It is becoming more and more common for students, faculty, and staff to need to convert videos that are on a DVD to a digital media file. Primarily these are used to allow faculty members to post required viewing on Blackboard, or for students to link to a class project. This process is not for use of commercial DVD's, they are copyright protected and not for academic use. This tutorial will show you the easiest and simplest way to convert DVDs to digital files using the freeware utility Handbrake.


First you must download Handbrake. It is a free program and can be found HERE. Download and run the installer to make sure the program is on your computer.

Converting DVD

The process for converting the DVD is pretty straightforward. Handbrake can be used with both Macs and PCs, and the procedure for using it is the same on both. Please use the video tutorial below to find out how.

Best Practices

Handbrake's output settings will let you tailor your end result: you can modify the output file size and type (MPEG4 or MKV), optimize for the web, iPod/Pad/Phone, Youtube, etc., add subtitles and apply different filters. Play around with them in you like, but for quick conversion, the presets do a fine job.

If you are converting a large/longer video and need the file size to be smaller, chose MKV as your container/type. It will produce a more compressed video file. MKV files run beautifully using the VLC media player, but won't play on Windows Media Player or iTunes, so if you chose this option, be aware that you will also need to download the VLC player to open and play your videos.


If you are having any issues or have questions, please contact the Tech Center at support@cu-portland.edu.

Updated by Steven Quirk 12/2/13