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Old 04-04-2013, 10:18 AM   #1
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Default Handbrake video conversion software questions

I noticed Berry120 had mentioned Handbrake to another member and found myself curious about it. I downloaded a copy and had a look.
First thing I noticed is it's not real user friendly. It takes too much putzing around with it to get it to work. Once you figure it out it does the job. One at a time.
Ok questions:
1> A there any other formats it can do besides MKV and MP4?
2> Can it do multiple conversions? (More than one at a time?)

Before any one says RTFM, I did RTFM. Maybe I missed something maybe not. Asking some one that uses it already, for me, is a lot quicker than sorting through all that techno babble.

I normally use GomEncoder to do the heavy lifting. It can do 4 at a time and has a multitude of formats it can read and convert to. Catch is it's 34.95usd. I have a license that I forgot about that was on my laptop. They let me transfer it off the lappy to the desk rig. I encoded 8 2 hour movies in less than 2 hours. Keeping in mind computer horsepower has a lot to do with that.

But I'm always on the lookout for freeware that can do the job.
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Old 04-04-2013, 09:36 PM   #2
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Default Re: Handbrake video conversion software questions

The only containers available as far as I know are MP4 and MKV. You also have several video codec options, H.264, MPEG-4, MPEG-2, and VP3. The most popular option would be MP4 + H.264. Is there any reason why you would want something different?

You can't do multiple videos at once but you can add multiple videos to a queue so it will do them one at a time.
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Old 04-04-2013, 09:46 PM   #3
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Default Re: Handbrake video conversion software questions

If you want something a little more flexible, look for a download of EO Video 1.36. It's an older piece of software that has been discontinued but it has a lot of features. Free 30 day trial. Uninstalling and reinstalling the software will get around the limit, it's abandonware anyway. Installing the CCCP Codec pack might help if you don't already have it.
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Old 04-05-2013, 10:25 AM   #4
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Default Re: Handbrake video conversion software questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by setishock View Post
I noticed Berry120 had mentioned Handbrake to another member and found myself curious about it. I downloaded a copy and had a look.
First thing I noticed is it's not real user friendly. It takes too much putzing around with it to get it to work. Once you figure it out it does the job. One at a time.
Sure thing, it's not *that* user friendly once you go beyond its presets - but it's incredibly powerful, and that's mainly why I use it. As you point out, once you figure out what to do it's fine.
Quote:
Ok questions:
1> A there any other formats it can do besides MKV and MP4?
Nope. AVI support was discontinued long ago (it's a crappy old container format anyway.) If you really want it then you can grab an older version and use that to encode - I tend to use MKV for everything these days, it's well supported and incredibly flexible.
Quote:
2> Can it do multiple conversions? (More than one at a time?)
It can queue conversions up - just hit "add to queue" when you've got your settings in there and it'll add it to the conversion queue. It can't do more than one at once, but there would be little point since it maxes out the CPU anyway (so the net effect would be that you'd get, say two encodes that take twice as long to complete rather than one encode available after half the time, and the other available after the full time.)

Quote:
Before any one says RTFM, I did RTFM. Maybe I missed something maybe not. Asking some one that uses it already, for me, is a lot quicker than sorting through all that techno babble.
Nothing wrong with that!

Quote:
I normally use GomEncoder to do the heavy lifting. It can do 4 at a time and has a multitude of formats it can read and convert to. Catch is it's 34.95usd. I have a license that I forgot about that was on my laptop. They let me transfer it off the lappy to the desk rig. I encoded 8 2 hour movies in less than 2 hours. Keeping in mind computer horsepower has a lot to do with that.

But I'm always on the lookout for freeware that can do the job.
What format do you need to convert to? If you have the need to convert to something other than what handbrake supports then this may well be better for your purposes. However, everything that I convert goes into MKV contained h264, and for that I haven't found anything better than handbrake.

In terms of speed, chances are it's single threaded which is why it's doing 4 concurrently (handbrake uses x264 underneath which is arguably the best h264 encoder out there, and will make use of all available cores. GOM may use the same thing.) It gets quite hard to compare speed unless you know exactly what encoding settings are being used - and this is where things get a bit tricky if you're comparing with different encoders.

