How to Tell Which Title to Rip in Handbrake

Have you ever loaded up a DVD to rip with handbrake, and then discovered that there are multiple titles that could be the actual movie title you want to rip? Whether it’s different audio tracks, theatrical versions, or an attempt by movie studio to prevent people from ripping the content, trying to create a digital copy of a movie you own can sometimes create a challenge. But there is an easy way to find out exactly which title you should rip to make sure that you get the exact video you want in digital form. (For Mac users, anyway)

I used to go searching in vain on the internet for which title I should rip, until I ran across this easy method.

Load the DVD. Launch the Mac DVD player program. Once the DVD loads up, play the video you want to rip. As it plays, press the “ctrl” button and click on the video itself. A menu will pop up, scroll down to the word title, a submenu will pop up and the number with the check mark beside it is the title you want to rip.

It’s that easy. Load the DVD into handbrake, select that title and apply your settings. Then rip away.


Handbrake 0.95 Test: iPad Preset

I started testing out the newest iteration of handbrake: 0.95. The new version comes with new presets for the ipad and the new Apple TV. I started with the iPad setting. As always I deselected the “Large File Size” box and selected the “iPod 5g Support” box. I also added a pass thru AC3 audio track in addition to the preset Dolby stereo track.

As you can see the resolution is quite a bit higher than my old iPod preset (870×368 for the new preset vs 720×304 for the old). But the file size is a lot smaller. The smaller resolution file (based off an iPod preset I used in 0.94) is 1.9 GB, but the new one is 1.5 GB, with no real difference in quality. I scanned through the movie and did not notice any differences in compression artifacts, etc… The higher resolution is nice for large screens. Obviously, it looks great on small screens as well.

I have so far tried this on my latest gen iPod Touch, iPhone 3GS and the iPad. It will not work on older iPod video devices, they are stll limited by a width of 720 pixels for video playback.

I played from the 3GS to the new Apple TV via Airplay, and it looked great. I could see some compression artifacts in the background of darker scenes, but generally it looked as good as my other ripped files.

Later I will test some video with the new Apple TV 2 preset.

Preparing for The Touch: Testing Handbrake

Yesterday I ordered a new 32GB iPod Touch.

I could not resist it. I sold my old Touch and my old Apple TV, and upgraded to the 32GB model. With HD video captures, and the new Retina display, it looks great. And according to Apple, it will display:

H.264 video up to 720p, 30 frames per second, Main Profile level 3.1 with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats

Which means that my old handbrake settings may now be obsolete. I have always tried to maintain settings that would allow video to be played across all of my iOS devices, iPods/iPhones, iPads and Apple TVs. Previously that meant that I needed to start with the iPod preset in Handbrake, and make adjustments.

With this new HD capable iPod, I suspect I can start with the Apple TV preset. I won’t know until I get the iPod Touch, but I have made a couple of test files. These files loaded and played on my iPad and iPhone 3GS.

I ripped the first Transformers movie with the Apple TV preset into two files. On one I left “large file size” checked, on the other I removed that. I added “iPod 5G Support”.

There was no discernable difference, either in file size or quality.
file size

Both files were exactly the same size. I have no idea what “Large File Size” does. Both files were significantly smaller than my universal settings, using that yielded a file at 3.38 GB. Oddly, this larger file will play on all iOS devices, while the one I ripped yesterday will only play on “HD” capable ones. This is primarily to do with the percentage of constant quality I select in the universal files. I found I liked the higher percentage of 65%, more than the preset 60%. Anything over 65% ends up with a huge files. But as you can see, the 60% mark produces much smaller files.

I took a couple of screen captures of these last two rips. The compression artifacts that you see are in every version I have ripped with every setting. The combination of dark with smoke does not compress well. But, you can also see that either version delivers the same compression artifacts. Both load onto an iPad and my iPhone 3GS. I assume they will load onto the new iPod Touch. They will not load onto older iPods or older iPhones.

You can see the smoke artifacts here:
smoke artifacts

A general action shot with light and dark:
robot attack

I was very pleased with it’s performance on the iPad. The image looked great. Now that the iPods/iPhones have the ability to play higher quality video files, I may switch to the Apple TV preset all the time. I know I won’t be able to watch them on my wife’s 4th Gen Nano, but with an iPod, iPad, an iPhone 3GS and an Apple TV that can play them, I don’t think I will miss it.

My goal has been great looking video, with decent file sizes. The Apple TV preset, adding the “iPod 5G support” gives me both on all of the “HD” capable iOS devices, as well as the Apple TV.

Comparing Settings for Handbrake 0.93 and 0.94

The new version of handbrake took the program in a new direction, and left my old settings behind. My first attempts at using the new version had less than stellar results. After a lot of trial and error, I think I have landed upon settings for 0.94 that mirror my settings for 0.93. These are not really scientific, and stills don’t really represent it very well. The frames are almost, but not quite the same frame from the move. Hopefully close enough to make some comparison

Screen shot from 0.93:

Average bitrate of 2000, 720 width, 5g support, h.264 file. File plays on Apple TV, iPod and iPhone.

Screen shot from 0.94:

iPod preset, raise resolution to 720 width, 65% constant quality, 5g support. File plays on Apple TV, iPod and iPhone.

Screen shot from 0.94:

Apple TV preset with no alterations, just for reference. File Plays on Apple TV, and the ones I tested played on my iPhone 3Gs, but not on my iPod.

The 0.93 file and the 0.94 file from the iPod preset are almost exactly the same size. The 0.94 file from the Apple TV preset is actually smaller, but I cannot use it on my iPod.

