Thanks for the tutorial Chris!
Because I'm using the Windows version of Handbrake (on Vista), even with your tutorial I was having a REAL hard time getting Handbrake to work - so much so that I gave up and started looking for other solutions. I tried a bunch of them and was semi-happy with Nero Recode, but I didn't want to shell out the cash for it - especially since I was only semi-happy with it. So I returned to Handbrake (hard to beat free) and kept experimenting. Finally, through LOTS of trial and error, I learned a few secrets to Handbrake and now I LOVE it! It's worked like a charm for every DVD I've converted. So I humbly submit a few of the things I learned along the way - to hopefully save the next guy a little anguish:
1. You must select the VIDEO_TS folder as the source, not just the DVD drive.
2. Don't select "automatic" under DVD Title - Select the main movie (which should be title 1, or the longest title).
3. Set the Width to 480, but leave the Height BLANK! If you selected a DVD Title, Handbrake will automatically detect the aspect ratio and entering a Height is completely unnecessary.
4. Set Cropping to Auto Crop - Handbrake does a great job of cutting off the black bars on the top and bottom (and some from the sides when necessary).
The main thing I was doing wrong was leaving the DVD Title set to Automatic and entering both a Width and a Height. No matter what I put in, I got a distorted picture (wrong aspect ratio) - IF I got anything at all. Once I learned to select the proper title (so Handbrake knows what aspect ratio to use) and leave the Height blank, Handbrake has worked great!