AppleTV: Converting DVD's with or without letterboxing via Handbrake?

Discussion in 'iPod' started by Foxbat, Feb 23, 2007.

  1. Foxbat macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2004
    #1
    Hello all

    I want to converte some of my kids DVDs to MPEG-4 via Handbrake for the coming AppleTV.
    I did follow the free tutorials on the web and read some message boards like this here, to find the configurations which suit me best (Cartoons do not need such a high bit rate I'd say ;) ).

    Now I wanted to converte the movie "Cars", I am sure most here are familar with it.

    The DVD is letterboxed. When I am in the process of defining the picture settings in Handbrake, it removes the letter boxes (I think it was 720x300 something).

    Now my questions are:

    Should I re-add the letterboxing with manualy setting the picture to 720x400?
    or should I leave it to the 720x300 without letterboxing when converting for AppleTV?

    Or would you even go so far and configure it to the native DVD resolution of 720x576 (It looks disorted on the preview picture Handbrake provides)?

    I am asking this because I want the screen size to stay original and not get disorted in anyway.

    Also I do not find any informations if AppleTV is adding the letterboxing by itself or not when starting an MPEG-4 movie from iTunes (Also no info if it does correct the native DVD resolution of 720x576).

    I hope I made myself clear, thanks a lot for your feedback.

    Greets
     
  2. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    Location:
    UK
    #2
    Don't add letterboxing, it looks silly if you play it on a widescreen TV as you then get black on all 4 sides ;).
     
  3. Multimedia macrumors 603

    Multimedia

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    Jul 27, 2001
    Location:
    Santa Cruz CA, Silicon Beach
    #3
    How To Rip For iPod AND Television In Same File Size

    Leave the Crop on Auto and Keep aspect ratio Checked.

    lower width arrow so it's 640 wide.
    scroll through the next previous buttons to look for black on top or bottom.
    switch to Custom Crop to move the top and bottom up and down until all black is gone.

    Check Deinterlace picture ALWAYS - Should be the default but it's not.

    TWEAK Width to 640 if it changed. Then UNCheck. If you leave aspect ratio checked, sometimes it will CHANGE as you Close and you won't know it.

    NOTE: HDTV default for iPod is 624 x 352. But for widescreen movies like Cars the 352 is a much smaller number so you can go up to 640 width and they will still load on iPod AND look great on a TV.

    I've ripped thousands of TV shows and movies with Handbrake. Please ask me anything else if I'm not clear.

    2-pass try for 700mb (a CD) target size. FFMpeg
     
  4. MacBoobsPro macrumors 603

    MacBoobsPro

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    #4
    I have a similar issue. Im not totally sure what settings are best in Handbrake so on some movies I get 'double thickness' black bars. I.e. letterbox within a letterbox. The movie is still quite watchable but it is a slight annoyance. :confused:
     
  5. Multimedia macrumors 603

    Multimedia

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    Jul 27, 2001
    Location:
    Santa Cruz CA, Silicon Beach
    #5
    Crop The Black Borders Out

    You must be overlooking the Picture settings section. It's easy peezy to crop out all black space around the real image. in fact I prefer to watch shows that are transmitted that way from my mp4 file that I've ripped with all black borders cropped out. The result is a zoom into the real picture only that looks fantastic even though it may be soft.

    Border dimensions that work for iPod AND TV Simultaneously are:

    624 x 352 HDTV or widescreen SD with the black borders removed i.e. zoomed in. bit rate 1000 kbps

    544 x 400 SDTV bit rate 800 kbps

    Widescreen Movies use 640 wide (Maximum width an iPod will still let you load it) and let Keep aspect ratio do the height work for you as you crop the top and bottom to get rid of the black space. Then after you are happy with the top and bottom locations, UNcheck Keep aspect ration before closing the Picture settings dialog box.

    Of course you also want to make sure to tweak black from the sides. But that's usually handled mostly well with the auto mode in the first place.

    DON'T FORGET TO ALWAYS CHECK THE "Deinterlace Picture" checkbox - that is key to good looking results. Also make sure you have framerate on 29.94 NOT "same as source" because that is a LIE. "same as source" = 24fps which will cause your audio to drift and the length of your video to be wrong.

    Follow those dimensions with 2-pass encodes and you'll never be disappointed. all will load on your iPod and play beautifully on your HDTV.

    I monitor all mine on a sate of the art 40" Samsung LCD HDTV (LN-S4095) and they look awesome every time.
     
  6. MacBoobsPro macrumors 603

    MacBoobsPro

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    #6
    Thanks for that info, I'll check it out later. I currently only use single pass encode as it takes nearly 2 hours to encode on my PMG5. :confused:

    However I do encode at 2000kbps. I want the best picture possible from my DVDs so I have been keeping the width at whatever the DVD was set to. Usually 732 or something.

