Ripping DVD to edit in Final Cut Pro for Mac

(Editor’s note: Of course, we support DRM and Intellectual Property Rights, so we only encourage you to rip DVDs to which you own the rights or have permission to rip and edit.)

This is a very misunderstood process and most people find it annoyingly cumbersome. Here is what I have found out to be the easiest solution to ripping media from a DVD and putting it into editable content for Final Cut ExpressFinal Cut Pro (or the newer but more expensive Final Cut Studio) or any other Mac editing program.

1. Download Mac the Ripper and OPEN app


2. Insert DVD into CD-rom drive

3. It should see your DVD automatically, but if it doesn’t, then drag DVD image from desktop onto Mac the Ripper app in your dock


4. Select GO! to extract files from DVD


5. Download MPEG StreamClip


6. After ripping DVD, drag the biggest .VOB file (if it’s a movie) into StreamClip’s viewer. If it asks you to “stream” say “yes”. If it’s a series of TV shows, select the first one and allow StreamClip to “stream” them all.

7. Export to DV (for a movie that’s an hour long this will take approximately an hour, depending on your computer)


8. Open Final Cut, import media, drop clip into timeline. When asked to adjust timeline settings to match media settings select “yes”.

9. Audio will need to render. (The red bar is due to the audio being in a different format other than AIFF.)


To avoid this, unlink clip, and bring into Quicktime.


Then strip audio from clip using Quicktime Pro ($30). (You don’t need to do this step to edit the footage but it will save you render time.)


You should now have a ripped copy of your DVD in an editable format for Final Cut Pro.10finaledit

If you have a different method of ripping DVDs to edit in Final Cut or any other editing Mac platform please leave a comment explaining how you do it.

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  1. CJ, November 13, 2008:

    You can also use the program Handbrake to rip just select chapters of the DVD instead of the entire disk.

    If you wanna spend some cash, you can pickup DVDxDV Pro, which will allow you to just rip a selection from the DVD directly to a file that Final Cut Pro can import. If you need to do this often, I would highly recommend that.

    Check out my website for more tips.

  2. AMERICANVIRUS, November 14, 2008:

    Great!! I’ve been wondering how to do that for awhile now. Thanks for the post.

  3. Dwayne Parker, December 22, 2008:

    You page is great man. I was struggling for almost two days trying to get video off of a DVD and into Final Cut Pro for editing. But no more, thanks to you.

    Keep up the excellent work!!!!

  4. jim Jensen, March 12, 2009:

    thanks for this. I had Handbrake and Streamclip, but didn’t put it all together until I read this entry and the comment. I feel kinda stupid it’s so simple. Thanks again! JIM

  5. Sarah, March 24, 2009:

    hi have found this very useful so thanks, but am having terrible difficulty importing to final cut pro - it keeps saying 1 file recognised, i file unknown 0 access - by any chance would you know what i am doing wrong?

  6. Ted, April 2, 2009:

    This is extremely helpful, thank you for posting it!

    I have a quick question:

    After your video has been edited in FCP, what is a good way to get your .dv file back to .vob to replace your original .vob file?

  7. Isaac, April 3, 2009:

    What if you export from Mpeg Streamclip to Quicktime….?
    I already did it, but when i try to edit it in Final Cut it works very very slow and sometimes jumps… or start to think….
    I got a MacPro with 6 Gb of memory so thats not the problem…
    any suggestion?

  8. Ted, April 3, 2009:

    Answering my own question here…

    If anyone is in the same boat as I, where you edit a DVD of content you want to remove (that is NOT copyrighted) and want to get that BACK onto the DVD… this is how I accomplished it. If anyone knows of a better solution, please post back. Here is what I did:

    After editing the .dv file that you created from the above article…

    1)Export as a Quicktime movie with the same settings as your current video. (This may take up to an hour depending on your computer).

    2)Download ffmpegx (free). Install. Drag your .mov file to ffmpegx for the input, and for the export use “DVD mpeg2enc”.

    3)Click “encode”. (This takes over an hour).

    4)Now you will have a folder that will contain a video_ts folder. Find the largest .vob (should be the same name as your largest .vob you originally made a .dv).

    5)Drag that .vob file and replace the original .vob file that you had in your original video_ts folder and it should overwrite it. (Make sure to back it up incase something goes wrong).

    6)Play that DVD and it will now include your edited file.

    Good luck! (Remember to ONLY do this on DVDs you have created, that do NOT have a copywrite)

  9. Jeremiah, May 11, 2009:

    Many thanks for this clear and concise set of instructions. As many of the others, I have wasted much time trying to do this until now. Most useful when using archive material from DVD in a temporary cut and which is to be cleared later on.

