WHY: To archive my collection into a format compatible with Any O/S
PRIORITIES: Quality both Visual and Audio, Standards that are compatible with Any O/S
SETTINGS: (Just show the ones you change...)
Title: Primarily Main Feature, but others if entertaining enough
Chapters: Whatever is in the Main Feature mainly **See Above**
Framerate (fps): Same as Source
Encoder: Primarily h264 (x264 main) for compatiblity
Target size (MB): OFF I'm not concerned with size as much
Average bitrate (kbps): 2200 usually but varies depending upon source
Constant quality: OFF generally but occaisionally I use this instead depending on source then it's usally at around 98% as I tend to be discriminate about quality
Grayscale encoding: OFF (I don't care about B/W vids those are soo last millenium!)
2-pass encoding: ON always
File format: MP4 for compatiblity
Codecs: AVS/H.264 Video / AAC Audio
Subtitles Language: OFF unless needed for non-english videos **See below**
Audio Language 1: US English or Native dependant upon movie, and normally 5.1 but for some reason there seems to be a problem with this in Handbrake and Quicktime/iTunes **See Below**
Audio Language 2: OFF I don't have a need for it and it usually causes problems during playback from my experiences
Sample rate (Hz): Source Native from back of box normally
bitrate (kbps): Highest possible encoder will do
Width: Auto Selected but normally 720
Height: Auto Selected but normally 480/304
Keep aspect ratio: ON unless video needs fixing
Crop: Automatic normally but minor adjustments sometimes needed
Deinterlace: ON when needed **See below**
I've not done much with Handbrake being a new convert to Mac explicitly, but my experiences are from other software I have used in the past as well as my current trails converting The Fast and The Furious - Tokyo Drift. I have found that the Subtitles Language in Handbrake doesn't work unless you specifically select it and there are some movies that are mixed languages and use the Subtitles in the main language to interperate those parts of the movie, something I found that Handbrake lacks the ability to distinguish at this point and should be looked at for a possible feature. It should also automatically determine if the movie needs Deinterlacing as well and only select it when it's needed for you with an override for those movies it can't detect the interlacing in.
On the PC I used Nero's Recode and those were the settings I used in it. It would also be nice to have an advanced mode where one can change the settings through at a minimum of a command line interface or a checkbox at best.
The 5.1 problem seems to lie in QuickTime somewhere as I've had problems with any playback that uses 5.1 sound in it, even on the PC when encoding with Recode. 2.0 Audio seems to do okay, but I'd rather have the full 5.1 sound even if it's using the AC3 format. I realize that the AC3 in open source is still lacking and problematic, but surely there must be a way to fix that. Even if using AAC, there must be a way to fix the 5.1 sound problems. I do realize however neither of these are due to Handbrakes handling of the codecs, it's either the open source libraries or QuickTimes problem, something that cannot be fixed within HandBrake itself.
I encode my movies so that others in the house on other operating systems can view the movies from a localized server and size isn't my problem, a new hard drive isn't that expensive these days and Raid5 makes it relatively easy to add them. My only concern is that it plays and looks as good as possible on no matter what it's being played back on, be it the 24" iMac, the 15" Powerbook, the 17" Samsung monitors, or 50" Samsung LCD HDTV in the living room. The operating systems in my home include, of course, Mac, as well as Linux and Winblows and it must be able to play on all of them independant of player. Though they will be primarily be accessed through iTunes/Quicktime, they aren't always accessed through that therefore I need compatibility as a must.
I can't stand "static" or the "grainy/blocky" look or audio that skips or doesn't sound right so that too is a must for me, the codec must be good enough that I am able to comfortably watch a movie in the living room after I re-encode it. Espeically if I have company over, it's really embarrasing watching a movie that didn't encode right and has blocky/grainy graphics and the sound skips or is distorted in some way. Which is why I chose to go with m4v as the file container, as that is the closest to doing what I am looking for in the MP4 arena and holds the h264 compatible videos as well as either AC3 or AAC audio.
My son occaisionally likes to put them on his iPod for trips that we frequently take, but that's not a priority to me that it be 100% compatible with that as the monitor the DVD player in the car will display 16x9 720i/p on it as well and the iPod does a great job outputting to it. The vast majority of my movies are "WideScreen" 16x9/16x10 so for the most part I don't have much a problem with that either, since they are primarily displayed on the HDTV which is also 16x9 "WideScreen".
Upscaling to 1080i/p isn't a necessity to me either, if I wanted that I'd be watching HD-DVD's and converting them. At their current cost and the fact they are using DRM technology that I'm not thrilled with, I don't forsee using those in the future. The ability to transfer them across a network is though, which is also another reason I have chosen the m4v container for my movie collection, so as not to fill up my bandwidth to view the movies no matter where I am in the house. It's also why I use the limiter for bitrate primarily. I've found that much more than 2200 is too much for the network and much less than 1500 is too little for the quality of the movies.