Archive for the ‘Copy Protection’ Category

Old School Audio Ripping – Music to my ears

Friday, April 17th, 2009

There are a million reasons to want to record the audio off of your Mac when it doesn’t want you to do so. For example, sometimes I want to burn a CD of a podcast to listen to in my car that only has a CD player (and certainly doesn’t have an iPod jack). Audio books are also nice to burn for the same reason. There are countless times when iTunes gives me the error message “can not burn because you have reached my burn limit for that song.” But it doesn’t take into account that my last burns were mistakenly made from the wrong playlist. Sometimes I want to burn live streams to a file or CD, but Mac doesn’t make it easy.

And for years, I was able to easily burn any audio my computer was “hearing” using a freeware called WireTap. But that was in OS9. My Wiretap doesn’t work right anymore. There are lots of other applications that allow you to capture the audio from your Mac, but many of them cost money or are ultra buggy.

So I say, go old school. That’s right. Use the oldest, most analog trick in the book. Simply use the wire that goes from your computer to your speakers and stick the RCA (red and white) plugs into some kind of recording device. I like to use my MiniDV deck, but even a VHS deck has great audio quality and will do the job.  But with the MiniDV deck, I can easily recapture the audio to my Mac via firewire.

Then re-import the audio into your Mac and you will get a file that has no copy protection and no metadata issues. It’s a clean, unrestricted audio file that you use to your “fair use” clause’s delight.

Yeah, it may take real time to create the real file, but the quality sounds great. Don’t poo poo analog audio too quickly. For more than a hundred years, analog audio was fantastic for recording the greatest stars of stage, and screen. In fact, the only recordings we have of such legendary talent as Caruso, were recorded in analog.  The freakin’ Beatles recorded every single song in analog!

And now for the audiophile test.

1) Play a CD in your computer

2) Take the audio out of your speaker wires and plug them into a MiniDV recorder.

3) Digitize the resulting MiniDV videotape back into your Mac via firewire.

4) Now, in a blind test of your friends, play the MiniDV file using Quicktime player and then… compare it to the live CD playing on the same computer.

Nobody will be able to tell you which is which.  And even if, they are aurally gifted with uber hearing powers, they will say that both sources sound perfectly acceptable for feeling the mood of the music and for transporting you from the worries of your day.

Analog, baby. It’s the forgotten tool of yore!

Editing at the consumer and pro-sumer level

Sunday, June 1st, 2008

Following is an actual email thread from one of our contacts who is mac-based.

Dear Kirk at BetaSPtoDVDcom,

Does final cut pro or final cut studio output to flash format for the web?

I have a client who wants a promo video to do double duty--display on the
web AND to play on DVD at trade shows and such.

But since I have yet to get the software, I thought you may know--maybe even
point me to pro vs. studio--vice versa--or even another video editing

I'm simply not happy with the image quality of iMovie.  I'm guessing the
slicker programs will produce TV-quality images.

Also, is it possible to grab footage from DVD movies and use them in Final
Cut?  Y'know--grab some war footage from Saving Private Ryan, or something?
Or a full moon shot from a Werewolf movie?

S'all fer now.  Enjoy the rest of the weekend.



Hi Joe,
First of all, iMovie is TOTALLY broadcast quality. If you are not 
getting great quality, then you either have low resolution source 
footage, have an old version of iMovie, or have are using some incorrect 
settings. In fact, iMovie even supports HD!!! So I wouldn't spend the 
money for Final Cut solely based on the broadcast quality issue.

Final Cut can make .FLC files, but it is not great at it and the files 
are usually bigger than they should be. For making Flash files, I sometimes use a 
program called Sorensen Squeeze and it works pretty well.

As for ripping footage from a copy protected DVD, you are going to need 
a DEMUXING program. Then you are going to need 
a DVD ripping program like Cinamatize. 
Cinematize is a great tool and we use it all the time. It can rip any DVD that is 
not copy protected. If the DVD is copy protected, then you have to start 
with the aforementioned demuxing application.

The other way is to do it analog style. Just patch cables from the dvd 
player though a professional video deck or TBC (timebase corrector). 
Those will strip off the copy protection in real time.

One word of caution though... we do not advocate using any copy-protected material unless you are legally allowed to do so!!

On the issue of Final Cut Studio vs. Final Cut Express, I would go Final 
Cut Express.  The Final Cut Studio has tons of stuff you will never use 
like heavy-duty motion graphics and pro sound editing. The learning curve 
on those tools is huge.

Anyway,  hope I helped a little.


Defeat Macrovision DVD piracy protection in 3 seconds!

Friday, February 29th, 2008

Macrovision is a piracy protection system that darkens the video image if it is copied from a standard DVD player.

First off, this is NOT a subversive message to coax anyone to break the law. However, there are plenty of times when it is vital to a project to use “copyrighted” material ripped from a commercially sold DVD. Some examples of when this is important are:

1)    You acted or were crew in a particular film and wish to present a clip of your scene in a montage of  your demo reel.

2)    You are making a “rip-o-matic.”  That’s when, as a filmmaker, you create a fictitious preview trailer using clips and footage from a variety of different movies, since your film is not shot yet. This is useful to use as presentation tool to potential investors. Of course you can never broadcast, sell, or otherwise exploit the original material. The rip-o-matic is also useful for creating a living storyboard from which you can plan shots for your own movie in the style of the original.

3)    You want to use footage in a montage at a wedding or other family occasion. For example, you may want to have famous love scenes (Casablanca, etc.) edited together with your own voices dubbed in for a spoof at your wedding reception.

4)    You may want to digitize the footage into your own edit system so you can practice graphics and editing.

There are probably hundreds of other non-commercial uses where you may need to rip a commercial DVD. Of course, I’m not a lawyer and do not advocate breaking any laws whatsoever, but if you really want that footage without the Macrovision (and if it is legal), all ya gotta do is run it through a time-base corrector. Don’t have one? Many professional video decks have built-in TBCs. Just play your DVD and run the signal through a pro deck or TBC and you’re off to the races.