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How to Calculate Handbrake Video Bitrate/Quality Settings

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HandBrake[1] is powerfull integration of DVD ripping and video converting software. It is open-sourced and cross-platform on Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. As for free program, HandBrake gains great reputation and popularity. However, some of HandBrake's settings are always confusing to the regular users, such as mostly concerned issue - How to calculate Handbrake video bitrate/quality settings when ripping DVD and converting Videos. And this article aims at illustrating you how to compute these complicated settings to choose the parameters that are perfectly suitable for your need.

Understanding of HandBrake Video Setting Control Panel

Video Codec is device or software that enables video compression and/or decompression for digital video. Video codec used by HandBrake includes MPEG-4 and H.264. MPEG-4 is one of the latest compression method standardized by MPEG group, and H.264 (Also known as AVC, MPEG-4 Part 10) achieve high quality video in relatively low bitrates. There are minor quality difference between MPEG-4 and H.264 codec.

Frame rate is the frequency at which an imaging device produces unique consecutive images called frames.

Handbrake video bitrate/quality settings

2-Pass Encoding: when you use average bitrate in 2-pass mode, the encoding will take twice as long. It can do a better job doling out bitrate, and you get a better quality video closer to the average bitrate you told it use.

Turbo first Pass: by enabling this, when encoding 2-pass with x264, you can cut down the time of the first pass by 50%-75%. There will be a drop in quality, but so slight as to be imperceptible to the eye.

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Here comes the most concerned matter - HandBrake Quality Settings

1. Target size, really, is just the flip-side of average bitrate. The size of a video is the bitrate times the length. So if you have limited HDD storage space or you nearly run out iPad 64G, iPhone 32G memory space, you can choose Target size option. Then according to your demand on output size, HandBrake will calculate the proper bitrate on the basis of formula above. And the input value will be in MB units.

2. Sometimes you may have fair enough HDD space and rather than worry about the output video file size, you attach more importance to the Video Quality. Under the premise of avoid storage space waste, you are willingly to find a balance between video size and quality. Therefore you can manually set the Avg Biterate to achieve this equilibrium.

Here is a more specific formula which guides you to calculate video Bitrate/Quality settings when ripping DVD and converting videos: Bitrate=outputwidth x outputheight x k x r

Note: Different video codec has diverse K value (H.264 k=0.012345, MPEG-4 k=0.0135), and R depends on the quality you desired (excellent r=1.0, good r=0.55, normal r=0.35).

Take 480P video as example. On the basis of formula above, you can calculate Handbrake video Bitrate/Quality settings when converting 480P video:

480P(720x480) h.264 excellent bitrate=4266 kbps, good bitrate=2346 kbps, normal bitrate=1493 kbps,
480P(720x480)mpeg4 excellent bitrate=4665 kbps, good bitrate=2565 kbps, normal bitrate=1632 kbps.

You'll notice that it is not as difficult as thought before. You can compute the approximate bitrate in accordence with the video codec you chosen and the file size you preferred. Please also take note that, this HandBrake Video Quality Setting formula is just approximately empirical formula, it can be applied to majority of video codecs, but not all of them. So you still need to make choices in accordance with actual situation.

3. With the average bitrate or target size methods, you control the size of the output file but give up control over the video's quality. Constant quality mode does the opposite; you specify a quality level and HandBrake adjusts the bitrate to meet it. Because it takes a different bitrate to reach a given quality level for any given part of any movie, the output size is unpredictable and varies from source to source. If you want to preserve the image quality, set HandBrake Quality Setting > Constantly Quality > around RF20. If you want to reserve some compression ratio, set HandBrake Quality Setting > Constantly Quality > around RF28. You'd better keep RF below 32, otherwise the output quality will be terrible.

Another Note: 100& applies no compression. So should you use 100% to perfectly preserve the source? Nope. You'll end up with video that's way larger than the DVD, but doesn't look any better. To sum up: when converting from a DVD source, there is no reason to go above 80% quality, which is roughly equivalent to how heavily the DVD is compressed. If you do go higher, your output will be larger than your input! However, as for some HandBrake Alternative for Ripping DVDs, like WinX DVD Ripper for Mac, they can make perfect backup of the DVDs by copying DVD to computer as MPEG2 video format with 100% original video, AC-3/DTS surrounding audio within only 5 minutes.

Something Wrong with HandBrake 0.9.4

1. From HandBrake V0.9.0 (Aug 19, 2007) to V0.9.4 (Nov 23, 2009), users always denounce the castigate of HandBrake that - how and when can HandBrake backup my own encrypted Disney DVDs (Learn to conquer HandBrake VLC 64bit Error when ripping copy-protected DVDs)?

2. From WikiPedia you learn that - HandBrake is designed to convert MPEG video (including DVD) into an MPEG-4 video in MP4 or Matroska (.mkv) containers. That means you have deadly limited output choices. Sometimes HandBrake developing team lack of deep-going analysis upon specific video conversion (without specific optimization to peculiar video codec, the conversion always consumes a lot of time).

3. Apart from HandBrake 0.9.4 powerful DVD/Video Converting ability, it needs much more user-friendly GUI, since not all of HandBrake users are masterful at computer things.

At Times HandBrake Alternative Software can achieve better Video Conversion

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Moreover, it is pretty hard to learn to create Handbrake iPad/iPhone preset settings, but with WinX DVD Ripper/Video Converter, you can not only use prepared iPad, iPhone, iPod, PSP, Xbox profile settings, but also make self-defined Profile settings for all your portable and console players at will.

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1. WinX DVD Ripper Platinum (Free download) and WinX DVD Ripper for Mac (Free Download) will make up ripping all DVDs that always cause troubles upon HandBrake (for instance backup Sony, Paramount and Disney encrypted DVDs).

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3. Moreover, WinX DVD/Video Converter software is designed with User-friendly GUI. As for inexperienced users, you can finish DVD/Video conversion with one-click solution.

Want to learn more details about HandBrake Video Bitrate/Quality Settings please Email to Digiarty Support Team.

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Related External Source

[1]: HandBrake - popular DVD/Video encoding software, open-sourced

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