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Old Dec 26, 2008, 05:11 AM   #1
brobins
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Handbrake Constant Quality not as good as Average Bitrate for me!?

Hi there,

I have been reading up for weeks and weeks now and have converted many videos through Handbrake, I started off using Average Bitrate and did a number of really successful encodes that looked amazing. These were all 5000kbs+

Then when the new Handbrake came out I updated and everyone was saying CQ was the way forward, so I started using that and I have been totally underwhelmed by the results. Everyone seems to say that no greater than 62% is required and for HD anything from 55% should be plenty.. I have to say, encoding a Blue-Ray with 55% produced a file of under 1gb and looked utter pants! Am I missing something here?

Every encode I did previously with Average Bitrate has been fantastic with bitrates of between 5000kbs and 6000kbs.. Even using 62% on a 720p source with the new settings the bitrate never seems to be above 3200kbs and doesnt look as good!?

Cheers
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Old Dec 26, 2008, 06:41 AM   #2
NightStorm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brobins View Post
Hi there,

I have been reading up for weeks and weeks now and have converted many videos through Handbrake, I started off using Average Bitrate and did a number of really successful encodes that looked amazing. These were all 5000kbs+

Then when the new Handbrake came out I updated and everyone was saying CQ was the way forward, so I started using that and I have been totally underwhelmed by the results. Everyone seems to say that no greater than 62% is required and for HD anything from 55% should be plenty.. I have to say, encoding a Blue-Ray with 55% produced a file of under 1gb and looked utter pants! Am I missing something here?

Every encode I did previously with Average Bitrate has been fantastic with bitrates of between 5000kbs and 6000kbs.. Even using 62% on a 720p source with the new settings the bitrate never seems to be above 3200kbs and doesnt look as good!?

Cheers
Are you using pure HD sources (i.e. not a MKV that has already been encoded once...not including when it was put on the HD-DVD/Bluray)? The 55% is for those sources, not scene MKVs. What's the bitrate of the source; is it even higher than 5000?

If you were encoding DVDs @ ABR 5000, you've been wasting a lot of hard drive space.
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Old Dec 26, 2008, 07:26 AM   #3
brobins
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NightStorm View Post
Are you using pure HD sources (i.e. not a MKV that has already been encoded once...not including when it was put on the HD-DVD/Bluray)? The 55% is for those sources, not scene MKVs. What's the bitrate of the source; is it even higher than 5000?

If you were encoding DVDs @ ABR 5000, you've been wasting a lot of hard drive space.
Ahh your right!! All my "HD Sources" have been from MKV that have already been encoded!

I gather I should just treat these in a similar fashion to DVDs then? i.e. raising the slider to 62% - 65% in some cases?

True Blueray then however then only needs the 55%?

Thanks
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Old Dec 26, 2008, 07:48 PM   #4
NightStorm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brobins View Post
Ahh your right!! All my "HD Sources" have been from MKV that have already been encoded!

I gather I should just treat these in a similar fashion to DVDs then? i.e. raising the slider to 62% - 65% in some cases?

True Blueray then however then only needs the 55%?

Thanks
I've been happy using 57% for my hddvd and bluray encodes.
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Old Dec 27, 2008, 08:12 AM   #5
brobins
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[QUOTE=
If you were encoding DVDs @ ABR 5000, you've been wasting a lot of hard drive space.[/QUOTE]

No, I have not encoded any DVDs at 5000kbs - all my stuff has been 720p
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Old Jan 3, 2009, 08:12 AM   #6
brobins
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Ok

I have re encoded a few of my movies again with CRF and have to say I am converted

I did Reservoir Dogs DVD last night on 61%

1011 x 432 Anamorphic Loose
AAC & AC3 Passthrough
All Chapter Markers

Using this Advanced String:

bframes=6:ref=6:mixed-refs=1:subq=6:me=umh:no-fast-pskip=1:trellis=2:bime=1:brdo=1:direct=auto:vbv-maxrate=4900:vbv-bufsize=3500

This gave me a file that is 1.09GB - Contains 2 Sound Tracks (one 5.1) - Plays super smooth on my AppleTV and looks amazing.

I am very happy with this, Using my previous method would have produced a file that is over 2GB but wouldn't necessarily look any better.

