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Old 19th June 2007, 20:25   #1  |  Link
iRobie
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What is the downside of Handbrake?

I'm taking on the project of (finally) converting my 400 DVDs to mkv files for playback to a 47" HDTV. I'm playing back the files on a Windows computer using CoreAVC.

I've been trying out MeGUI, StaxRip, Handbrake, etc. I noticed that Handbrake encodes very fast in comparison to other x264 profiles. Specifically, I'm comparing Handbrake CRF @ 66% to CQ-ASP_Q2_eq(crf) (18) profile.

On my Windows OC E4400 box, I get roughly 30fps vs 8fps.

Can anyone tell me what I'm giving up by using an encoder that's almost 4x faster? I'm not concerned about features (Handbrake can't make MKV, etc. Simple solution solves that ) I'm only concerned about video size/quality.

I know that Handbrake encodes QT compatible files, meaning not high profile. But even if I change the CQ profile to Main Profile, Handbrake is still much faster.

I'm also testing filesizes right now. Handbrake does appear to produce larger file sizes (more bitrate) on average, but I'm encoding a movie using both right now to see if that's true or not.

On my 47" TV with CoreAVC, sitting roughly 5-6 feet away, x264 and Handbrake both produce excellent quality rips.

Are there any other downsides I'm not aware of? For example, why people should choose High Profile or Main Profile? (There had to be a newbie question).

Thanks!
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Old 20th June 2007, 12:58   #2  |  Link
foxyshadis
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If you use medium-high bitrates (based on the source, but for a DVD generally 1500+ kbps), high profile doesn't give you much. It's mainly for custom quant matrices (can help very high and low) and 8x8 dct. Main profile gives you most of the important avc bits.

I looked at the options Handbrake uses, besides main profile:
No b-frames
1 reference frame
ME hexagon, subme 4
No trellis
CRF 17.3
Deblock 0,0
This is closer to MeGUI's 1P-Fastest profile than CQ-ASP_Q2_eq(crf); set it to CRF, and you should see a huge increase in speed. The great tradeoff is that filesize will be much higher; have you compared the difference between MeGUI's size (at 17.3 if you want to be fairest) with Q2(crf) and Handbrake's? Does filesize even matter? (With 400 dvds, I'd guess yes.)

The filtering also makes speed and filesize differences. Handbrake's (mencoder) deinterlacing and denoise actually slows it down significantly compared to megui's deint+medium denoise, all x264 options the same - 22fps/44.3mb vs 27fps/43.4mb. (Audio removed.) With CQ2/crf, I get 10fps/40.1mb, so you can see you get diminishing returns. I'd create a new profile that was closer to handbrake's to take advantage of the speed; by upping it a bit to 2 ref and 2 b-frames, I get 22fps/41.4mb, a significant size savings for the same speed and essentially the same quality (of deinterlacing, denoising, and encoding).

Ensure that Megui doesn't choose EDI deinterlacing, or it'll slow waaaaay down, also. It helps on some DVDs, but... very slow.

Handbrake certainly makes encoding from a single chapter much simpler, though.

Hopefully that helps.
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Last edited by foxyshadis; 20th June 2007 at 13:05.
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Old 20th June 2007, 14:36   #3  |  Link
delacroixp
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@iRobie

I would just like to say that I think Handbrake and MeGUI are both admirable frontend apps for encoding into H264... but I'm a big fan of AutoMKV and it would be well worth your while to give it a test-drive... certainly the Farrari of the whole bunch...

Quote:
Originally Posted by iRobie View Post
I'm taking on the project of (finally) converting my 400 DVDs to mkv files for playback to a 47" HDTV. I'm playing back the files on a Windows computer using CoreAVC.
I couldn't help but notice that you are encoding for a 47 inch HD TV...
I have done some tests on the Band of Brothers and concluded that that you would get better quality by upscalling to the full resolution of your TV... probably 1440x800 for 16:9 movies...

I've used LanczosMTPlus and Q22-CQ-CRF with excellent results (+/- 2Q depending on the movie) ...
This system is really only geared for high-bitrates with the aim of transcoding a 9 GB DVD Mpeg-2 anamorphic movie (super elastic) onto a single 4.5 GB DVD... high-quality (superbit) lower-res movies should also work fine...
Your encodes will take a lot longer but therein lies the beauty of the final product...
I should mention that anything less than a dual-core system will struggle to finish your video library collection anytime this century...

I would even go so far as to say that the quality is eminently superior to DVDShrink.



