Beyond HandBrake's defaults

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HandBrake takes note of a source’s chapters and, by default, adds chapter markers to videos it encodes. The default is to list them by number—Chapter 1, Chapter 2, etc. You’re welcome to double-click on a chapter and type in a name of your own—Phase One: In Which Doris Gets Her Oats, for example. If you’d prefer to do without chapter markers you can turn off that option in this tab. Note, however, that chapters add no bulk to the file and make navigating through a movie far easier.


HandBrake’s Advanced tab is an area where many mortals fear to tread due to some pretty arcane options. While we don’t fear it, the choices you might make here are meant for only the most hard-core tweaker. Should you wish to become one of those tweakers, I urge you to carefully read through x264 Options in HandBrake.

The risks

The advantage of using HandBrake’s default settings is that they produce videos that absolutely will play on their intended destination—on your iPod, iPhone, or Apple TV, for example. If you go the manual route and tweak your own settings, it’s possible that you’ll choose a bit rate or size too large for a particular device.

For this reason, you should pay careful attention to the video playback specifications for the device you wish to encode for. Apple publishes these specifications for the iPod and iPod touch, iPhone, and Apple TV on its Web site.

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