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Guide: How to convert videos with Handbrake

Discussion in 'Music & Media' started by Usta, May 30, 2011.

  1. Usta

    Usta Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    Thanks to a number of universal video players in Market, playing videos with different formats on Android devices is no longer a problem.
    However, there are a number of occasions where you want to convert them.

    For example:
    * when the videos are on a DVD (or ripped to PC)
    * when you have a complex video which your phone cannot play (like 1080p full HD videos)
    * when you want to have a video that is natively supported by Android OS.

    Handbrake is a very suitable software to use for such conversions. It is an open-source, GPL-licensed, multiplatform, multithreaded video transcoder, available for MacOS X, Linux and Windows. It is suitable both for the beginners and advanced users, and can produce excellent results. For this reason, I'm making this guide for everyone, with screenshots (who doesn't like screenshots? :)).

    Step 1) Download Handbrake from here: HandBrake
    Install and run.

    Step 2) Click "Source" and select the video file you want to convert. I'll select the Full HD 1080p trailer from Thor movie (source: Youtube).
    Set the Destination path and output file name. Select MP4 as the file extension/container. Now select "Universal" from the right side Presets section.
    In Picture tab set the resolution so that the lower number equals to that of the lower number of your phone's screen resolution. For example, my phone has 800x480 screen resolution, so here I make sure that the display size says "1129x480". Note: you can only change the larger number, the smaller one just follows.

    Step 3) In Video tab, set Video codec to "H.264(x264)", Framerate to "Same as Source", Avg Bitrate to "1000". Optional - you can also select "2 Pass encoding" for a bit better quality, but it takes the conversion process too long.
    A note here: I selected Avg Bitrage mode, because it is more suitable for all source videos. The experienced users can select "Constant quality" mode to get a better bitrate allocation across video frames, aka get better quality for smaller file size.

    Step 4) In Audio tab, select the necessary settings as in picture and remove any extra tracks.

    Step 5) If you want to add subtitles, then add them here. If you do, then check "Burned In" box so that you don't have issues with most of the players.

    Step 6) Go to "Advanced" tab and make sure that the settings are like this - Don't change anything there!
    Press the "Start" button and wait for the program to finish the job.

    Note: One time action - you can add these settings and create your phone preset just before the conversion on step 6. Press "Add" button under the Presets, type a name, and "Set Default". Next time, when you load a new file, just use this new preset and all your settings should be restored.

    Good luck! :)

    kerwar, virtualmaze, Flumme and 5 others like this.

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  2. SeekerOfTheWay

    SeekerOfTheWay Android Enthusiast

    This is a great guide, thanks. However when I select source and then the Disc drive no files show. I have the DVD inserted.
    kerwar likes this.
  3. As I have posted in your THREE other posts about the same thing, you need to rip the dvd to the hard drive first.
    kerwar likes this.
  4. Usta

    Usta Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    Yes, Handbrake has the option to convert video directly from a DVD disk.
    However, as sitlet mentions, it is a much better idea to rip it first on HDD to avoid any protection or physical device reading errors.
  5. Senna1

    Senna1 Newbie

    How important are the exact settings in the "Advanced" tab?

    I've ripped videos to put on my Dinc2 using 2 or 3 of the different HB presets, including "iPhone4", "Normal", and a modified "Universal"; all have various different settings selected in the "Advanced" tab, particularly when it comes to B frames, motion interpolation method, and the 3 checkboxes for CABAC, 8x8 transform, and Weighted P frames.

    All of the movies play, all look about the same on a 4" 800x480 screen, and all are about the same size. The encode time varies somewhat, but other than that I'm having a hard time telling what all these options change.

    Can anyone explain, or point me to a guide that explains?
    kerwar likes this.
  6. Usta

    Usta Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    The "Universal" preset keeps the encoded video at H264 Baseline profile.
    The moment you start to change Advanced settings, like for example selecting CABAC, then you are changing the encoding profile to H264 Main/High/other.
    While these other profiles provide more fine tuning and compression, they are also increasing the chances of incompatibility of video playback on Android phones.
    Sure, the modern dual-cores can handle videos at H264 Main Profile, but most of the single cores will fail to play them.
    kerwar likes this.
  7. toiday

    toiday Newbie

    Thanks for the instructions. I've been using HandBrake with the iPhone 4 profile to convert video for my Galaxy S but it's hit and miss. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. This particular video I tried to convert with the iPhone 4 profile and decreased the picture height to 480 and limit the size to 1GB, my Vibrant can't play. The iPhone 4 plays just fine and the quality quite good. I than follow you instructions, using Universal profile and Avg Bitrate 1000. The file is more than twice as big as the one using iPhone 4 profile. This time my Vibrant can play. Even though the file size on the Universal profile is more than twice as the iPhone 4 profile, the quality of the iPhone 4 profile is much better. I can tell by playing both file from my computer. You explain on the setting in the Advanced tab... so you much compression and that's the reason the Vibrant can't play. I think the Vibrant and the iPhone 4 have pretty much hardware. So, why is iPhone 4 can play the file but not the Vibrant. Is iOS better then Anroid then?
  8. cdl

    cdl Android Enthusiast

    I'd like to clarify that handbrake lets you hardcode (burn-in) external files in .srt format only. If you want to hardcode subtitles in the idx/sub format, you first have to embed them in the same mkv as the video using mkvmerge (it's quick); you cannot hardcode idx/sub subtitles stored as external files, at least with the current version.
    This is the solution I use to play videos with DicePlayer on my Android.

    If you only have an avi (not mkv) with idx/sub subtitles, you can also use virtualdub with the vobsub plugin to hardcode the subtitles.

    Hope this is useful.
    kerwar likes this.
  9. ashlyn1996524

    ashlyn1996524 Lurker

    can the videos converted with this programme played in samsung gt-s5830?
    kerwar likes this.
  10. Flumme

    Flumme Android Enthusiast

    Nice write up! Thanks. :)
    kerwar likes this.

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