To encode (or re-encode) our video we are going to use the Handbrake application. Handbrake will work with nearly any video that you throw at it. That means it will work with the VIDEO_TS file you will have if you ripped a DVD, (as mentioned above) a random DivX/XviD file you obtained from the internet and even MKV files (such as what you got from a Blu-Ray after ripping the main title, above). Unfortunately, Handbrake cannot read your Blu-Ray disc image.
Starting Up: The second you open Handbrake it will present you with a window, essentially asking you, “what file do you want me to work on boss?” I don’t know where you store your files, but direct Handbrake to wherever that may be and then select open. If you want to work on a VIDEO_TS file, just click on the VIDEO_TS folder and then select ‘Open.’ Handbrake will then review the structure of the DVD and, most likely, present you with the main title.
Presets: There used to be a slew of Presets that came included with Handbrake but they have been paired down. For the most part this isn’t a deal breaker though as most people will probably want to tweak the settings depending on their source. Below are quick summaries of what the presets are, the most important being iPhone & iPod Touch. With that preset you can, very quickly, reencode a video to watch on the go. Here is the full rundown on all the Presets that used to come with Handbrake.
Apple :: Universal: HandBrake’s universally compatible, full resolution settings for all current Apple devices: iPod, iPhone, AppleTV, and Macs
Apple :: iPod: HandBrake’s low resolution settings for the iPod. Optimized for great playback on the iPod screen, with smaller file size. (Not for iPhone/iPod Touch)
Apple :: iPhone & iPod Touch: HandBrake’s settings for the iPhone and iPod Touch.
Apple :: AppleTV: HandBrake’s settings for the AppleTV, including Dolby Digital 5.1 AC3 sound. Provides a good balance between quality and file size, and optimizes performance.
Regular :: Normal: Handbrake will not change the video resolution but reduce the bitrate, reducing the file size.
Regular :: High Profile: Same as Regular, but with the full AC3 audio track.
Legacy: These Presets are old, and in general shouldn’t be used.
My suggestion would be to try a few of these presets out to see which works best for you. You can limit the chapters that you test by selecting exactly which chapters you want to be encoded, the total duration of those chapters will then be displayed.
Encoding: First click the ‘Browse…” button to select your output destination. Then click ‘Start’ and let Handbrake do it’s thing. Depending on the speed of your computer and the size/resolution/length of your source, the encode could take a few minutes to several hours. Additionally, you can queue up several video files to be encoded at once, perfect for TV shows or movie collections. When you typically would click ‘Start,’ instead click ‘Add to Queue.’ When all your videos are queued up, then click ‘Start.’
This section is going to be continuously be updated, but in the mean time, please feel free to check out the Handbrake Forums if you are interested in more info!