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Last edited by delacroixp; 20th June 2007 at 15:28. Reason: Anamorphic
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Old 20th June 2007, 17:16   #4  |  Link
iRobie
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Thanks for the suggestion delacroixp. I did try AutoMKV. I hope this doesn't offend the authors, but the GUI really wasn't for me. For whatever reason, it wasn't intuitive for what I was doing. I remember trying to set a 2-pass encode to use 2000kbs bitrate. I didn't care what the final size was - I just wanted to see all my movies encoded at 2000kbs. I finally managed to do it, but I had to fight the prompts and auto-selections beyond what I was willing to put up with. It seems like adding DTS tracks was also a pain. I don't remember all the details, but that's why I stopped using it.

Quote:
This is closer to MeGUI's 1P-Fastest profile than CQ-ASP_Q2_eq(crf); set it to CRF, and you should see a huge increase in speed. The great tradeoff is that filesize will be much higher; have you compared the difference between MeGUI's size (at 17.3 if you want to be fairest) with Q2(crf) and Handbrake's? Does filesize even matter? (With 400 dvds, I'd guess yes.)
For filesize - the difference between a 9gb source and a 2gb file does make a difference to me, which is why I'm re-encoding. But to answer the real question - the difference between a 2.5gb rip and a 2gb rip makes no difference. 500gb drives are $120 right now. I've got 1tb to keep me happy until I run out of space, then I'll buy some more

Given that, I was curious about filesize comparison. I ran MeGUI crf 18 (same profile) and Handbrake (66%) on an anamorphic file, no resize. I found that MeGUI was a bit smaller, I think 1.1gb vs 1.4gb for The Lion King (I should test on live action too, I know). This is after AC3 audio is muxed in.

When I saw this, I realized I didn't isolate all the other variables. MeGUI had a de-noise filter, wasn't sure about Handbrake (looks like it does), and I had a rough estimation that crf 18 = 66%. I could retry using your suggestions.

I'll try out the other profiles. I didn't even think of testing outside the HQ-Slow and CQ-ASP_Q2_eq(crf) profile. Don't quite know why

Either way, the quality on these rips is beautiful. Perhaps it's because I'm now using CoreAVC, but these rips (Handbrake or MeGUI) are much better than what I first started making h264 files. Or maybe I'm not as picky as when I first started
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Old 21st June 2007, 18:56   #5  |  Link
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A few small notes

HandBrake will be faster because by default it doesn't really set any special options the way MeGUI does. It leaves everything at default, but lowers subme from 5 to 4 and uses 20*framerate for keyint. These are settings titer decided on for defaults, years ago. They are in no way intended to be used with CRF. Hell--I wouldn't use them for anything. We just haven't gotten around to building a complete preset list, so it's expected that if you're using CRF, you'll know enough to set good options for it, yourself. To ease that process, I put some example option strings on the HB wiki (http://handbrake.m0k.org/trac/wiki/x264Options), including a poor man's (QT-compatible) version of CQ-ASP-Q2(CRF).

HandBrake does not have to generate QT-compatible files. Nyx and I got b-frame (and b-pyramid) muxing working in .mp4 before the last release, and x264 option pass-through is available in the CLI and both GUIs. So feel free to go crazy with the settings.... 8x8dct, cqm, etc.

The deinterlacer HB uses is actually ffmpeg's (pp=fd in mencoder) ... obviously a Lot of room for improvement.

HB has no denoiser whatsoever, unless you decide to use x264's nr option. That right there, I think, is one of the main downsides of HandBrake.

Oh, and HandBrake's crazy quality percentage system... it's (51 - RF) / 51 = %, so CRF 18 = 64.7% . One day it's going to frustrate me enough that I'll rip it out and make users just enter rate factors directly. =)

@foxyshadis: As soon as we add more presets to HB, I will follow your suggestion and add one that's default + 2 ref + 2 b-frames. Or maybe even make that the default, if I can convince the other devs.
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Old 22nd June 2007, 06:58   #6  |  Link
delacroixp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbrjake View Post
HandBrake will be faster because by default it doesn't really set any special options the way MeGUI does. It leaves everything at default, but lowers subme from 5 to 4 and uses 20*framerate for keyint. These are settings titer decided on for defaults, years ago. They are in no way intended to be used with CRF. Hell--I wouldn't use them for anything. We just haven't gotten around to building a complete preset list, so it's expected that if you're using CRF, you'll know enough to set good options for it, yourself. To ease that process, I put some example option strings on the HB wiki (http://handbrake.m0k.org/trac/wiki/x264Options), including a poor man's (QT-compatible) version of CQ-ASP-Q2(CRF).

