*OPTIMAL* settings for Handbrake? (Blu-ray and DVD rips) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 89 Old 09-17-2013, 03:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Let me start by saying that I have looked through the myriad of Handbrake settings posts, here as well as on other sites and forums, and I haven't found anything that's truly useful to me. (By all means, please post a link if I've overlooked it.) The problem I have is that people, when making recommendations, rarely (if ever) give a proper context for their recommendations. By that, I mean that if they don't tell me how far they sit from their X size screen, I can't know whether their recommendation truly has merit. I mean, if you're watching a 50" TV from 10-12 feet away, you can't (with 20/20 vision) fully resolve a 1080p image, so you wouldn't necessarily notice a quality loss going from 12 to 15 to 20 or higher.

I specifically want to hear from people with screen size:viewing distance ratio resulting in a FOV of 32 degrees or more. (If you're not sure, feel free to use the calculator linked in my signature.) And I specifically don't want to hear from anyone with a FOV of less than 32 degrees. (No offense intended.)

Anyway, I've ripped a large portion of my DVD and Blu-ray collection to my media server, but I tend to lean toward lower compression/higher file sizes - and now I'm nearly out of disk space. I rip my DVDs to ISO using DVD Shrink with no compression and they average just over 5GB per movie. I suspect I could use Handbrake to cut that down quite a bit. For Blu-rays, I average about 12GB per movie but, again, I suspect I could do better without a noticeable loss in quality.

I'd really appreciate hearing from anyone whose FOV meets the aforementioned criteria. Please let me know (1) your FOV, (2) the quality settings you use for Handbrake for ripping both DVDs and Blu-rays and (3) whether you can, with those settings, distinguish any difference from an uncompressed rip.

Rather than cluttering this thread with lots of thank you posts, I will say - in advance - thank you!
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post #2 of 89 Old 09-17-2013, 10:13 AM
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Even if everybody here posted what you are requesting, it doesn't really mean anything to you. It's all subjective. The only way you're going to know what works best for your setup is to play around with the settings and make comparisons.

My philosophy on this is that if I have to do an A/B comparison to tell the difference, it's not worth bothering. When I played around with handbrake, I was surprised in how little I could tell the difference with a 120" screen when I was standing right in front of it. It was little enough where I would just go with one of the presets and forget about trying to tweak settings. For the times I really care about having the absolute best quality, I use a Blu-Ray player. But that's just me. Others will have different opinions on this.
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post #3 of 89 Old 09-22-2013, 10:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mslide View Post

Even if everybody here posted what you are requesting, it doesn't really mean anything to you. It's all subjective.
I disagree. If someone with 20/20 vision and a 1080p display can discern a difference between (quality setting) 20 and 18 when seated at a distance that allows him/her to fully resolve 1080p, that's quite objective.
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My philosophy on this is that if I have to do an A/B comparison to tell the difference, it's not worth bothering.
If I'm going to invest many, many, many hours of my time into this, then upgrade my system later and realize that I have to do it all again, it is - to me - worth bothering.
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post #4 of 89 Old 09-23-2013, 01:01 AM
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I don't think you will get many useful answers.

One big problem is that "optimal" settings depend a lot on content. For example, animated movies will require difference settings than if you are optimizing for large / fast moving objects scenes (eg. Transformers movie), or movies with many dark scenes. Settings that do a good job compressing a vanilla comedy with mostly bright scenes may create artifacts in certain scenes of other movies (like the large / fast moving objects or dark scenes I mentioned above). If you do not carefully check the movie after you recompress it, you may later discover artifacts in some of the difficult scenes, even though 90% of the movie looks okay.
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post #5 of 89 Old 09-23-2013, 08:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donny Bahama View Post

I disagree. If someone with 20/20 vision and a 1080p display can discern a difference between (quality setting) 20 and 18 when seated at a distance that allows him/her to fully resolve 1080p, that's quite objective.

There's nothing objective about that kind of statement at all. All that kind of statement indicates is that the person thinks they can tell a difference. You have no idea if they can actually see a difference or if they are only fooling themselves into thinking there is a difference because they know which one is which. All that matters is your eyes and ears. You're going to have to do your own homework here to know what the best settings are for you and not someone else.
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post #6 of 89 Old 09-23-2013, 08:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donny Bahama View Post

If I'm going to invest many, many, many hours of my time into this, then upgrade my system later and realize that I have to do it all again, it is - to me - worth bothering.

A 3TB hard drive is now about $100. newegg just had a 4TB external for $140:

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1491358/hgst-4tb-usb-3-0-newegg-140-with-code-ends-9-19

Save yourself hours of time and potential problems down the road and just get another hard drive.

