I was planning to convert several DVDs I have to MP4 and just wanted to get some clarification on the Cropping & Aspect Ratio settings.
So far I have noticed that several of my files seem to have a source size of 720x480 ...but most of the settings are suggesting a final output size of that tends to be widely varying depending on the movie. I have one that is 720x364 and another that is recommending 851x362.
My main interest is in consistency. Can anyone recommend a good rule of thumb way to deal with this?
I've attached a picture of my current settings.
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"a lot of people are better dead" - prisoner KSC2-303
When using "strict" anamorphic, HandBrake ignores macroblocking requirements for anamorphic encoding. It makes preserving the visible frame with a precise aspect ratio its top priority.
When using loose anamorphic, HandBrake uses dimensions that divide cleanly by 16. Using the CLI, you can also tell it to use a different number.What exactly is rotten in Denmark?
You can set Anamorphic to none, then set Cropping to custom and zero out the numbers.
Is it better to set Anamorphic to none and Cropping to zero with a consistent 720x480 output or better to auto crop and take the final output size ?
Basically if you were going to do your entire library which method would be preferred ?
Last edited by Bluelude1; 18th May 2012 at 18:31.
It's best to set Anamorphic to "Loose". This will ensure the most efficient encoding and compression while preserving the aspect ratio. It's totally useless to set Anamorphic to "None". This will not gain any quality. It actaully reduces the quality, because it hardstretches/scales the image. Also it increases the file size, which is a waster. Best setting for quality/compatibility/compression is always "Anamorphic: Loose".
Personally I think HandBrake gets it right when it comes to resizing. Anamorphic "strict" is fine. The encoding efficiency isn't really effected much these days and it ensures the final aspect ratio will be spot on. In your example the DVD is originally 720x480. I'd guess that after cropping you're left with something like 718x362. That's how HandBrake will encode it.
As DVDs don't use square pixels, on playback a 720x480, 16:9 DVD will be stretched to 852x480 "square pixels". In your case after cropping HandBrake is showing 851x362 as the display dimensions. It'll still be encoded using the original 718x362 pixels (after cropping) but it'll display as 851x362.
Anamorphic "loose" is used to ensure the output resolution is either mod16, 8, 4 or 2 (meaning the output width and height are divisible by either 16, 8, 4, or 2). Most AVIs are mod16, ie 720x400 or 624x352 etc, but for x264 encoding it's really not important. I don't know how Handbrake does it (I don't use it) but chances are it'll crop the DVD, then resize the width or height to match the mod16/8/4/2 option you selected if necessary, while adjusting the display aspect ratio accordingly. The video will still display with the correct aspect ratio, but it might be resized a little when using anamorphic "loose".
Anamorphic "none" resizes the DVD to square pixels before encoding instead of getting the player to do it on playback. The output resolution will be the same as the display aspect ratio. By default I think Handbrake resizes DVDs to maximum width after cropping (some encoder GUIs might reduce the height instead). Using mod2 should ensure HandBrake can resize the DVD pretty accurately. The advantage of this method is not all hardware players will obey the anamorphic setting in MKV/MP4 files so they won't display them correctly. By stretching the video to square pixels first, that's not an issue. The disadvantage is that the file sizes will be a little larger because you're encoding using more pixels.
I used anamorphic encoding all the time but with a little encouragement from a player in this house which only understands square pixels and after running some test encodes I now use the equivalent of Handbrakes anamorphic "none". Even though anamorphic encoding is theoretically better because you're not resizing, I discovered a good resizer and encoding using square pixels gives me better results. Using MPC-HC and my 51" Plasma for testing, a DVD encoded at 852x480 (the equivalent to HandBrake's anamorphic none) looked a little sharper than one encoded at 720x480 (the equivalent to HandBrakes anamorphic strict) and even a little sharper than the original DVD. I don't think Handbrake lets you choose which resizer it uses (same blur the image a little, while others might sharpen etc) and I can't tell you what resizing method Handbrake uses, so you'd probably be best off comparing the two encoding methods yourself.
Whichever method you choose, there's shouldn't be a significant difference between them in terms of quality so it's nothing to stress about too much.
Last edited by hello_hello; 30th Dec 2012 at 05:15.
You've tantalised my tastebuds what software and settings are you using - "I discovered a good resizer and encoding using square pixels gives me better results."
I'm not using anything special, just MeGUI for encoding and generally Spline36 for resizing. The result and whether you like it is probably going to depend on how sharply your player resizes, and thinking about it I actually work with PAL discs mostly. I'm sure I've compared the two methods using NTSC video in the past, but maybe resizing NTSC DVDs "up" mightn't sharpen them as much, as with PAL there's more resizing involved.
Anyway, I use the Bilinear resizer in MPC-HC which is softer than the Bicubic resizer. I prefer it because it doesn't sharpen artefacts as much playing crappy AVIs and for HD video there's not much difference between the two.
I've compared the two encoding methods quite a few times and for PAL at least, the difference between using the sharper resizer in MPC-HC playing the original DVD full screen, and the softer resizer playing a spline36 resized encode full screen is very tiny. For me playing the encoded version using MPC-HC's sharp resizer can be a little too sharp at times, but it's all personal taste.
If you try the two methods I'd be interested to know how much difference you see and which one you prefer.
PS I don't know if VLC has an option to change resizers as I don't use it much, but if you use VLC I did compare it to MPC-HC at one stage and VLC's resizing method appears to be exactly the same as MPC-HC's default method, which is the Bilinear (softer) resizer.
Last edited by hello_hello; 8th Jan 2013 at 13:38.