    Does a higher bitrate mean better quality?

    EDIT: Ive seen your edit and will give it a go tonight.
     
  7. Foxbat thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2004
    #7
    ....

    Hello Multimedia

    thanks for your invitation to ask questions :)

    Probably I havent been specific enough, let me restart:

    We have a widescreen LCD TV and I have ordered AppleTV.

    Now I would like to "digitalize" a few of my kids movies (which they are watching a lot) for the AppleTV.

    I do not want to watch those movies on an iPod ever.

    When I am defining the picture settings for the DVD movie "Cars" (Which has letterboxes when watching on a DVD player) Handbrake's default settings are:

    Size

    Width 720
    Height 3xy (Dont remember!)
    Keep aspect ratio checked


    Crop

    upper area +72
    lower area +72
    left area 0
    right area 0

    The Crop of +72 removes the letterboxing of the original DVD. When I set the upper and lower area to 0, the letterboxing appears on the preview picture and the picture size is enlarged to 720x400.

    Handbrake on the lower left side of the preview picture tells me that the source size is 720x576. When I define this size the picture looks disorted though.

    Now I would like to preserve the original characteristics of the DVD movie when converted to MPEG-4. I assume the letterboxes are part of the movies picture. I fear that if I remove them by letting Handbrake use its default settings, when watching the movie on the AppleTV there will not be letterboxes at all (I can not find informations if AppleTV does add such boxes by itself or not). I come to this conclusion since my first conversion was without letterboxes, and when watching the movie in Quicktime, Quicktime didnt add any letterboxes, which looked horrible.

    So what are you people's opinion. If converting DVD's of movies who feature letterboxing, would you remove the letterboxing since hardware like AppleTV readds them, or not?

    Deinterlace even if the movie has no interlace?
     
  8. Multimedia macrumors 603

    Multimedia

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2001
    Location:
    Santa Cruz CA, Silicon Beach
    #8
    You Are Ripping BLOATED Files That Look No Better Than Leaner Ones

    You are using WAY OVERKILL on the bitrate. You can't see the difference above 800kbps for SD adn 1000kbps for HD. Anything more is a waste of space.

    Big mistake encodeing above iPod maximums. In future you will regret it cause none of your work will be portable. You may not care now, but in future either you will or your kids or their kids will.

    more than 640 wide is not wise.
     
  9. Multimedia macrumors 603

    Multimedia

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2001
    Location:
    Santa Cruz CA, Silicon Beach
    #9
    You Are Not Understanding Me Nor Following Me • I Know What To Do FOLLOW

    Which has nothing to do with your encodes being iPod compatible or not. If they are iPod compatible that does not mean they are NOT compatible with your big TV. iPods have video out to play on big screen TVs. You think they have that output capability because iPod compatible encodes will look bad on your TV? The opposite is true. iPod output looks like it is coming from a DVD player. you've just never looked at any.
    Handbrak's Default setting when you open the Picture settings dialog box have ZERO to do with anything. You immediately start changing ALL OF THEM to make a perfect encode.

    REDUCE the width to 640 for CARS. Leave aspect ration checked.
    Whatever numbers are in those 4 boxes mean NOTHING. Get it? NOTHING.
    How can I get you to FORGET ABOUT SOURCE NUMBERS???
    Sorry I've been up for about 20 hours and I dont'knwo waht you're writing about.
    There is no need to "remove Letterboxing" at all. That's an absurd notion. I am telling you how to make a perfect widescreen replica of your DVD and you are ignoring my instructions.
    The movie has interlace sir. Why are you arguing with me? I have done THOUSANDS of these encodes and you are arguing with me? I am telling you how to do it for your widescreen HDTV and AppleTV. You think because it's iPod compatible it won't work on your TV well but you are WRONG. Making everything iPod compatible using MAXIMUM iPod compatible dimensions and bit rates is what makes the encodes look GREAT on your big HDTV screen. I know because I have one. 40" Samsung.

    Can we TALK on the phone or iChat or Skype please? Where are you. It's 4AM here in California right now.
     
  10. HelixOmnimedia macrumors 6502a

    HelixOmnimedia

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2006
    Location:
    Traveling The World
    #10
    Newbie To Ripping

    Hello,
    You seem to be an expect and know what you're talking about when it comes to getting movies into iTunes that work with AppleTV, and I was wondering if you could provide me with some help.

    I don't have a Video iPod anymore, I lost it in September, and put off buying a new one until Mac World San Fransisco - but a new "true video" iPod didn't appear. I have ordered the new AppleTV.

