My got a new Mac for Christmas and I'm trying to help her import a bunch of DVDs with home movies transferred from VHS into iMovie 11.

Google turns up several results but most are trying to sell you an app to rip encrypted DVDs. Other results suggest using Disk Utility to copy the DVD into a .dmg file which iMovie would recognize as a camera it could import from, but that doesn't seem to work with the current version.

I was able to use Handbrake to rip it to an MP4 and import that into iMovie but I'm curious if there's a more efficient way that avoids two transcodes and would be easier to explain to my mom.

  • Handbrake's homepage is not linked anywhere in this Q&A, so here it is for the casual reader.
    – brasofilo
    Commented Aug 19, 2014 at 21:05
  • @brasofilo good point added a link to the question.
    – drewish
    Commented Aug 19, 2014 at 21:53

3 Answers 3


Not really, you've utilised the quickest, easiest and cheapest route available with doing it with Handbrake. Don't bother trying to find another piece of software that will do the job better, Handbrake is really the best when it comes to ripping and encoding Apple friendly formats. Thanks, hope this helps.

  • @Allstair whenever I use Handbrake it's taking huge amount of CPU usage say 80%. Is there anything I can set this/ fix it to use less % of CPU time ?
    – garikapati
    Commented Dec 29, 2010 at 22:40
  • I'm afraid not. Converting and encoding is a massive process for a CPU to undertake, and requires a lot of processing power. You can change the level of the conversion for a quicker and less CPU intensive encode period, but you sacrifice quality. Cheers.
    – Ali
    Commented Dec 29, 2010 at 23:51
  • @Allstair I don't meant and want less quality one. But I am looking for a option/ solution to get the same great quality with less CPU usage, but can take more time. Is it possible ? Because I am unable to do any other work on my MBP while Handbrake is ripping ......
    – garikapati
    Commented Jan 4, 2011 at 18:34
  • This not only applies to Handbrake, but you can set the priority on most any processes to be lower. In Windows, you go to the Task Manager. On Mac OS X, you go to Terminal, and use the nice or renice command. More details here: discussions.apple.com/thread/1491812?start=0&tstart=0
    – Sun
    Commented Aug 19, 2014 at 22:03

Handbrake is free but not the most user friendly. Here is a great tutorial on using Handbrake: http://www.methodshop.com/gadgets/tutorials/handbrake/index.shtml

My personal favorite (for ripping movies for playback on your Mac) is MacDVDRipper Pro ( http://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/31118/mac-dvdripper-pro) which actually rips the disk image to your Mac retaining the menus and extra features you might have on the DVD. Then you can mount the disk image on your Mac and use it like a "virtual DVD". This software is not free though.

  • Actually, if you're going to get a paid software, I'd suggest RipIt over DVDRipper Pro, although both are great. Commented Jan 1, 2011 at 18:38

iMovie can import QuickTime movies, DV video and MPEG 4 video. What's in the VIDEO_TS folder is MPEG 2 video, so that's not on the iMovie list. There are several applications available that will convert video from a VIDEO_TS folder to one of the formats usable in iMovie. MPEG Streamclip is popular. Cinematize is designed for this. Toast and Popcorn 2 can do it.

You do not need to rip DVDs unless they are encoded with copy protection. So if these are DVDs you recorded you can just drag the VIDEO_TS folder to the hard drive to copy them and don't need another commercial product. I mention this because the main reason people use iMovie is for their home videos, not for editing movies from commercial DVDs.

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