BTW, it's what I've done. ;)


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Did you really need to quote that entire post in your reply?
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post #7 of 89 Old 09-23-2013, 08:38 AM
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I agree that it's too subjective.

When I started ripping movies 10 years ago I was making 700-1,500mb xvid avi files. I couldn't tell a difference from the DVD on my 24" Trinitron CRT being fed S-Video from my PC. Even when I bought my first hdtv, a 37" 1366x768 offbrand LCD I thought they still looked pretty sharp.

But on my current tv they look like garbage. That's subjective. Lines of detail, artifacts, macroblocking - those are objective stats. They mean nothing in terms of visual quality. They are stats that denote quality (or lack of) but mean nothing to your eyes. That's why the results of different Handbrake settings are going to produce subjective results.

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post #8 of 89 Old 09-23-2013, 11:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jim2100 View Post

I don't think you will get many useful answers.
So far you are 100% correct. I wish people would either answer the post in the spirit intended or not answer at all. I didn't put this out there to start a debate.
Quote:
One big problem is that "optimal" settings depend a lot on content. For example, animated movies will require difference settings than if you are optimizing for large / fast moving objects scenes (eg. Transformers movie), or movies with many dark scenes. Settings that do a good job compressing a vanilla comedy with mostly bright scenes may create artifacts in certain scenes of other movies (like the large / fast moving objects or dark scenes I mentioned above). If you do not carefully check the movie after you recompress it, you may later discover artifacts in some of the difficult scenes, even though 90% of the movie looks okay.
That's fine. Feel free to reply within those parameters...

For animated movies I use these settings...
For movies with lots of action/fast motion I use...
etc.
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post #9 of 89 Old 09-23-2013, 01:31 PM
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I use handbrake to compress my blurays and dvds. I was in the same boat as you not long ago. While it is probably best to leave the video uncompressed if you can, the fact is it does take up a lot of space and costs can add up. I don't know whats optimal, but I can tell you what I do. I started with the Generic 'High profile' preset. changed the output to mkv instead of m4v. and adjusted the constant quality setting to 18. I include the DTS-HD audio track. for Dolby TrueHD I remux in the TrueHD track using MkvmergeGUI. The resulting file size is usually around 10GB or so for a bluray rip, although I've had some as large as 20GB and others as small as 7GB. DVDs usually compress down to 2GB or less. I'm using a Panasonic ae8000u on a 112" 2.35:1 screen and I think it looks great. No Picture Quality complaints here and I probably save 50% of my storage space by compressing the files. In my experience, the HD audio does add quite a bit to the file size though, so if you don't have a system capable of taking advantage of HD audio, or its just not that important to you, you might consider only keeping the standard DTS or dolby digital 5.1 tracks.
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post #10 of 89 Old 09-23-2013, 06:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you, Meyer64! I appreciate your input. Out of curiosity, did you tweak any of the other settings?
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post #11 of 89 Old 09-24-2013, 08:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donny Bahama View Post


That's great if you have the discretionary income to do so. Right now, I do not. But I do have an extra 3 or 4 minutes to start a handbrake job every night before I go to bed.

How about $60?

http://dealnews.com/Fantom-2-TB-USB-3.0-External-Hard-Drive-for-60-after-rebate-free-shipping/862854.html

At 50GB per BD, that's 40 movies. Probably twice that without the junk.


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Did you really need to quote that entire post in your reply?
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post #12 of 89 Old 09-30-2013, 11:36 PM
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After repeated tests I've come to one conclusion... wasting all that time encoding most films using the high profile preset, going into the advanced settings to tweak every little thing to make it take hours to do an encode.. yes it can be done just let it run while working or sleeping, but it does very little to actually improve the video quality.

Simply setting the RF between 18-22 depending on the film (actually for the film "gran torino" for some reason I had to use RF of 15 to get a decent rip), using the 'normal' profile, passing the audio through untouched (I love my DTS-HD and True-HD), and just pressing the "rip" button seems to be 95% as good, much better than the compressed stuff you'll find on cable or netflix, and takes a fraction of the time. I'm hard pressed to notice any difference in most films and don't care if I have a 100-400MB larger size file from using the 'very fast' setting when hard drives are exceeding 4TB.

Some blurays are better than others and will get better treatment, like Avatar, Transformers, or Man on fire, but something like "school of rock" the difference was so miniscule between RF 18 and RF 22 I could almost not notice it and only on still frames. Using "high profile" I noticed no appreciable difference. Generally I look at video quality of source material and make my decision. Most comedies just get the normal treatment.

