Install Handbrake

sudo apt install handbrake

Re-encoding videos

  1. Open Handbrake

  2. Source > browse to video

  3. Under Presets List on the right select one of the presets under General

    • The Fast 1080p30 preset is more or less the default preset
    • Choose one of the Very Fast presets for a smaller file size and slightly reduced quality
    • Choose one of the 480p presets for playback on an older SD television
  4. Change settings as needed (most of the defaults are fine except as noted in bold)

    • Dimensions

      • Auto Crop (enabled by default): the video will be automatically cropped to remove black bars on any side
    • Filters

      • If your video is interlaced, make sure you select Deinterlace > Decomb (this may be set by default for some presets)
    • Video

      • Encoder: x264 (default) - this is the best default choice for most devices
        • Some older devices like Sony DVD players only support MPEG-4. Try that if x264 doesn’t work.
        • x265 will give better video quality and smaller file sizes, but isn’t supported by many devices yet; only use it if you know your device supports it
      • Framerate: 30 (default)
      • Container: mp4 (default)
      • Quality RF: (default is normally fine) - a higher number gives lower quality (on a logarithmic scale)
      • Profile: (default is normally fine)
        • Set to baseline for older devices with weaker CPUs, but this will greatly increase the size of the video
      • Size: Using x264 and RF: 20 will average about 925 MB per hour of video (this can vary greatly; this is only an average)
    • Audio

      • For some reason, Handbrake will often do an unnecessary audio reencode by default. If the source audio (to the left of the arrow) doesn’t have more channels than you need, and the destination audio (to the right of the arrow) doesn’t say Passthrough, remove the default audio track(s), click Add to add a new track, and for Encoder choose the appropriate Passthru option
      • If your device doesn’t support the source codec or if you want to reencode the audio, the AAC (default) codec is fine for most purposes
        • If you play the video and the audio doesn’t work, try reencoding it with a different codec
    • Subtitles

      • For many presets, Handbrake will only add subtitles if the audio tracks are in a foreign language
      • To keep any of the source subtitle tracks, click Add > Embedded Subtitle List and choose the desired source tracks, or click Add All to keep them all
      • If your subtitles are in a different file you can choose Import SRT or Import SSA to import them into the destination file (recommended)
  5. When you’re ready to start encoding, click Start

  6. To add more videos while the first one is encoding, simply repeat the above steps, but instead of clicking Start, click Enqueue. You can view the queue at any time by clicking Queue.

  7. If you didn’t change the default location, the newly encoded videos will be placed in your Videos folder

Ripping DVDs

  1. Install library for reading encrypted DVDs (libdvdcss)

    • Ubuntu

      sudo apt -y install libdvdread4
      sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread4/install-css.sh

      (Reboot may be necessary)

    • Mac

      1. Install Homebrew

        • Go here and follow installation instructions: http://brew.sh/

        • If you see a window prompt to install Xcode, choose not to install it (all necessary dependencies will be installed by the script)

      2. Install libdvdcss

        brew install libdvdcss
      3. Close and reopen Handbrake

  2. Insert the DVD

  3. Open Handbrake

  4. Select the source drive (e.g. /dev/scd0)

  5. Follow the instructions above to configure Handbrake and start the encoding

Re-encode a video, burning the subtitles in

  1. Open Handbrake, click Source, and browse to the MKV video you just created

  2. Choose a desired preset in the list on the right. Normal is usually sufficient

  3. In the Video tab, change the RF slider to adjust the quality as desired (a lower number means higher quality). The default (20) is normally fine.

  4. In the Subtitles tab, select the SSA subtitle from the Track dropdown, then click the +Subtitle button

  5. The subtitle should appear in the Track list. Fill in the circle in the Burned In column by clicking it to make sure the subtitles will be burned in.

  6. When you’re ready to start encoding, click Start.

  7. When encoding is finished, the resulting video file will be in the Videos subfolder in your Home folder.

  8. By default, Handbrake will use an .m4v extension. Some applications require an .m4v extension to enable certain features (chapters, AC3 audio, SRT subtitles), while other applications require an .mp4 extension to properly handle the video. Change the extension as necessary.