I am a novice to video editing circle, but I have a Dell Dimension 8100. I want to buy the software and hardware to rip my DVDs for backup copies. What is the best software and hardware to purchase for this task? Also, home much RAM and hard drive space should I have? I heard DVD ripper is a good program for creating the menus on the back up copies just like the original. Is anyone familiar with that software?
Search around the site for RDRAM and DDR RAM. 512 MB is good enough - if you're going to buy a Pentium 4 processor RDRAM is the way to go. The Canopus ADVC-100 is an awesome capture device, though some are using Matrox RT.X100 for faster rendering (if RDRAM is too slow for you go with Matrox RT.X100 or RT.X10 - but RDRAM is extremely fast and hasn't let me down so far..).
Yes, you can search the internet and find Smart Ripper, which will decrypt the video and remove the Macrovision. Unfortunately, (or fortunately to me, as I like all the extra stuff on the DVD) the vast majority of commercial DVD's are dual layer, containing about 8 GB of material. The only way to crunch that down to fit on a 4.7 GB DVD is to re-encode it at a lower bitrate.
Now DVD X-Copy is supposed to copy it without removing the encryption, thereby being theoretically legal, but it'll split the DVD onto 2 DVD recordables. Figure out the cost of the program, your time, the cost of the blank DVD's, and you're better off just buying a previously viewed copy at your local video rental store.