Handbrake Settings?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by fireballer55, Aug 26, 2007.

  1. fireballer55 macrumors member

    May 6, 2007
    Im just wondering what the best setting for movies are in regards to size(gb) but also picture quality? Im going to be getting an Apple TV here soon and I dont want my movies to have terrible quality but I dont want it being 2GB per movie either! So can someone give me some helpful tips?
  2. steve_hill4 macrumors 68000


    May 15, 2005
    NG9, England
    I've not tried it myself, and would hope someone here has, but there is an Apple TV preset in later builds of Handbrake.
  3. kevinbal macrumors regular


    Feb 28, 2006
    Storrs, CT
    It is going to be entirely subjective to your situation. How big is your TV? What kind of display is it? What are your space requirements?

    I used to think that a 2 GB file size was going to be unacceptable... but now, with my 3rd Western Digital mybook, I realize that hard drive space is really not an issue...

    I had encoded most movies at 1500kbps h264 2-pass under an old build of handbrake and have now since started to do anamorphic encoding, as well as bump up the bitrate to the 2500kbps setting. I was using a 32" lcd Olevia, but now I just got a 42" hitatchi plasma... the extra bitrate and the anamorphic setting goes a long, long way.

    In the end, don't jump the gun to encode. Take a chapter or 2 of something (like star wars episode III) and play with a bunch of settings and see which one -you- like best, in the end, thats who you are encoding for.
  4. wmealer macrumors regular

    May 7, 2006
    If you don't have the latest Handbrake, you definitely need to get it. The :apple:tv preset makes it a no-brainer... Here's a typical DVD I did using handbrake's :apple:tv setting, plus I typically check two-pass for improved quality:

    H.264 Decoder, 718 x 436, Millions
    AAC, Stereo (L R), 48.000 kHz
    91 minutes
    anamorphic 2.35:1 (1021 x 436 pixels)
    2657.54 kbits/s
    1.69 GB

    The :apple:tv setting uses average bitrate of 2500 kbps as it's default, which yields good results when viewing on my 42" Samsung DLP. Although recently, I've watched some very low bitrate xvid's (about 1Mbps) that looked nearly as good on the same TV. So, depending on your tolerance for compression artifacts, you could still get a reasonably good picture at about 1250 kbps and cut your file size in half. It's been my experience that the picture quality of DVD rips at the default :apple:tv setting rival a 720p picture converted with VisualHub at more than double the file size and bitrate.
  5. netdog macrumors 603


    Feb 6, 2006
    AppleTV presents rip a file called MovieTitle_aus_PAL.mp4. It is also adjusting the image size from 720x576 to 720x572 (anamorphic). I have also chosen same framerate as source.

    Are DVDs really in PAL? Will this play on a TV when I am in the USA?

    I would like to get away from regional standards as much as possible. I know that both my TVs here will play 50 and 60 Hz in multiple HD formats, as will my AppleTV.

    When ripping a DVD, what do I want to do about framerate, image size and any other PAL or NTSC artifacts?
  6. mcvaughan macrumors 6502a

    Aug 9, 2007
    Houston, TX
    I've had good luck so far with HB's AppleTV preset. Movies look excellent on my 42" Sharp Aquos display.
  7. cp2222 macrumors member

    May 10, 2006
    What if space is really not an issue and I want to do a selection of my movies ONCE for the future? I was the guy that ripped all his music to 320 and then apple lossless now while everyone else was doing 128 and saying -- OMG you use so much space... it's so expensive blah blah. Now you can go buy 2 terabytes relatively cheap and in 3-5 years we will be having this conversation about 20 - 100 terabytes. Consequently, I want to rip my DVDs in a way that I will never (even 5 years from now) be like man I have to rip all my DVDs AGAIN! ARGH. Does someone have ideas on settings for this? I don't have an Apple TV because I didn't think it really worked such that I could have my movie library digital, but it sounds like this might actually be possible and still preserve 5.1, 6.1 or 7.1 sound too ?
  8. sas76 macrumors member

    Sep 10, 2006
    I have been using the PS3 setting in handbrake, the video is the same but it gives you digital 5.1 sound.
    I know :apple:Tv dose not support 5.1. But I am sure it will in the future.
    I stream mine through a xbox 360 and the sound quality is much better with the PS3 settings you forget how bad stereo sound is for movies.
    Video seems the same.

  9. powerbook911 macrumors 68040


    Mar 15, 2005
    I'm pretty sure you can't preserve 5.1 sound in handbrake.
  10. DoFoT9 macrumors P6


    Jun 11, 2007
    handbrake does surround sound.
  11. eddyg macrumors 6502

    Sep 5, 2003
    Christchurch, New Zealand
    HandBrake names the title based on the name of the DVD. In your case the authors of the DVD have chosen to put the word "PAL" in the DVD name. So it ends up in the filename of the generated file. This in no way means that the end MP4 is connected with PAL, it isn't.

    Don't worry about framerate, leave it as "Same as source" unless you know better.

    Your MP4's from both NTSC and PAL DVDs will play fine on your ATV on your TVs whether in the USA or Europe.

    Cheers, Ed..
  12. gkarris macrumors 604


    Dec 31, 2004
    "No escape from Reality..."
    I'm still one the previous version of Handbrake - how does this "anamorphic" setting make a difference and does it for :apple:TV?

  13. wmealer macrumors regular

    May 7, 2006
    Okay, here's the simplest way I know how to explain it. Hold on tight...

