How to Burn DVD Movies on a Mac

Do you own a Mac and want to make “Backup” copies of your favorite DVD’s? It’s easier then you think. Of course there are some “Free” not so user-friendly programs out there that can do it for no-cost, but I have found them not up to my usual Mac-like expectations and usually end up quickly giving up on them in frustration.

Popcorn Bucket

The solution I found that works amazingly well and at very minimal cost is a combination of:

Apple Computer with a DVD Burner (Commonly called SuperDrive)

Mac OSX (Free with most newer Macs-Preferably Panther or Tiger)

MacTheRipper (Free-Ware but oh-so-good)

Roxio Popcorn ($49)

Why do I like this solution?

It’s relatively simple, fast, inexpensive and turns out reliable high quality DVD “Backups” of your original DVD movies.

What is the start to finish process and how long does it take?

There may seem like a lot of steps here, it’s only because I am including every detail I can think of.

Getting setup:

1. First you need to purchase Roxio’s Popcorn at a retail store that sells Apple software or you can get it from this link.

2. Install Popcorn software on your Mac OSX computer.

3. Download MacTheRipper and install it on your Mac OSX computer. Here is a link.

This process should take about 10-15 minutes unless you have to actually drive to a location and purchase Roxio Popcorn.

Getting your media Off of the original DVD Movie:

Because of Copy Protection, you need to first extract the media from your original DVD movie. Programs like Roxio Popcorn do not want to deal with the politics involved with this so they don’t allow copying of any DVD’s that have Copy Protection. Copy Protection is on most DVD’s, so what do we do??? MacTheRipper to the rescue! MacTheRipper doesn’t care about Copy Protection and it’s politics. MacTheRipper is our friend.

1. Launch MacTheRipper.

2. Insert your original DVD movie in your computer DVD slot.

3. MacTheRipper will scan/analyze the DVD and show you the available content and size to extract.

4. Before you extract, set your RCE Region to the region you are from, in my case I live in North America and use RCE Region 1.

Here is a list of RCE Region Codes and their respective areas.

5. I usually just do a Full Disk Extraction of the entire DVD content to my Mac’s Desktop location. You can set the extraction location in MacTheRipper’s Preference settings.

6. Press the Go button in MacTheRipper, you may get the warning “No RCE Was Detected” just press continue.

7. Once MacTheRipper is finished extracting you can remove your original DVD movie. A new folder will be created that contains the needed “VIDEO_TS” folder that Popcorn will use for burning.

This process should take about 10-45 minutes depending on the speed of your DVD drive.

Popcorn DVD
Burning the DVD with Popcorn:

What does Roxio Popcorn actually do? This is where your $49 investment will pay for it’s self in no time. Most DVD movies are dual layer and end up being around 7 gigabytes in size, a typical DVDR or DVD burnable disk is usually 4.7 gigabytes. Houston we have a problem… Popcorn allows you to deselect media that you do not want or need like out-takes and bonus material, support for other languages and subtitles. Hopefully this will get you down to the magical 4.7 gigabyte mark so you can cram the entire DVD movie on to one 4.7 gigabyte DVDR.

What if your DVD movie is still bigger then 4.7 gigabytes?

Popcorn will inform you how much compression is needed and how this will effect the quality of the final movie. my experience with large movies is to try to remove as much of the unnecessary content as possible, Popcorn takes care of the rest very well.

1. Launch Roxio Popcorn.

2. Select the Button “VIDEO_TS Folder” from the right side Tray

3. Remember that “VIDEO_TS” Folder that MacTheRipper made earlier? Drag it to the area in Popcorn that says “Drag a VIDEO_TS Folder into this area”.

4. Select Copy Options.

5. Proceed to customize your DVD content to suit your needs. If you are unsure you can always leave the Copy Options setting unaltered and Popcorn will compress and burn the entire DVD.

6. Press the big red Button on the bottom right, insert your blank DVDR, press the Record button and then sit back and relax with your favorite beverage while Popcorn does it’s magic…

This process should take about 30-90 minutes depending on the speed of your DVDR drive.

As I mentioned before I have tried a few other Free-Ware DVD Burning programs without much luck or patients. The only other program similar to Roxio Popcorn is Fast DVD Copy. Fast DVD Copy did not require MacTheRiper but in my experience Fast DVD Copy was neither fast or did I have much luck with dependable copies, it was hit and miss. It would actually take several days to compress some DVD movies only to make a very time consuming DVD Coaster.

