Family Edited Movies

January 26, 2008 at 10:41 pm (Family Life, Links)

A recent court ruling has said that companies can no longer ‘family edit’ DVDs.  While there is an attempt to work around this ruling by using a special player that edits the movies in real time, it will require a special DVD player, as well as a subscription to their service that tells the player what parts to skip.

I personally haven’t purchased or seen any of the edited movies, so I really can’t comment on the effectiveness of their work.  I was intrigued by the idea, as there are a lot of movies that I have seen that would be fine for the kids were it not for a few scenes or some language.

So, I decided that I’m going to try my hand at editing on my own, just to see how it goes.  I’ve collected the software that I think I will need, and will explain the process as it progresses.

First, the software.

Some DVDs employ a software scheme that will corrupt attempts to read them in a non-standard way.  For this, you will need something that can unlock it.  My choice for this was DVD43, which installs and runs completely in the background.  While I haven’t had problems with it, some have.  An alternate program would be DVDFab (which has a free version).  It will remove the copy protection and copy the DVD files to your hard drive, instead of using them directly from the DVD.

You will need software that can ‘rip’ a movie from DVD to your computer in AVI format.  My choice was based on price (free), and reviews and comments by some of the users.  For this task, I selected DVDx.  There is a paid version that includes decryption, but that will be handled by DVD43 of DVDFab.  With DVDFab, the files are already on your drive, so you will select them from there, otherwise you will pull them off of the DVD and dynamically convert them to AVI.

Once the movie is in AVI format, you will need editing software.  For this, I chose VirtualDub.  Again, it is free software and should do what I need it to.  I’m sure that there are others available, but the comments about this were good.

So, now that I have a plan, I just need to chose a movie….



  1. Elaine said,

    Very interesting. I look forward to learning how you manage to do this.

  2. chocolatechic said,

    Kudos to you.

    There are several great movies out there that just need some brief editing.

  3. capitalggeek said,

    So far, it appears to be going quite slowly. Unless you are very familiar with the movie, you will need to watch the entire thing in the dubbing software to select what needs to be removed,. Then you rock it back and forth frame by frame until you can mark the end points and remove the section, then on to the next section.

    I wonder if I have gotten over my head with this one. Because of the amount of work, I think this process will have to be reserved for VERY good movies that you want the kids to see.

    Any suggestions?

  4. capitalggeek said,

    OK. I picked National Lampoon’s ‘Christmas Vacation’ – more because I had it available than anything else.

    It has taken the better part of three hours, and I am about 75% of the way through the movie. I probably should have picked a movie with more substance, but at least I am getting an editing workout. I don’t think that the movie loses anything by what I have removed, and it is definitely clean. I’ve probably clipped 10+ minutes from it so far.

    When it is done, my wife will have to be the final judge. I’m sure you’ll hear from her about it.

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