Video Size: How to use Handbrake

What is Handbrake?

  • Desktop video encoder built around FFMPEG
  • A great post editing tool, which can really help to bring file sizes down
  • It’s got a pineapple and a cocktail for its icon

Why do we use it?

  • Free and supported on all major operating systems 
  • It accepts a very wide range of input formats

1. Constant Rate Factor Encoding

If you’re in a hurry or want to conserve bandwidth. CRF allows you to retain video quality, whilst creating a small file which uploads quickly, along with using less storage and bandwidth.

How does it work?

Constant Rate Factors are fixed quality points. The higher the rate factor, the lower the encoding quality. Somewhere in the 20s usually gives a decent result, but you can experiment ‘til you find the CRF that’s right for you.

CRFs are great because there’s no fixed bit rate value. Bit rate is altered according to the what the footage needs. Stills or shots with little movement will require a low bit rate and more active, varied, shots a high one. This produces very compressed files, where the bit rate can peak and trough heavily. However, the video’s quality will remain constant.

2. Anamorphic pixels

Has your video ever changed shape once it’s uploaded to your vzaar account? It’s probably because it contains anamorphic pixels. Handbrake will iron those right out.

How does it work?

Not all pixels are square. It would make life a lot easier if they were but sometimes they’re not. Every now and then you will find a video’s been exported from production with rectangular pixels.

Generally if you pass these videos through another encoder, it will recode the pixels in the same aspect ratio but as squares. The result being that video appears horizontally squashed.

Handbrake’s picture settings let you tweak the anamorphism and aspect ratio of the output video, until you’re happy with the results. It will also give you a preview of the adjusts as you make them so you can immediately see the impact your changes are having.

3. Console Outputs

It provides a text log of the encoding process. You can then pass that to us here at vzaar and we can dive in and work out what’s happening. 

4. Web optimized H.264 encoding (MOOV atoms)

With vzaar, if you want to upload MP4 files without encoding them - you can. We give you complete control over the encoding quality (including whether you even want us to encode your videos at all). However, a common issues with non-vzaar encoded videos is absent or mispositioned MOOV atoms. And this can cause timeout errors. Luckily, Hanbdrake has just the thing for fixing your MOOVs.

How does it work?

MOOV atoms give Adobe’s Flash Player information about your video and Flash can’t play the video until it’s received them. In online playback, Flash needs to download the part of your video with the MOOV in it before playback can start. That’s a massive pain if the MOOV atom’s right at the end. Flash will have to download the whole file before anything happens, this can take a loooong time and cause the aforementioned timeouts.

When you run your video through the encoder simply tick “Web optimized” and Handbrake will make sure the MOOV atom is present and at the beginning of the file.

Now, if all of this sounds like tech gobbledegook to you don’t worry - you can always catch the vzaar support team via phone, email, live chat. 

Still need help? Contact Us Contact Us