Free video transcoder for any format
HandBrake is a free and open-source video transcoder program that enables you to convert video files into nearly any format. Originally developed by Eric "titer" Petit and now maintained by its active community, HandBrake makes it easier to rip videos from a DVD to a data storage device. This program uses third-party libraries such as FFmpeg, libvpx, and x265.
Not easy to use
HandBrake is a multi-platform program designed to allow videos to play on any device. It creates copies of video files by converting them into the appropriate formats and suitable codecs. With this, you will be able to play it on platforms that only support specific formats. Unfortunately, this software doesn’t feature a beginner-friendly tutorial. However, its online community offers in-depth documentation on how to use it.
When you start off converting files, you are allowed to make use of profiles on built-in device presets. These profiles are preferences optimized for various devices. You can choose a universal but basic one offered by HandBrak, which you can further tweak to suit either standard or high-quality conversions. You can also customize your profile to fit the receiving device well. These are easy to set up, and you can play around with the various options for more advanced settings.
But is worth learning
This application supports a wide selection of input sources, including popular formats such as MKV, AVI, and MP4. It can process most of the common multimedia files and any DVD or BluRay sources that don’t contain any kind of copy protection. The supported output formats, on the other hand, includes the following: file container formats like MP4, M4V, MKV, and AVI; and video encoders like H.265 (x265 and QuickSync), H.264 (x264 and QuickSync), H.265 MPEG-4, MPEG-2, VP8, VP9, and Theora.
HandBrake can also convert to audio formats such as AAC, HE-AAC, MP3, FLAC, AC3, Vorbis, E-AC3, DTS, DTS-HD, and TrueHD. It offers two-pass conversions and allows you to codify a double soundtrack. However, this video transcoder doesn’t just convert. It has video set-up features that allow title and chapter range selections if you want to label them. With this, you can easily jump to scenes and place markers when creating your scene selection menu. The software also has subtitle options, allowing VobSub and closed captioning.
Another feature is the bitrate calculator, letting you adjust the video quality according to the final file size you want. There are also video filters you can use, like Deinterlacing, Decomb, Denoise, Detelecine, Deblock, Grayscale, Cropping, and Scaling. Additionally, it offers live static and video previews. Lastly, the program can do batch encoding by either the user interface or command-line function. Note that you'll need to have the right codecs installed for the type of format you want, however.
More for advanced users
Overall, HandBrake is a great choice for a free video converter. It offers a wide range of features that make it highly useful beyond converting different formats. However, while it’s packed with tools, it’s not easy for casual users due to its technical tutorial. Veterans will find it versatile, but beginners may just find it confusing.