Video Conversion with Handbrake

I record a lot of game footage, especially for simracing. The size of the content is growing rather large, and I’m looking to en masse re-encode the world of footage, to save space. Primarily, it’s simracing footage, like DIrt Rally 2.0 and Assetto Corsa. Occasionally it’s Borderlands, CODMW. I use handbrake to convert files.

One the one hand, I post this looking for anyone with some conversion settings to test, that works for them, beyond the built-in presets. On the other hand, it’s just nice to spread some excellent software that’s free and better than many paid licensed software.

Anyway getting back to specifics: the saved original videos either come from Nvidia shadowplay (at 50Mbp/s bitrate) or OBS recordings. Resolutions are 5120x1440, 2560x1440 or 1920x1080 for VR.

In a sample batch conversion, 20 files (5120x1440 resolution) totalling 25.3Gb re-encoded down to 15.7Gb. That’s about 37% compression, using H.265 (Nvidia NVEnc) at a constant frame rate of 60. Audio is AAC (avcodec) at 160bps bitrate (mixdown to stereo), filter Decomb, same resolution (no downscale), RF Quality value is 24. Encoder preset is 1 click up from Slow, with the profile and level set to Auto. Image quality to the average eye, seems excellent. This is mostly on videos where every pixel is changing from frame to frame, and at least (when I’m recording in cockpit, not from the game replay), it’s only really the windscreen and mirrors, that are always changing a lot from frame to frame.

Blue sky would be some gorgeous human being, uses handbrake, and has better settings for a pleb such as myself to use.

Runner up: someone uses other software and has good settings, they can share, so I can attempt to reproduce the conversion settings in handbrake.

Dead last: crickets :cricket:

Saving grace: if you haven’t tried handbrake, and it fits your use-case, the presets are very good, and will get you 90% of the way.

One day, I’ll get this working as a service on a server, where you just upload it, and it automagically spits out tabaco and a still excellent quality video file, but at like, half the filesize. That’s the dream, at least.


I use handbrake all the time and have been for years. I use it for the pesky MKVs that will play on my PC and not on my ancient non smart (stupid?) TV. I convert them to mp4s and replace the AAC encoding with MP3 since my TV does not seem to be able to use the AAC codec.

It even saves my encoding profile I put together and I can apply it anytime without having to re-choose all the options to get the files to work.


Handbrake user checking in here. I’ve tweaked settings in the past, but the software has been been updated four times since then, so now I’m just a pleb like you… using the default conversion settings unless I need something specific.

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I also use Handbrake. Unfortunately I don’t have much to offer in terms of custom presets.

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I actually found that video conversion (Handbrake of FFMPEG directly) is actually quite a science, and I am yet to master it.

When I converted my entire DVD collection to digital I played around a lot with different settings and found that I nearly had to do the whole process for every movie, because they are so different. And I was so fussy that eventually I just ripoed the MPEG-2 files and kept that.

On a side note. Johnny Harris (YouTuber) suggested that we as humans are hoarding too many photos and videos. In order to really appreciate them we should only keep a very select few and delte the rest. The selection process will help you remember the activities you jave videos and pictures of, and the ones you have left will help cherish the special ones.

For example when we went to Europe we took 1800 pictures in 3 weeks. Thats a lot! So we went through and narrowed it down to about 20. Still enough to remember the whole trip and the act of deleting the older ones was liberating.

I later discovered my wife had already uploaded them all to the cloud :joy:

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My videos and photos spark memories. They sit in Plex and google photos, and I often take a walks down memory lane.

Johnny Harris can kiss my ass though


So it sounds like Handbrake is a clear favourite for video conversion, but what’s the go to for editing those videos?

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I use Kdenlive, because skew towards open source, and I don’t do video editing for a living. It is far from ideal though, and lags during seeking or simple preview playback with 3 video sources and a resolution equal to or higher than 3440x1440. But hey, it’s free and there are plenty of howto’s on every possible thing you might want to do.

I feel like from the responses, I should probably just do some experimentation with different resolutions and types of video. Oh well, investing time in learning something worthwhile, eventually gives me the fuzzies. I guess I’ll go that route, and report back any settings I find, that can maybe help others.


I’ve been using Hitfilm Express over the last year and a bit when I had to add video editing to my list of work skills. It’s a free program where you can buy the addons you want. The other program I’ve heard about is DaVinci Resolve.


I’ve been using Handbrake for years, fiddled with all the settings. And most of the time I get the smallest file sizes from the Fast 1080p preset


I am not a pro at editing either, but I use BlackMagic Davince Resolve for my editing. It is AMAZINGLY powerful, yet simple enough for the quick home video :wink:

Have a look at FFMPEG and set up a quick batch conversion once you have done all your quality tests. It is pretty simple and a smart ass like you should be able to figure it out :wink:

But seriously, FFMPEG is the backend of Handbrake, but not sure how Handbrake does with batch jobs.


You can batch things with handbrake-cli. Which includes what ffmpeg can do, plus much much more. Ffmpeg is the blade, on the Swiss Army knife that is handbrake.


I’m old school, been using Virtual Dub for YEARS. I use it mainly for compression, i.e. just to decrease file size of video I don’t plan on editing later. Sometimes I’ll even create low bitrate proxy footage to edit with so that the editing software runs smoother. I like it’s tweakability, and you can do batch conversions too.

For editing, I use After Effects (I should be using Premier Pro, but I’m so used to AE already)
All the edited videos on my YouTube are done through AE and exported/compressed using it’s built in renderer, which is pretty decent, but also likes to complain on occasion.


I never understood how people do that. If I try to imagine editing an entire video in AE my brain has a small seizure


Haha, I’ll admit, it’s not ideal, but I’ve been working with AE for so long that it just works for me. For traditional editing when not a single effect is required, I’ll use Premier, but that’s very rare.

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but that’s the (only) beuty of Adobe, syncronisity in it’s software. so whule you’re editing your video in Premiere. like you should, and you have a clip that needs effects, you just right click on it and select Replace with after effects composition. It will then open AE, import the clip and automatically link that AE file to your Pr edit


I also use Black Magic DaVinci Resolve nowadays. It’s actually amazing what kind of video editing power is available completely for free.

When I don’t need anything fancy and don’t need or want to set up a whole video editing project in a fancy editor, I just use avidemux. It can handle all kinds of basics like cutting, scaling, and cropping video thought it’s not nearly as user friendly.

When I was using Ubuntu as my daily driver, I used Kdenlive like @aldyr. With DaVinci being available on Linux, though, I’d probably try that for editing more involved projects.