Originally Posted by HarryT
Handbrake is free. Open Source, in fact. But I don't like it, personally.
I prefer it over the myriad of commercial offerings that are nothing more than graphical wrappers around ffmpeg and libavcodec.
Originally Posted by ApK
For myself, I usually pick settings that make a typical feature film to come out between 500-700MB.
I end up with a file small enough to carry several on my portable devices, and clear enough to watch on my 32" TV. Not HD quality, but anything better than VHS quality is adequate for my purposes.
That's perhaps one of the biggest mistakes made when encoding videos. Unless a video file will be played on a large screen, there is no need to use bitrates and resolutions that result in 2GB+ files.
I typically have 2-3 digital copies of some of my DVDs depending upon the device they'll be played on. Works out pretty well.