Here is an 0.93 capture blown up to fit my computer (Macbook Pro 15″) compared to an 0.94 iPod base capture.

To my eye, the 0.94 iPod base settings are just a bit sharper. I watched through this clip from Transformers, looking for artifacts and noticeable compression. The light and dark with smoke and explosions did reveal some compression in all versions. But all were within acceptable ranges, especially at actual resolution. The Apple TV base setting actually showed a little bit more compression than the others.

For the time being, it looks like I will switch to 0.94 with my new altered iPod preset for future rips.

I Finished Ripping My DVD Library

It’s done!

While I have probably missed some, or forgotten to include captions on some, I finally finished the rip of my entire DVD collection. The files can be played on both my Apple TV and my iPods/iPhones.

Over 300 DVDs. Over 620GB of movie files. You may remember that I was about 270 movies into this process before when my external HD failed, and I hard to begin again. I managed to salvage about 50 but had to re do the rest. Over 2 hours of rip time for each. Man. I am so glad to be on the other side of this.

I used Handbrake exclusively. Even though I have had some issues with the new version, it is the best free DVD ripping software available for Mac. I will now finish my trial and error testing of the new version, and compare it to 0.93.

I am just so happy to be done. It was a huge job because we have a large collection of DVDs. Now I can have them waiting to be played on the Apple TV, stream them through something like boxee, carry them on my iPod or iPhone.

Settings for Handbrake 0.94

Ever since the latest version of Handbrake came out, I have been searching for the right settings. I had what I thought were the perfect settings for version 0.93. My initial attempts with 0.94 were not so great. So, I spent some time doing trial and error. I stared out using Apple TV Presets as the base, but was never able to get a video that would load on my iPod. It would play on the iPhone 3Gs, but not an iPod.

My 0.93 settings look great on Apple TV and work on both my iPhone and iPods. My goal was to recreate the same results with the new version of Handbrake. I changed tactics and started using the iPod Touch Preset as a base.

All of these tests were done with the iPhone & iPod Touch Preset as a base. in all of them I raised the resolution to a width of 720.

60%, 720 width- works on ipod and iphone. Decent on Apple TV. Some noticeable artifacts.

70%, 720 width, 5g support- Good on Apple TV, works on iPod. Large file size. 180 minutes=3.5GB

65%, 720 width, 5g support- Good on Apple TV, works on iPod. 180minutes=2.5GB

The front runner so far is the ipod preset with 65% constant quality. I will do a couple of test rips between this setting and the 0.93 settings.

Searching for the Perfect Handbrake 0.94 Settings

{Updated with more test settings. These are not scientific, but more of trial and error process.}

After Handbrake released it’s newest update, I had some issues. I went back to the previous version so I could continue the march toward finishing the rip of my entire DVD library. But I have also been testing out new settings.

I have one simple requirement, that it look good on the Apple TV and work on my iPod and iPhone. By good I mean almost as good as an SD DVD. And the file size should be smaller than a DVD.

The results have been baffling. Not because of Handbrake, but because I discovered what others may have already known. The iPhone 3Gs can handle higher quality video than the iPod Touch. I have never been able to load video with wider than 720 pixels onto my iPod (or even my iPod 3G from before). When using the Apple TV preset in Handbrake ( something I thought required in the new version if you want watchable video for your Apple TV) you must always turn off the “animorphic” setting which allows the video to be wider than 720. If you are ripping a 4:3 aspect ratio video you must limit the resolution to 640×480, or the iPod won’t play it.

But today’s results were intriguing.

These settings are built using the Apple TV preset in the 0.94 version of Handbrake.

Apple TV Preset, No changes: Good on Apple TV, Worked on iPhone 3Gs, Did not work on iPod

Removed “Large File” check: OK on Apple TV, Worked on iPhone, Did not work on iPod

Removed “Large File” check, No “animorphic”: Not good on Apple TV, Worked on iPhone, I had trouble with the iPod but don’t know why.

Removed “Large File” check, No “animorphic”, added iPod atom: Not good on Apple TV, Worked on iPhone, I had trouble with the iPod but don’t know why.

Left in “Large File”, Set to 65% constant quality, No “Animorphic”: Average on Apple TV (Some obvious artifacts) Not compatible with iPod

Left in “Large File”, Set to 70% constant quality, No “Anamorphic”: Good on Apple TV, No go on ipod. But file size significantly larger

If my goal was just good looking video on the iPhone and Apple TV, I would just continue to use the base Apple TV preset. But 0.93 allowed me to rip video that looked good on all 3 of my devices, as well as my wife’s iPod Nano. trying to limit the Apple TV preset was getting me nowhere. I was ending up with large files that still didn’t work on my iPod.

So, I decided to change approach. I fully expected this to fail, because the forums for Handbrake are all abuzz about how the h.264 codec is now different than what the Apple TV expects. And if you don’t select Apple TV as a preset you will get “blocky” video. The Apple TV preset turns off a new setting which fixes this issue. But, I decided to use the iPod Touch preset a a base.

iPod Preset:

Constant quality at 60%, 720 width: Works on ipod and iphone. Decent on Apple TV.

I was surprised. I was sure that the “blocky” video would be back. But I saw decent video that worked great on my iPod. But the video isn’t as good as the 0.93 version rips. So, I am still working.

I have ripped another test clip with similar settings at 70% constant quality, but the file size sugests a 180 minute film will weigh in at 3.5GB. I have not had time to check the quality yet. I am going to try another test at 65% to see if the file size can drop a bit. Ideally, each movie would be under 3GB.

Hope to update again soon.

[Update Comparing Settings]