- Handbrake is open-source and free software under license GNU GPLv2. The initial release was in 2003 and has been up to date. As for Apr 2021, the latest stable version is 1.33 (released on June 13, 2020) and available for Windows, Linux, and macOS. To see a full list of fixes and improvements, check Handbrake’s release notes on GitHub.
- Handbrake should do the entire file. Try one of those same movies again and check that the entire movie is selected. It may be broken up into chapters and only the first chapter is being selected and converted. This will especially be the case if coming straight from a DVD.
Windows HandBrake for Windows support 9595 Topics 50818 Posts Last post by rollineng Tue Nov 16, 2021 3:51 pm.nix. Archive of historical bug reports.
This is a simple easy guide on how to make the best H.265 encodes with the smallest file size in Handbrake without having to know or understand all of the settings. Just copy my settings and you’re done!
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*Whilst your user interface may appear slightly different than shown here (depending on if you are using Windows, Mac or Linux), the settings and results will be the same across all platforms.*
**NOTE** – These settings are for DVD Video ONLY – A tutorial for BluRay settings is coming soon!.
To see the “SHORT VERSION” summary of instructions
CLICK HERE TO EXPAND
1 Open file in Handbrake and make sure you are on the “Summary” tab
2 Select your preferred output file format “MKV’ or “MP4” (MKV was used for this tutorial)
3 Click “Dimensions” tab and make sure “Automatic” is selected
4 Click the “Filters” tab
5 Make sure “Interlace Detection” is set to “Default”
6 Set “Deinterlace” to “Decomb”
7 Set “Preset” to “Default”
8 Make sure everything else is set to “Off”
9 Click the “Video” tab
10 Select “H.265” from the Video Codec drop down menu
11 Select “Same As Source” in “Framerate”
12 Check the “Constant Framerate” button
13 Set “Encoder Preset” slider to “Medium”
14 Set “Encoder Tune” to “None”
15 Set “Encoder Profile” to “Main”
16 Set “Encoder Level” to “4.1” – If this wont play on your system drop it back to “3.1”
17 Set the “Constant Quality” slider to “20” if you want great picture quality – If you don’t mind a slightly softer picture and would prefer a smaller file size set it to “24”
18 In the “Additional Options” box copy and paste the following:
19 Click the “Audio” tab
20 Select the 5.1 channel soundtrack
21 Set “Codec” to ‘AC3 Passthru”
22 Click the “Subtitles” tab
23 Click the “X” at the right side to remove the subtitles track if you don’t want them, if you do and need more help check out my subtitles article Coming Soon!
24 Click the “Chapters” tab
25 Uncheck the “Create Chapter Markers” option if you don’t want them or leave it checked if you do
26 Press the Green “Start Encode” button
The LONG VERSION begins here.
THE GOAL – To produce the highest quality video with the smallest possible file size, whilst retaining the entire original 5.1 Dolby Digital sound track.
DISCLAIMER – This method will produce very nice quality videos, but may take SEVERAL hours process to each hour of video! Unfortunately, good quality video with small file size cant be done quickly, it just doesn’t work that way. Also, all set-ups are different. We all have different size TV’s that use differing upscale methods, different size and shape rooms, different players and a plethora of other factors that could produce varying results. This is a guideline, and a great place for a beginner to start. If you feel there is something that could be done better, or should be done differently, please feel free to let us all know by leaving a comment.
THE TECHNICAL STUFF – My TV is a 65″ Samsung 4K, and I sit about 10-12 feet back from it. I play the media from a Apple TV 4K, and use the Infuse Pro 6 player app. The video is encoded on a 5-6 year old HP desktop computer with a Intel I5 processor. The version of Handbrake used in this tutorial is v1.3.3 which is the current stable release for January 2021. The details of my DVD Source are shown below in Media Info video data viewer.
Once you have the current version installed and have ripped your DVD video, drop your file into Handbrake, or you can also click the “Open Source” button in the top left to load your video file. Handbrake utilizes 7 tabs to help you navigate though setting up the desired video file output parameters.
Once your video has loaded you should find yourself on the “Summary” tab. If not, click Summary
The only thing we need to be concerned with here is the output file format option.
Select either “MKV” or “MP4” and then click the “Dimensions” Tab. (MKV was used for this tutorial and is my personal preference)
Handbrake has become really good at automatically picking the right video output size settings, so I recommend not touching anything in this window unless you have to. Just make sure that the “Automatic” option is set for cropping.
Next up, click the “Filters” Tab.
The first thing we will tackle is Interlacing. Different countries use different display methods. Where I am in Australia we use Interlaced video, which draws the screen in two separate passes and interlaces them together. Once your eye is aware of interlacing it is very hard to un-see, and is quite annoying. Progressive scanning is much nicer to watch. It draws each frame from start to finish in a progressive line. We are going to set Handbrake up so it doesn’t matter what kind your source video is, your output will be progressive. For “Interlace Detection” make sure it is set to “Default”. For “Deinterlace” select “Decomb”, and make sure the preset is set to “Default”. The default decomb method is quick and does a pretty good job.
Next is an optional step. If your source video is an old production it might be quite coarse to look at. If you want to clean it up and smooth it to look nicer on that big HD TV you can follow the next step. If you want to leave it in its original state (Like if you want to preserve the film grain look) you can skip this step.
Click Here To Expand and Show Optional Filter Instructions
For the Denoise drop down option select “NLMeans”. Whilst it is a bit slower than the “hqdn3d” option it produces a nicer result.
Once you have selected “NLMeans” two more selections will appear. This is where it becomes difficult to create a “one setting fixes all” solution, as every source video will have different imperfections and artifacts. What I have found is that “Less is More”, so try to go as sparingly as possible to avoid introducing new issues. Start with setting the “Preset” to “Ultralight”.
For the “Tune” drop down, in most cases “Film” is going to be the preferred option here.
If your source video was poorly encoded and has “block” artifacts (squares or tile effect in the picture) you can tune it out here by turning “Deblock” on and selecting “Ultralight” or “Light”.
Again, less is more here as well so don’t choose “Strong” or you will end up with a unpleasant video encode.
|**TIME SAVING TIP** – If you want to quickly see what effects your settings have on the video your best bet is to use one of the many editor or splitter programs available to cut off a 1-2 minute chunk of your source video file. Then you can quickly run it through Handbrake and see how your settings look before encoding the whole file. Handbrake does have a built in preview (click the “Preview” button in the top right of the window) but it is nowhere near as effective or accurate as encoding a small chunk of the actual video.|
Next, click the Video tab.
This is where the magic happens. First up we need to select the “H.265” codec, so select it from the “Video Codec” drop down menu.
Next we need to select the framerate. In most cases there will be no need to modify the framerate so select “Same As Source”
In the past when playing with Variable Framerates I have had occasional sync issues, where video and audio tracks skew. For this reason I recommend sticking with “Constant Framerate”. Variable framerates are also not supported by some players.
And now the part that we all struggle with, the speed vs quality setting. We all want our encodes to finish quickly and be the highest possible quality, but you cant really have both. It is a sliding scale where fast encodes=poor quality and good quality=slow encodes. In testing the current version of Handbrake I have found the sweet spot on my system (specs mentioned above) is the “Medium” setting. This is also the H.265 codecs default setting, where filesize, encode speed and quality seems to be at its optimum. Avoid the temptation to go fast and stick with medium, as it is actually faster encoding a file slowly only once, as opposed to having to do it again because it looks bad. Filesize is also affected at different speeds.
For “Encoder Tune” select “None”
Set the “Encoder Profile” option to “Main”
For “Encoder Level” I usually set this to “4.1” and have no problems playing back files on my Apple TV 4K. Some older playback devices may not be happy with this setting, so if your video file wont play drop this back to “3.1”.
Next is the “Quality” slider. This will determine the overall file size and affect the encode quality considerably. Again, it is a sliding scale between file size and quality. If you are like me and spend more time looking for artifact’s in the encode than watching the actual movie you will want to select “20” on the “Constant Quality” slider. If a slightly softer picture doesn’t bother you and you would prefer to reduce the file size even more move the slider to “24”.