HandBrake does not have to generate QT-compatible files. Nyx and I got b-frame (and b-pyramid) muxing working in .mp4 before the last release, and x264 option pass-through is available in the CLI and both GUIs. So feel free to go crazy with the settings.... 8x8dct, cqm, etc.

The deinterlacer HB uses is actually ffmpeg's (pp=fd in mencoder) ... obviously a Lot of room for improvement.

HB has no denoiser whatsoever, unless you decide to use x264's nr option. That right there, I think, is one of the main downsides of HandBrake.

Oh, and HandBrake's crazy quality percentage system... it's (51 - RF) / 51 = %, so CRF 18 = 64.7% . One day it's going to frustrate me enough that I'll rip it out and make users just enter rate factors directly. =)

@foxyshadis: As soon as we add more presets to HB, I will follow your suggestion and add one that's default + 2 ref + 2 b-frames. Or maybe even make that the default, if I can convince the other devs.
Awesome insight... though I guess there's no substitute for serious hardware when it comes to serious encoding...
I suppose well-written software also helps... especially if you can include a little assembler for the important bits...

Now that Handbrake, MeGUI and AutoMKV have broken their teeth on H264... we'll have to get DivX Inc. to step into the ring and show how it's really done !!!



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Old 22nd June 2007, 22:36   #7  |  Link
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Quote:
so it's expected that if you're using CRF, you'll know enough to set good options for it, yourself.
Well, there are always special cases when default settings fool users into thinking they are grand

I really must be doing something funky, because in blind tests Handbrake is still coming on top for me. Time to visit the optometrist again.

Here's what I tested:
Marie Antoinette, Chapter 8. My wife asked for an HD system because of this movie, so I thought it'd be a good test system. (Never say no when a wife asks for new theater equipment!)

MeGUI - 1P-Goodquality. (CRF 17.3)
MeGUI - CQ-ASP-Q2(CRF) (CRF 17.3)
Handbrake - 66% CRF, default otherwise
Handbrake - 66% w/ Transparent CRF settings


Speed:
Ignored FPS right now. Can always improve this with new hardware.

Size: (All Have AC3 audio)
Me-1P 76,200 kb
Me-CQ 98,970 kb
HB-Def. 98,088 kb
HB-Trans. 86,490 kb

I had a noise filter on the 1p, but none others. I know this throws off the numbers, but I don't really care that much.

Quality:
The reason I chose Chapter 8 is because it has a pretty wide range of content. It opens with light rain on horses that's pretty difficult to see. Then it has a windy tree, pan down shot that killed my DVD player (looked horrible when connected to HD). Then it has some slow scenes.

I had my wife rename the files so I wouldn't know which shot was which. So this was as close to blind test as I could get.

Me1p - Rain looked bad, blocky grass. Pan down shot also had blockiness.
Rest - Look fine.

I also encoded Moulin Rouge with Me1P and Handbrake (with Transparent settings). Handbrake with Transparent trumps the 1Pass_GoodQuality settings.


I guess I should stop worrying about this and encode with what looks good on my setup. By some luck of the draw or some bad eyesight, the default settings in Handbrake really look good to me.

Also, I'm playing a fair amount of HD content on my system. Maybe I can't see a difference between MeGUI profiles and Handbrake because they are very close when compared to DVD vs. HD? Now that's a difference I can see.

Thanks jbrjake for the handbrake profile link. Great stuff in there!
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Old 24th June 2007, 13:24   #8  |  Link
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@jbrjake

Quote:
Originally Posted by jbrjake View Post
Oh, and HandBrake's crazy quality percentage system... it's (51 - RF) / 51 = %, so CRF 18 = 64.7% . One day it's going to frustrate me enough that I'll rip it out and make users just enter rate factors directly. =)

@foxyshadis: As soon as we add more presets to HB, I will follow your suggestion and add one that's default + 2 ref + 2 b-frames. Or maybe even make that the default...
The constant-quality slider is a nice touch even if it is a little foreign to most people accustomed to using distinct CQ-CRF values...
AutoMKV uses the same quality input mechanism for audio...



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Old 24th June 2007, 13:30   #9  |  Link
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@iRobie

Quote:
Originally Posted by iRobie View Post
I guess I should stop worrying about this and encode with what looks good on my setup. By some luck of the draw or some bad eyesight, the default settings in Handbrake really look good to me.

Also, I'm playing a fair amount of HD content on my system. Maybe I can't see a difference between MeGUI profiles and Handbrake because they are very close when compared to DVD vs. HD? Now that's a difference I can see.

Thanks jbrjake for the handbrake profile link. Great stuff in there!
I noticed a thread dedicated to encoding for a large-screen HD TV... a little closer to home (see post)...



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