How to encode videos to be readily useable on the site without additional converting needed
So here's a quick guide on how to encode videos with HandBrake (which is available for Windows, MacOS and Linux, can encode directly from a DVD Video source and is an all in all great tool also used as the encoder on the site itself). It's the suit of choice because it is available for all system, has great format support, is easy to use and yields great results if used correctly.
This guide is mostly meant for encoding of DVD material or below since this stuff can be large and will never improve in quality on the site if we ever up our resolution or quality settings. So convert them first to save a lot of upload and encoding time on the server as well as space. For everything with a resolution above 720xXXX continue uploading them in their un-changed format (if you have the bandwidth, time etc.) so that we have the best quality available on the site if we ever need them again.
If you are trying to encode from a DVD source directly check that it loads a separate "Title" for each PV/Video you want to encode from the DVD. If it loads it as one long title with sub-chapters autocropping and resizing options will NOT WORK correctly. You will either have to change them manually for each video from the DVD or just pre-rip all the videos to you computer into single .vob's for each chapter. This can be done with DVDDecrypter for example.
Visit HandBrake and get the latest version for your OS first if you don't have it already.
If you are already familiar with HandBrake, grab only the .plist files and import them. If you are using the windows version be sure to check and change some of the settings since they DO NOT save properly and will have to be set again each time you open HandBrake and load the preset. Those settings like "keep aspect ratio" are important! (check screenshots below for what is important)
Presets for HandBrake 0.9.8 and earlier (right-click and save as):
jpopsuki_win.plist (the windows version will crash/error our if you load the Mac file so choose the correct one)
First we Import the Preset. On Windows fire up HandBrake and click the button in the lower right corner named "Options" and select "Import" there, choose the windows .plist file. On a Mac go into the Presets menu and choose "Import...", choose the mac .plist file. Now select the newly loaded preset in the preset view and you should see the settings change.
Import your first video or a whole DVD using the "Source" button in the upper left corner.
Now for the windows version go by the following pictures and adjust the settings accordingly:
Make sure that the "Web Optimized" box is ticked, it is crucial because otherwise the videos may not stream correctly and will have to be loaded completely by the flash player before they play... the server can unfortunately not check if this is set so it will accept videos that do not have this enabled.
Also important is the other part marked, the "Keep Aspect Ratio" box is ALWAYS unticked when you import the preset, it HAS to be enabled to not screw up certain videos.
Anamorphic has to be set to None.
Video width should not be wider than 720, videos with a width larger than that will not be accepted and re-encoded by the server. Lower is always ok. Some DVD material will default to 640 pixels width and HandBrake will NOT up-scale that material so leave the width at whatever HandBrake set's as a maximum - if not higher than 720.
Hight will change according to the video. Also check if autocropping is enabled, it's useful and will crop away unnecessary stuff - can go overboard in few examples tho.
On to the next tab...
On the Video Filters Tab only the "Deinterlace" option is really important. It should usually be set to "Slower" if you don't know what content you are encoding or have no clue what you are doing. This can be disabled if you are coming from a certainly not interlaced source like .mp4, .avi or similar. If you are encoding MPEG2 content, some .ts files or for certain .vob/DVD material it _has_ to be enabled. If you know what you are doing and know for certain that you have non interlaced material you can disable this since it will dramatically decrease encoding time.
On to the last page...
At the "Video" tab the framerate settings are important in the Windows version since again they are not imported correctly. You will have to set it to 29.97 FPS each time you import the preset. Also "Constant Framerate" has to be selected, otherwise you might have problems with some .ts videos.
Other settings are not so important and we can live without changing. What might be nice is if you decide to convert .ts material which notoriously has a very low volume on it's audio tracks. You should choose to boost the volume at the "Audio" tab using the advanced button by 8-10db.
You can also play and experiment with the settings on the "Advanced" tab. If you do not know what you are doing, leave them as they are. They are currently a balance between speed and quality but they obviously can be improved if you know what you are doing and have a fast enough computer to handle the additional power required for the more advanced settings.
On Windows also check the menu Tools/Options and "Advanced" there and set the "Number of picture previews to scan:" to 30. This will scan 30 pictures for the correct auto-cropping setting and minimize faulty cropping.
Try encoding some videos, check them locally first if quality and aspect ratio are ok and upload them to the site and see if they are posted just 1-2 minutes after you finished uploading.