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  1. I have some files I recorded with a PVR, and the files are very large. For about 5 minutes, it's a few hundred MB (300-500). The videos look great but I was hoping to be able to compress them without losing quality.

    I have used HandBrake for other things so I would like to stick to it if possible. What are the best settings to achieve this? Is there anything else I can do other than simply lower the Quality Bar? What settings do you guys use to see the best results?

    If you find better results with another program, I'd be interested to try that as well. Any info you guys can give is very much appreciated. I am looking to get a template down so I can use that whenever I need to convert another file. Thanks!

    EDIT: I KNOW THERE WILL BE SOME QUALITY LOST. I am just trying to find a good balance of size vs. quality and wanted to know what settings you guys use to accomplish this. I am looking to have some settings I can use whenever I need to and wanted your opinions.
    Last edited by user115; 11th Jan 2017 at 17:07.
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  2. Member hech54's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by user115 View Post
    I was hoping to be able to compress them without losing quality
    Not going to happen.
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    Converting into a lossy video format will always lose quality. Whether you are able to notice the further loss or not, is a different issue. With enough bitrate you may not notice the difference. But you may need so much that the copy won't get a lot smaller than the original. This will have to be tested. With an encoder which is able to work in a mode that tries to limit the quality loss (e.g. x264 can produce AVC video in CRF = "Constant Rate Factor" mode, but you need to find the RF value which is small enough that you, personally, are satisfied; try a range around 20).
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  4. Originally Posted by hech54 View Post
    Originally Posted by user115 View Post
    I was hoping to be able to compress them without losing quality
    Not going to happen.
    Let me revise my statement: I was hoping to be able to compress them without losing TOO MUCH quality. I know there will be some quality loss, and so does everyone. But I asked about compression methods to mitigate this. Thanks for being totally unhelpful.

    Originally Posted by LigH.de View Post
    Converting into a lossy video format will always lose quality. Whether you are able to notice the further loss or not, is a different issue. With enough bitrate you may not notice the difference. But you may need so much that the copy won't get a lot smaller than the original. This will have to be tested. With an encoder which is able to work in a mode that tries to limit the quality loss (e.g. x264 can produce AVC video in CRF = "Constant Rate Factor" mode, but you need to find the RF value which is small enough that you, personally, are satisfied; try a range around 20).
    I do understand I am losing some quality, but I am trying to keep them looking as good as possible, while losing as little as possible. I am willing to test it (I actually am testing it now), but I wanted to know what methods you guys use to achieve this. Is there a specific encoder you like? Do you use HandBrake?
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    Most "converter" applications you may see as "the encoder" are mere user interfaces, preparing the video and giving access to the real encoder (what you may call "codec") working inside in the background. Many converters use the same encoders. So it doesn't matter much whether you use Handbrake, VidCoder, StaxRip, MeGUI, Hybrid, etc. (as long as they are available for your OS), they all will give you access to e.g. x264 as an encoder to produce AVC (H.264) video. Some are designed rather for the technically experienced user but offer an overwhelming freedom of choices, others try to implement an easier handling for the user but may reduce the selectable options and filters to achieve this goal.

    Handbrake is surely among the recommendable converters. It will offer enough freedom to select options that will help you creating a copy with little loss. But you won't find a "one fits all" recommendation. Some people are willing to spend more bitrate to ensure "visual transparency", while others would agree to a compromise to keep the size of the result in a convenient range.

    My general recommendation is: If your playback device can handle AVC (H.264), use x264, start with the "medium" preset, test different quality values around 20, compare output size and quality loss, to find your personal threshold of acceptable loss. Then you may also increase the preset to "slow" or "slower", but not much further (it will waste more time but preserve only little more quality). Some of the tunings are only for "irregular" material (e.g. cartoons or very grainy film). If you don't watch the result on a PC only, but as well on a consumer player or mobile device, know their limits before you start a conversion and may end up with a possibly incompatible result.
    _

    Which converter do I like? ... I must confess: None (maybe MeGUI for a few steps in the chain). I often edit AviSynth scripts with text editors and call batch files or direct command line calls. So do not use me as your guide. Find your own preferred workflow.
    Last edited by LigH.de; 11th Jan 2017 at 17:30.
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    I would use Handbrake or VidCoder (which uses the Handbrake engine) Depending on where you are playing back your ex PVR files you might be able to use H265 either in a MKV or MP4 container for even smaller files than using H264. I had the opportunity to try a 20GB 720p mpeg file to MKV using H265 and a quality setting of 20 in VidCoder. The final result came down to 1GB! Very little quality loss. Took 6 hours to do. however H264 is a safer bet for compatibility of players.
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  7. Originally Posted by LigH.de View Post
    Most "converter" applications you may see as "the encoder" are mere user interfaces, preparing the video and giving access to the real encoder (what you may call "codec") working inside in the background. Many converters use the same encoders. So it doesn't matter much whether you use Handbrake, VidCoder, StaxRip, MeGUI, Hybrid, etc. (as long as they are available for your OS), they all will give you access to e.g. x264 as an encoder to produce AVC (H.264) video. Some are designed rather for the technically experienced user but offer an overwhelming freedom of choices, others try to implement an easier handling for the user but may reduce the selectable options and filters to achieve this goal.

    Handbrake is surely among the recommendable converters. It will offer enough freedom to select options that will help you creating a copy with little loss. But you won't find a "one fits all" recommendation. Some people are willing to spend more bitrate to ensure "visual transparency", while others would agree to a compromise to keep the size of the result in a convenient range.

    My general recommendation is: If your playback device can handle AVC (H.264), use x264, start with the "medium" preset, test different quality values around 20, compare output size and quality loss, to find your personal threshold of acceptable loss. Then you may also increase the preset to "slow" or "slower", but not much further (it will waste more time but preserve only little more quality). Some of the tunings are only for "irregular" material (e.g. cartoons or very grainy film). If you don't watch the result on a PC only, but as well on a consumer player or mobile device, know their limits before you start a conversion and may end up with a possibly incompatible result.
    _

    Which converter do I like? ... I must confess: None (maybe MeGUI for a few steps in the chain). I often edit AviSynth scripts with text editors and call batch files or direct command line calls. So do not use me as your guide. Find your own preferred workflow.
    Great info, thank you very much for it! I will try what you said to do. And thanks for going into such detail.

    Originally Posted by netmask56 View Post
    I would use Handbrake or VidCoder (which uses the Handbrake engine) Depending on where you are playing back your ex PVR files you might be able to use H265 either in a MKV or MP4 container for even smaller files than using H264. I had the opportunity to try a 20GB 720p mpeg file to MKV using H265 and a quality setting of 20 in VidCoder. The final result came down to 1GB! Very little quality loss. Took 6 hours to do. however H264 is a safer bet for compatibility of players.
    I'm mainly looking to play them on a PC but I just wanted to try to make them smaller because some of them are too (what seems to be) bloated. Wow, 20GB to 1GB is pretty impressive! I'll try a similar setting and see how it works out. Also, I have also heard that H264 has better compatibility than H265. Doesn't it have something to do with being newer? Anyway, thanks for the info!
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  8. All the free h.264 programs use the x264 encoder. So you'll get pretty much the same quality out of all of them if you use similar x264 settings.

    If your source is interlaced a bigger issue is how it's treated by the program. Most of those programs don't encode interlaced video as interlaced, they deinterlace by some method then encode progressive. That can lead to a lot of problems if not done correctly.
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  9. Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    All the free h.264 programs use the x264 encoder. So you'll get pretty much the same quality out of all of them if you use similar x264 settings.

    If your source is interlaced a bigger issue is how it's treated by the program. Most of those programs don't encode interlaced video as interlaced, they deinterlace by some method then encode progressive. That can lead to a lot of problems if not done correctly.
    Oh I see. Do you have a program you like best or some settings you like to use? Even if they use the same encoder, do you have a preference.
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  10. Originally Posted by user115 View Post
    Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    All the free h.264 programs use the x264 encoder. So you'll get pretty much the same quality out of all of them if you use similar x264 settings.

