Handbrake - Wasted Bitrate?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by GermanSuplex, Sep 26, 2010.

  1. GermanSuplex macrumors 6502a


    Aug 26, 2009
    Every time I think I've got Handbrake settings figured out it throws me for a loop. I just want to get some other users' opinions on this.

    For almost all films on DVD, I use the Universal preset and leave it at that. No problems with either quality or file size.

    However, with some sports and concert DVDs, I notice that the bitrate can spike up to well over 5000kbps with this setting. The file size can be 1.25 gigs for a half-hour MMA fight. I go back and re-encode the video with the same settings, except I change the constant quality setting to an average bitrate of 3000kbps and the file size drops dramatically (like, by about 500mb) and I notice no drop in quality.

    With Avatar, I encoded the mkv ripped from Blu-Ray with Handbrake. I forced the filesize to be under 4GB, and the resulting movie looks pretty good. I re-encoded it with the same settings, except this time did not choose a target filesize or bitrate but let the CQ do its thing. The file is around 2.5 GB larger and again, I notice little to no improvement in quality.

    I've noticed a sweet-spot of around 3000kbps. To complicate things on DVD.... I've noticed that I see little to no difference in 4:3 content encoded at 640x480 or anamorphically at 720x480... sometimes the same video encoded with the same settings ave for resolution will yield file nearly identical in file size (literally within 1mb of each other).

    Any suggestions/thoughts on this would be appreciated.
  2. tbayrgs macrumors 603


    Jul 5, 2009
    Not exactly sure what the problem is. If you don't notice a significant difference in quality between the different settings, just use the option that results in a smaller file size and move on. Someone here is always going to swear by their own settings and that certain changes make a difference but if you don't notice a difference, use the lesser settings, save some HDD space and call it a day.
  3. GermanSuplex thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Aug 26, 2009
    Oh, there's no "problem", so to speak. I'm just pretty much looking for opinions, or, if anyone knows of a better way rather than encoding twice and comparing, their thoughts on that as well.

    I pretty much live and die by the universal setting, but as is the case with almost anything, there's exceptions sometimes.
  4. tourphoto123 macrumors newbie

    Jan 17, 2009
    I actually would recommend starting to use the constant quality option so it gives you the best quality yet if the scene is over a certain bit rate, you don't lose out. The only reason I wouldn't go this route is if you aren't going to upgrade to the new appletv which will play 720p quality very well due to the new A4 chip(same as iphone 4 and ipad). I will have to say I have been very impressed with the compression of 720p video, high profile setting, constant quality of 19. THe picture looks excellent on the cpu and iphone 4. It won't work on the appletv but the new one it will work due to the new hardware. I will also say if space is in issue, you may regret having to re rip your library one day if the quality doesn't meet your expectation. 720p is good enough for me even though the files of ripping from are 1080p.

    (Dark Knight 720p rip is 3.3GB)
  5. GermanSuplex thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Aug 26, 2009
    My Dark Knight rip is very close to that... 3.52GB, that's with an AAC and 5.1 AC-3 audio track.

    I pretty much always use the constant quality settings, I only choose the bitrate when I think the constant quality has went overkill, which until the recent batch of DVD's/Blu-Rays I've been encoded, has been rarely or maybe never. It only seems to happen with films with crowds, lots of lights and action (hence concerts and sporting events).

    I'll try a few more encodes by sliding the contant quality bar down instead of choosing a bitrate and comparing.

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