The default handbrake settings make a good speed / efficiency trade off, but you can change this if you wish - you may want to bookmark this page with settings you can paste into handbrake to mimic the x264 preset settings. (Head over to the advanced tab in handbrake to paste them in in the text box at the bottom.) Personally I encode everything on veryslow, since my computer stays on pretty much constantly and I don't really care how long these things take to complete (I would use placebo, but you're talking ~ 0.001% increase in quality / file size for an encode time that stretches over 10x longer than the veryslow preset.) If encode time is a priority, then feel free to go up the other way (though if you get to ultrafast I'd say you've gone too far!)

Generally if I want to transcode with handbrake, I'll do the following:
  1. If it's a DVD / Blu-ray, rip with MakeMKV to extract the disc onto the hard drive and remove all encryption (apart from a broken disc, haven't found anything that MakeMKV fails at.) You could stop there, this gives you a playable uncompressed MKV, but the next steps will dramatically reduce the file size without (if you're careful) any noticeable degradation in quality.
  2. Take the file to transcode, drag it into handbrake, and set the output file (I usually use MKV and x264.)
  3. Use "constant quality" (default) and drag the slider up from 20 to 18 (that's right, it works in reverse, this is an increase in quality!) To start with I didn't do this but found that in some action films I saw noticeable blocking in some of the fast scenes, this combined with the veryslow preset has all but eliminated that issue.
  4. Head to the audio tab, and select the "Auto pass thru" option to make sure any surround sound is preserved and not downmixed to 2.1 (had to re-encode a lot of DVDs when I didn't do this the first time around!)
  5. Head over to the advanced panel and in the text box at the bottom, copy the following to mimic the veryslow preset:
    ref=16:bframes=8:b-adapt=2:direct=auto:me=umh:merange=24:subq=10:rc-lookahead=60:analyse=all:trellis=2
  6. Hit the start button.
  7. If you've got more than one thing to encode, repeat from the beginning, only this time hit the "add to queue" button instead of the "start" button.

Of course, that's by no means the one and only way to do things, and handbrake's default settings are acceptable, but if you want consistently good rips and don't mind leaving the computer running for long periods of time, then to me this is a good option. I've had mine running for days on end encoding lots of 1080p Blu-ray series this way, but you only need to do it once and the resulting quality in my mind makes it more than worth it. Whenever I get a DVD or Blu-ray now, it gets ripped via this method, using entirely free software, and while the results can take a while I've yet to see any other combination in the free or paid domain that can beat it (other formats and file types aside, of course.) All the files then get loaded onto the media server so I can browse and watch all the films I own, legally, without looking for any discs or (in the case of Blu-ray) waiting a million years for the damn thing to load.

When I have needed things more quickly to watch, I've generally used the "faster" setting to get what I want temporarily, and then run the same job on "veryslow" for cataloguing later.

When h265 (HEVC) support becomes widespread, I'll hopefully move over to that and further improve the quality per disk space (could halve disk space for some films if the early demos are anything to go by.) That's a while off yet though!

Any questions, just shout!
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Old 04-05-2013, 10:59 AM   #5
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Default Re: Handbrake video conversion software questions

How long is "veryslow"? For a DVD what time frame are we talking about? I have quite a collection of DVD's and I've noticed some of them are getting scratched up a good bit. I've been thinking about backing up for a while now and this seems like a great way. Will I have to worry about the encryption and protections on new releases?
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Old 04-05-2013, 02:27 PM   #6
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Default Re: Handbrake video conversion software questions

What I'm trying to do is get the fuzzy look out of a lot of the anime series I have. They look second or third hand and have gotten a look about them that's not out of focus but more of watered down data. Buy trying other formats for the conversion, I'm hoping to get back some of the sharpness. Clearer and better defined would be better terms.

My Ghost in the Shell episodes look good as they stand but some of the other older series have picked up that fuzzy look. So by jiggering the settings in Handbrake or GomEncoder either one can I clear up the fuzzy look or is it going to take another program to do that?
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Old 04-05-2013, 06:17 PM   #7
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Default Re: Handbrake video conversion software questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by setishock View Post
What I'm trying to do is get the fuzzy look out of a lot of the anime series I have. They look second or third hand and have gotten a look about them that's not out of focus but more of watered down data. Buy trying other formats for the conversion, I'm hoping to get back some of the sharpness. Clearer and better defined would be better terms.

