Transcoding Videos Using Handbrake

For videos uploaded to the DSP, we accept MP4 (using the H.264 codec) files up to 100MB in size. But what if you have a file that is in a different format, or is very large? Transcoding is the process of converting a video from one format to another. In fact, the DSP automatically transcodes the video file you upload into many different variations suitable for various devices. The objective is to provide the DSP with an input video file that is suitably high quality for this, but not unreasonably large. If you have a file that is in a different format or is too large, you can transcode it to a compatible format and upload this to the DSP.

Note: There is no need to do this if your file is small enough and is accepted by the DSP. Only do this if you are unable to upload your video.

Handbrake is a free, open-source software program that you can use to simply and easily convert video files to a compatible format and size. There are many other programs that can be used, but since Handbrake is free and available for all of Windows, Linux, and Mac, it is a good choice.

First, download and install Handbrake from the Handbrake website. When you open the program, it will look like this:

Screen_Shot_2017-03-28_at_2.24.58_PM.png

(It will look slightly different depending on whether you are using Windows, Mac or Linux.)

Click the Source button and select your original video file. This will unlock the rest of the options. Specify a Destination filename for the output, and check that the following settings are set correctly:

  • Output Settings
    • Format: MP4 file
  • Video
    • Video Codec: H.264 (x264)
    • Framerate: Same as source
    • Quality: Select Average bitrate (kbps), 2-pass encoding. See table below for the bitrate to enter based on the duration of your video. Conveniently, the duration of your input video is shown near the top-right corner of the HandBrake window.
  • Audio
    • Codec: AAC
    • Bitrate: 160kbps is enough to preserve good audio quality

This table shows the video bitrate you should enter to ensure that the total file size is under 100MB, assuming 160kbps for audio bitrate. If your video is an unusual duration, select the next highest option. 

Duration Video Bitrate Max suggested width and height for good quality
15s 10,000 kbps 1920x1080
30s 10,000 kbps 1920x1080
45s 10,000 kbps 1920x1080
1 min. 10,000 kbps 1920x1080
2 min. 6,000 kbps 1280x720
3 min. 4,000 kbps 1280x720
5 min. 2,300 kbps 1280x720


If you need to adjust the video's dimensions, click the Picture Settings button:

picture_settings_button.png

This will cause a new window with picture adjustment settings.

Screen_Shot_2017-03-28_at_2.36.36_PMa.png

The bottom line shows the source width and height. Ordinarily, you would not need to change anything in here. If, however, you have a video file of usually high resolution – that is, higher than we can process, or too high to produce a reasonable quality file that is under 100MB (see guidance above) – you can resize the picture here.

Once you have set all the appropriate settings, simply click the Start Encoding button. Wait several minutes and your new output file will be ready for upload to the DSP!

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