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DVD Extractor

With low-cost DVD burners and software such as Apple’s iDVD and DVD Studio Pro, it’s easy to put your movies onto DVDs. What isn’t so easy is getting content off those DVDs. Because of the way DVDs store audio and video—mixed together in files called VOBs (Video Objects)—you can’t simply edit or reuse it.

So why would you want to extract content from a DVD? Perhaps you want to make a multimedia portfolio of your work. Maybe you’d like to create a “greatest hits” DVD containing footage from several DVDs without recapturing from the original tapes (assuming you still have them). Or maybe you have a DVD recorder attached to your TV and want to edit the shows you’ve recorded.

If these situations sound familiar, you should check out Miraizon’s $60 Cinematize 2.03 (   ), which lets you pull content from unencrypted DVDs to your desktop in a number of different formats.

Cinematize lets you select your start and end points to decide exactly what video and/or audio to extract. You can preview your selection in full-motion video inside a window, but (unfortunately) the preview doesn’t include audio—so it can be difficult to figure out what scene you’re actually viewing.

You can decode to a QuickTime file, using the built-in QuickTime codecs, and choose the quality and aspect ratio (among other options). Or you can save the video as an elementary stream, which simply pulls video off the DVD and saves it, with no loss of quality, as an M2V file, which you can then import into DVD Studio Pro. The other option is an MPEG-2 program stream, which gives you an MPG file.

The Audio tab lets you pick the audio stream to extract—Cinematize can handle PCM, AC-3, and MP2 audio (but not DTS), and you can decode it to AIFF or WAV format, as an elementary stream, or as an MPEG-2 program stream. The program can down-mix multichannel AC-3 audio to stereo audio.

The Output tab gives you options for the final output format of your extracted content. You can create a QuickTime file, a DV stream, or an AVI file with audio and video combined into a single file; create an MPEG-2 program stream file with audio and video combined; or save the content as separate stream files. Or if you prefer, you can save each chapter as its own segment. At output, Cinematize does an excellent job of properly synchronizing your audio and video.

If you need to edit or reuse content from your DVDs, Cinematize is a full-featured app that offers almost all the features you could ask for.— Jonathan Seff

Cinematize lets you breathe new life into DVD content and use it in many different ways.
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