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  1. Hello all!

    I am trying to use Handbrake to convert a bunch of my old home videos to a digital format. My videos were filmed in the 1980s and '90s on VHS tapes. Then, about 10 years ago, my Dad converted the VHS tapes to DVD - he had a pretty simplistic VCR/DVD player that had a button labeled 'Record to DVD,' and he'd just play the VHS while it was recorded to DVD.

    I have pretty much no experience with using Handbrake for this sort of thing! I don't know what half the settings on Handbrake mean, so I was wondering if anyone would be able to help me out with the settings I should be using. Basically, I'd like to rip the DVDs to my computer with the best settings to keep the quality as high as possible. However, I also don't want to burn out my computer (I have over 70 DVDs to convert), so a Lossless rip is unfortunately out of the question - takes far too long and I'm assuming would really strain my computer.

    Here are the settings I'm currently using. Like I said, I have no idea what half of this stuff means, haha - I just experimented and noticed that this looks decent, but still not quite as good as I'd like. With these settings, it takes about 5 hours to rip one of the DVDs - I am fine with that time. if anyone has any input whatsoever as to how I might be able to get a higher quality rip without taking much more time than 5 hours, it would be extremely appreciated!

    - Normal Profile

    - Decomb: Default (I noticed this seems to prevent added motion blur)

    - Constant Framerate

    - x264 Preset: Very Slow (I tried Placebo, but it took like 15 hours! I would imagine this would really strain my computer, so I stuck with Very Slow)

    - H.264 Profile: High

    - H.264 Level: 4.1.

    - 18 RF

    - As far as Audio - I have not changed any of Handbrake's default settings. Will this give me the exact same audio as the original DVD?

    My main goal is to watch the videos both on my computer and on my TV. I'd like to have them on my computer (my external hard drive) so that I can watch them on my computer. However, I'd also like to watch them on my big screen TV (where any pictures flaws would be more noticeable). To watch the videos on my TV, I connect my external hard drive to a device I have called WDTV that allows me to play movies from my hard drive on my TV.

    Thank you VERY much for any help you guys are able to offer, I sincerely appreciate it!!

    ~ Thanks again,
    Tony (a Handbrake noob!)
    Last edited by CaptainCatholic587; 9th May 2016 at 16:55.
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  2. Mod Neophyte Super Moderator redwudz's Avatar
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    I use VidCoder, a front end for Handbrake and a bit easier to use.
    For DVD to MKV conversions I use :

    Matroska (avformat), Detelecine (Default), Decomb (Default)

    Video (H.264), Framerate (Same as source), Constant framerate, Constant Quality (18.5)

    Audio AC3, Bitrate (Auto), (Your mixdown would likely be Stereo)

    Everything else at default. If you don't know what the settings do, don't change them.

    Others here may have more advice.

    And welcome to our forums.
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  3. There are definitely better methods than that, but one thing you didn't say is what exactly your end goal is. Are you simply aiming to have all the vids sitting on your computer? Are you hoping to play them on another device such as a tablet or phone? Are you going to be sharing them with anyone, and if so, in what format (Blu-ray, memory stick, etc.)? Will they ever be watched on a TV again?

    Once you tell us where you're heading, someone will be able to help you get there.
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    If they are now in DVD-video format, you've already got them digitized. And a lossless rip would be faster,. It just depends on what format you want as the final output. Figuring out what you want to end up with is the first decision.

    You could rip straight to DVD-video on the hard drive, no changes involved. Any DVD ripping program will work on your unencrypted, home made DVD's, but I would probably use something like DVDDecrypter.

    You could go to MKV files, but not re-encode the video or audio. To do this use MakeMKV. With this path, you would end up with MPEG2 video and whatever your original audio was in the MKV file. And again, you would not adversely affect the video quality as it now exists in your DVD's. It would be quicker, but not all equipment can playback MPEG2 inside MKV files.

    If you insist on re-encoding and going to H264, this will take time, but your computer is designed to run flat out for extended periods of time. All it takes is adequate cooling, so make sure the heatsink on your cpu is clean and all your fans are working ok. But worrying about stressing out the computer is not normally a concern, unless you are using a laptop for all of this.

    With DVD input, I wouldn't bother going all the way to Very Slow on the settings of Handbrake, Slow should be fine. The other settings look ok. Default output for Handbrake would be AAC, so it will be converting your audio, since AAC is not allowed in DVD-video.
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  5. Member Bernix's Avatar
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    For audio you can use auto passthru to preserve original audio.

