Handbrake file sizes for Blu-ray rips

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by drjack69, Aug 1, 2013.

  1. drjack69 macrumors newbie

    Jul 16, 2013
    Hi All,

    Just in the process of ripping my blu ray library and have run into a bit of an anomally.

    Ripped LOTR extended editions (pain in the bum because they're over two discs... cue lots of programes to make them play properly with subs for the elvish bits but that's a different thread), and got file sizes about 10GB each which is fine because they're each about 3-4 hours long.

    Now I am ripping my Alien anthology. Alien came out at about 6GB and looks great, Aliens however came out at about 22GB!!! I have been using the ATV3 preset for all my rips.

    Ripped it again but changed constant quality to average bitrate of 5000 and the picture is terrible. The file size is about right but it looks blocky and there is serious issues with a sort of "shadowing" when people move.

    I'm trying it again now with the denoise filter set on weak in Handbrake cos I heard the grain on films (and Aliens is very grainy!!) makes Handbrake work harder...

    I also tried 720p to reduce file size btw... and for the record, I can tell the difference on a 42" screen about 9 feet away (wrinkles on peoples faces... small beads of sweat etc.... but then again I am farsighted... apparently that helps for some reason)... so 720p isn't an option for me.

    As a noob any help is always appreciated, thanks guys!
  2. drsox macrumors 65816


    Apr 29, 2011
    Have a look at MakeMKV as an alternative. This doesn't recode but make a copy of the titles you want in .mkv format, so image quality shouldn't be an issue. I gave up on Handbrake as all I want to do is to play the stuff on a TV, so large file sizes aren't an issue for me. I don't use Apple TV, by the way, all my stuff is on an 11TB NAS share.
  3. salohcin macrumors member

    Jun 5, 2008
    22GB sounds about right, my copy of Aliens is about the same size. Grainy films are just going to be larger, there's not much you can do about it. Fortunately there aren't very many that are as grainy as Aliens. I've only come across a few that turned out to be much bigger than I thought they'd be.

    The only thing I can suggest is instead of changing the bitrate, change the Constant Quality RF slider a bit. The default is 20, try moving it up to 21 or 22. The quality won't be quite as good, but the file size should be smaller. Hopefully you can find a setting where the quality will be "good enough" for you.

    It should be interesting when I get a blu-ray of Saving Private Ryan though. With all that grain I know it's going to be huge!
  4. drjack69 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 16, 2013
    Thanks for your responses.... funny you should say about Saving Private ryan... that's in my blu-ray collection!!

    I'm still in the process of my "de-noised" rip of Aliens... I'll let you know how big it turns out (fingers crossed). If it's still massive, I might just watch it on blu when I feel like it and not have it on iTunes at all. Funny how when ripping things you notice the difference in quality. Alien looks fantastic, but even when playing back Aliens from the blu ray it looks a bit shoddy... Saving Private Ryan on the other hand still has excellent clarity despite the grain...

    Anyway... will update my progress later on (handbrake is still showing 1:37 to go)


  5. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    The battle is always quality vs. file size. Choose one.

    If the "file size" is what you target on all films, quality is going to vary film to film. If "quality" is your goal, file size is going to vary. I've seen BD rips as small as 2GB and as large as 27GB when chasing quality maximization. But allowing file size to vary like that is what yields very high quality picture & sound when either film is watched.

    If file size is more important, why mess around with BD? Why not just convert DVDs which will still yield a good picture (obviously not 1080p HD) in average files sizes much smaller than BD? If the answer is, "because I want HD quality" think about what you are doing (and re-read the first line of this post).
  6. drjack69 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 16, 2013
    Thanks. But I'm after BOTH file size and quality. The BD rips I've done so far (ie Alien and LOTR) look stunning, even compared to the BD I ripped them off! As I said, if Aliens is gonna be too big, I'll just leave it to the BD when I want to watch it. I'm just after convenience with BD ripping, I'll obviously be keeping my BD library. My hard drive is 1TB so an ideal size for me is between 3 and 10 GB.

    The reason I started this thread is I was wondering if there was a "magic" way of getting films like Aliens which are very grainy and have a lot of dark scenes to fit nicely in my library on iTunes.

    I appreciate what you are saying though, and if I do find that a lot of the BD's I'm ripping end up at 20GB for acceptable quality, I'll either stop for the time being or think about an external drive for my iTunes library.