Now it’s time for the secret sauce. Adding additional arguement’s in the “Advanced Options” window allows even greater tuning of the codecs performance. Copy and paste the following:
|If you are interested in learning more about Additional Options Arguments check out the H.265 Documentation|
Once you have completed all of these steps, move to the Audio Tab.
My source video has three audio tracks, and you can definitely keep them all if you want to. To reduce file size I am only going to keep number 1, the Japanese AC3 track so I have selected it in the drop down box. I will eliminate the Japanese DTS track (number 2) as most TV’s no longer support this format, and I will also eliminate the Mandarin AC3 track (number 3).
If you want to preserve a second audio track click “Add Track” and it will add another line of options, and you can select the second track you want to keep in the same way you selected the first track.
I want to preserve the Dolby Digital sound in its entirety, so I am going to select “Pass Thru” which allows the audio track to pass through Handbrake untouched and un-modified.
If you want to compress it down to 2 channels and reduce file size even further by using an audio codec like mp3 you can do so here as well.
The next step is the “Subtitles” tab.
If your source file contains subtitles and you don’t want to retain them, click the square at the right side to remove the subtitle track from the encode.
In this case I want to keep the English subtitles, so I have selected the subtitles track I want to keep from the drop down box.
As I wish to keep the entire subtitles set, and I want to be able to turn them off and on, I will uncheck “Forced Only” and “Burn In”
On to the final tab, click “Chapters”
If your source file contains chapter markers, Handbrake will recognise them and set them up automatically. I will leave the default “Create Chapter Markers” setting checked. If you do not wish to create chapter markers simply uncheck this setting.
As most media players now allow you to scroll pretty quickly through video files, chapter markers are not really required anymore.
NOW ITS TIME TO ENCODE!
If you are only doing one file, press “Start Encode”, and your computer will start crunching down the video. If you want to encode multiple files using these settings, click “Add to Queue”, then drag in your second title. Once it has finished importing, just press “Add to Queue” again to add it for encoding using the same settings. Once all of your subsequent files have been added to the queue, press “Start Encode” to get things moving.
It might also be a good idea at this time to create a Preset for these settings, so you don’t have to enter them all manually each time you want to use them.
Click Here to Expand and Learn How To Create A Preset
Go back to the summary tab and click on “Save New Preset”. Give your preset a name. Clicking “Add” now will save only the video settings, which I recommend as most of your subtitle and audio track details will be different from title to title. If you are encoding an entire season of a show it will definitely be worthwhile configuring the audio and subtitle preferences as they should be the same throughout all episodes.
RESULTS – I encoded the source DVD twice. Once at a Constant Quality of 20, and another at 24. The encode at 20 reduced the file from 6.18GB down to 1.08GB, a reduction of about 82%. The quality is extremely good and almost indistinguishable from the source.
Click Here to Expand and View Detailed Encode Results
The second encode at “Constant Quality 24” produced a file of only 811MB, which is about 87% smaller than the source. It is still very watchable, with no block artifacts, but the picture is softer (not sharp).
Using Darby Johnston’s awesome and free video review tool DJV I have been able to isolate a frame of interest. Below you can see frame 53034. This frame from the DVD source shows the horrible interlacing. The Constant Quality 20 encode (CQ20) looks a great deal nicer, and the frame from Constant Quality 24 (CQ24) looks better than the DVD, but you can see some artifacts creeping in on the right hand side
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WHERE TO GO FROM HERE– As I said earlier, this is a guideline, and a great place for a beginner to start. I recommend starting with these settings and then tweaking here and there to get things perfect for your set up. The best way to do this is to use a free movie splitter and take out 1-2 minutes of your movie and encode that first as a test. This way you can make adjustments fast without having to wait for the whole movie to encoded. Adjust your test segment then play it on your TV, if it needs adjusting, fix it up and re-encode it again and again until it is just perfect, then do the whole movie. The only setting you will need to adjust if you find the picture contains artifacts is the “Constant Quality” slider.