it and convert only that one. The Little App Factory should include information on this in its FAQ.
I like to watch movies multiple times, so it is much easier and faster to obtain my owned movies or tv shows off the Web. I can convert the .AVI files with Evom, instead of going through the multiple stage ripping process with one piece of software (Handbrake), then compress them for the iPod or iPad with another piece of software (Toast). Evom is no speed demon though, it took almost as long for file conversion as it would to watch the video. Evom rates 4 Stars for a work in progress.
Even though RipIt and Evom don't work together, they make a nice pair of video processing utilities to keep in your tools folder.