    Bernix
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  6. Originally Posted by redwudz View Post
    I use VidCoder, a front end for Handbrake and a bit easier to use.
    For DVD to MKV conversions I use :

    Matroska (avformat), Detelecine (Default), Decomb (Default)

    Video (H.264), Framerate (Same as source), Constant framerate, Constant Quality (18.5)

    Audio AC3, Bitrate (Auto), (Your mixdown would likely be Stereo)

    Everything else at default. If you don't know what the settings do, don't change them.

    Others here may have more advice.

    And welcome to our forums.
    Hi redwudz! Thank you so much for the help (and for the welcome! ). I have actually been converting the files to MP4 through Handbrake - I didn't even think about converting them to MKV. I'm honestly not sure what MKV is or what the difference is. Do you think it'd be more beneficial for me to convert them to MKV files rather than MP4 files? Thanks so much again for your help and the welcome!
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  7. Originally Posted by Mr Chris View Post
    There are definitely better methods than that, but one thing you didn't say is what exactly your end goal is. Are you simply aiming to have all the vids sitting on your computer? Are you hoping to play them on another device such as a tablet or phone? Are you going to be sharing them with anyone, and if so, in what format (Blu-ray, memory stick, etc.)? Will they ever be watched on a TV again?

    Once you tell us where you're heading, someone will be able to help you get there.
    Hi Chris! That is a very good point, sorry about that! My end goal is to have the videos on my computer (my external hard drive) so that I can watch them on my computer. However, I'd also like to watch them on my big screen TV (where any pictures flaws would be more noticeable). To watch the videos on my TV, I connect my external hard drive to a device I have called WDTV that allows me to play movies from my hard drive on my TV. So those are my two main goals. (I don't need to watch them on portable devices, and I won't be sharing the files with anyone).

    Thanks again for the help!
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  8. Originally Posted by Kerry56 View Post
    If they are now in DVD-video format, you've already got them digitized. And a lossless rip would be faster,. It just depends on what format you want as the final output. Figuring out what you want to end up with is the first decision.

    You could rip straight to DVD-video on the hard drive, no changes involved. Any DVD ripping program will work on your unencrypted, home made DVD's, but I would probably use something like DVDDecrypter.

    You could go to MKV files, but not re-encode the video or audio. To do this use MakeMKV. With this path, you would end up with MPEG2 video and whatever your original audio was in the MKV file. And again, you would not adversely affect the video quality as it now exists in your DVD's. It would be quicker, but not all equipment can playback MPEG2 inside MKV files.

    If you insist on re-encoding and going to H264, this will take time, but your computer is designed to run flat out for extended periods of time. All it takes is adequate cooling, so make sure the heatsink on your cpu is clean and all your fans are working ok. But worrying about stressing out the computer is not normally a concern, unless you are using a laptop for all of this.

    With DVD input, I wouldn't bother going all the way to Very Slow on the settings of Handbrake, Slow should be fine. The other settings look ok. Default output for Handbrake would be AAC, so it will be converting your audio, since AAC is not allowed in DVD-video.
    Hi Kerry! Thank you so much for all the feedback, that is extremely helpful! You mentioned that a lossless rip would be faster - I didn't realize that! I must be doing something wrong - I've selected 'Lossless' in Handbrake before (under the 'RF' settings), and it took about 15 hours, so clearly I am doing something wrong there.

    You mentioned that I could rip straight to DVD-video on the hard drive, no changes involved. I didn't realize that - do you mean that using DVDDecrypter would literally give me the same exact video/audio quality of my DVDs on my computer? If so, that sounds like exactly what I'm looking for! Would I leave all the default settings of DVDDecrypter alone, or would there be any settings I should change?

    You mentioned that I am re-encoding and going to H264 - I guess I am doing that, but I have no idea what that means hahaha, it is not intentional - if you'd recommend I do something differently, I'd love to hear it!

    Thanks again for your detailed note and all the help, I really appreciate it!
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  9. Originally Posted by CaptainCatholic587 View Post
    You mentioned that I could rip straight to DVD-video on the hard drive, no changes involved. I didn't realize that - do you mean that using DVDDecrypter would literally give me the same exact video/audio quality of my DVDs on my computer? If so, that sounds like exactly what I'm looking for!
    Short answer: yes, precisely. Do it.

