In which I continue to make progress.

It was a very productive weekend as far as whipping video files into shape goes.

After my Handbrake-related epiphany last week, I’ve managed to turn a little under two hundred mkv files into m4v files, while hard-coding subtitles, then converted about 125 avi files. This had my encoding box humming pretty much constantly all weekend, which it stood up to with remarkable grace thanks to the utterly ridiculous cooler I bolted on to the CPU a few months back.

As an aside, an AMD 1090T six-core Phenom II running at stock clock takes between 7 and 10 minutes to convert a 24 minute 720p anime episode, which is bloody stunning considering how cheap they are. I would just about kill for a motherboard that let me plug two socket AM2 processors in.

The only downside of course is that I couldn’t do any gaming, but I made a HECK of a lot of progress on the video files. I have a handful of tricky AVI files left, and about 700 mkvs, but the end is definitely in sight. I’ve replaced a fair number of fansubs with official DVD releases, too, which has helped quite a bit.

Speaking of DVDs, though, those are still going to be an issue. I started buying DVDs when the very first players were released to the test markets back in 1997, and I’ve bought an awful lot of them in the last 15 years. I’ve been ripping them in batches of 4 or 5 and then encoding them, which, well, hasn’t been making much of a dent.

I did, however, hit upon a new process last week which has great potential to speed things up.

See, we bought an Acer Aspire 8930 laptop a few years back to serve as a gaming laptop and desktop replacement for my wife. It was a terrible, terrible laptop in most regards, but it did have an interesting feature that I hadn’t ever had a reason to take advantage of before now – a second bay for an extra internal hard drive.

With that second drive bay full of a random 500GB drive I had laying around, it was a pretty quick thing to rip it full of DVD images, then pull that drive and put another drive in so I could keep ripping while moving the first drive to my encoding box to use as a source.

With that going, and a second laptop that I’ve pressed into service as a ripper, I’ve managed to make some significant progress at ripping. I haven’t run them through Handbrake yet, but I have about 100 VIDEO_TS folders ready to go now. That’s about a fifth of my movie DVDs ripped, which is a much bigger dent than I’ve managed in years of random ripping. Big win!

That ignores the TV seasons, of course, which I really don’t want to think about just at this exact moment of time. If iTunes has another big TV sale for the holidays like they did last year, I may be throwing a few more bucks at the studios by way of Apple.

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