HandBrake – Video Conversion Made Easy

Posted: Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Video can be an effective and viral medium for communicating with constituents.  In order to make video available to constituents, converting the videos into usable formats is often necessary.  HandBrake is an outstanding software designed to make the task of ripping or converting video easy.  It is also completely free and available for Windows, Mac and Linux!  To download a copy and get started using it visit the HandBrake website.

    Whether you are ripping a video from a DVD or converting a video file on your computer the steps within HandBrake are the same:

    1. Download and install HandBrake (Download Page).

    2. Make sure the DVD you are going to rip is in your DVD drive or that the video file you want to convert is locally stored on your computer.  Having the file local on your computer will greatly speed up conversion times.

    3. Open Handbrake.  The program will open with this interface.

    HanBrake main screen

    4. Select the source for your video conversion.  Simply click on the source button and choose either video file or the DVD.  HandBrake will then scan the file for tracks which may take some time depending on how large the video is.

    Source Selection Menu

    5. When HandBrake has finished its scan, click on the Title drop down menu.  Here you will see the different Title tracks you can rip (if you are just converting a video you will only see one track).  In the case of a DVD with many tracks you may have to use the length of each track to determine what portion of the DVD that you are going to rip.  Generally you will see a very long track (the entire video) and some other shorter tracks (often special features or content).  Choose the track you wish to rip.

    Track Length Dialogue

    6.  HandBrake comes with a wide variety of preconfigured settings for conversion.  If one of these fits your needs feel free to use it.  Otherwise you will need to choose the settings you want for the video conversion.  In most cases the default settings will work perfectly.  Notice that there are controls to specify how big you would like the final file to be and the quality of that file.  HandBrake will allow you to finely tune every setting of your conversion so if you have very specific requirements you will need to dig into the advanced settings.

    7. Once you have the video and audio settings you would like make sure that you set the Destination location to where you want to save the video and give the video a name.

    8. Double check your settings and click the start button.  HandBrake will go to work and let you know when it has finished with a popup notification.  Speed of conversion will vary depending on the processing power of your computer and the length of the video.

    One last feature that is very helpful in HandBrake is the ability to queue a number of videos for conversion.  Simply go through steps 4-8 but instead of clicking start after you have configured your settings, click “Add  to Queue”.  The video will be queued up and will start as soon as the previous conversion finishes.

    If you run into any issues using this guide simply reach out to your HouseCall Systems Administrator and we will be glad to help you with using HandBrake.

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