Advice on handbrake settings for mac mini only

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by dmini, Jul 26, 2009.

  1. dmini macrumors newbie

    Jul 26, 2009
    Long time lurker, first time poster.
    So, I've read alot of posts on handbrake settings but they always seem to involve someone wanting to have the output file on multiple devices. Here is my situation.

    Finally pulled the trigger on a mac mini to be used as a media center. Running plex, everything is dandy. However, I am beginning to finally rip my dvds and after ripping 50 or so I am beginning to realize that keeping video_ts folders is going to become too much data to store.

    I know there will be a loss of quality when compressing the files to mp4/mkv etc but I am looking for guidance as to what are the best settings to get a high quality file strictly to be used on the mac mini. The file can be around 2Gbs etc, but the 4-5Gbs per video_ts folders are killing me.

    Current workflow will be MTR 3.0 > Handbrake > Plex. (unless there is a better workflow I am overlooking.

    I know this has been talked about to death but it always seems to go off topic to someone running it on an iphone/ATV/ mac mini /microwave oven and wanting one file.

    Thanks for any advice!
  2. dmini thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 26, 2009
  3. rmb7984 macrumors regular


    Apr 1, 2008
    Tampa, FL
    I would go with either the universal preset or the ATV. Maybe bump the constant quality slider up to 62 or something. I know that both will play on the mac mini. I would be surprised if both don't play in plex. I would use these, but unfortunately they will not play on my PS3. Thus, I'm stuck with the PS3 preset.

    Even more unfortunately, I'm not savvy enough to make my own presets! Someone else may have a better suggestion.

    Good luck.
  4. Thomss macrumors member

    Oct 2, 2008
    I'm using a custom preset which I don't have here now, but I've also used preset APPLETV, which works well on Mac-Mini, but I'd be more tempted to start using .MKV as the container since it can handle DTS audio and better support for subs etc.

    if you wont be playing the files on a Appletv too, then do some testing with MKV and see how it goes.

    I've done 300 DVD's @ 59% and they look excellent and come out anywhere between 1.2 - 1.8GB. (that's with 2 tracks of audio) as I was using an Appletv but now I use a 2009 Mac Mini so would only need 1 track of audio and the file size would be smaller again!!!
  5. dmini thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 26, 2009
    Thanks Thomss, seems like you went the same route as me. Bought ATV realized it wasnt enough, went to a 2009 mini haha. I was already thinking about using mkv as it seems to be a bit more future proof as it is becoming more used.

    Then I started thinking about just keeping the video_ts folders and using dvd2one to size them down a bit. Does any one out there do this? Keeping their dvd collection in video_ts folders.

    Seems like it will be a much faster workflow, only downside is file sizes. Good thing is I *wont* have to re-rip them again in the near future.
  6. Thomss macrumors member

    Oct 2, 2008
    Yeah, I love the Mac Mini as a media machine.
    So much more content is available now :D
    without all the messing about re-coding everything.
  7. glap1922 macrumors regular

    Mar 13, 2009
    I have the same system of you for my movies. I took the Film preset in handbrake and bumped up some of the specs. Encoding takes a couple hours per movie, but the quality is excellent.
  8. dmini thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 26, 2009
    For sure. I bought the apple tv, hacked it the day I got it, tried it out.... returned it the next day. Now if only I could figure out a setting to size down my movies. I just really want to keep the quality and dont have the time to do 20 different test conversions to find one that looks good.

    I have been reading that setting HB to 62% will result in the same quality but I guess im just lost on where to start. Should i first click on film/appletv/quicktime. etc? I dont care if the file sizes are on the larger side, but 5gb etc for video_ts is too big. Anyone want to share their settings for dvd rips for use in plex without thought of any other devices. No apple tv/ no iphone etc, just plex and high quality.

  9. dmini thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 26, 2009
    glap1922, Did you up the percentage quality? Did you do anything to the deinterlace, decomb, block etc? Hows the quality? Close to the original?

  10. glap1922 macrumors regular

    Mar 13, 2009
    The Film preset itself looks really good and is a nice balance of file size and quality. Personally I bump it up from there, but just using that preset will probably look great.

    What type of display will you be watching on, and how far will you be from it?
  11. dmini thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 26, 2009
    Currently I am using a 32 720p sharp, looking to get a 40-46 1080p in the coming months. Im probably 6-9 ft away most times. Im converting a file right now with the film setting, upped to 2200. Ill report back with my findings.

  12. gatepc macrumors 6502


    Apr 11, 2008
    Pittsburgh PA
    Personally I would use the best audio settings you can. Dolby surround at a high bitrate. I would choose mp4 video with h.264 on handbrake and use a bitrate of about 2000Kbps thats for standard def for hd (720p) I use 6000Kbps and for 1080p I use 8000Kbps
  13. Thomss macrumors member

    Oct 2, 2008
    WHAT!!!! Some crazy shizzle goes on here...

    1) Use preset Appletv
    2) Select what audio tracks you want. IE track 1 AAC & TRACK 2 AC3 pass thru.

    put the video bit rate at 59%-60% (I use 59%) the files come out at a nice size and look excellent (I'm on a 42" Plasma)

    Don't waste all the time with fixed rate for the video I wasted months by doing 200+ DVD's @ 2500KBPS only to see the 59% looked better and saved me 100's of GB on my drives.
  14. dmini thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 26, 2009
    So I went ahead and encoded using the ATV setting at 59%, anamorphic loose, decomb default.I am pretty happy with the results. Artifacting seems to be about the same as the video ts folders and only in areas of solid color. Thanks for the advice everyone, saved me alot of time experimenting!

  15. Thomss macrumors member

    Oct 2, 2008
    what may catch you out, is checking the video files on a LCD monitor!
    They always look a lot worse on a computer screen (24" Samsung 1920/1200 here) but when you play them back on a TV screen they always look a lot better, certainly for me anyway.

    This is on

    720P 40"samsungs and a Panasonic 42 1080P.

    Hope this helps.


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