Disc Ripping Guide
This guide covers the essentials of converting DVDs, BDs, and UHDs into digital formats (MKVs and ISOs.) While setup may be a bit intricate, the workflow becomes straightforward once established.
You'll mainly need MakeMKV. It's currently free and in public beta (although you'll need to get a key for it, which can be found on the forum and registered via
Help > Register. There's also an auto-updater tool).
If you want to make ISOs (i.e. make a basically full copy of the disc), you have two options:
- Free software that we'll use to turn a folder created by MakeMKV into an ISO file.
- AnyDVD HD
- Paid software but fairly priced
- Can remove unwanted features on discs, such as adverts and trailers.
- Can remove region code which is required if you want to make scene abiding releases.
- Has the added benefit of not dealing with two software and needing half the disk space. (Using ImgBurn will require you to store two copies temporarily)
Ripping UHDs / 4K
- You will need additional software and will need to patch your USB player to support LibreDrive
- Not all players are supported
- Skip ahead to this section
- Get a USB player. Patch it if you're doing UHD.
- Open up MakeMKV and insert the disc. If you have AnyDVD enabled, disable it first before launching.
- Press the disc player icon (the big one on the middle left).
Alternatively, if you already ripped it to ISO, you can open the file by pressing the upper left icon. This method saves an enormous amount of time when ripping both formats, especially when using an SSD, as you don't have to rip directly from the disc.
- Once it's done scanning, checkmark all the titles (videos) you want to rip.
- General rule of thumb - the biggest file size is usually the full movie.
- TV Shows also follow this mentality, as it's usually one long video instead of being separated.
- Click the drive with a green arrow on it, under "Make MKV", to start ripping. This will take a while, depending on the file size and disk player speed.
After this is done, your MKV file is ready! You can convert it to an MP4 or other format if you want,or you can REMUX it.
- Get a USB player, open up MakeMKV, and insert the disc. Patch your USB player if you're doing UHD
- Press the folder icon on the top left.
- Select "Decrypt video files" if it isn't already checked.
- Select an output folder and press OK. Note the directory, you'll need it in ImgBurn.
- Wait for it to finish ripping. Generally takes around an hour if you have a 6X BD read speed, USB 3.0, and an SSD.
- Open ImgBurn and select "Create image file from files/folders"
- Under Source, press the icon with a folder and magnifying glass, and select the output folder from earlier.
- In destination, select a place for the ISO file.
- Click the calculator icon. This will add all the necessary info needed. Hit "Yes" if any prompts come up.
- Press the folder -> ISO button on the bottom left and wait.
- (Optional) Remove MakeMKV's output folder from before to save space.
You now have a full digital copy of your disc. This allows you to do a variety of things, such as watch with disc menus on VLC or make a full backup onto a physical disc (essentially making an identical copy). As mentioned previously, you can also use this ISO file to get an MKV on MakeMKV.
Setting up UHD rips
This is a non-exhaustive guide, mainly focusing on the LG Slim BU40N / Archgon UHD drive (which is the one I have, and at the time of writing, the cheapest). If you have a different player, there is a chance it may not be supported. Please visit this UHD drive flashing thread and the SDFtool Flasher thread.
It should also be noted that the first thread lists some sellers for pre-flashed drives, although I can not personally vouch for them.
- Get a UHD USB player, if you don't have one already. If you want a different player than the one here (LG BU40N / Archgon), there's a list of recommended drives, also on the UHD flashing thread.
- Find the model of your player and the firmware needed.
- For LG BU40N / Archgon, you need BU40N 1.03MK, or
- For any other model, see the flash thread.
- For LG BU40N / Archgon, you need BU40N 1.03MK, or
- Download the patched firmware from this zip file. Extract the one you need somewhere. There's 1 or 2 not included that is listed on the threads.
- Download the latest version of SDFtool flasher.
- If you have a disc inserted, eject it.
- Open the program and select your drive from the top dropdown menu.
- Select "WRITE" firmware and the firmware file in the bottom dropdown.
- Hit "START" and pray.
If everything works, you should now be able to rip UHD discs, like any other disc. Try it on MakeMKV - it should say on the right that it's patched, under "LibreDrive information." If it doesn't, you can try the "RECOVER" option on SDFtool.
If you're using AnyDVD, you may also want a keydb file. This is essentially a list of keys that the program can use to decrypt UHD discs. (I have not tested it to see if it needs it or not.) The steps to set it up are straightforward:
- Download it from the FindVUK Online Database.
- Scroll a little bit down until you see "Downloads"
- If your disc is in a foreign language, you may want to download the other files listed, but you'll generally want the English one.
- These files are updated daily, and thus, you want to update them frequently.
- Extract it somewhere and note its location.
- In AnyDVD's settings, go to Video Blu-Ray -> UHD, and select the keydb.cfg file.
This is not needed if you're only using MakeMKV and ImgBurn.
Tips / Q&A
Why suggest AnyDVD, a paid and uncracked software, for piracy?
As far as I know, it is the only software capable of removing region codes. For scene rules, this is required for COMPLETE BLURAY releases, under G3. It also greatly shortens the amount of time needed to rip ISOs while making the process more direct.
Is it expensive? Yes. Is it worth it? That depends on you, and if you're going to be doing continuous releases, then you might want to consider it.
What about other software, like DVDFab, Leawo, and PowerDVD?
I highly recommend against using them. Any alternatives, even when cracked, do not work as well as MakeMKV and AnyDVD, especially when doing UHD rips.
On MakeMKV, it's failing a hash check! / On AnyDVD, it won't scan the disc!
Your disc is most likely dirty. Clean it with warm water and dry with microfiber towels. You may also want to clean your player.
It's still having problems after cleaning!
Clean and clean again. If that doesn't work, you'll probably want to return it. Unfortunately, this is the downside of doing full copies of discs, as without that bit of data that it can't read, you can't make a complete copy. Not to mention that some players (like the Archgon player in the UHD guide) have a feature that skips over any data it can't read, meaning you won't be able to do ddrescue (not that you can use it since retail discs are encrypted.)
What's the best place to get discs?
Amazon has basically everything, especially newer releases. Blu-ray.com is a great database for BD and UHD discs, and on each entry, there's an Amazon link. (It also has some DVDs but it's not as extensive). You can also try eBay, but obviously be wary of its condition.
Walmart sells BDs (sometimes UHDs,) and Best Buy will sell them until Early 2024. There are plenty of other stores that sell them and you'll need to look at your local areas.
There are also the questionable sellers, such as craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and the occasional yard sale. I obviously cannot recommend them, but they do exist. Ask the seller first if you can inspect the disc before buying (bonus points if they let you test it). And of course, for any of these stores / sellers, try to get a refund / return if the disc doesn't work.
You may also want to try rental services. If you're in the US (which good luck if you're doing releases!) the biggest service still around is redbox (which even has UHDs in some cities.) There's also this different service called "3D BluRay Rental" that specializes in 3D and UHDs. (And honestly, a service I haven't even heard about before researching for this guide). I can't personally vouch for either of these, but they're good if you just need to rip the disc, won't plan on keeping it, and are short on money.
I have another question not answered here.
If it's related to MakeMKV, you can ask on their forums. If it's related to AnyDVD, you can ask on RedFox's forums. These two have very helpful members (although you shouldn't mention that you're using it for piracy. Obviously.) You can also try asking on FMHY or on c/piracy.