Actually many of the torrented low bitrate garbage you find out there that's only a gigabyte or two looks surprisingly good, albeit obviously soft. Most of mine I aim for 8-12 GB.

All this is for bluray and HD-DVD rips... I no longer deal with DVD movies period.
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post #13 of 89 Old 11-22-2013, 12:06 PM
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High Profile
x264 Preset: Very Slow
x264 Tune: Film/Animation
Constant Quality: 14~18
I typically use RF 16. Between 10 and 12 if I want to preserve all detail and just burn-in subs or remove black bars from DVD rips.
Chick flicks... downscale resolution to 720p, RF 26 biggrin.gif
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post #14 of 89 Old 11-22-2013, 03:47 PM
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Thanks Techmattr.

I am new to this so anxious to see what others are doing. I started with the defaults with mixed results and then tried changing the constant quality to 18 with pretty much no other changes - not bad. My one Blu Ray is much better than my DVDs. After reading about how all the filters can play a part and how slower speeds mean smaller size, I am doing a special rip for Avatar. I thought that might be an interesting test. I used...

1. MKV
2. High Profile
2. Anamorphic strict
3. Filters = Default, Default, Off, Off
4. Constant quality =19
5. X264 preset = very slow
6. x264 tune = film
7. H264 profile = high, 4.1
8. Subtitles - foreign audio scan - forced only, burn in (that's to get the translation from Navi)
9. Audio is 5.1 downmixed to Dolby Prologic II as per the default - default bitrate of 160 (I assume I will get 5.1 and when that isn't available, Dolby stereo.

I normally change 1080P to 720P which is supposed to make the file much smaller. But this is Avatar.

We will see what the size ends up as. "Very slow" is indeed "very slow". The encode is ongoing and it looks like it will take 30 hours. There is a slower setting called "placebo". I assume that meant no difference.

My machine has a decent processor, fair video card and is duel quad core. Under the old encoding it was about 45 min to an hour for a standard movie.

Can't wait to see what everyone else is doing and looking forward to tips or criticism on what I am doing.
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post #15 of 89 Old 11-22-2013, 09:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you, techmattr and mrick! I really appreciate your responses! Especially interested in hearing your viewing impressions, mrick. What's your screen size/seating distance?
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post #16 of 89 Old 11-22-2013, 11:34 PM
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EDIT: - Avatar rip as above took 30 hours and the file size is 13.4G. Not good. Not awful. Looks good though. Film is 2hr42min.

Sorry to hear about your financial troubles. Medical costs in this country are a disgrace.

To answer your question, we sit about 12 foot back and center to a 42 inch Vizio - LED. Funny, we really worried about the proper size when we bought the first one. And we bought the warranty direct from Vizeo for very little. It did fail in the 4th year and we got the replacement. Thing is.... prices on TVs had really dropped so I sort of wished we had not bought the extended warranty. I would probably have upscaled.

Mod's edit - removed reference to illegal torrents.

Some have suggested that I put my Blu Ray on the shelf and download my backup rather than rip it. I would get better quality, lower size, and less aggravation.

As I said, I am just learning. My standard DVDs at default Handbrake settings seemed a bit below par to me. From what I read, I need to understand a bit more about the filter settings - particularly denoising. Supposedly, that will smooth my video and at the same time reduce the size. Evidently, encoding grain takes space.

I did a rip of "Clockwork Orange" (blu-ray) and reduced the file from 1080P to 720P. I used a 18 constant quality setting and the default handbrake fast encoding. It came out at about 4.5G and it looks pretty good. I followed the instructions of a blogger called Lifehacker. It was called "The Hassle-Free Guide to Ripping your Blu-Ray Collection".

Tonight, I had the opportunity to show my wife about a 390 mb episode of a TV show and then the 720P version at about 1.7G. There is a definite difference. But in all honesty, I would enjoy the TV show about the same. It's probably not much different than streaming a TV show from Amazon Prime.

Good luck to all. If anyone knows how we can get Yify type results out of handbrake, I am all ears. That's what I am really after.
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post #17 of 89 Old 11-23-2013, 06:15 AM
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Irrelevant posts deleted...please stay on topic.
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post #18 of 89 Old 11-23-2013, 07:48 AM
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Since when is a suggestion to maybe verify if you actually need everything on the HDD before compressing the content to a lesser quality to make room for more stuff irrelevant? I even admitted that it didn't have to do with HB settings but was an alternative to consider.

I am not really understanding this at all but it isn't my forum to moderate. There's a lot more other truly irrelevant and completely off topic posts scattered all over this place but a viable alternative to compressing data is deleted? Please help me understand this.

Thanks.

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post #19 of 89 Old 11-23-2013, 11:22 AM
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Quote:
I even admitted that it didn't have to do with HB settings but was an alternative to consider.

