Movies to go: AnyDVD, CloneDVD2 and CloneCD
by Robert du Vernay
For umpteen years Robert has included these programs in several of his monthly Basic 101 classes. So many of our readers have bought them, I thought it was time to bring them out of the closet and into a review. A further note: it is my understanding that you can make an archival or backup copy of protected media. I’m not a lawyer, so if you have a specific question, ask your attorney. For more information there’s an excellent article, Copyright or Copywrong? by Dr. Michael Gemignani in the Nov/Dec 08 issue.
Charles W. Evans, Reviews Editor
The deal: All three are from SlySoft and are designed to work together to backup movies. They do this very well. If you read the recent MAX PC article about how to rip a movie and you are serious about ripping a movie, then you will definitely want to take these three products for the 21-day (fully functional) trial. That alone will remove any doubts and convince you of the worth and merit of AnyDVD, CloneDVD2 and CloneCD. Also let me say, when I speak of ripping a movie here, I refer to making a backup copy of what you own. If you intend to use this to make 50 copies to flog at your local flea market, you may well go to jail.
AnyDVD is the ripper! (Rip = remove encryption on CD/DVD media). AnyDVDHD is its big brother, also a ripper. AnyDVDHD rips Blu-ray format. You can get AnyDVD; later if you have the need, you may upgrade to AnyDVDHD. But in either case, this program will run on demand or TSR (terminate and stay resident which means parking the icon on your task bar).
AnyDVD/AnyDVDHD set up options are easy:
Pick a language,
Run as TRS or on demand,
Play back – decide wither you want to jump directly into movie or title menu,
Remove the promotional trailers of movies yet to come,
Reset the Region Code (region free, I recommend),
Allow AnyDVD to call home and check for updates, and
Activate Blu-ray options (if you have the HighDefinition upgrade).
Hollywood uses region codes to keep you from enjoying movies in more than one region. You could also purchase a DVD player from Europe or South America to resolve this problem or AnyDVD will do it for you. This is important if you want to send a DVD to someone in Afghanistan or Iraq. AnyDVD is updated as often as needed, and that may be twice a month…or more. Should you happen upon a flick that it can’t handle, sent an e-mail to the folks at Slysoft. From my experience (twice) within 48 hours there will be a new update; for this reason alone, AnyDVD has no competition in the market place, period.
If you right click in the task bar AnyDVD icon, you will get the latest menu options, which allow you rip your movie directly to your hard drive, or to an Image HiDef. Slysoft provides a free Image package (Virtual Clone Drive) at their site. If you just want to do a quick RIP and come back to it, this is perfect.
CloneDVD2 is the program which transcodes/compresses your movie and will burn it (burn is optional)! Remember, when you are working with a commercial video, it is on DL media (dual layer which is 8.5+GBs in size), you need to transcoding/compression it basically to reduce your 8.5GB dual layer video to a single layer 4.7Gbyte size. Now if you are already doing DL you know this, but if you are stringing together a bunch of DVI (digital video images) from your camcorder, you may have to ‘make it fit’. CloneDVD2 ‘s accomplice is AnyDVD, if you are working with copy protected media. If you are working with home movies or stuff you have captured, AnyDVD is not necessary. CloneDVD2 will not process a digital stream, that carries copyright encryption. Try running CloneDVD2 without AnyDVD working; you will quickly get a text box telling you the material is copy protected, and CloneDVD2 will go no further. After you launch AnyDVD and it has scanned the input media, well…CloneDVD2 will never see any copy protected media and proceed to process the digital stream.
CloneDVD2 provides three primary options:
Copy DVD titles – good for putting together your bits of DVI footage or old VHS footage you digitized.
Clone a DVD – does the whole thing (transcodes/compresses/saves & burns).
Write Existing Data – does just that, if you saved a movie in a ISO or DVD file (on your hard drive), it provides the option for burning it later.
When processing a movie (Clone a DVD option), you can remove components which you may feel are not needed, such as the Chinese, Thai, Spanish … audio, or the Subtitles, director’s comments, or one of the multiple Audio streams. Removing unnecessary data changes the compression ratios. Less compression will give you a better quality movie (works well for newer larger TV screens). If you are using DL – dual layer or Blu-ray media forget all this and burn away. Oh, when you are deleting stuff, don’t remove the FORCED captions, unless you understand all the languages present in the movie.
When processing a movie with CloneDVD2, you have the option to set up the Volume (disk) ID properly. Remembering, that there are actual guidelines for the Volume ID…only alpha/numeric symbol set (A-Z and 0-9) and the separator character is the Underscore. No spaces are allowed. If you are making a DVD for distribution to relatives of your recent East African safari, this is important. As Older DVD players may require this. Newer machines are not so picky.
At any time while you are using CloneDVD2 or AnyDVD you may press F1 and get a Text Box related explicitly to the screen you are currently working on. The help screen is excellent and there is a complete manual on this product. There are at several presentations a year on the 1st Saturday’s Basic 101 series where AnyDVD and CloneDVD2 are demonstrated. So if I can’t convince you to read the directions, come and see the demo, and watch it happen. AnyDVD and CloneDVD2 are designed to work together, and do the job very nicely. Check out the Tutorials at Slysoft.
CloneCD is the original product and it has four functions:
1. Create an image file of a CD or DVD,
2. Write back an image file to a CD or DVD,
3. Copy a CD or DVD 1:1,
4. Erases a Rewriteable CD or DVD.
You have the option to select Language, turn off the Log if you desire and allow CloneCD to call home and check for any updates. Updates are infrequent with CloneCD.
CloneCD works in whole units! If you create an Image file, that file is written in a proprietary format, and you cannot get into it. But you can write that Image out. If you have a DVD or CD that you want to duplicate, then put it in your reader unit, and hit the button. You can create a CloneCD Image type file for later use, or do a direct 1:1 copy (on the fly). If you have two units, load both and go have coffee. When the process is completed, CloneCD will give you an audio clue which you can even change that if you want. The Erase button/function is easier to use here than in Nero or Roxio. Burn speed is negotiable (more a function of the burner and the media). Please may sure you have the latest firmware for your CD/DVD burner units; this will impact your burn rates.
If you remember the stink concerning SONY and their Root Kit tricks, on some audio CD’s a few years back…if you were ripping back then…well you may or may not know that CloneCD nullified Sony’s adventures. The fact that it does DVD’s as well as CD’s is why it is in this review! Let me also say, you have to rip the movie before duplicating it with CloneCD. Also, don’t put a CD in the burner and DVD in the reader, the Error you will get is, insufficient size . . . drives you nuts! Until you realize the user is in error.
All of the Slysoft products offer Tech support via e-mail for registered users and they do answer. In addition there are several Help forums available through links on the Slysoft site.
AnyDVD, ClondDVD2 and CloneCD have been around for a while; they really don’t have any competition because they work extremely well and are kept CURRENT. As a registered owner, you get an e-mail whenever there is an update published. Download the update and it installs on top of the prior version, keeping all your existing settings and preferences. One last item, these are Internet products (you must use a bankcard to purchase). You get an e-mail with an attachment, which is the electronic key. Double click that key and your registry is updated, and you are past the Trail period. No more nag screens. Put your keys in a safe place, there are no replacements. I strongly recommend you burn a CD containing your Registered Key set and put it in safe place. www.slysoft.com is the place to purchase and the same place you download the trial version. AnyDVD (AnyDVDHD for Blu-ray), CloneDVD2 and CloneCD are priced in Euros, but you can find out what the bill is US Dollars easy enough. The set of three as of this writing will cost you 162 USD for two years registration license. You can also purchase a Life Time registration for 218 USD, this is a much better deal. If you purchase just AnyDVD (without the HiDef option) and CloneDVD2, the Life Time (forever) is 123 USD.
Registered users receive free tech support and product upgrades for the registration period, which is why the Life Time registration is the best deal. If you don’t buy now, please take the 21-day trial and you will be impressed.
Robert du Vernay is the person who does the Basic 101 series on 1st Saturdays. He can be reached at RPD@hal-pc.org.