How to encode DVDs to h.264 videos using Handbrake

How to use Handbrake

This tutorial will focus on using Handbrake to encode DVDs to h.264 files. The first thing you need to know is that Handbrake is not a DVD decrypter. If your source DVD is encrypted, you’ll have to use something like DVD Decrypter (free) or DVDFab to create a decrypted file first. You can decrypt the files either to a DVD folder or an ISO file. Handbrake can handle either but I prefer to use DVD folders for two reasons. It takes longer to create an ISO file so that’s just wasted time. Having VOB files allows you to play a sample to determine if that movie needs to be decombed. More on that later.

Download and install these three softwares

Handbrake comes with a few preset profiles for various devices. The problem is that the Normal profile has decombed off and that will not work on interlaced videos. The High profile solves that and if you have a fast cpu and don’t mind longer encoding times, that’s a perfectly good default profile to use. I decided to create my own profile with some modifications.

How to tell if your video needs to be decombed

Some foreign movies and videos made for TV use interlaced video instead of progressive video. If you don’t decomb these videos, the resulting h.264 files will look awful on lcd screens. Whenever there is motion in the video, you will see lines. The decomb setting solves that problem. (Note that the Linux version of Handbrake does not include the video filter tab so I’m not sure how it works in Linux. You may have to just use the High profile.) There is no harm in decombing videos that do not require it so it’s an option you can leave on all the time at the expense of encoding time. To change this option, simply go to the Video Filter tab and change the decomb option from OFF to Default. Then save the profile and set it as your default. If you don’t want to decomb every video, you can look at the property of a VOB file and see if it is interlaced. Navigate to the video folder and play any VOB file with Media Player Classic. Right click on the video and go to properties. Go to Media Info tab and look for the setting Scan Type. If it reads Interlaced, you need to decomb this video.