  7. mic j, Aug 1, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2013

    mic j macrumors 68030

    Mar 15, 2012
    There is no "magic". It's all about acceptable trade-offs. Seems like you have a system that works for you, though. For the price of a 2TB drive, you might want to consider getting a larger drive in the future. I think you can find one for under $100. I have 2. One for storing all the mp4's to feed the aTV and the other to archive the mkv files from which the mp4's were produced. Obviously, drive 2 is going to fill up way before drive 1 does. At that point I will just have to make some hard choices as to what to keep.

    Edit: I would highly suggest using the aTV3 preset, lowering the quality (RF slider) to just produce an acceptable quality that you find acceptable. Then letting the file size fall where it may. The aTV3 preset was developed to maximize quality with minimal file size. Average bitrate is not the way to go.
  8. drjack69 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 16, 2013
    Hi all. Aliens has ripped with a file size of 19GB. Still a little high but I might well keep it and then if my HD gets too ful rethink.

    It is, however, a full 3GB smaller than the previous rip and looks a lot better for the "weak de-noise" filter applied in HB. Looking at the rip, the other factor might be that the ripped file is 1920x1036. Most of my films in HD are usually about 1920x800ish and handbrake dutifully trims off the black bars at the top and bottom.

    I might try Saving Private Ryan next as that is also very grainy....

    Interestingly, iTunes store doesn't have Aliens listed for sale (neither HD or SD)... I wonder whether they had trouble encoding it.

    They do, however, have Saving Private Ryan in HD and the file size for 1080p is about 8GB....
  9. drjack69 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 16, 2013
    Thanks for this advice! If I was going to do this, would I just make an alias of the "Movies" file in iTunes Music which linked to my external drive? I have done that in the past but that was many iTunes versions ago...

    Oh and sorry for being a noob and taking up people's time
  10. salohcin macrumors member

    Jun 5, 2008
    It depends on if you're on a laptop or a desktop. If you're on a desktop like me, I would suggest moving the whole iTunes folder to the external. That way everything is in one place and you can continue to let iTunes organize your stuff.

    To do this, simply close iTunes, move the folder over, and when you open iTunes hold down the option key while clicking on iTunes. This will bring up a window that asks you to select and iTunes library. Browse to the iTunes library file on your external drive and selected it. Everything should be just the way you left it, except now it's pointing to the external drive.

    If you're on a laptop and want to keep your music with you on the go, it's probably best to separate your movies from the rest of your iTunes files.

    Oh, and don't worry about being a noob, that's what this forum is for!
  11. mic j macrumors 68030

    Mar 15, 2012
    Salohcin is right on the mark.

    I keep my music library on my MBP and the movies on an external HDD. However, I have my HDD's connected to through my AirPort Extreme. So it is a "networked" drive. I then just set up iTunes (through Preferences>advanced) to recognize my music folder on my MBP. For video's I just keep them on the external HDD and then do an "add to library", locating and selecting the file. (You can also open a finder window and drag and drop the file into the iTunes movie list.

    Happy to answer questions!
  12. ohio.emt macrumors 6502a

    Jul 18, 2008
    As salohcin I wouldn't use average bitrate, I would use Constant Quality. Constant Quality gives you the same quality picture throughout the film but various the bitrate which will reduce the file size. Say you have a scene with very little movement the bitrate won't have to be as high. Average bitrate does vary the bitrate some but tries to keep it at the rate you set, even in scenes that don't need it.

    The general advice on the handbrake forums is use Constant Quality of 22-23 for Bluray and 18-19 for DVD. I use these settings, but with the High Profile preset and the rips look great on my ATV3. I haven't tried denoise much but I know some on the forums say that weak doesn't make much of a difference so you might also want to try medium and see how you like it.

    I know a lot of people just keep a mkv of Aliens and Saving Private Ryan. They are hard to get a decent file size and good quality due to the grain.
  13. drjack69 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 16, 2013
    Wow! Thanks for all this great advice!

    I've done my other BD rips using the aTV3 preset and they've been awesome... I tried the average bitrate thing to try and get the file size down. I might try using the medium noise filter in handbrake but I used the "weak" setting because I want to alter the file as little as possible.

    I have found a nice little app for those that don't mind huge file sizes btw.

