Handbrake is a free and open source video transcoder software capable of converting almost any video format to modern and universal codecs. It will not only function as a video converter but is also a superb BluRay/DVD ripper for both copy-protected and non-copy protected sources.
This software also opens you up to batch processing that helps to convert multiple video files at the same time and in addition, a ton of presets is at your disposal to steer you to the kind of output you are after without tinkering with a lot of options.
Handbrake is certainly a powerful and excellent video converter for Windows, Mac, and Linux that shouldn’t miss on your radar. It offers all the necessary features, in a minimalistic tool, that give the user total control over the output. Before we dive into the key features, here is a summary of the pros and cons of Handbrake.
Pros & Cons of Handbrake
- Multiplatform – Handbrake is available for use on all the popular Mac, Windows, and Linux platforms without any restrictions or limitations.
- Free and open-source – This means that there will be no software costs incurred, comes with better stability, flexibility, security, and offers more control over hardware.
- A ton of presets – To ease the learning curve, Handbrake presents users with video conversion profiles/presets that get rid of the need to tinker with lots of options which may not be obvious to everyone.
- Batch video conversion – handbrake is capable of converting multiple video files all at the same time in manageable queues.
- Not that user-friendly – Handbrake poses a bit of a learning curve especially for first-time users so you need to familiarize yourself with the interface for starters.
- Supports only two containers – Unfortunately, this video converter can only output videos in either the MP4 or MKV format.
How to Use Handbrake
Key Features in Handbrake
Handbrake is a pretty powerful open source video converter and DVD ripping software that proves to be very handy. Here are the key features that make it a must-have software.
This is the highlight feature in Handbrake and basically touches on the ability of this program to transcode/convert videos from one format into either the MP4 or MKV formats. You can either define your own conversion parameters or make the whole process very convenient using the built-in presets that simplify the whole process.
On top of that, this open source also lets you edit the video by adjusting the dimensions, quality, framerate, bitrate, applying filtres, burning in subtitles, adding audio tracks, and defining the conversion speed – high speed results in lower quality compared to slow decoding. Better yet, the batch convert feature is a big plus too as it allows you to convert multiple videos or a folder containing videos simultaneously by placing the files in a queue.
As long as your DVD or BluRay sources do not have any copy protection, Handbrake is ready to rip the content and digitize it. It is an avid DVD ripper for copy-protected DVDs too once you have the libdvdcss library installed.
For a successful DVD ripping process, you have to specify the video codec to use like H.264, the frame rate, and the quality. Keep in mind that you can rock the presets covered below if you are not sure of what options to adjust. Handbrake will help you rip specific titles, chapters, or audio tracks depending on your preference. At the end of the day, you need not worry about the disk failing or getting damaged once you have digitized the content using this reliable DVD ripper.
Built-in Device Presets
Handbrake has a lot of features concomitant to it without a friendly front-end and this may be a bit confusing for a first time user. Luckily, this can be overcome by choosing among the incorporated, device-optimized or universal profiles that guarantee not only standard but also top quality video encoding. Working with these presets is super simple, easy, fast, and the fact that you can still tinker with these presets for that extra refined output makes the experience even better. The presets are categorized as follows;
- General presets – Basically, these presets touch on the speed of conversion and quality of output coupled with the resolution including Very Fast, Fast, HQ, and Super HQ.
- Web presets – Here, the output video properties are optimized for various specific web services including Discord, Gmail, Vimeo, and YouTube. These are best suited for large video files like 4K that you need to reduce in size and still retain the quality.
- Device presets – Handbrake is able to tailor output that suits specific devices like Android, Apple (iPad, iPod, AppleTV), Chromecast, Amazon Fire, Playstation, Roku, and Xbox.
- Matroska presets – Matroska is an open source standard multimedia container and Handbrake supports the H.265, H.264 and VP9 MKV codecs in regard to this.
- Production presets – In this category, Handbrake supports Max, Standard, Proxy 1080p, and Proxy 540p.
Batch Conversion and Queueing
Handbrake brings the ability to batch convert multiple video files or even a whole folder all at the same time. This leads to the realization of the ultimate convenience when it comes to processing multiple video files simultaneously. You also get the chance to queue encodes so that they are processed based on the priority you have put in place.
Input and Output Options
Handbrake supports most of the common multimedia formats including DVD and BluRay sources on top of a vast array of output options. To be specific, you are opened up to the following;
- Video containers – MKV and MP4/M4V are the only supported output containers.
- Video encoding options – Make the most out of the supported H.265, H.264, H.265 MPEG-4, MPEG-2, VP8, VP9, and Theora encoders.
- Audio encoding options – The supported audio encoders include AAC / HE-AAC, MP3, Flac, AC3, and Vorbis.
- Audio Pass-thru – For that refined output, Handbrake lets you apply audio pass-thru on AC-3, E-AC3, DTS, DTS-HD, TrueHD, AAC, and MP3 tracks.
Live and Static Preview
Depending on the parameters you have defined for the output, Handbrake presents you with a nifty feature where you can have a sneak peek at how the output will look like in the end.
This is done for you in two ways; one is that you can preview static images grabbed at various points in the video while the other one is a live preview video clip from a section of choice. In doing so, Handbrake ensures that you get exactly the kind of output you are hoping for since you can always make changes, preview the output, and repeat the process to satisfaction.
Handbrake is the free and open source video converter that gets the job done in a quite satisfactory way. It will convert video files for you, offer DVD ripping options, and optimize videos to suit specific devices and video hosting websites like YouTube without breaking a sweat. Once you are past using presets and get acquainted with the various settings, you will be up to churn out perfect video conversions and top of the top DVD rips.