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First of all: I know, that you need to unlock the access to a DVD and the drive by first performing a handshake, for example with VLC. Otherwise the ISO will be roughly 3.7 MB in this case and fail within 1-2 seconds.

I copied 3 DVDs completely without any issue using the following commands. This is the example of the 4th dvd of the same series and same DVD Box:

vlc /dev/sr0
isoinfo -d -i /dev/sr1 | grep -i -E 'block size|volume size'
> Logical block size is: 2048
> Volume size is: 2264834
dd if=/dev/sr0 of=/home/user/videos/dvd_x.iso status=progress bs=2048 count=2264834
> dd: error reading '/dev/sr1': Input/output error
> 1074889+17746 records in
> 1092635+0 records out
> 559429120 bytes (559 MB, 534 MiB) copied, 1.1 MB/s

It always (yes, always) stops at the same byte. And this happens on completely other devices with other drives aswell. Even if this an absolutely brand new DVD. It is unlikely an accidential defect on the DVD, since the files in the filexplorer show as 46GB, which is impossible for a DVD-9. I guess, the copy protection is achived using intentional defects and during playback this likely causes no issue, since the player knows, where to read the appropriate data. However I do not want a converted rip, I want to create a raw DVD rip. Is there any way to get this working? The goal must be, to get the content of the DVD as raw as possible. At best, bit perfect including the errors.

What also does not work is, to copy the files from the folder. I mean, it would result in 46 GB of files, which is not considerable a 1:1 copy of a 8.xxxGB DVD. When it reaches the error location it becomes infinitely small and the read head jumps all over with a very terrifying sound. I guess after 5 minutes the drive will burn down. I never heard such a disk drive sound in over 20 years. Using dd you can hear it vibrate for the retry count for a few seconds, but not as bad, since it tries to read the same position all the time.

Normal playback works fine.

Usage is private, so legal at my location. I need it, to play it back on my TV PC, which has no DVD drive and will not get one ever. Used System is latest Linux Mint as from yesterday (dd likely does not even care for the distro).

Edit: I also tried, to write the output of cat /dev/sr0 to a file and got the same checksum. So it is not specific to only dd. I would love to know, where the read error comes from. If it is DVD Drive firmware related, there is likely no easy fix for it.

And why do I need a raw copy? It needs to be part of my digital archive. Ripping it to another codec alters the contents in a way, that makes later reworking of the video impossible. The intention is, to wait yet a few years, until upscaling software finaly works good enough with high temporal stability, to give it a shot. But ripping it to an MP4 will not be suitable for this task. It is like recording the scenes of a movie to a lossy format and than recoding it again. To much factors that alter the quality in a bad way in play here... Since there might be important meta-data, too, I cannot risk this. This would mean, if I need to work on it again, I had to rip all DVDs yet again.

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  • Is there any reason to create a bit-by-bit copy of the entire DVD, instead of ripping the (supposedly video) content and save it in a more useful format, e.g. mp4? Commented Jul 22, 2022 at 5:29
  • There are multiple reasons. First of: It uses a telecined format, which looks horrible. I need it to move the DVD over to my editing PC for correct processing with windows software (which has the required features). Ripping as interlaces will greatly add compression artifacts, damaging the overall image quality even more. I need an ISO to mount as DVD on my dvd-less editing rig. handbrake and co is not suited for the task unfortunately. Commented Jul 22, 2022 at 5:41
  • Another alternative: You can get external USB DVD drives for as cheap as 20€. Depending on how much your time is worth, the investment could be profitable after just a single DVD. Commented Jul 22, 2022 at 5:45
  • Well, it does not make the raw copy of the DVD work likely. Since all tested drive/pc combos failed at the exact same byte, I think another drive would not fix the issue and the error is there intentionally (and gets skipped by jumping over it during normal playback). Having a raw copy enables me, to rework it later if intended. I already ripped them as mp4 with ultra high quality, but later noticed, that I need to copy them all again due to the strange telecine effects in place, which yet need to be analyzed before being able to fix them. Commented Jul 22, 2022 at 6:13

2 Answers 2

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Creating some unused area in the middle of the media and then making it incorrect is one of oldest and widely used methods of copy protection. Valid player won't play this area, but if you attempt to clone the media sector-by-sector your drive will choke on that part.

So, if your DVD plays, you must admit this method still works against you :)

To circumvent it, you may instruct dd to skip invalid parts of the media and fill them with zeros in the image:

dd if=/dev/sr0 of=/home/user/videos/dvd_x.iso status=progress bs=2048 count=2264834 conv=noerror,notrunc,sync

(read man dd if you want to know more about conv=noerror,notrunc,sync).


I should also mention that the raw clone of the DVD is not needed to be able to rework it. You really only need files from VIDEO_TS. Since these may be encrypted, I suggest to use software like DVD Decryptor to copy them. While this is Windows program, it works in Wine (I used it myself that way, however that was around 10 years ago).

You can do what you want with these files, including re-encoding them into x264 or xvid, burning them to the recordable media to create a disc playable in the player or, say, decompile them with ReAuthorist into a project for Scenarist to rework the DVD completely. You certainly don't need a raw image even for that.

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I’ve come across this situation in the past — DVDs whose file system layout is invalid and includes unreadable sectors on the disc. The actual files which are needed to play the content are of course fully readable, and that’s all that a DVD player (hardware or software) needs.

Extracting the required files should be sufficient to allow your TV PC to play the DVD; dvdbackup can take care of this – it extracts an unencrypted copy of a DVD’s disk contents, decrypting it as necessary, following the standard DVD layout. It doesn’t produce an ISO image but if you need that, one can be generated using genisoimage using the directory layout produced by dvdbackup.

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