I have also used the same settings/string on Ghost Town 720p MKV 4.5GB. This file came out looking brilliant at 1024 x 576 - 2 Sound Tracks at 2GB.
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Old Mar 6, 2009, 10:06 AM   #7
swankinrosco
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brobins View Post
Ok

I have re encoded a few of my movies again with CRF and have to say I am converted

I did Reservoir Dogs DVD last night on 61%

1011 x 432 Anamorphic Loose
AAC & AC3 Passthrough
All Chapter Markers

Using this Advanced String:

bframes=6:ref=6:mixed-refs=1:subq=6:me=umh:no-fast-pskip=1:trellis=2:bime=1:brdo=1:direct=auto:vbv-maxrate=4900:vbv-bufsize=3500

This gave me a file that is 1.09GB - Contains 2 Sound Tracks (one 5.1) - Plays super smooth on my AppleTV and looks amazing.

I am very happy with this, Using my previous method would have produced a file that is over 2GB but wouldn't necessarily look any better.

I have also used the same settings/string on Ghost Town 720p MKV 4.5GB. This file came out looking brilliant at 1024 x 576 - 2 Sound Tracks at 2GB.



Hey Brobin and company, I'm new to handbrake and plan to backup my existing library as follows:

1080p bluray, backup to MKV (x264)
480p dvd, backup to MKV (x264)

I haven't backed up any of my bluray rips yet, but I have backed up about 20 DVDs all set to 2500kbps with two-pass (turbo first pass) and english forced-only subtitles. That's about the extent of my handbrake expertise, and those settings were basic and recommended from another site.

All files are to be played back on either a 40" 1080p LCD or a 55" 1080p DLP.

What settings do you recommend for my DVD and Blu-ray backups?

Right now I rip just the movie from the DVD, no menus or anything.. (plan to do the same with Blu-ray).... then load that video_ts folder and use the settings previously mentioned. I would like to retain the best quality from the DVD's for the sharpest possible playback on the two tv's mentioned.

For the 1080p content I want to retain the quality as much as possible as well.. while shedding menus and features, just backing up the main movie file.


If I switch over to the constant quality crowd, what % settings do you folks recommend to me, and should I use any special string, such as that brobins used in his post just above mine?
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Old Mar 6, 2009, 02:03 PM   #8
mohanman
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I've encoded nearly 200-250 movies (some mkvs, some dvds), but mostly mkvs. I have noticed a big quality difference in my 1080p and 720p mkv to .m4v conversions using handbrake in relation to constant quality and average bit rate on my 42" panasonic plasma tv via hdmi.

First of all, I don't like constant quality. Using both the mac and the pc I've noticed that if I use this at 59-62% the bitrate can range so widely that it may not even play on the ATV. The quality also sucks.

If I use ABR of around 4800-5000 mbps, the quality is great, and I don't get those stupid pauses that I often get with the CBR. The size of the file is only partially bigger too, and quality is much more of an important factor to me.

On the same tv with the same setup, I have done comparisons with my 1080p mkv conversions at 5000mbps ABR to blueray and have noticed a 10% decrease in picture quality. Constant quality on the otherhand? Doesn't compare...

Just my two cents.. I encode at 4800 bmps average bit rate.. quality is fantastic for 1080p or 720p mkvs

Mo

Cheers[/QUOTE]
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Old Mar 6, 2009, 03:39 PM   #9
swankinrosco
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hey thanks.

do you use any specific presets or additional/tweaked settings in HB when doing direct m2ts conversions to mkv/m4v/mp4/etc ?
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Old Mar 6, 2009, 03:43 PM   #10
NightStorm
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Quote:
First of all, I don't like constant quality. Using both the mac and the pc I've noticed that if I use this at 59-62% the bitrate can range so widely that it may not even play on the ATV. The quality also sucks.
Something must not have been right... 62-63% is considered nearly transparent to the original source. I've never had a problem with an encode not playing on the AppleTV using the stock presets either. Believe it or not, the AppleTV has received some nice tweaks in the way of what it can and can't play, starting with the 2.0 software release. I use 59% for my universal (i.e. DVD) encodes, and 57% for my AppleTV (i.e. HDDVD/Bluray sources) encodes, and can't complain at all about the quality. Using ABR is simply wasteful (IMO), especially with the newer x264 builds.