Does Roxio Popcorn have any room for improvement? The only complaint that I had is that the Copy Options settings could be more flexible for the power user. I think Roxio made the decision to make this as fool-proff as possible keeping this area a bit more generic.

In Conclusion

I think this is a great use of $49. It does exactly what it says it will do in an easy to use layout, it’s efficient and puts out a very high quality DVD Movie “Backup”. All Roxio needs to do now is add an Expert Mode button to the Copy Options and they will have a near perfect program. Maybe it’s coming…

And by the way I was Ripping and Burning a DVD “Backup” while I wrote this Article on my PowerBook G4!

Comments [19]

  1. I agree with you, although Popcorn is a great tool, it would have been nice to have more detailed options for the copy options.

    Great article!

  2. Great article, but I have a question…

    Can you play this dvd on a normal DVD player afterwards, or can you only play it on your computer?

  3. i dont need to compress. i have 8.5 GB discs, can i do this for free? i used mac the ripper and have the dvd on my desktop. when i go into the disc utility i cannot figure out how to actually copy it to a blank disc. thanks so much.

  4. you have to get (they cost $) Toast or Popcorn to burn the file types that are left after using Mactheripper. When you open Toast or popcorn you simply drag the entire folder that was left by MTR and it will tell u if u have to compress it to fit it on the 4.7 GB dvd. You can remove special feature and junk to reduce size and the quality of the feature will go up. use VUZE to get toast for FREE 🙂 good luck

  5. I ran across a problem while using Popcorn. The burning goes fine, but when it verifies the disk, it stops at 5% and says "Sector Error, Verification Failed". I eject the disk and try to play it on my DVD player; it gets through about 12 minutes fine, then it freezes up. The VIDEO_TS works fine when I play it within my Macbook Pro.

    I've done some research and found some places to say that the DVD+R disk is the problem, or that the Superdrive is malfunctioning. Could you help me out at all?

  6. Brian –

    I've had that problem using +R discs too. Sometimes they work just fine, sometimes I get errors. Generally, I stick to DVD-R for burning w/ my Superdrive. I'd suggest grabbing a couple -R discs (and I tend to avoid the super-cheap no-name brand and pay a bit extra for memorex or sony or a known brand) and give it a try again.

    Usually, when a superdrive starts to fail, it doesn't even make it through the burn process. So your drive is probably ok.

  7. The article helped me too, but I was wondering about the program toast is worth the extra money when really all I want to do is "backup" some movie dvds??

  8. I'm just starting to work with Popcorn now and I would like to know if "Verify" is really a must. It takes quite some time. I wonder what is the risk if you don't? If you want to avoid, you have to stay looking at your screen all the time and interfere after burning has finished, before the programm starts verifying automatically.



  9. great tutorial! can you guys give me the link to mac the ripper?

  10. i have been looking for a program that actually works for burning dvds to a 4.7 gig disc does popcorn work and is that allyou need to get to go through the whole process?

  11. When I try to burn the disk in popcorn, it comes up with an error "An error has occurred decompressing the video." I've tried DVD-R, DVD+R and DVD-DRW. What should I be doing differently?

  12. whenever i put my blank DVD-R 16x dvds in my mac, it spends like a minute reading it and then spits it out for no reason.

  13. thank you so much for the great article, really helped and loved the step by step instructions.

    many thanks 🙂

  14. You dont need to do all of that. i have ripped many dvds and burning them into my own dvd and all. go to your applications and then click disk utilities. click on the dvd, then click on new image, from there click on dvdmaster and then click on get image. and dats it. make sure u save it to your desktop or it will not work. and thats it.

  15. I think you are contradictintg yourself. At one point you stated that popcorn was'nt that great because they are so worried about copying laws and Mac the Ripper was better, they don't care, and then you go on and start talking about how good Popcorn is. Make up your mind.

  16. I followed instructions and copied TS file using Mac the Ripper. I dragged folder to the TS section in Popcorn. Popcorn cam back with an error stating that the folders are compressed and can not be used? Help

  17. Thank you for such a simple and informative article. It was very helpful. If you are asking questions, read the whole thing first…It will keep you from looking like an idiot later.

  18. I just want to say thank you to Ross! And to everyone else follow the instructions to a T and you should be fine! BTW Popcorn is worth it…Popcorn FTW

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *