Before you begin:

  • There are pedagogical, technical, and copyright implications when using entire films. This resource provides some guidance about copyright and best practices for online video:
  • If your video clip is less than 20 minutes, you can use VLC to digitize the clips. Here is a tutorial for capturing a video from DVD using VLC for Mac: -or- for PC:
  • 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 Handbreak. 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 longer clips, Handbrake can be used for non-copyright protected films (download here:

  1. Download, install, and open Handbreak.
  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.

Once digitized, using either of the above tools, you can upload the new MP4 file through D2L’s My Media tool. My Media will display the videos (or audio files) in the browser with controls and, best of all, students do not need any special hardware or software to view the videos! The My Media tool is also very easy to use. Here’s a tutorial for uploading videos to D2L’s Content area: