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  1. Member
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    I have a fair size collection of DVDs I would like to load onto a NAS drive but am not sure what the best program would be to use. I tried Handbrake but simply don't know what all of the settings should be. I have also tied Aimersoft and although it seems straightforward the output isn't always as expected. I also have fairly significant collection of video on my NAS drive now but bought a new Samsung 75" TV at Christmas time and it doesn't play the AVI files I have (at least not he codec they are) and my collection is about 90% AVI so need to convert them as well. One of the reasons I chose Samsung was that the Samsung this one was replacing played almost every format I tried but for some reason Samsung seems to have dropped the fairly wide array of formats it used to support.

    From the reading I have done it would seem converting to MP4 or MKV and x264 codec maintains a high quality and is one of the formats/codec that is compatible with a pretty significant number of devices, however am open to other suggestions if that is not the case.

    In most cases I would simply like to convert the AVI to MP4 and keep the same resolution and bitrate etc but often when using Aimersoft that isn't what happens. If they had a "keep all specs the same" setting that would be great but they don't. I select an input file and it shows the output size and often it is two or three times larger and sometimes it is half the size so it would seem something is being changed. You can go to the settings and most are set to auto and of course you can set specific values for each of the settings but again would simply like to maintain the same settings as the original video.

    Other unexpected issues with the video that is output is sometimes a 16:9 video that used to fill the entire screen on a 16:9 TV now has a black bar top and bottom. Obviously when you convert an older 4:3 video I expect to have black bars down each side but when converting a 16:9 would expect it to fill the entire screen rather than having black bars top and bottom. I also get some video that has a black border around the entire video. I am assuming it requires some change to the resolution in order to eliminate the back border or black bars but am not sure what the settings should be as I have some video in 480 that fills the entire screen and some in 1080 that has black bars top and bottom. I assume it is the ratio of height to width that will eliminate the black borders but would appreciate knowing that the resolution should be set to.

    The DVDs I want to load onto the NAS drive are a mixture of camcorder video, DVDs made from recordings on a DVD recorder and commercial DVDs so again would assume whatever settings I would use in converting my AVI files would be suitable for ripping the DVDs as well.

    What would be ideal at least for the AVI conversions would be a simple program that does a straight conversion and keeps the original bitrate resolution etc without the need to make any settings and where I can select say a hundred files at a time and let it convert them.

    Thank you
    Last edited by jackdup; 20th Apr 2019 at 22:43.
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  2. If you can live with MKV files the easiest thing for you to do is use MakeMKV. It simply remuxes the DVD contents into an MKV file. It doesn't reencode anything so there are no choices to make and it's very fast. The files will be about the same size as your DVDs but there's no quality loss (and no quality gain either).
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    Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    If you can live with MKV files the easiest thing for you to do is use MakeMKV. It simply remuxes the DVD contents into an MKV file. It doesn't reencode anything so there are no choices to make and it's very fast. The files will be about the same size as your DVDs but there's no quality loss (and no quality gain either).
    That sounds exactly what am looking for at least for the AVI conversions but would prefer something that converts to MP4 as some of the video playback controls on the TV don't work on MKVs like they do on MP4 but maybe I will download it and try it.

    Thanks for the suggestion
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    For mp4, use Handbrake and try the Fast480p30 preset. It seems to set itself up pretty well
    in terms of the defaults (fast preset, CRF 20, and cropping as necessary)
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    Originally Posted by davexnet View Post
    For mp4, use Handbrake and try the Fast480p30 preset. It seems to set itself up pretty well
    in terms of the defaults (fast preset, CRF 20, and cropping as necessary)
    Does the 480p in the preset mean it will convert to a resolution of 480? Some of the video I have is in 480 but I have a fair amount in 1080p as well and wouldn't want to convert those to 480p.

    Any suggestions on the settings I would need to convert video that has a black border around the entire video to fill the screen or the convertor to use?
    Thank you
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    What AVI's and 1080p's are you talking about? Didn't you say you were working with DVD?
    - My sister Ann's brother
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    In your first post you only mentioned DVD's which, of course, is SD 720x480

    Regarding the border, look at the dimensions tab/cropping and see if it detected anything.
    see this image, you can see the source dvd @ 720x480, the encoded resolution 720x272
    and output (display size) 640x272

    If you have HD source choose one of the HD profiles
    Image Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version

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    I am new to this site, so forgive me if I am not posting correctly.
    I have an MP4 with existing soft subtitles. I want to embed (burn) the existing subtitles into the MP4. I do not want to embed an external .srt file as this will introduce two subtitles. I have tried this and two subtitles can be observed - one slightly offset from the other. All I want to do is burn in the existing subtitles in the MP4. Can anyone help ?
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  9. Originally Posted by AM1202 View Post
    I am new to this site, so forgive me if I am not posting correctly.
    You're forgiven, but you're still posting incorrectly - into another thread not the least bit related to your question. Start your own thread and reword your question as it makes no sense as it is now.
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    Originally Posted by LMotlow View Post
    What AVI's and 1080p's are you talking about? Didn't you say you were working with DVD?
    Sorry I have been away for a bit. I guess I should have listed everything in my original post but hoped I could find a convertor that would cover all my needs. I have 100 hours or more of HD video on SD cards from a Sony Camcorder and also have some Blu-Ray disks that I would also like to rip. The majority is DVDs, both commercial and home made from camcorders as well as recorded content from TV.

    Here is a sample of what I mean about the black borders all the way around. This video is 720x480 resolution but don't know what resolution to set the convertor at to get it to fill the screen as I have other video that is the same resolution but fills the screen.

    Thank youClick image for larger version

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    Last edited by jackdup; 24th Jun 2019 at 20:11.
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    Originally Posted by davexnet View Post
    For mp4, use Handbrake and try the Fast480p30 preset. It seems to set itself up pretty well
    in terms of the defaults (fast preset, CRF 20, and cropping as necessary)
    Can you tell me what the CRF 20 is and where you set it in Handbrake?
    Thank you
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  12. CRF is called RF in Handbrake.

    Regarding black letterbox/pillarbox bars: movies come in a wide variety of aspect ratio, rarely 16:9. A 2.4:1 movie should display with black letterbox bars on a 16:9 display -- just as a 1.37:1 movie should display with black pillarbox bars. If you have black bars all around it's usually because you have a widescreen movie on a 4:3 DVD. The DVD has black letterbox bars top/bottom to fill out the 4:3 frame. When the player enlarges that 4:3 frame to fit the height of the monitor it adds pillarbox bars left and right. So you end up with black bars all the way around. Handbrake would normally remove the black letterbox bars from the DVD but sometimes you have mixed content (some letterboxed, some not) and it leaves the bars there so as not to remove picture content from the non-letterboxed sections.

    If you're going to use the Fast 480p 30 preset with DVDs you should change the Encoder Preset to Slow (or one of the better presets) to get better picture quality.
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    Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    CRF is called RF in Handbrake.

    Regarding black letterbox/pillarbox bars: movies come in a wide variety of aspect ratio, rarely 16:9. A 2.4:1 movie should display with black letterbox bars on a 16:9 display -- just as a 1.37:1 movie should display with black pillarbox bars. If you have black bars all around it's usually because you have a widescreen movie on a 4:3 DVD. The DVD has black letterbox bars top/bottom to fill out the 4:3 frame. When the player enlarges that 4:3 frame to fit the height of the monitor it adds pillarbox bars left and right. So you end up with black bars all the way around. Handbrake would normally remove the black letterbox bars from the DVD but sometimes you have mixed content (some letterboxed, some not) and it leaves the bars there so as not to remove picture content from the non-letterboxed sections.

    If you're going to use the Fast 480p 30 preset with DVDs you should change the Encoder Preset to Slow (or one of the better presets) to get better picture quality.
    What is the CRF or RF and where is it set in Handbrake?

    The border around the picture happens on many of the movies on Dish Net. If you select stretch and zoom you can get rid of it but it is there in the normal mode.

    So using the fast or very fast setting in Handbrake simply lowers the bit rate to speed the conversion?

    I ripped a DVD with the black border all the way around and Handbrake did a good job of automatically cropping it. Simehow I ended up missing that it was set to fast 1080 so ran it a second time and chose fast 480 and the resulting file was larger than the fast 1080, and idea why that would be?
    Thaní you
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    Originally Posted by jackdup View Post
    I ripped a DVD with the black border all the way around and Handbrake did a good job of automatically cropping it. Simehow I ended up missing that it was set to fast 1080 so ran it a second time and chose fast 480 and the resulting file was larger than the fast 1080, and idea why that would be?
    Thaní you
    Was the output resolution the same? Otherwise the CRF value you chose would be main difference
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    Originally Posted by davexnet View Post
    Originally Posted by jackdup View Post
    I ripped a DVD with the black border all the way around and Handbrake did a good job of automatically cropping it. Simehow I ended up missing that it was set to fast 1080 so ran it a second time and chose fast 480 and the resulting file was larger than the fast 1080, and idea why that would be?
    Thaní you
    Was the output resolution the same? Otherwise the CRF value you chose would be main difference
    What is the CRF/RF, and where do you set it in Handbrake? Iíll check the output resolution.
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    The CRF value as well as the x264 preset (slow, fast, medium, etc) are about the two most important settings,
    other x264 encoder settings can be left to default unless you know what you're doing.
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    Originally Posted by davexnet View Post
    The CRF value as well as the x264 preset (slow, fast, medium, etc) are about the two most important settings,
    other x264 encoder settings can be left to default unless you know what you're doing.
    Is the CRF the bitrate? How would a person know where to set it? Would the program not analyze the bitrate of the source video and automatically suggest that for the output however if you wanted to shrink the output size you could reduce it or am I wrong?

    What does the slow, fast and medium do? Is that the speed of the conversion and how would that effect the quality and how would a person know where to set it?

    Thank you
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    Originally Posted by jackdup View Post
    Originally Posted by davexnet View Post
    The CRF value as well as the x264 preset (slow, fast, medium, etc) are about the two most important settings,
    other x264 encoder settings can be left to default unless you know what you're doing.
    Is the CRF the bitrate? How would a person know where to set it? Would the program not analyze the bitrate of the source video and automatically suggest that for the output however if you wanted to shrink the output size you could reduce it or am I wrong?

    What does the slow, fast and medium do? Is that the speed of the conversion and how would that effect the quality and how would a person know where to set it?

    Thank you

    The preset, as you say, affects the encoding time, the quality raises the slower you go. The default is medium so start there.
    The suggested CRF value is 18 - 22 (the lower the number the higher the bitrate).

    The output file size you get for a set CRF value depends on the complexity (clean/noisy, sharp/soft, still/movement, etc,etc)
    of the source

    If you have a requirement that you need a specific bitrate (file size) don't use CRF use 2-pass VBR

    Your theory that the program analyzes the source and somehow uses the bitrate for the output is wrong
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    Originally Posted by davexnet View Post
    Originally Posted by jackdup View Post
    Originally Posted by davexnet View Post
    The CRF value as well as the x264 preset (slow, fast, medium, etc) are about the two most important settings,
    other x264 encoder settings can be left to default unless you know what you're doing.
    Is the CRF the bitrate? How would a person know where to set it? Would the program not analyze the bitrate of the source video and automatically suggest that for the output however if you wanted to shrink the output size you could reduce it or am I wrong?

    What does the slow, fast and medium do? Is that the speed of the conversion and how would that effect the quality and how would a person know where to set it?

    Thank you

    The preset, as you say, affects the encoding time, the quality raises the slower you go. The default is medium so start there.
    The suggested CRF value is 18 - 22 (the lower the number the higher the bitrate).

    The output file size you get for a set CRF value depends on the complexity (clean/noisy, sharp/soft, still/movement, etc,etc)
    of the source

    If you have a requirement that you need a specific bitrate (file size) don't use CRF use 2-pass VBR

    Your theory that the program analyzes the source and somehow uses the bitrate for the output is wrong
    Thank you for the information. Would it not seem logical that the program would analyze the current bitrate of the source before suggesting an output bitrate or CRF? The output will never be a higher quality than the source (aside from maybe cleaning up some noise) so having the output a higher bitrate that the source seems to just increase the file size with no improvement in video quality.
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    Originally Posted by jackdup View Post

    Thank you for the information. Would it not seem logical that the program would analyze the current bitrate of the source before suggesting an output bitrate or CRF? The output will never be a higher quality than the source (aside from maybe cleaning up some noise) so having the output a higher bitrate that the source seems to just increase the file size with no improvement in video quality.
    Not really, the program does not suggest any bitrate or CRF value, you have to set them yourself.
    The bitrate of the source is irrelevant. The frames of the source are decompressed then recompressed using the new settings.
    As I said, for predictable file size use 2-pass VBR - but trying to match the source for the sake of it is misguided, unless,
    as I said before you have a specific size requirement
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    Originally Posted by davexnet View Post
    Originally Posted by jackdup View Post

    Thank you for the information. Would it not seem logical that the program would analyze the current bitrate of the source before suggesting an output bitrate or CRF? The output will never be a higher quality than the source (aside from maybe cleaning up some noise) so having the output a higher bitrate that the source seems to just increase the file size with no improvement in video quality.
    Not really, the program does not suggest any bitrate or CRF value, you have to set them yourself.
    The bitrate of the source is irrelevant. The frames of the source are decompressed then recompressed using the new settings.
    As I said, for predictable file size use 2-pass VBR - but trying to match the source for the sake of it is misguided, unless,
    as I said before you have a specific size requirement
    I have either been misinformed or misunderstood as I was under the impression that that the output file cannot be better quality than the input or source aside from perhaps cleaning up noise or artifacts so it would seem setting a higher CRF or bitrate than the original source would just be creating a larger file size without any improvement in quality but as I say perhaps I am wrong.

    It would seem the RF in Handbrake must be tied to the presets in some way as I decided to rip the same video directly from the DVD three separate times and used 1080 Fast, then 720 Fast and finally 480 Fast. The 1080 fast set the RF at 22 and created a file that was 814 K, the 720 Fast set the RF at 21 and created a file that was 937 K and the 480 Fast set the RF at 20 and created a file that was 1,082 K in size. I changed nothing except the preset in the dropdown window.

    I just went to rip another DVD and now the file extension Handbrake is using is m4v instead of mp4 and again I have changed nothing so don't understand why the file extension would have changed?

    Thanks again for your help.

    If you select the video tab and than the presets button at the top right the list of presets drops down. If you select the first one of the list Very Fast 1080p 30 it sets the RF at 24 and as you move down the list if changes the RF until you get to the bottom of the list Super HQ 480p 30 Surround and the RF is at 16.

    I also noticed that 2 pass encoding is checked for all presets.
    Last edited by jackdup; 28th Jun 2019 at 22:06.
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    I'm not sure what point you're trying to make, the presets are just suggestions, somewhere to start.
    All options are fully configurable when a preset is selected.

    2 pass VBR is not selected, it's not active, because the Avg Bitrate radio button is not selected -
    instead the Constant Quality is selected above. It's one or the other can't have both at the same time
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    Originally Posted by davexnet View Post
    I'm not sure what point you're trying to make, the presets are just suggestions, somewhere to start.
    All options are fully configurable when a preset is selected.

    2 pass VBR is not selected, it's not active, because the Avg Bitrate radio button is not selected -
    instead the Constant Quality is selected above. It's one or the other can't have both at the same time
    I am not trying to make a point only asking questions trying to understand the various settings. I am still confused about the quality, are you saying you can take a low quality video and use a very high bitrate or RF and turn the video into a high quality video or an HD video?

    Can you tell me why the program would start using m4v instead of mp4 and where I can change it so it used mp4 as a default?
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    It does seem a little odd that the extension suddenly changed, but you can set to to either at
    tools/preferences/output files

    People convert to mp4/H264/Hevc, I would say, for mostly these three reasons.

    a)They want to make a smaller version of a file they have already
    b)they're doing format change eg. DVD VOB > to mp4
    c)They want to try their hand at upscaling. For example, they take a DVD source and upscale to 720p
    Ironically Handbrake is a poor choice for this option because it does not accept Avisynth scripts as a source,
    and the script is where you would finesse the upscale

    What is the reason you're using it? One of the above? That's the key to it - to have an expectation and goal in mind

    As you say, there is no point just encoding to a bigger file for the sake of it
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  25. Originally Posted by jackdup View Post
    I have either been misinformed or misunderstood as I was under the impression that that the output file cannot be better quality than the input or source aside from perhaps cleaning up noise or artifacts so it would seem setting a higher CRF or bitrate than the original source would just be creating a larger file size without any improvement in quality but as I say perhaps I am wrong.
    You are wrong. Every time you reencode a video with a lossy codec you will lose quality. Even if you use 2 or 5 or 10 times the bitrate.

    Originally Posted by jackdup View Post
    It would seem the RF in Handbrake must be tied to the presets in some way
    The relationship between preset, CRF, and bitrate is complex and varies from video to video. In general, slower presets deliver better quality -- the encoder works harder to find better ways to compress the video. At ultrafast and superfast you get very high bitrates (these are used mostly for real time compression when capturing where your primary concern is speed). From veryfast to placebo the bitrate doesn't decrease linearly (it can vary up and down) or by much (typically around 10 percent).
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    Originally Posted by davexnet View Post
    It does seem a little odd that the extension suddenly changed, but you can set to to either at
    tools/preferences/output files

    People convert to mp4/H264/Hevc, I would say, for mostly these three reasons.

    a)They want to make a smaller version of a file they have already
    b)they're doing format change eg. DVD VOB > to mp4
    c)They want to try their hand at upscaling. For example, they take a DVD source and upscale to 720p
    Ironically Handbrake is a poor choice for this option because it does not accept Avisynth scripts as a source,
    and the script is where you would finesse the upscale

    What is the reason you're using it? One of the above? That's the key to it - to have an expectation and goal in mind

    As you say, there is no point just encoding to a bigger file for the sake of it
    I found where to change the default to mp4, thank you. Is there any difference in these two or just the extension, in other words could you change the extension of an existing m4v to mp4 without any issues?

    As I mentioned in my original post I have numerous jobs I want to do and had hoped I could find one program which I could learn to use proficently. I bought a new Samsung TV which no longer plays avi files like my old Samsung did so have a large number of video files on a NAS drive I need to convert. While I want to maintain as much quality as reasonably possible I don't want to spend a bunch of time converting these and a slight quality loss is not a big deal as they are TV shows and movies. I also have a fairly large library of videos from a camcorder of kids and grandkids, family vacations, weddings etc etc so these I want to maintain as much quality as possible or perhaps even upscale some. I do have quite a bit in HD from a camcorder as well which I want to rip and put on my NAS drive so I can watch them from anywhere and don't always have to dig for the SD cards. These again I would want to maintain the quality. I also have some commercial Blu-Ray and DVDs that again want to rip to my NAS drive and keep as much quality as possible but again don't want to spend a ton of time.

    Perhaps I am being unreasonable in expecting I can get one program to perform all of these jobs. I had previously purchased Aimersoft and find it isn't too bad but does not do as good of a job of cropping as Handbrake does.
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  27. Originally Posted by jackdup View Post
    I found where to change the default to mp4, thank you. Is there any difference in these two or just the extension, in other words could you change the extension of an existing m4v to mp4 without any issues?
    As I understand it... When Apple finally added AC3 audio to their MP4 videos they needed a way to differentiate the files so older devices didn't try to play the new files. That's where M4V was born. The choice of extension was unfortunate since M4V was already used form MPEG 4 elementary video streams. But Apple gets to do whatever they wants.

    Originally Posted by jackdup View Post
    I bought a new Samsung TV which no longer plays avi files like my old Samsung did so have a large number of video files on a NAS drive I need to convert. While I want to maintain as much quality as reasonably possible I don't want to spend a bunch of time converting these and a slight quality loss is not a big deal
    They can probably be remuxed into MKV or MP4. This would take very little time and there would be no quality loss. AviDemux is probably adequate for this. Open the source file, set video and audio to COPY, set the output container. Save.* Or you could use an ffmpeg batch file to remux an entire folder of AVI files at once.

    * I just ran a test: a 600 MB AVI file (Xvid video, AC3 audio) was remuxed by AviDemux to a 600 MB MP4 file in about 2 seconds.
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    Originally Posted by jackdup View Post

    I found where to change the default to mp4, thank you. Is there any difference in these two or just the extension, in other words could you change the extension of an existing m4v to mp4 without any issues?
    yes

    Originally Posted by jackdup View Post
    As I mentioned in my original post I have numerous jobs I want to do and had hoped I could find one program which I could learn to use proficently. I bought a new Samsung TV which no longer plays avi files like my old Samsung did so have a large number of video files on a NAS drive I need to convert. While I want to maintain as much quality as reasonably possible I don't want to spend a bunch of time converting these and a slight quality loss is not a big deal as they are TV shows and movies. I also have a fairly large library of videos from a camcorder of kids and grandkids, family vacations, weddings etc etc so these I want to maintain as much quality as possible or perhaps even upscale some. I do have quite a bit in HD from a camcorder as well which I want to rip and put on my NAS drive so I can watch them from anywhere and don't always have to dig for the SD cards. These again I would want to maintain the quality. I also have some commercial Blu-Ray and DVDs that again want to rip to my NAS drive and keep as much quality as possible but again don't want to spend a ton of time.

    Perhaps I am being unreasonable in expecting I can get one program to perform all of these jobs. I had previously purchased Aimersoft and find it isn't too bad but does not do as good of a job of cropping as Handbrake does.
    There's not really one size fits all, it's best if you take it case by case. When you have a particular project in mind,
    open a new thread and people will help

    Does your new TV play MKV files? If so open the Mkvtoolnix GUI and re-wrap one of your avi files
    into MKV and see if the TV will play it.
    My LG TV works this way, it has no problem with Xvid/Divx/mp3 inside an MKV
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    oops
    Last edited by jackdup; 29th Jun 2019 at 16:29.
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    Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    Originally Posted by jackdup View Post
    I have either been misinformed or misunderstood as I was under the impression that that the output file cannot be better quality than the input or source aside from perhaps cleaning up noise or artifacts so it would seem setting a higher CRF or bitrate than the original source would just be creating a larger file size without any improvement in quality but as I say perhaps I am wrong.
    You are wrong. Every time you reencode a video with a lossy codec you will lose quality. Even if you use 2 or 5 or 10 times the bitrate.).

    Are you saying you can increase the quality of a video? What I stated was I didn't think you could improve the quality of a video to a higher quality than the source video, but you said I am wrong. The reason I mentioned it was in relation to setting the CRF or bitrate. I had asked if Handbrake analyzes the video as it would seem pointless selecting a higher bitrate than that of the source as it would seem that all that would do is increase the file size without any improvement in quality. Part of my reply to Davexnet was related to his statement "The bitrate of the source is irrelevant", and it seemed to me the bitrate of the source is relevant as using a higher bitrate that the source will only give you a larger output file with no improvement in quality.
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