    Anamorphic widescreen is a feature of most newer widescreen DVDs. Some older widescreen DVDs are not anamorphic, and Full Screen DVDs are not anamorphic by definition. It means that a movie's true aspect ratio (whether it's 1.85:1, 2.35:1, or another widescreen ratio) is squeezed horizontally to fit within the DVD's standard 720 x 480 pixel area, preserving as much vertical resolution as possible. This allows the TV to stretch the picture horizontally during playback to fit the screen width. Even though you're stretching the DVD's square pixels horizontally during playback, this is a better way to fit more vertical lines within the DVD, rather than keeping the movie's original aspect ratio and having fewer vertical lines of detail. Your typical widescreen 1.85:1 (i.e. 16 x 9) movie or TV show will be squeezed to fill the entire 720 x 480 picture area with no black bars. The wider formats still have black bars at top & bottom.

    If your source DVD is anamorphic, then using Handbrake's anamorphic setting to convert for :apple:tv is absolutely beneficial to better picture quality, in the same way an anamorphic DVD will look better in a standard DVD player. And since the setting can't screw up those rare non-anamorphic DVDs, I'm guessing that's why the Handbrake programmers make it the default setting in their "AppleTV" preset.
  14. MikieMikie macrumors 6502a

    Aug 7, 2007
    Newton, MA
    Thanks for 'splainin' it to me, too. I had yet heard it put this way, and it popped for me. Seriously, thanks for the lesson.

    -- Mikie
  15. gkarris macrumors 604


    Dec 31, 2004
    "No escape from Reality..."
    Thanks. Knew about the anamorphic but didn't know you can do it on an :apple:TV. I was just encoding it in the normal setting.

    But, what about playback on a 5G iPod which is a 4:3 screen? (and I guess an iPhone, or the new widescreen iPods?)
  16. wmealer macrumors regular

    May 7, 2006
    The iPod preset in Handbrake does not employ the anamorphic setting. That makes sense because the iPod screen resolution can only display a 640x480 picture. Therefore widescreen content actually has to be reduced in size to fit within 640 pixels wide, which would of course require the vertical resolution to be less than 480 on widescreen content. The whole purpose of anamorphic DVDs is to preserve all 480 of those lines. By encoding to iPod specs, you eliminate the need to maintain a picture height of 480 lines on widescreen content. A widescreen DVD comes out to be about 640x352 when formatted for the iPod.

    As of now, there is no Handbrake preset specifically for the iPhone, or the as-yet-unreleased widescreen iPod. For the few videos I've encoded for my iPhone, I used VisualHub (a great little app in its own right), which does have a specific iPhone setting.
  17. WMuntean macrumors regular

    Aug 23, 2007
    I'm also interested in this. I am starting to build a digital library, but am fearing that it will be outdated. I'm encoding at high bitrate, though not sure that will make a huge difference, although on some (rare) DVDs it does (I'm talking about 2500 vs 4000). But I would hate to rip all my movies again. Plus, all DVDs are SD, so the only thing that I can think of that might be improved slightly is the CODEC, but at this point will be primarily negligible. Another thing that has HUGE room for improvement is holding surround sound. But I believe that the current version of ATV doesn't support it, correct?
  18. oconnellc macrumors newbie

    Oct 8, 2007
    Just a thought...

    To the poster who doesn't want to have to rip the DVD again... Rip the DVD to VOB's. If you are willing to just buy some storage, this is the way to go. I have a mini and I watch my movies through Front Row. Go find a little utility called DVDAssist. Basically, you put a quicktime movie in the VIDEO_TS directory and then put a shortcut to that movie in the 'Movies' directory. DVD Assist is running under the covers. When you choose that movie in Front Row, DVD Assist jumps in and starts up the DVD player software. So, you aren't watching the movie in quicktime, you are watching it through the DVD Player (keeping multi-channel sound, etc.). Movies are 6-8GB, but a few terrabytes of storage is a few hundred dollars...

    Someday the software will catch up, and then it will just be a matter of transcoding from one software format (VOB) to another.

    Another question... Has anyone heard of anything that would allow you to swap out applications from Front Row (like DVD Assist swaps the DVD player for Quicktime)? For example, I would love to have something that can play .flac files playing my music instead of ITunes.

  19. jcongdon macrumors newbie

    Sep 3, 2008
  20. richard.mac macrumors 603


    Feb 2, 2007
    51.50024, -0.12662
    Sweet! that works great! this is the first ive heard of iTunes being able to play flac. although i dont really have an extensive collection of flac its nice to see that work has been done on this.

  21. Dapness macrumors member

    Jan 8, 2008
    I just downloaded a full HD version (1920x800) of LOTR 3 (avi format). It's a 12 gig file and I'm looking to use handbreak on it so I can throw it on my :apple:tv. Any suggestions on settings??

    I tried to convert it using the :apple:tv preset but I forgot to adjust the aspect ratio (it kept it in 1920x800 and therefore it wouldn't play). Then I got to thinking, what would the right ratio be??
  22. DoFoT9 macrumors P6


    Jun 11, 2007
    hhhmm i just get the flac's and save them as aiff's. they are exactly the same quality and can be played in itunes without any modding. :)

    you probably should have downloaded an mkv version, that would have been more compatible.

    you will need to convert the whole thing into a .mp4 / .m4v file.

    video resolution will need to be 1280x720 at the most, with 24fps the max (960 by 540 pixels at 30 fps). bitrate will have to be below 5mbps. AAC audio has to be below 160kbps.

    i would give those settings a go, convert the movie down into a small file, test it, and slowly make a larger file until it can no longer play, then use the last one that worked and wala!!

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