Archiving of My Video Library!

I love having a local cache of movie files to look at when I have relax periods at home. I don't like streaming of videos except in YouTube (where I have no choice). Video files are inherently large especially HD content. Using a freeware program called Handbrake, I compress down native source material to high quality, small file size titles. Having a powerful Intel CPU helps a lot. Sorry AMD, your CPUs suck big time and simply are inferior to Intel. I'm speaking from 9 years of experience with AMD tech.

Typically for 1080p content with 5.1 sound my file sizes are under 1Gb per 1 hour of playtime. The source file has a lot to do with the final file size also.

Read on if you are interested in creating your own video archive.

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Step 1: Initial Settings.

By opening a video file in Handbrake (or using the open folder menu option for batch conversions), these are the settings I use to give me the best quality at smallest file size. Video, like audio, is quite subjective but these are what I use. You can of course tweak to your delight in the Video tab of the program.

1. The codec for smallest size at highest quality is x265. The encoded video file will demand high CPU usage for playback but modern HPTC setups will easily handle this. My Intel i7-6700T CPU with its internal graphics plays back all my x265 files with ease and sips power too!

2. Use the constant Framerate radio button to give best quality for fast motion scenes. The default is variable Framerate but this gives lots of judder even during panning scenes. The final file size is the same regardless of the option chosen here.

3. The x265 slider should be set at "Faster" since this gives the smallest file size for some weird reason. Anything else to try to slow the encode results in much large file sizes at no perceptible increase in quality.

4. The x265 tune of Ssim gives the best quality especially for fast action and panning scenes.

5. The constant quality slider is the single most important value. For 1080p videos I use 25. 720p I use 21. 480p I use 19. It is highly subjective here and you can play with the values to get the quality and file size you want. Higher values gives lower quality and lower file size.

On a side note the Container to use is either mkv or mp4. Mp4 is good for portable devices but for an HPTC setup, use mkv since it gives the best quality output with additional features. I play my mkv files on my galaxy note 4 with zero issues.

Step 2: Video Filters

These are only useful for interlaced video like old TV shows. The best way to remove interlace to produce progressive video files is to select the Deinterlace radio button (default) and from the drop down menu select Bob. Don't select Decomb since during panning scenes there will be heavy judder which kills the viewing experience.

Denoise and Deblock really are not necessary unless you digitize some old video tapes onto your pc.

Step 3: Audio Encoding.

My best advice here is to use only the AC3 and MP3 encoders. The AAC produces very noticeable high frequency artifacts during playback. I use AC3 224kbps for 5.1 surround and MP3 64kbps for stereo. You can use higher bitrates for higher quality but an the expense of file size.

Clicking on Switch to Defaults will allow you to select the language of the audio you want every time you do an encode. This is especially useful for batch encodes.

Step 4: Subtitles

Here you can add any language subtitles you choose. You can click on Switch to Defaults to auto pick out the languages you want every time you encode.

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    6 Discussions


    3 years ago

    I just started using this to batch convert some movies and while it automatically scanned all the files I am having to manually select each one in turn and then press "START" to get it to convert. Is there a way to have the program automatically convert those files?

    3 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    Yes very easy. When adding to queue. Click the drop down arrow and select add all. Next click start and all when be encoded in sequence using the same settings.


    Reply 3 years ago

    Thank you! It couldn't be simpler! I pushed every button I could see and I can't believe I didn't see that. Maybe it was too obvious. Is my face red? If it isn't it should be. Thanks again. :)



    Reply 3 years ago

    Just happy I can help. Also if you google search for "how to's" with handbrake you will get many helpful links.