Quote:
do you use any specific presets or additional/tweaked settings in HB when doing direct m2ts conversions to mkv/m4v/mp4/etc ?
Up until last night, I was simply using the AppleTV preset, modified to use CQ=57% and 1280 for the width with excellent results. It should be noted that you can safely use lower CQ values with higher quality sources, which is why this is lower than the 59% I would use with DVDs. This only changed last night as I'm testing preset compatibility for the next release.
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Old Mar 6, 2009, 08:19 PM   #11
mohanman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NightStorm View Post
Something must not have been right... 62-63% is considered nearly transparent to the original source. I've never had a problem with an encode not playing on the AppleTV using the stock presets either. Believe it or not, the AppleTV has received some nice tweaks in the way of what it can and can't play, starting with the 2.0 software release. I use 59% for my universal (i.e. DVD) encodes, and 57% for my AppleTV (i.e. HDDVD/Bluray sources) encodes, and can't complain at all about the quality. Using ABR is simply wasteful (IMO), especially with the newer x264 builds.


Up until last night, I was simply using the AppleTV preset, modified to use CQ=57% and 1280 for the width with excellent results. It should be noted that you can safely use lower CQ values with higher quality sources, which is why this is lower than the 59% I would use with DVDs. This only changed last night as I'm testing preset compatibility for the next release.
I don't know.. from the comparisons I did doing a 1280 width movie like you mention above with CQ=57% did not give me as good results as 5000 mbps average bit rate. The picture quality is much more like the original to me with the average pit rate.

I guess my advice to the original poster would be to encode your favorite movie for comparisons and judge yourself. I stick with 4800 mbps average bitrate, 1280x720, detelecine, decomb, and thats it. No two pass either, though I would like two pass, that would take like another day. I get 3-4 fps on encodes like this.. the PQ is fantastic, but it kind of depends on the source... if the source is crap, the encode will be crap.. but trust me I have quite a few movies which look awesome!

Mo
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Old Jul 9, 2009, 11:53 PM   #12
eVolcre
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brobins View Post
Ok

I have re encoded a few of my movies again with CRF and have to say I am converted

I did Reservoir Dogs DVD last night on 61%

1011 x 432 Anamorphic Loose
AAC & AC3 Passthrough
All Chapter Markers

Using this Advanced String:

bframes=6:ref=6:mixed-refs=1:subq=6:me=umh:no-fast-pskip=1:trellis=2:bime=1:brdo=1:direct=auto:vbv-maxrate=4900:vbv-bufsize=3500

This gave me a file that is 1.09GB - Contains 2 Sound Tracks (one 5.1) - Plays super smooth on my AppleTV and looks amazing.

I am very happy with this, Using my previous method would have produced a file that is over 2GB but wouldn't necessarily look any better.

I have also used the same settings/string on Ghost Town 720p MKV 4.5GB. This file came out looking brilliant at 1024 x 576 - 2 Sound Tracks at 2GB.
Many questions here. I've read through the thread and am a little confused

1. Where do you input this special string?

Here's my situation. I'm mainly interested in picture quality not size. Given the cheap cost of HD space an extra gig or so per file isn't going to kill me.

I have no interest in watching DVDs on an iPhone or iPod. The main use, for now, will be to watch them on my 17" MBP and as an archive. These are all old westerns, WW2 movies and classics. I also don't have any 720/1080 movies at the moment so this is mainly for SD DVD

Now .. I used the AppleTV preset on the latest Handbrake and encoded about 10 movies at 59% CQ. It was horrible! I can tell the decrease in quality on my laptop screen and compared to the original DVDs I found the digital version unwatchable.

I upped the CQ to 63% with good results. Casino Royale and Scarface looked just like the originals. My problem now is encoding time. 59% took 2 hours, 63% makes it 5 hours. How would 61% (or any other setting) work for my situation?

I'm using RipIT to burn the DVD onto my HD and then queuing up a bunch of titles to be converted by Handbrake.

Thanks for the help

eV
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Last edited by eVolcre; Jul 9, 2009 at 11:55 PM. Reason: clarification
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Old Jul 11, 2009, 10:04 PM   #13
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Subq=6 is a low setting given what you are doing - increase that for better perceived quality for the same bitrate at the cost of encoding speed.

Also make sure you are using the latest snapshot of HB

Cheers, Ed
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Old Jul 13, 2009, 06:33 PM   #14
eVolcre
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Is it possible that Handbrake takes longer to encode a DVD when using Mac The Ripper as opposed to RipIt?

Average time on RipIT was about 3 hours using a 63% AppleTV quality.

I'm using MTR today and Handbrake gives me an approximate time of 4.5 hours per DVD. Average of 15fps with MTR and almost 45 on RipIt

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