Saturday Night Freeware: HandBrake

In an attempt to keep the posts at Writer’s Log ticking over regularly,I’m starting a weekly Saturday Night Freeware series. The aim is to write about great software available free on the Web and thank the wonderful people who have created and shared them for no charge.

HandBrakeThis week’s free app is HandBrake, an open source, multi-platform video transcoder.

If you’ve ever had to convert a video from one form to another, you’ll know that it can sometimes be a pain. Whether you’re ripping a DVD, converting proprietary format videos from from your handycam, or just making a video playable on your iPod touch, HandBrake takes care of it all quite smoothly. True that there are applications that give you far greater options, but HandBrake scores for being cross-platform (Mac OS, Windows and Linux) and simple. Here’s a quick guide:

  1. On starting up it prompts you for a source, which can be a DVD/BD, disc image, .VOB, .TS, Video_TS folder, or, well, more or less any regular video format.
  2. Next, specify an output folder.
  3. Then tell HandBrake your output settings. If you’re converting for an iPhone/iPod touch/iPad/AppleTV, you’re in luck since there are built-in presets. Otherwise you need to make your solution manually, which isn’t rocket science anyway. You get an option of file formats (MP4 or MKV); video codecs (MPEG-4, H.264 or Theora); and audio codecs (AAC, MP3, Vorbis, etc.).
  4. Check out the details in the Video, Audio, Subtitles, Advanced and Subtitles tabs if you want to do any tweaking magic. (You can save your settings as a preset if you plan on using it again.)
  5. Hit the Start button (or Add to Queue if you plan on adding more tasks), and then you can go and get yourself the drink shown in the HandBrake icon.

HandBrake has many other wonderful features, such as adding subtitles, creating chapters, live video preview and more. If you’re stuck at any point, there’s an online guide to refer to.

HandBrake is an open source project and depends on people who volunteer their free time to contribute features, bug fixes and other enhancements. A big thank you to them all.


2 Replies to “Saturday Night Freeware: HandBrake”

  1. Hurrah for Saturday Night Freeware 🙂 May it live for lots of Saturdays to come!

    1. Thanks. 🙂 I hope it does too.

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