Encoding high quality videos for XBMC

For high quality (low pixelization, smooth video, on a 46 inch 1080P LCD),  at a reasonable size (ex. 1GB per full length movie), with minimal effort (rip DVD in one app, encode in a few clicks with another):

  • Animated videos like Spongebob
    • Rip to single VOB with DVDFab
      • Choose DVD to Mobile | Generic
      • NOTE: DVDFab will automatically pick what it thinks is the main movie.  This works well for regular DVD’s, but not so much for DVD’s that contain “episodes” (like TV shows).  For these DVD’s, DVDFab will only select the first episode of the DVD.  When this happens, note the size of the VOB selected and select all other VOB’s of similar size.  The number of total selected VOB’s should equal the number of episodes on your DVD.
      • For each VOB selected, uncheck all subpictures (subtitles) and check the audio tracks you want (I typically only choose a single AC3 English track)
      • Under the tasks list, for each VOB
        • Profile: vob.passthrough
        • Split: No Spit
        • Deinterlace (Important for TV shows, especially animated shows like Spongebob – even when ripped from offical retail DVD’s)
        • Give the volume a unique name (will end up being the name of the VOB)
      • Select all tasks and hit START
      • Play the ripped VOB’s in your software DVD player to ensure the video and audio are still in sync
    • Convert with Divx Converter: HD 720P Profile
  • Animated videos like Toy Story, Animatrix, etc.
  • Non Animated TV Shows and Movies
    • Rip with DVDFab
      • Choose DVD to DVD (where the target is a folder on your hard drive)
      • For movies and single “episode” discs, select “Main Movie”
      • For multi episode discs:
        • DVDFab will automatically pick what it thinks is the main movie.  This works well for regular DVD’s, but not so much for DVD’s that contain “episodes” (like TV shows).  For these DVD’s, DVDFab will only select the first episode of the DVD.  When this happens, note the size of the VOB selected and select all other VOB’s of similar size.  The number of total selected VOB’s should equal the number of episodes on your DVD.
      • For each VOB selected, uncheck all subpictures (subtitles) and check the audio tracks you want (I typically only choose a single AC3 English track)
      • Play the ripped VOB’s in your software DVD player to ensure the video and audio are still in sync
    • Convert with StaxRip
      • http://www.xbmc.org/forum/showthread.php?t=53741
      • Change the Divx profile to INSANE, enable multithreading, and set quantization to 3 (lower number produces better quality, but much larger file sizes)
      • In staxrip, check FIELD and set to FieldDeinterlace

OLD

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From my experience and many trials and errors, below is how to encode the highest quality, playable video for the XBMC:

  • Rip to single file VOB with DVD Decryptor
  • Use staxrip with
    • Xbox Hi-res profile
    • Change codec to 3 pass
    • Filter
      • Source: automatic
      • Field: Deinterlace
      • Crop: Borders
      • Noise: Low
      • Resize: Very Sharp
    • Size: 1/3 DVD (for any video – will end up being smaller than this)
    • No need to run compressibility check
    • Leave width alone (when encoding The Hulk from DVD, it switched to 592×432)