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Old March 9th, 2017, 08:02 PM   #1
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Handbrake

I recently started using it to encode HD mp4 for USB flash distribution to solve a media player playback issue.

I've been shocked how much it can reduce the file size.

What do people think of its quality compared to Apple's Compressor?

What's people's opinion on what settings to use?

It's not easy to compare the differences between the bit rates... For me even though I'd like the highest quality if the bitrate is too high and a client has playback issues the high quality becomes a moot point.

I also noticed it likes to crop. So 1920x1080 becomes 1896x1060. I found away to prevent this. But can anyone tell me why?
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Old March 10th, 2017, 12:16 AM   #2
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Re: Handbrake

Hi Pete
I use Handbrake to transcode Cinelerra or Kdenlive lossless masters to MP4 (I'm on Linux) at 8000kbps and it does a fine job. Auto Crop is left checked (Dimensions tab) and Storage Geometry is set to Width 1920, Height 1080. Optimal for source is not selected and I have no problems with it cropping the output.

Under the Video tab I have selected Bitrate and set the slider to 8000.

Under the Audio Defaults tab I have set Encoder to AAC and selected Bitrate at 160.

I have those settings saved as a preset and made it my default.
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Old March 10th, 2017, 10:50 AM   #3
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Re: Handbrake

It seems to make cropping decisions based on black areas in the preview images. I guess the idea is that it will crop the black part out of a letterboxed Cinemascope movie. But yeah, it can be annoying. I found that it helps to go to the advanced preferences and set the number of previews to the maximum (60). I think this forces the software to look at more frames when making a cropping decision. But sometimes it is just stubborn and you need to manually set cropping to the full frame.

I have primarily used it with standard definition video and have been very impressed. Easy to use and the quality seems as good as Compressor. Also nice for doing deinterlacing. Am working with a lot of 15 year old 480i60 footage now and converting to 480p30 using highest quality motion compensated deinterlacing in Compressor. Looks very nice but takes something like 12 hours to do a one hour video on my quad i7 2.6ghz Mac Mini.

Best quality deinterlacing in Handbrake takes maybe 40 minutes and looks almost as good. To be fair, I haven't tried the lower quality deinterlace options in Compressor, I'm sure they are also a lot faster.
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Old March 12th, 2017, 10:11 AM   #4
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Re: Handbrake

The not-so-secret secret of Handbrake's quality is the x264 codec, an h.264 compliant codec. Quite simply, it's the best. That's been independently tested and verified in a university research program. Additionally, HB includes best-practices methods of Lanczos scaling and Yadif deinterlacing.

Quicktime mov using Apple's version of the h.264 codec is not so good. A couple years ago Jan Ozer noted a method for using the x264 codec in Compressor. It's probably somewhere on his website, streaminglearningcenter.com.

I'm not very familiar with Apple's version of h.264 in an MP4 wrapper, but it's gotta' be better than QT/h.264!

The versions of Handbrake across different OS' are slightly different in their controls. There is a compression concept called "modulus", which can be very important with some codecs. E.g., the width and height of the frame (in pixels) should each be evenly divisible by 16, or 8, or 4, or 2 for best compression efficiency (quality for a given bitrate).

Some or all versions of HB default to a modulus mode, seemingly restricting your choices of frame dimensions, but there will be a checkbox or radio buttons in the Picture Settings window to change this. IIRC, it's below the pixel dims spinners. But they don't call it modulus... but it's some term related to strict interpretation of anamorphic/PAR.

I don't do much with interlaced content. With progressive, HB is one of the *fastest* encoders!
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Old March 12th, 2017, 02:27 PM   #5
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Re: Handbrake

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seth Bloombaum View Post
but there will be a checkbox or radio buttons in the Picture Settings window to change this. IIRC, it's below the pixel dims spinners. But they don't call it modulus.
On the Mac version there's a dropdown menu called "Modulus" with 2, 4, 8 and 16 choices. It's underneath the Anamorphic dropdown menu in the picture settings.
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Old March 13th, 2017, 01:24 PM   #6
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Re: Handbrake

The issue I have with Compressor is although there are many output options there are only two wrappers: Quicktime and mp4. Those wrappers are tailored towards Apple devices and are not as universal.

From what I read and have experienced Handbrake excels with variable bitrate and you set an RF number that maintains a level of quality.

The more I work with HD distribution on a USB flash drive the more I find incompatible issues. This weekend I tried to play a movie on my parents bluray usb player. I didn't work because it needed to be in an mkv wrapper. Luckily I also brought a dvd. I really don't understand how some members here are able to distribute on usb flash drives.
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