    I've been adding Movies and TV Shows I own into iTunes using Handbrake, but someone e-mailed me saying that the settings won't work.
    I'm so angry at myself, as I've added A LOT (Simpsons - S8, Stargate Atlantis S1&2, Veronica Mars S1&2 and 23 different movies).
    I've used the following settings in Handbrake:

    SETTINGS

    Video
    File Format: MP4 File
    Codecs: MPEG-4 Video/ AAC Audio

    Framerate: Same As Source
    Encoder: FFmpeg
    Quality: Average Bitrate: 2500

    Audio
    Sample Rate: 48000
    Bitrate: 320

    Picture Settings
    Haven't changed it - just like original.

    I haven't got an HD-TV (Apple says it doesn't matter that the AppleTV will work with my existing TV). All the files have fantastic quality and play in iTunes. But then someone told me that they won't work with the AppleTV or a video iPod (if i decide to buy another one).

    SO...
    What applications should I be using? (Handbrake? MediaFork - which has just been released? or something else?)
    What are the best settings to use (with "said" application above) to get DVD movie/tv show to work with AppleTV?

    I appreciate any time and effort into helping someone who has no idea what they're doing.
    THANKS
     
  11. Foxbat thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2004
    #11
    ...

    :p easy tiger 10.4! Didn't want to get you mad ;) . I should have said I am euro, which means PAL settings and not NTSC.

    I will pdf this thread and use your settings, and as soon as the AppleTV arrives I will try it out. Thanks for the help.

    I can't use any of this tools to contact you because I am at work, using dumb arse Windows XP!
     
  12. MacBoobsPro macrumors 603

    MacBoobsPro

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    #12
    First of all apologies to Foxbat because I keep hijacking the thread. Hopefully this will be the last time :D

    Anyhoo...

    Why do Apple encode their movies at 1500kbps then?

    I will never watch the movies on an iPod either so I'm trying to get the best picture for my 42" HDTV. My movies come out at between 1.5GB and 2GB at 2000kbps the same file sizes as iTunes movies.

    Im totally naive to the different settings as its not something i know much about so I will be taking your advice on board its just that some of it is a bit confusing.

    I guess the bit I dont get is if my TV can view stuff at 1080 x (?) wouldnt it be better to keep the width of the movie at 763 instead of going down to 640?
     
  13. Steven Jackson macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2006
    Location:
    Lincoln, U.K.
    #13
    I'm in almost the same position as the previous poster. I have an Apple TV on order and want to get ripping now. However, I've never done anything like this before and need simple instructions about how to get movies ripped...

    I want the movies to look as good as possible on the Apple TV. I have an iPod, but I will never watch a movie on it, so I don't care if the movies are in a format unsuitable for iPod playback.

    However, while I want good quality, I don't want to be silly. Many of my DVDs are 4:3 television programmes and I think converting to 720p would just be wasteful. I need a good balance between looking as good as possible on the Apple TV and being a sensible size for the source material.

    I also have lots of .rec files from my Toppy that can be converted with MPEG Streamclip. I also need to know the correct settings for this.

    Any help VERY much appreciated.

    Steve.
     
  14. Multimedia macrumors 603

    Multimedia

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2001
    Location:
    Santa Cruz CA, Silicon Beach
    #14
    I've been up for about 20 hours and am feeling frustrated not being able to talk

    Any of you have iChat or Skype so we can have an audio conference about this?

    My iChat is "kungag5"
    Skype is "kungax"

    I am A FULL TIME HANDBRAKE Expert. But I am frustrated at this text communication now.

    Just PM me if you want to keep it private. my mail is off.
     
  15. Multimedia macrumors 603

    Multimedia

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    Jul 27, 2001
    Location:
    Santa Cruz CA, Silicon Beach
    #15
    Skype?

    Are the Pal maximums for iPod different? I think not.
     
  16. Steven Jackson macrumors 6502

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    Dec 8, 2006
    Location:
    Lincoln, U.K.
    #16
    Just tried your Skype and iChat, but no luck. I guess you're getting bored with this now, so I'll leave you alone.

    ...but if you happen to know of any good tutorials, I'd love a link...

    Steve
     
  17. Multimedia macrumors 603

    Multimedia

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2001
    Location:
    Santa Cruz CA, Silicon Beach
    #17
    I'm All Pooped Out With Lots To Teach And No Food To Keep Going

    Those are all too high and overkill for anything. Average bitrate should be 550 (cartoons) 800 (SD) 1000 (HDTV) max I use 2300 only for Ads. Yes I collect TV Ads. You can't use 2500 because when you add the audio it goes over the 2500 max and 128 bit (default) audio is almost 200kbps

    You will never hear the difference between 128 and 320 bitrate audio. 320 bit audio is above iPod compatible rate anyway.
    Safe bet is you need to make files iPod compatible for them to work with AppleTV. Anything more is overkille and A WASTE OF HARD DISK SPACE. You like to run out of space when that next show is coming on?
    I use EyeTV + Toast 8 + Handbrake.
    iPod maximum dimensions and lower bit rate
    Wish I wasn't so tired.
     
