Copying DVDs has become amazingly easy. I picked up a Samsung DVD burner from NewEgg for $33. They forgot the software, so I had them mail that separately, which is well worth it since it is Nero and includes not only the burning utilities but also the parts to leverage the Lightscribe labels.
I installed DVD Decrypter (pretty much optional) and DVD Shrink (find them on your own, but I suggest doom9.org as a first try). I use DVD Decrytper to rip DVDs to my hard disk, and then I use DVD Shrink to remove a few unnecessary things, like foreign language audio tracks, and also to burn since it can shuttle the project off to either DVD Decrypter (which can burn) or Nero itself. That’s it! I ran a test copy of Fast and the Furious which happens to be a dual layer DVD. The ripping portion took about 15 minutes, I think, and DVD Shrink worked on the contents (about 4.5 GB on disk) for about 30 minutes. I removed two audio tracks. It then went right over and burned in about 5 minutes or so to a non-dual layer DVD.
With Nero, I was able to create a Lightscribe label in about 5 minutes and burn it on in about 15 minutes. I just did a quick Google Image search for Fast and the Furious images, picked the first one (which happened to be huge), plopped it on without resizing or playing with the brightness, and let it loose. The label isn’t breathtaking or drop-dead gorgeous. It really just looks like a badly washed out greyscale image, but the quality (if you look closely) seems pretty nice. I’ll likely use it rather than markers, and I likely will still use actual images as opposed to bland text in text boxes. I’m not really doing anything professional, just makin’ copies!
All told, that was only about an hour of time and only about 10 minutes of actual work. Since I do this on my gaming machine, it gets to dedicate its time to this task when I’m not gaming (and holy crap does the processing of DVD Shrink drop to a trickle when I fire up WoW!). I keep that system pretty slimmed down, so that 1 hour is not a bad deal really.
Blank DVDs with Lightscribe will run me about $1 per disc. Dual layer guys will be about $1.5-2 per disc. At least that was my 2 seconds estimation while standing at Best Buy. That’s still not bad at all as I estimate my typical DVD purchase is $14, give or take. This is why DVD
copying pirating is still worthwhile, I guess!