That is why I considered it irrelevant...the topic is HandBrake settings, not workarounds and/or alternatives. I was not picking on you, but rather just deleting all off topic posts.
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post #20 of 89 Old 11-23-2013, 12:09 PM
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Point taken. I respectfully disagree but will let it be..

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post #21 of 89 Old 11-23-2013, 10:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Bob Sorel View Post

Irrelevant posts deleted...please stay on topic.
Thank you, Bob! And BTW, good to see you! It's been a long time! smile.gif
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post #22 of 89 Old 11-23-2013, 10:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrick View Post

To answer your question, we sit about 12 foot back and center to a 42 inch Vizio - LED.
You might want to break out some lawn chairs and sit quite a bit closer when evaluating the relative quality of your rips. At that distance/screen size, your field of view is 14.9 degrees and the maximum fully resolvable resolution (assuming 20/20 vision) is only 488 lines. You'd need to be no more than 8.1 feet away from a 42" screen to resolve 720p.

Seating guidelines for a 42" 16:9 display (from the Home Theater Hero Home Theater Calculator, linked in my sig)...

480 (widescreen) full resolution minimum seating distance: 12.2 feet (FOV = 14.2 degrees)

720P full resolution minimum seating distance: 8.1 feet (FOV = 21.33 degrees)
This is the minimum seating distance to get the full benefit of 720P (HDTV broadcasts). Beyond this distance, a person with 20/20 vision can not fully resolve all the detail of a 1280 x 720P image.

THX maximum allowable seating distance: 6.6 feet (FOV = 26 degrees)
For a commercial theater to achieve THX certification, the farthest seat from the screen must have no less than a 26 degree field of view.

SMPTE maximum recommended seating distance: 5.7 feet (FOV = 30 degrees)
Based largely on a key research paper from Japanese broadcaster NHK, SMPTE's recommendation represents the minimum field of view (30 degrees) at which the "immersion effect" (or "induction effect") takes place. The "immersion effect" refers to an induced "sensation of reality" in which the viewer becomes immersed in the action on the screen. For most home theater enthusiasts, the immersion effect is the primary goal of home theater. Thus, many feel that the farthest seat should be at least this close (and preferably closer) to the screen. Home Theater Hero recommends that the THX maximum recommended distance (below) be used instead for the farthest (row of) seating.

1080 full resolution minimum seating distance: 5.3 feet (FOV = 32 degrees)
This is the minimum seating distance to get the full benefit of 1080I/P (e.g. a Blu-ray disc or 1080i HDTV broadcasts.). Beyond this distance, a person with 20/20 vision can not fully resolve all the detail of a 1920 x 1080 image.

THX maximum recommended seating distance: 4.7 feet (FOV = 36 degrees)
For an engaging home theater experience, THX recommends no less than a 36 degree field of view.

THX optimal seating recommendation: 4.2 feet (FOV = 40 degrees)
For an optimal, immersive home theater experience, THX recommends a 40 degree field of view.
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post #23 of 89 Old 11-24-2013, 05:48 AM
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Interesting reply. So I suppose I should...

1. Do the first review of the video from my 24 inch computer monitor since it is right in front of me. That is counter intuitive.

2. Get bigger screen if this TV ever breaks.

3. Or raise the constant quality setting a bit because it won't be noticeable at sitting distance.

4. Or similarly, set the width at 1280 which will drive Handbrake to 720P as I won't be able to tell the difference anyhow.

5. Or denoise a bit to which removes some detail and shrinks the size.

Avatar looks great with the settings I used and the sound for the 5.1 is good as well. However, I am now cranking out a 702P/20RF version. I will see what that looks like at 12 foot... and closer. The time is almost half. Looks like about 17 hours on the "very slow" setting.
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post #24 of 89 Old 11-24-2013, 08:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Now you're getting to the crux of my dilemma... Our seating distance is pretty much predetermined and unlikely to change unless we move. Our screen is 110" with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio, which is actually too small for our seating distance (field of view:27.87 degrees, maximum fully resolvable screen resolution: 939 lines - assuming CinemaScope content) but since our projector is only 720p, it doesn't really matter that much. The thing is, SOME DAY I hope things will improve for us and we'll be able to afford a 1080p projector and a screen that's big enough to fully resolve 1080p content from our seating distance -- and when that day comes, I don't want to watch my ripped Blu-rays, realize the quality of the rips is insufficient and have to rip them all over again!