    I stumbled upon it because I have the Star Wars trilogy on blu ray (not the prequels.... yuk) and I prefer the original theatrical versions... (which good ol' George seems loathe to give us) but I wanted something better than the laserdisc copies on the 2006 DVD release (which I will NEVER give up due to George's stubborness... sorry... ranting) for the ATV. Obviously, I'd ripped them but they're very old, grainy as hell, and the sound is only in stereo.

    Anyway, I found a fan-edit that used the blu rays as his main source but had edited out many of George's completely unnecessary additions (do a google for despecialized versions if you're interested). The files were naturally MKV's. I tried encoding them with Handbrake but the video suffered enormously, blocky etc.... Enter Avidemux!!

    With this, I was able to preserve the .264 HD video without re-encoding and add a AC3 passthrough and Dolby stereo audio track...
  14. dvdlovr24 macrumors 6502

    Jun 3, 2008
    I ended up purchasing Aliens from iTunes since it's only 6.5gb compared to the 20gb+ copy that I had done through handbrake.
  15. drjack69 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 16, 2013
    The UK iTunes store doesn't have it listed at all... I'd be interested in your comments regarding the quality at 6.5GB....
  16. mfram macrumors 65816

    Jan 23, 2010
    San Diego, CA USA
    The new "Aliens" Blu-Ray is definitely an encoding problem. I encode my HD movies with a stereo audio track and a constructed 5.1 AC3 track. Most movies end up being in the 6-8 GB range. But I got the 20+GB blow-up with Aliens as well.

    I think I settled on the version using the "weak" de-noise filter on Handbrake for Aliens. The problem with the "medium" setting was that it made the faces look weird. Ripley's face practically turned into a white ghost in the darker scenes. It was very distracting.

    Usually I like to avoid filters on the high-def movies, but sometimes like this you have to make the trade-off for file size. My final encoding of Aliens is a little over 15GB. Larger than normal, but the best I could do under the circumstances.

    Other problem movies for me: Total Recall (90's version), Avatar (partially because of the length), Stripes Extended Edition, Hurt Locker. I think all of their transfers involved a lot of grain. Awesome for movie archival purposes, bad for x.264 encoding.

    Haven't tried the new 4K-mastered Ghostbusters yet. But that looked like it had a lot of grain as well.
  17. drjack69 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 16, 2013
    My best shot was 19GB at Aliens, I also used the "weak" de-noise setting.... how'd you manage 15GB?

  18. dynaflash macrumors 68020

    Mar 27, 2003
    It will be as good probably even though its smaller. Apple doesn't transcode from blu ray but generally studio masters. Higher quality sources can be squeezed smaller with less quality loss.
  19. salohcin macrumors member

    Jun 5, 2008
    My encode of the new 4K Ghostbusters is about 10GB, so not too bad. That's just on the default Apple TV 3 setting though. I'm sure it can be done smaller.
  20. drjack69 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 16, 2013
    Just trying aTV3 preset with Batman (1989)... I'm trying this one to see what file size I get simply because the output size is 1920x1080.... It's also very dark although not too grainy.

    I'm still wondering whether the actual "screen" size (as stated previously, most of the other HD rips I've got are usually 1920 wide and 800ish vertically) is an issue rather than the grain having an impact on the size of the file from Aliens (which is showing 1920x1036).

    If it's up to 10GB then I suppose grain is the main factor, if not then perhaps it's the screen size.
  21. dynaflash macrumors 68020

    Mar 27, 2003
    Its both.
  22. drjack69 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 16, 2013
    I'm sure you're absolutely right! But I'm trying Batman to see which has a bigger impact...

    If Batman comes in at about 10-12GB, then I'd argue that grain has more to do with it than resolution. But I suppose we'll have to wait and see, unles anyone else has tried it...
  23. salohcin macrumors member

    Jun 5, 2008
    Funny you should say that. For me Batman came out to 5.3GB on the default Apple TV 3 setting.
  24. drjack69 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 16, 2013
    I'll let you know the size I end up with... but that's reassuring! HB still showing 1:47 left... dunno what I'm paying for with this quad core i7 processor... seemed to take the same amount of time as my MBP with a core 2 duo... lol
  25. martinm0 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 27, 2010
    Graininess has always impacted file size for me. Anything that is older and has a true film feel comes out quite large. I just encoded The Process Bride from disc and it was about 15GB (1.6 hr run time). I don't bother using the de-noise setting as I've never liked the results and I'm perfectly fine with large file sizes (LOTR extended edition are about 20GB at 4.5 hrs).

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