HandBrake is a simple, open source program designed to convert videos, movies, and obscure media files into formats that can be read by various devices such as the iPod, Apple TV and others. In this tutorial, we'll show you how. You'll be converting videos in no time!
First, you'll need to download and install HandBrake. Windows users should note that you'll need to have Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 installed in order to run the program.
Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 (Required for Windows version)
Once you've installed HandBrake, you'll be confronted by the user interface. Don't let all the buttons and options intimidate you, as the program isn't too difficult to use.
The first thing you'll need to do is select the Source of the videos that you will be converting. The 'Source' button will allow you to select individual video files, entire folders, DVDs and Blu-Ray DVD, or DVD images (but not Blu-Ray images) such as an .ISO file.
Once your Source has been selected, you may have multiple files to work with. The next step is to go to the title tab to pick out specific ones for tweaking. You can even choose to convert only parts of the selected files. The "Chapters" button allows you to narrow down the encoding to certain chapters of a movie file, a particular time stamp, or even specific frames!
Once you've selected the material for encoding, you'll need to think about the device you want to display the video on. Fortunately, HandBrake comes with a series of handy presets that allow you to configure your encoding for particular types of devices, such as the various Apple platforms or Android devices. If you intend to view your files on a PC or TV, then select "Normal" or "High Profile."
The Presets tab should configure most of the options for you, leaving only some nagging details, such as where the finished product will go, as well as naming conventions for the output files. In the "Tools>Options>Output Files" tab, you can select the folder that your output files will go. Make sure that your target folder is in a drive with a lot of free space, as videos can take up a lot of space quickly. You can also define the naming conventions of your output files, which is especially useful if encoding an entire batch.
Users of Apple devices and QuickTime might want to make sure that the "MP4 File Extension" is set to "Always Use M4V" if they want to keep a video file's Chapters and AC3 audio.
With the output options defined, we're just a few steps away from the final encoding. Experienced users may want to tweak the Video tab, which allows you to select specific video codecs and tweak the bitrates for the encoding. Most casual users can make do with the Preset options.