That's why I'm hoping to get some good input on handbrake settings from people who sit close enough (for their relative screen size) to be able to fully resolve 1080p and thus can (theoretically) see the difference that various quality settings make.
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post #25 of 89 Old 11-24-2013, 08:46 AM
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Donny, if you just tell them where to stand, they may be able to give you the feedback. I don't mind moving up to the screen, but I gotta tell you that sitting 4 feet from the 42" screen is not comfortable. But I will do it for comparison. Sitting one foot from the monitor is fine if that works.
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post #26 of 89 Old 11-24-2013, 09:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrick View Post

I gotta tell you that sitting 4 feet from the 42" screen is not comfortable.
I totally get that mrick. That's why you need a bigger screen in general! wink.gif I personally believe that if you like movies (including TV with movie-like production values), then you should strive to create a home theater experience that approximates the experience you get from a good commercial cinema. Fortunately, the good people at THX and SMPTE have published specific guidelines for doing so. (And the good people at Home Theater Hero have made it easy to access and apply them!)

As for critical viewing on a computer monitor, there's nothing wrong with that at all.
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post #27 of 89 Old 11-24-2013, 10:04 PM
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It took 17 hours. The 720P looks pretty good as well. I think I can tell the difference. Are are screen captures. I don't know if that works for comparison on a website or not. The file is less than half the size of the 1080P version but still a hefty 6G. Again - this is adjusting the width to 720P and the RF to 20. Does this help? Click the picture to make it larger.
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post #28 of 89 Old 11-24-2013, 10:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mrick View Post

It took 17 hours. The 720P looks pretty good as well. I think I can tell the difference. Are are screen captures. I don't know if that works for comparison on a website or not. The file is less than half the size of the 1080P version but still a hefty 6G. Again - this is adjusting the width to 720P and the RF to 20. Does this help? Click the picture to make it larger.
Very interesting. Thanks for posting! I zoomed in on the first and second pics. The second one looked smoother and more detailed. A lot more noise/blockiness on the first one.
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post #29 of 89 Old 11-24-2013, 10:27 PM
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When I cropped these using the snip tool, one jpeg has a thin white line at the top. That is the 720P. What you call noise, I thought of as sharpness. In the comparison shot, it is obvious which is which because the file name includes 720P.
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post #30 of 89 Old 01-02-2014, 03:46 PM
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Hi everyone

 

I'm use to buying blu-rays and transfer them to MKV as a backup, well actualy that prevents me from using the blu-ray disc

 

Since the past 6 month or so, i've notice that more and more the outcome size was getting lower and lower using handbrake

 

I got 2 theories: either my video is of a lesser quality or i guess that if it contains more computer graphic generated in a movie, then the compression would be better since it contains less details...

 

For example, i've just transfered Queen of the Damned to an MKV file size 3,4 gigs

This contains an DTS, AC3 and 100 minutes of video birate about 4800.... (it is a 1920x800 actualy instead of 1080 so i do agree that the movie would have been a little bit bigger if it was a normal format of 1080....)

 

I know the new version of Handbrake offer's differents options and that my x264 encoder option seem lower in lenght since then (me=umh:subme=10:analyse=all)

 

So to create my preset, i would select Hight Profile first and then change the following:

 

-- Container: MKV

-- Picture Anamorphic: Strict

-- Cropping: Automatic (leave 0 in the box bellow even though it's automatic because for some reason it changes the display size...maybe it's jsut whats written maybe not, not taking any chances)

 

-- Detelecine: Default

Decomb: Default

Deinterlace: Off

Denoise: Off

Deblock: default on the left of the scale

 

Video Codec: H264

Framerate: Same as source

Variable Framerate

-- Constant Quality: 22   (2 years ago, after lots of search, most people concluded that 22 was the best for BR while 20 for DVD even thoguh i'm not exactly sure the numbers refer to what)

-- Use Advanced Tab instead

 

-- Audio, i'll pick 2 languages, DTS if available for both or AC3 for whats not

-- Subs, i'll reimport them using HdBrStreamExtractor and MKVMerge

 

Advanced

Reference Frame: 3

Maximum B-Frames: 3

Cabac, 8x8 Transform and Weighted P-Frames check

Pyramidal B-Frames: Normal

Adaptive B-Frames: Fast

Adaptive Direct Mode: Spatial

--Motion Est Method: Uneven Multi-Hexagon

--Subpixel Motion Est: 10: QPRD in all frames

Motion Est range: 16

-- Partition type: All

Trellis: Encode only

Adaptive quant strength: middle

Rate distortion: middle

Psychovisual trellis: left

No DCT-Decimate: uncheck

Deblocking: 0 and 0

 

 

So would anyone have a suggestion for my settings?

I have a pretty fast processor, so the lenght of time for the encoding is pretty much not an issue...

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