    If your source is interlaced a bigger issue is how it's treated by the program. Most of those programs don't encode interlaced video as interlaced, they deinterlace by some method then encode progressive. That can lead to a lot of problems if not done correctly.
    Oh I see. Do you have a program you like best or some settings you like to use? Even if they use the same encoder, do you have a preference.
    I use AviSynth and the x264 command line encoder. That gives you full control of every aspect of the filtering and encoding. But it will take you quite a while to learn it all.
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  11. Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    Originally Posted by user115 View Post
    Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    All the free h.264 programs use the x264 encoder. So you'll get pretty much the same quality out of all of them if you use similar x264 settings.

    If your source is interlaced a bigger issue is how it's treated by the program. Most of those programs don't encode interlaced video as interlaced, they deinterlace by some method then encode progressive. That can lead to a lot of problems if not done correctly.
    Oh I see. Do you have a program you like best or some settings you like to use? Even if they use the same encoder, do you have a preference.
    I use AviSynth and the x264 command line encoder. That gives you full control of every aspect of the filtering and encoding. But it will take you quite a while to learn it all.
    Interesting. I'll check it out, thanks. Do you have a specific line of presets you start with, or are you completely modifying it much differently every time?
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  12. Just a note. While experimenting with different conversion properties, I ran into a recurring problem of my audio being out of sync. I found on this thread (here) something about "constant frame rates." In HandBrake, under the Video Tab that says "Framerate (FPS)," I left the drop down menu as "Same as source" and then changed it to "Constant Framerate." So by changing it to "Constant Framerate," my problem was fixed. In case this helps anyone out, I guess it was interpreting one part of the video at a slightly lower FPS than the rest.
    Last edited by user115; 11th Jan 2017 at 21:23. Reason: forgot to add link
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  13. Originally Posted by user115 View Post
    Do you have a specific line of presets you start with, or are you completely modifying it much differently every time?
    The filtering in AviSynth is tailored to the video. It may range from nothing but opening the source video up to several hours of processing. For the encoding with x264 I usually stick to one of it's presets, maybe with a tuning parameter, and a few other mods.
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  14. Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    Originally Posted by user115 View Post
    Do you have a specific line of presets you start with, or are you completely modifying it much differently every time?
    The filtering in AviSynth is tailored to the video. It may range from nothing but opening the source video up to several hours of processing. For the encoding with x264 I usually stick to one of it's presets, maybe with a tuning parameter, and a few other mods.
    Ok, thanks for the info! I will definitely check it out.
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    Originally Posted by netmask56 View Post
    I would use Handbrake or VidCoder (which uses the Handbrake engine)
    So let me see if I understand this correctly. x264/5.exe --> Handbrake --> Vidcoder. What is there to be gained from using either Handbrake or Vidcoder other than a gui?
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    Not that much. Maybe the ability to process different input formats with compression and containers (especially x265 is still so pure, it handles only raw video or Y4M, if it is not patched to contain a libav input module).
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  17. Originally Posted by SameSelf View Post
    Originally Posted by netmask56 View Post
    I would use Handbrake or VidCoder (which uses the Handbrake engine)
    So let me see if I understand this correctly. x264/5.exe --> Handbrake --> Vidcoder. What is there to be gained from using either Handbrake or Vidcoder other than a gui?
    Originally Posted by LigH.de View Post
    Not that much. Maybe the ability to process different input formats with compression and containers (especially x265 is still so pure, it handles only raw video or Y4M, if it is not patched to contain a libav input module).
    I also have noticed different gui's have some different options and settings. Not sure if that is because of the x264/5.exe or the gui itself though.
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    Originally Posted by LigH.de View Post
    Not that much. Maybe the ability to process different input formats with compression and containers (especially x265 is still so pure, it handles only raw video or Y4M, if it is not patched to contain a libav input module).
    Thanks. I did not know that about x265. So x265 encoding requires transcoding to raw or y4m first, wow!
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    Not physically. You can keep that in the RAM, using piping tools (avs4x26x or ffmpeg) and AviSynth scripts. No need to waste Gigabytes.
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    Gotcha, thanks again.
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