  18. Multimedia macrumors 603

    Multimedia

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2001
    Location:
    Santa Cruz CA, Silicon Beach
    #18
    My Skype and iCHat are just now on.

    NO NO NO I didn't have them ON. Now they are on what are your names?

    My Handbrake Tutorial is Here.

    I am telling you how to encode so they look great on TV and also incidentally will load on any iPod. INCIDENTALLY not for that purpose.
     
  19. Foxbat thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2004
    #19
    ...

    Last Q for mr.IamNotWillingToGoToBed ;)

    If you watch a movie like Cars on your Ipod, do you have letterboxing, or fullscreen movie?

    Thx!
     
  20. Multimedia macrumors 603

    Multimedia

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    Jul 27, 2001
    Location:
    Santa Cruz CA, Silicon Beach
    #20
    It Plays Letterboxed On The iPod With Widescreen Turned On In iPod Prefs

    You have to turn on Widescreen in the iPod settings so it will play in letterbox. Out the iPod or from Quicktime Player on the Samsung 40" HDTV it is also letterbox because it is wider than 16:9 HDTV dimensions.

    The Samsung HDTV is attached to my Quad G5 like any other monitor so I can play EyeTV and QuickTime files on it. I have 4 screens attached to my Quad G5. I am surrounded by $5k worth of LCDs on this Quad G5.

    Next Gen iPod they will fill the 640 x 360 screen but still be letterboxed because their height is closer to 300 than 360. IN fact I think it's less than 300 high isn't it?

    My GhostRider Trailer is 640 x 304 (38 top & bottom zero sides)
    My 300 Trailer is 640 x 272 (64 top & bottom zero sides)
    My Departed DVD Ad is 640 x 272 (64 top & bottom zero sides)

    + Deinterlace picture ALWAYS checked.

    so that would be the most extreme widescreen dimensions for A List Widescreen Movies Like Cars too.

    HDTV is 624 x 352 in Handbrake. Got that? It's a limitation of Handbrake we can't get around. So this is the maximum encode dimension for all HDTV shows.

    Why 640 max? Because it interpolates up to 1920 perfectly x3
    Why 360 max? Because it interpolates up to 1080 perfectly x3
    And because both are maximum iPod dimensions allowed. We have to live with 624 x 352 in Handbrake because if you choose 640 then the height number will exceed 360. So the proper aspect ratio is reflected in the 624 x 352 size WITH Deinterlace always turned on.
     
  21. Foxbat thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 25, 2004
    #21
    ...

    :D Thanks! AppleTV still not available here... :mad:

    PS: Re-read the AppleTV tech specs, 640 is max width anyways...

    Video

    * Video formats supported: H.264 and protected H.264 (from iTunes Store): 640 by 480, 30 fps, LC version of Baseline Profile; 320 by 240, 30 fps, Baseline profile up to Level 1.3; 1280 by 720, 24 fps, Progressive Main Profile. MPEG-4: 640 by 480, 30 fps, Simple Profile
     
  22. Multimedia macrumors 603

    Multimedia

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    Jul 27, 2001
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    #22
    Where's Your Link To The AppleTV Technical Specifications Foxbat?

    And you didn't post the link here? Shame on you!
    As I recall, I've been preaching 640 max width for about 21 posts now.

    I do a lot of editing after I make posts so you need to refresh your page and scroll up to read a lot of additions to earlier posts. Thanks. Up almost 24 hours now.
     
  23. Foxbat thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2004
    #23
    ....

    Ahhhhh :eek:

    http://www.apple.com/appletv/specs.html

    Ahhhh :eek: indeed, but I did not realizeth!
     
  24. Foxbat thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2004
    #24
    What are you testing? :rolleyes:

    PS: Would you say it's better to use the handbrake instead of the brake? Or just shift into a lowergear to brake? I thinkt he best aspect ratio when down shifting for engine brake depends on the Pods, errr, cars trany...

    :D
     
  25. HelixOmnimedia macrumors 6502a

    HelixOmnimedia

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    Traveling The World
    #25
    :eek: I know realise this after reading the Apple Specs:

    My questions now are:
    1) What is the difference between HandBrake and MediaFork?
    I've got the latest HandBrake and I'm just about to download MediaFork.

    2) What is the difference between H.264 and MPEG-4 Output Setting Codecs?
    I just ran a quick test using the opening montage from Most Haunted and the MPEG-4 seemed a lot clearer than h.264. Shouldn't it be the other way around, with h.264 having better picture quality then an MPEG-4 file?

    3) Also on the above question about H.264 and MPEG-4 I'm getting conflicting reports on which one to use.

    Again, Thanks for any help.
     

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