My Ghost in the Shell episodes look good as they stand but some of the other older series have picked up that fuzzy look. So by jiggering the settings in Handbrake or GomEncoder either one can I clear up the fuzzy look or is it going to take another program to do that?
Do you have high quality originals? If you are just converting from one to another, the quality will degrade.
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Old 04-05-2013, 07:18 PM   #8
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Default Re: Handbrake video conversion software questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by setishock View Post
What I'm trying to do is get the fuzzy look out of a lot of the anime series I have. They look second or third hand and have gotten a look about them that's not out of focus but more of watered down data. Buy trying other formats for the conversion, I'm hoping to get back some of the sharpness. Clearer and better defined would be better terms.

My Ghost in the Shell episodes look good as they stand but some of the other older series have picked up that fuzzy look. So by jiggering the settings in Handbrake or GomEncoder either one can I clear up the fuzzy look or is it going to take another program to do that?
Handbrake isn't what you're looking for then. It doesn't restore quality to a video, it just converts it from one format to another (and lemoves some quality along the way unless you disable compression) It sounds like you're looking for a way to sharpen lines up, which is actually harder than it sounds. You'll need a proper video editor for this. Apart from after effects, I'm not sure what is good. Hopefully another member can suggest something here.


You should also make sure you're using a good codec. Ffdshow seems to be the most common, but its image quality is lacking. I use madVR personally. This won't really make a big difference, but it is noticeable to me.


Can you post some example images of what you mean by "fuzziness?"

EDIT: I forgot about this. Some video players have a "sharpen" fliter, which should help a bit. I ktow VLC does, not sure about media player classic or any other specific ones though. Try this and see if it helps any.
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Old 04-06-2013, 07:52 AM   #9
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Default Re: Handbrake video conversion software questions

Quote:
How long is "veryslow"? For a DVD what time frame are we talking about? I have quite a collection of DVD's and I've noticed some of them are getting scratched up a good bit. I've been thinking about backing up for a while now and this seems like a great way. Will I have to worry about the encryption and protections on new releases?
On my i5 box (2500k, not overclocked) it takes around half an hour to an hour on default settings to encode a DVD, and around 3-5 hours on the custom settings I've detailed above. If you use MakeMKV first then I very much doubt you'll run into problems with encryption - I haven't found any disk that it struggles with. However, if it does then the author is rather active on his forums and will gladly apply any patches necessary to get it to work with whatever disk you're having an issue with.

Quote:
What I'm trying to do is get the fuzzy look out of a lot of the anime series I have. They look second or third hand and have gotten a look about them that's not out of focus but more of watered down data. Buy trying other formats for the conversion, I'm hoping to get back some of the sharpness. Clearer and better defined would be better terms.

My Ghost in the Shell episodes look good as they stand but some of the other older series have picked up that fuzzy look. So by jiggering the settings in Handbrake or GomEncoder either one can I clear up the fuzzy look or is it going to take another program to do that?
As foothead said, one format over another won't really help sharpness, the choice of codec will determine how good a quality you can get for a particular bit-rate and therefore file size, and the choice of container (mkv for instance) will determine what things you can store in it (video being the obvious one, but mkv for instance supports separate subtitle tracks, audio tracks and so on - avi does not.)

Again as foothead said, the best way would be to load up after effects or similar and have a play around, but restoring quality to videos is not something that I'm familiar with since I rip straight from the originals.

However, handbrake has some basic settings in this regard you might want to play around with - I'd do some encodes on a fast setting to see if any of them get the results you want before doing a full blown veryslow based encode. On the picture tab, there's various filters that can be applied, such as decomb, deinterlate, denoise and so on. Some may help a little (see here for an explanation.)
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Old 04-13-2013, 06:54 AM   #10
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Default Re: Handbrake video conversion software questions

A few other people from around started asking me about this process as well, so I decided to throw together a comprehensive guide detailing what programs I use, the process I go through for each disk and the various settings I use on those programs.

If you're interested, then you can take a look here. Comments and suggestions welcome!
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