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Streaming Video: Handbrake

Tips and tricks for better quality in Streaming Video



Handbrake is a useful video ripping and converting tool. Since it only saves the files it produces in .mp4 format, it is often only one step in a process of ripping and converting videos.

The screen below shows the Handbrake program in the process of ripping a DVD, with the "Picture" tab showing the available options. In this example, the default settings have been accepted without change. The red arrow points to the display of the input file characteristics. These say that the source is 720 x 480 and the Aspect Ration is 1.78. These figures can be misleading, since the ratio of 720/480 is actually 1.5, and not 1.78. 

If the output width is to be reduced during the ripping process, enter the desired output width in Width box, and leave the height untouched. The program will automatically set the height to keep the input aspect ratio. Also, leave the Cropping feature set to automatic, as the program will usually recognized any black bars present in the input file and automatically try to remove them.

Click on the Audio tab to bring up the audio options, and click the Mixdown box and set its value to Stereo or Mono (if the audio in the input file contains more than two channels).

Click the Video tab to set the video options. There is no direct setting for desired output file size, but the bit rate setting will impact this. Click the Avg bitrate radio button to enable the setting and then type a desired value in the box. Alternatively, the Quality slider can be used, although directly setting the bit rate is usually easier.

With these settings, the program will produce an output video file with a good balance of quality and file size.