Some Questions regarding Handbrake compression, etc.

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by rock15478, Apr 24, 2013.

  1. rock15478 macrumors member

    Feb 8, 2007
    Hi guys,

    I've been browsing the forums for quite some time and have a bunch of very generic/random questions and I figured I'd start a new thread rather than posting to various random old threads. I've searched for some answers but am still confused and stuck on various things. Some of you guys are extremely helpful and knowledgable on these forums and I'd just really appreciate some feedback and knowledge. I'm on the journey of digitizing all of my DVDs, blu rays, and home movies from various formats for easy access via ATV3.

    I've been using Handbrake for the bulk of my converting to M4V and while getting mostly decent results, I do have some questions:

    1. On some TV show episodes, it shows the picture size source being "720x480" but the output not always matching - sometimes it will be "714x480" or something weird like that - When I select the "High Profile" preset it keeps it at 720x480 but as soon as I go to the ATV3 preset, it goes to 714x480. Why is this and is it worth concerning myself over?

    2. When comparing between High Profile and ATV3 presets, the framerate is at 30 on ATV3 yet "Same as source" for High Profile. For older TV shows, from like the 1990's - Home Improvement, Seinfeld, etc.. does this make a difference and is there a specific setting I should be using? I am watching everything on 42-50" TV's with ATV3's. I was hoping to just use the ATV3 preset but I am not looking to sacrifice quality either. Does the "30" automatically make whatever source you throw at it work? Or do I need to tweak my setting more so based on what the source is?

    3. I've read that it is safe to always leave "Decomb" on - my question is for older TV shows again - is there EVER a benefit to using "Deinterlace" instead of the "Decomb" option - I've read and read about the differences and understand that "Decomb" is generally safer - but in all honesty, I'm not completely happy with some of the results I'm getting on some of the older shows and I just wonder if "Deinterlace" would actually help in some cases.

    4. Anamorphic "Loose" vs "Strict" - Is it generally safer to just use "Strict"? I guess it's worth saying that I do not care about the time it takes for Handbrake to run, and I also do not necessarily care about file size (unless we're getting ridiculous for absolutely no reason). My main priority is getting the absolute best encode that I can possibly get.

    5. One specific example - I ripped some of my Insanity workout DVDs and have been tweaking different settings. Even with the High Profile setting and Decomb on default, I'm getting some weird things going on. For example, there are certain parts in the video where they are doing jumping jacks EXTREMELY fast - this creates a very weird jumpy like movement on the encode that is simply not there on the DVD version.

    6. Is it typical to leave the RF at constant quality? Do many people do 2-pass? Why is this only possible if you do Average Bitrate?

    7. I have several old rips that are in .avi format - How much is Handbrake going to "compress" these already "compressed" files? Some of them I don't even have the original source any more and I wonder if it's even worth taking the time to mess with or not.

    8. I have several old Home Movies in both the old version of iMovie HD6 (as .dv imports from old 8MM tapes) and the newer iMovie (as .mov imports from a Canon camcorder). Almost all of these files were simply thrown on the timeline with a few chapter markers and then shared with iDVD and then put on DVD for home viewing. What I would LIKE to do is get all of these as watchable M4V files (with chapter markers in some cases) - so that they can simply be viewed on the ATV3 - however, I want to retain as much quality as possible (to the point that I could possibly delete all of the RAW footage) - is Handbrake the best way to do this or the "share" option in iMovie? I've read conflicting things regarding this and I'm just curious as to what some of you guys think. I don't want to start this long and tedious process until I'm sure I'm doing it the best way available.

    I know a lot of these answers are probably going to be "It depends" and "Do a bunch of testing and compare your results" - the problem is I've been doing a lot of this and I become obsessive by nature - and simply end up spending so much time on this stuff that in reality - it's probably not meant to even be as difficult as I'm making it. I just want to know that I'm doing it correctly before I go ahead and do a bunch of them. For the most part, I still have fully uncompressed versions of everything and am just getting prepared for the big days of queue'ing up a bunch to be encoded.

    Thanks so much for any help and I apologize in advance for all of the random questions thrown into one topic.
  2. mic j macrumors 68030

    Mar 15, 2012
    Just as a comment on your overall approach, I use the aTV3 preset for everything. The only changes I do to the preset are to check the web optimize setting, anamorphic strict and decomb (fast). Have been very happy with every transcode.
  3. dynaflash macrumors 68020

    Mar 27, 2003
    Well, decomb is "safer" in that it scans each frame for combing, if it finds it it deinterlaces the frame, if not it leaves it alone. Deinterlace on the other hand deinterlaces every frame regardless. Deinterlace has no detection algorithm. deinterlacing a progressive (ie. non-interlaced) frame degrades quality as well as slows handbrake down.

    Therefore, decomb is better for everyday use.. The only reason I would use deinterlace (which I never do) is if decomb is missing some interlaced frames. Its typically very accurate but isn't fool proof.

    Um, RF is only in constant quality. Constant Quality is the encoding method (as opposed to average bitrate) and RF ( short for Reference Factor) is the value applied to constant quality encoding.

    By definition Constant Quality encoding is only single pass. Average bitrate encoding has a 2 pass option to help its accuracy. As noted above, just use constant quality. There is after all a reason its default in all of the built in presets.


    Decomb (fast) is already in the AppleTV 3 preset. ;)
  4. mic j macrumors 68030

    Mar 15, 2012
    Right you are. My mistake.
  5. dynaflash macrumors 68020

    Mar 27, 2003
    Was just giving you a hard time! As always your suggestions are worth noting to be sure. I suggest the OP take heed of your advice.
  6. mic j macrumors 68030

    Mar 15, 2012
    Always good to see you post...even if it's to correct me! :D

    I am transcoding less and less. Streaming more and more. It's a shame because I really like using and understanding the process. But the quality and cost of streaming from iTunes is making me re-evaluate the time/effort put into transcoding now that my library of dvd/BR have all been done.
  7. rock15478 thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 8, 2007
    Thank you guys so much for the advice.

    Any words of wisdom on the home movies part of things?

    Do either of you have any experience with iMovie HD 6's share options on getting best output possible for ATV3? What about iMovie 11? The ATV presets seem to suck.

    Does Handbrake handle this better usually?
  8. jetlife2 macrumors regular


    Apr 18, 2004
    Cincinnati, Oh
    more answers

    HB defaults to "auto" cropping. If it detects black bars top/bottom or sides, it will crop them out resulting in a different source and output size. You can disable this, or adjust it using the picture settings and the preview, but generally it does a very good job, so my recommendation is to leave it alone.

    For anamorphic "Strict" vs "Loose" this determines how the anamorphic output picture size is calculated. Strict preserves the original frame size, Loose adjusts it to be a multiple of 16 (or other modulus that you can choose).

    See here for more
  9. mic j macrumors 68030

    Mar 15, 2012
    I will note that I have tried using anamorphic loose, and usually it does a fine job. However, I have had some videos that default to 720p and and get distorted using it. So it's not 100%. On the other hand, per Dynaflash's recommendation, I have set "strict" as my default and never had an issue.
  10. slothrob macrumors 6502

    Jun 12, 2007
    I have found some video sources that also benefited from detelecine along with decomb. For some, it dramatically smoothed motion. Perhaps that is more worth trying than deinterlacing.

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