Using Handbreak to convert a video on DVD for online streaming delivery

This tutorial will provide information on converting a video on DVD for online streaming delivery

There are pedagogical, technical, and copyright implications when distributing films in your Canvas course site. This resource provides some guidance about copyright and best practices for online video. Please review this article which discusses fair use and copyright considerations for video in online and blended courses


If your video clip is less than 20 minutes, you can use VLC to digitize the clips using the steps below. However, if you plan to deliver the entire film you should use free software called, Handbreak. This tutorial provides instructions for using Handbreak to convert a video on DVD for online streaming delivery.

Before you begin:

  • You must have access to a DVD/CD drive (either built-in to your computer, or as an external drive). If you don’t have access to DVD/CD drive, you’ll need to purchase or borrow one to convert your DVD to an online format. We frequently recommend LG brand DVD drives with USB connection (available from Amazon).
  • If your video clip is less than 20 minutes, you can use VLC to digitize the clips. This tutorial provides instructions for using VLC to convert a DVD to a video clip for online streaming delivery.
  • Copy Protection is built into most commercial DVDs in order to prevent the reproduction of copyrighted material. This includes film and TV shows and any other video material that has been distributed widely on DVD. If a DVD is copyright protected, you will not be able to digitize the film using VLC. The video image will appear distorted, with a block or random dot pixel pattern. Copyright protected video is usually labeled as such on the packaging material. If you have a DVD that was created by a video camera or on a computer, it is likely that this material is not copy protected.

 For video clips that are longer than 20 minutes, you can use Handbrake to digitize the clips:

    1. Download and install Handbrake. If you have a University-owned computer, you can install Handbrake through Self Service (on a Mac)  or Software Center (for PC). For non-University-owned computers, you can download Handbrake from this website: https://handbrake.fr/
    2. Open the DVD file by clicking on [Source] and browsing for the disc. HandBrake scans the DVD for the titles it contains. Once the scan is complete, HandBrake chooses what it thinks is the main title, but you can click the pop-up menu next to Title and choose the item you want to encode. Generally speaking, the title with the longest duration is the DVD’s main feature, or the full film.
    3. Next, select the location where the converted file will be saved by clicking on [Browse] under “Destination.”
    4. Select the “Output Settings” by pulling down the window to the right of [Format] and selecting [MP4].
    5. In the “Picture” tab, enter 1024 for the [Width]. The height should automatically size the the correct aspect ration (for HD aspect ration of 16:9, the height is 576).
    6. Finally, click the [Start] button.
    7. HandBreak will show a progress bar for completion status.
    8. Locate the .mp4 file where you saved it on your computer.
    Once digitized, you can upload the video file to your Canvas course site using the My Media tool. My Media will display video (or audio files) in the browser with controls. Students do not need special hardware or software to view the videos. Here are the instructions for uploading a video file to a Canvas Page using My Media.





    Keywords:Handbreak video DVD online streaming   Doc ID:99057
    Owner:Amy M.Group:UW-Milwaukee Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning
    Created:2020-03-18 13:07 CDTUpdated:2022-08-09 12:05 CDT
    Sites:UW-Milwaukee Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning
    Feedback:  1   0