Savvy movie fans have long since abandoned DVDs for the far superior Blu-Ray format. Whether you have a 4K television or just like the higher resolution and better image depth, Blu-Ray is a clear winner. But what if you want to rip Blu-Ray movies so you can watch favorite movies on your smartphone, tablet or computer? With Leawo Blu-Ray Ripper, it’s surprisingly quick and easy…
Computer manufacturers seem to have decided that DVD movies are good enough for computer screens, and it’s not easy to find a laptop or desktop computer with a Blu-Ray player. Which is rather weird since computer screens generally have far higher resolution screens than most non-4K televisions. Fortunately, you can pick up an external Blu-Ray drive for surprisingly cheap, units like the Mac and Windows compatible Pioneer BDR-XS06.
I’m a firm believer in the right to view purchased movies on the device of my choice too, so if I own a Blu-Ray copy of, say, Blade Runner 2049 or Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, why should I be trapped having to watch it on my TV while at home if I’m heading out on a business or pleasure trip? Problem is, converting a physical copy of a movie into a digital copy that’s portable to whatever gear you own isn’t so easy. Unless you have a program like Blu-Ray Ripper from Leawo Software.
BD Ripper, as we’ll call it informally, is actually part of a much bigger software suite called Leawo Professional Media, a suite that lets you dupe Blu-Ray discs, rip DVDs and much more. For our purposes, however, it’s just making a digital copy of a Blu-Ray movie that’s of interest, and that’s BD Ripper.
Through some serendipity, Lionsgate just sent us a copy of the fun, somewhat campy horror film Beyond Re-Animator for review so that’ll be perfect for a demo. The film is the third in the Re-Animator series and again stars Jeffrey Combs as the creepy Dr. Herbert West. If you like zombies and creepy creatures, well, this is going to be a great addition to your movie library!
But I wanted a digital copy of the film so I could watch it on my MacBook (a computer without an optical drive) while on the road. It’s a perfect task for BD Ripper.
You can see that by applying the license for Blu-Ray Ripper it also unlocks DVD Ripper too, which means that I can make copies of just about every movie disc I own (with the exception of the dozen or so 4K UltraHD discs I have, but no computers can manage those yet).
A click on Blu-ray Ripper in the program, after plugging in the Pioneer external Blu-Ray drive and inserting the Beyond Re-Animator disc, and the program automatically analyzes the inserted media and figures out which of the many tracks is the actual movie…
I’ve jumped ahead a few minutes to get to the opening titles, as you can see above.
I can make a copy of the entire disc, including all extras, but it’s just the movie I’m interested in, so the tab “Main Movie” is the best option. A click on “OK” lets me proceed. The default output format and estimated file size are shown in a simple one-line queue entry:
Notice that at standard HD resolution (1920 x 1080) the resultant output file is anticipated to be 5.81GB. For a 96 minute movie. The benefit of Blu-Ray is that the movie is beautiful and in high resolution, so trying to compress the output into 500MB is a bit goofy, dontcha think?
Turns out that different output formats do produce different size results, however, so it is worth a bit of experimentation to figure out what’s going to work best for you. My recommendation is always to use the largest possible size you can work with – so the movie looks great – but your disk space might be a bit tighter so try a few different output formats to identify which works best for your needs.
To change the output format, I’ll click on the default format. In this case, “MP4 Video“. A small window pops up with a bit more detail about this particular configuration:
From this point, a click on “Edit” lets you tweak things, but “Change” is more interesting, so click on that to see what options there are for output formats…
Wondering how to play all these different formats on your own devices? I am a huge fan of VLC, an open source video player that can handle every format I’ve ever tried to view, including MP4, MOV, AVI and MKV.
Look more closely because you can also choose by “Device” too, as a single click on that tab reveals:
There are also presets for Apple, Sony, HTC, Motorola and other devices if you don’t have a Samsung device. Very handy, I’ll say!
Once you’ve picked out the format desired, a click on “Convert” lets you identify the desired output folder:
Notice that I’m saving the image directly to OneDrive. It’s a handy way to have it ready to copy onto my other devices since Microsoft OneDrive is available for just about every device in the market. Also notice that the estimated file size went from 5.8GB to 6.10GB. The program is just guessing at this point, however, so I won’t know the final size until the rip is done.
Let’s get this movie copied already! To do that, simply click on “Convert“. Then you’ll see a progress indicator:
You might think that the process of reading a Blu-Ray movie, converting it to a digital version and writing that to disk is going to be slow but Leawo Prof. Media does a surprisingly fast job and the rip completed in just a bit over 45 minutes on a fairly middle-of-the-road HP Windows 10 laptop. On a high end, tricked out PC it would likely be significantly faster.
Finally, once done it’s just a .AVI digital file, so with a bit of help from VLC for the Mac, I can indeed watch Beyond Re-Animator on my MacBook as desired:
That’s it. I found Leawo Prof. Media Blu-Ray Ripper easy to work with and surprisingly fast with such a computational intensive task as video stream conversion. If you too want to gain portability from your Blu-Ray movies, it’s definitely one to check out. Start with this tutorial of theirs on how to rip a blu-ray movie to mp4.
Leawo Prof. Media Blu-Ray Ripper, from Leawo Software. $44.95 for Windows or Mac.
Disclosure: Leawo Software sent us a license for the software in return for this review.