  10. Blake, June 17, 2009:

    Hey Ted,

    I’m following your directions & ffmpeg is converting my edited movie right now. What Im trying to do is keep the 5.1 audio on the DVD unchanged, and just add a water-mark of a title of my website throughout my movie, which I have already made in final cut, and now converting with ffMpeg.

    My question is that when I replace the large .vob file, will my 5.1 audio still remain the same. I didn’t alter the length, so it should still be aligned to the audio.

    Is the ac3 5.1 audio in the large vob file? Or is it in one of the other files in the ts folder?

  11. John, June 26, 2009:

    There is a huge gap in the instructions. It says, unlink and bring into QuickTime. How do you bring it into QuickTime? Export it? If so, how? Is it a drag-and-drop?

    Importing files ripped this way has disrupted my other clips in the time bin, so that if I try and add ones that didn’t previously need to be rendered, they do now.

    Any thoughts?

  12. Brittanie, June 30, 2009:

    Hi John,

    Sorry about the confusion. I see where I was misleading. I say to unlink the clip’s audio in FCP and fail to explain why you need to do so. By unlinking the clip’s audio, we can now delete it and replace it with audio that doesn’t need to be rendered. But before we can replace it, we have to export the ripped clip’s audio into a format that FCP likes.

    To export audio as .aiff, first take the entire clip that was ripped using MAC the Ripper and open it in QT. Then, go under “Export” and select “Sound to AIFF.” Once it’s done exporting, import the .aiff file into FCP and replace the audio that needs rendering with the new audio file that you just made from QT.

    Does this help?


  13. Lisa, October 17, 2009:

    Hi Brittanie,

    When I try to use MPEG Streamclip it gives me a “write access error” message. It’s so frustrating! I had already invested almost two full days when I finally came across your post.

    IMy goal is to import a very long DVD and add an American sign language window at the bottom. I’m using Final Cut Pro and am at a loss as to how to import the original video into FCP at the highest quality possible. I want my final output to look as good as the original.

    I was able to rip using Mac the ripper as you suggested and was hoping your process would eliminate the error message I’d been receiving, but alas… it didn’t.

    Any other suggestions?


  14. vini, March 25, 2010:

    this was very very useful. thanks a mill dude!

  15. Chris, April 5, 2010:

    Hi Brittanie,

    Thank you so much for your page. Extremely, extremely helpful.

    Two questions I hope you can help me with is:

    Everytime I make a cut to the ripped DVD clip in FCP 4, It always asks me to re-render. As you probably know, this is very, very time consuming. Did I skip a step and do something wrong or is that just something I’m going to have to deal with?

    When I first drag my clip into the timeline and view it in the canvas, it fills the entire frame perfectly fine. After I make a couple of cuts and move it around, those clips only fill up a portion of the frame. Any ideas?

    Thanks again for all the help. I think you saved over half a million people’s time.


  16. Beth Mann, June 7, 2010:

    I could kiss you for this. I’ve been struggling with the various steps in different incarnations for the past day and am ready to pull my hair out. I’ve looked everywhere for a simple explanation on the process and came up with bits and pieces of conflicting info.

    This is the FIRST post I’ve seen that explains the process clearly and concisely (though a little confused about the QT/audio stripping suggestion.)

    Also confused why you can’t do it all through MPEG Streamclip which is supposed to produce “cleaner” files than Handbrake.

    Still trying to figure out why to export DV and not MPEG-4.

    Anyway all will be revealed and thanks.

  17. Matthew, June 22, 2010:

    If only you could create a page to show BP how to clean up oil spills.

    This was so easy, informative, and saved my butt from digitizing a 4 minute DVD through my DV deck, which would have been a huge hassle.

    Thanks, I seriously owe you one.

  18. Yvonne King, September 5, 2010:

    This is great. I’m updating my professional reel and need to grab sound bites from a few different show episodes. I was able to successfully rip an episode of a TV show off the DVD set I own, but for some reason I can’t rip off any other episodes. Is this some sort of copyright protection? Is there a way around this?

  19. Jan de Bloois, September 30, 2010:

    great tutorial, thanks a lot!

  20. Jim K., October 5, 2010:

    Nicely written up. I’ve been doing the same basic process for awhile now but wasn’t unlinking the audio and stripping it via QT Pro. Reading that here it was a head slapper, like “why didn’t I think of that?” Thanks for saving me time going forward.

  21. lissette, November 18, 2010:

    this is was the easiest solution i was looking for.
    i got a task to rip a dvd to edit in final cut pro & i just couldn’t get an easy solution until i found this.

    all i needed was the mpeg streamclip to save me lol

    thank you so much!! =)

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