    Longer answer: DVDs use MPEG-2 video, which is perfectly playable on the majority of computers and devices, including "Smart" TVs and the like. What you're doing at the moment is taking the video from the disc and converting it to a different format rather unnecessarily. What DVD Decrypter will do is basically not much more than a direct file copy - the same as if you're transferring any file from a memory stick to your computer - meaning all the sound and picture quality is preserved 1:1. A full disc even on my battered old laptop doesn't take more than about 20 minutes to rip.

    Caveats:
    1) You'll need to convert from VOB to MPG.
    2) A full DVD is in the region of 4.7GB, so hard drive space may be an issue.

    Nevertheless, this is probably the best way to go for now.
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    i don't know about the conversion factor to another form
    but just straight copy of the DVD to a folder on your hard drive will be a lossless copy with no encoding an very little strain on the PC
    i did this with an XP machine

    then use VObtompeg to convert the DVD folder to ONE file instead of multiple vobs, again lossless, and little strain on the PC

    now to edit these you can use VideoRedo not free but very good, keep the files as mpeg with NO recoding

    and you can now create new dvds or mp4's or what ever you want

    you might want to invest an external USB 3.0 hard drive for storing the copies and edited files approx 2TB for $99
    new egg, fry's, best buy etc..
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    Originally Posted by CaptainCatholic587 View Post

    Hi Kerry! Thank you so much for all the feedback, that is extremely helpful! You mentioned that a lossless rip would be faster - I didn't realize that! I must be doing something wrong - I've selected 'Lossless' in Handbrake before (under the 'RF' settings), and it took about 15 hours, so clearly I am doing something wrong there.

    You mentioned that I could rip straight to DVD-video on the hard drive, no changes involved. I didn't realize that - do you mean that using DVDDecrypter would literally give me the same exact video/audio quality of my DVDs on my computer? If so, that sounds like exactly what I'm looking for! Would I leave all the default settings of DVDDecrypter alone, or would there be any settings I should change?

    You mentioned that I am re-encoding and going to H264 - I guess I am doing that, but I have no idea what that means hahaha, it is not intentional - if you'd recommend I do something differently, I'd love to hear it!

    Thanks again for your detailed note and all the help, I really appreciate it!
    When I mentioned a lossless rip, I didn't mean for you to use Handbrake. Ripping is moving data from the optical disc to the hard drive. Handbrake is a conversion program, which re-encodes video and outputs to either MP4 or MKV files.

    If you use a program like DVDDecrypter, you will be ripping the video, not converting it or changing it in any way. And the output will still be in DVD-video format, as others have already pointed out. Default settings will work just fine.

    If you would prefer to have a single file, instead of the Video_TS folder that you see in DVD-video, theewizard has already mentioned Vob2Mpeg, which is quick.

    And if your equipment can handle mpeg2 in an MKV container file, then MakeMKV will do this in one step. As mentioned before, your output depends on exactly what you want as a final format, and that decision influences which tools you select.

    The main reason to convert using Handbrake would be to reduce the size of the DVD-videos as you convert to H264, which is much more efficient in output size for any particular level of visual quality. Also, some portable devices work well with MP4 files or MKV files with H264, so that is another reason people like this program and the similar VidCoder. Knowing your target devices and their accepted formats should be what guides you in converting or not. The vast majority of equipment can handle DVD-video without issues, but as far as I can tell, you haven't mentioned where you will be playing your videos.
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    Even if you decide to re-encode to another format, I highly recommend keeping a rip (as explained above is an EXACT copy of the orignal DVD) as a backup, then making a copy of that backup (either on another HDD or DVDs).
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  13. Thank you so, so much Mr. Chris, theewizard, and Kerry, lingyi and all for your help!! I sincerely appreciate it!! I tried a number of the options you all suggested. I found that what worked best for me was using DVD Decrypter to rip the DVD, and then using VOB2MPG to merge all files into one nice and clean MPG video. It looks and sounds fantastic, just like the DVD! This was exactly what I was hoping for (not bad with space - about 4 to 5 GB, which I'm fine with - I have 4 TB external hard drive). it's unbelievably quick, too - takes about 10 minutes for DVD Decrypter to rip the CD, and literally under 3 minutes for VOB2MPG to merge the files - at 13 minutes a DVD, I'm going to have the first 15 years of my life on my hard drive within 3 days! Haha.

    if anyone else out there is looking to do what I did, I would definitely recommend DVD Decrypter and VOB2MPG - couldn't ask for an easier solution. Thanks so much again everyone, I really appreciate the help!
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