HandBrake

Summary: Handbrake is *the best* tool for ripping / encoding DVDS, and works great for any sources ffmpeg can read as well.

archives: Notes on handbrake

So, I started playing with Handbrake today (9/7/10), and already I really like it. I put it to the Star Trek test first, and so far, it's passing everything with flying colors. :)

There are two features that are very impressive to me for handbrake: it recognizes variable framerate wonderfully, and it converts everything to progressive video automatically. It's great. I did a rip earlier today on a Star Trek Voyager episode with mostly default settings, and while the bitrate quality was low, it looked awesome on the HDTV.

Usage is pretty simple, and it has great docs and a good wiki (another thing I like).

Right now, I'm testing ripping DVDs to quality setting 5.0 for x264. It looks good. Can always use more testing, though.

Here's a sample command line I'm using for now:

/usr/bin/HandBrakeCLI -v -i /dev/sr0 -o chapter1_high_profile_q5_2pass.mkv -Z "High Profile" -E ac3,dts -t 3 -q 5.0 --keep-display-aspect --crop 0:0:0:0 -s 1
  • verbose
  • use High Profile profile
  • copy AC3/DTS directly (uses first track by default)
  • DVD track #3
  • x264 quality level 5.0 (gets close to original filesize)
  • don't mess with the aspect ratio
  • don't do any cropping
  • rip subtitle track #1 (VobSub)

The matroska file needs to have some set stuff. Here's the one I probably care about the most, the title:

mkvpropedit -e info --set "title=Testing" track3_high_profile.mkv

Some notes:

Saw this r.e. VFR in forums, “The 'File→Video' messages are due to flags in the mpeg-2 stream indicating changes from progressive to interlaced content.”

* Quality Handbrake's docs are really good. I like this: https://trac.handbrake.fr/wiki/ConstantQuality

“To sum up: when converting from a DVD source, there is no reason to go above 80% quality, which is roughly equivalent to how heavily the DVD is compressed. If you do go higher, your output will be larger than your input!”

In x264, 80% would translate to a quality level of 10.

* Remember, remember

If you are testing rips on Star Trek and it looks good, then that means it's good enough for everything else.

Star Trek, because of its quality, is one that I would rip at such a high setting, I'd never be happy with anything less than perfection … and then I'd end up with a file the same size as the original. Best to watch it straight on DVD and leave it at that.

* Timing

Ripping “Murder, She Wrote, 3×02” from the disc at Normal profile, q20, took 65 minutes.

* Subtitles + Bad Timing

I ran into one disc that, with the VOB dumped, it would not rip the VobSub subtitles right at all (Tommorrow Land, Disc 1). It could because I'm skipping chapter 1 and ignoring the Leonard Maltin introduction which is throwing off the timing.

However, even with using the VOB, and encoding directly from there, the timing drifts, badly, in the second half of the film on playback on my VIA C7.

Using HandBrake to rip it directly from the disc fixes both issues just fine. :)


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