THE secrets of YIFY and high quality and small file sizes are not so secret after all… Encoding High quality Low bitrate Videos in Handbrake for any device

THE secrets of YIFY and high quality and small file sizes are not so secret after all…

UPDATE: Handbrake 0.9.9 has just been released, introducing numerous UI improvements that makes shit that much easier to do. The support for x264 built in presets almost renders the provided presets obsolete,except that when you use the support for built in presets feature you won’t be able to manually you could tune the features such as deblocking etc. by command line without any aid from the GUI so you run the risk of fucking up if you didn’t enter the values completely correctly, not that it matters that much. The presets provided for 0.9.8 still work in 0.9.9 though, so feel free to download and import them as you would. Don’t use 0.9.9! It is evil! It’s improved UI ate mah hard drive and raped mah wife miorgviudonbfbbkffdfvodfmkdov 

tl;dr

Converting/Transcoding/Encoding High quality Low bitrate Videos in Handbrake for any device

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD HANDBRAKE (PC, Mac and Linux Versions Available)

If you’re a regular pirate of films and TV shows (unlike me, since I love obeying the law), you will notice that one of the very popular communities and trends in HD film piracy is YIFY whose release group offers films at a “high” Full HD quality at about 10% the file size (bit rate) of your common blue-ray disk.

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This method of the distribution of films is very popular due to the low file sizes which can be very useful for those with limited HDD spaces and/or limited bandwidth. Many people, despite not being illegal film distributors themselves, are still fascinated by the group’s seemingly uncanny ability to make films tiny, and which to apply the techniques for legal purposes, such as ripping their legally purchased blue-ray disks in a fashion so that they could store 30 Good Quality 1080p films on their 64GB iPad.

Unfortunately, for most of those aspiring imbeciles, achieving such a feat could be a little difficult, considering how your average “movie converter” offers little options more than that of “set bit rate” and “set file type”. This is highly problematic because film converter software were designed for one purpose and one purpose ONLY: to make a file compatible with a device while consuming as little time in the process as possible. That is why if you try to encode a film in 720p @ the same bitrate of YIFY @ say… 800Kbps in your average media converter (such as freemake video converter, format factory, Ultra Video Converter, Arcsoft video converter or even Apple Quicktime), you’ll end up with something so ugly and so full of video artifacts that you would want to kill yourself for being so stupid as to think you could match the quality of YIFY in the first place. The reason for that is because these video converters utilize professionally determined presets that are not only good enough for the average user, but also quick enough for the impatient bunch. Which means that hardware acceleration such as nVidia CUDA or AMD’s equivalent would be used, and while those are incredibly useful for capturing games or on-screen activity on limited hard disk space, they can (and almost always will) result in file sizes that are a little too big for long term storage. Plus, graphic cards lack the ability to encode some of the complex algorithm abilities (yes, even your GTX680 will SUCK at encoding YIFY, despite being incredibly fast in the process), so therefore most professional encodes will try to avoid hardware acceleration from graphics cards.

So you see, there are many factors in influencing a good encode, of which the basics will be covered by this article.

Lesson #1, THE CONTAINER DOES NOT INFLUENCE THE FILE SIZE.

There is a common misconception that MP4 is better than AVI, or MKV is bigger than MOV, and to be fair, that is true to some extent. Provided the same content, an MKV file can be as much as 300KBs bigger than its equivalent MP4 file. This is because the container used in the MKV might store more data, or store less data in a slightly more inefficient way. However, as you might know, a 300KB difference is pale in comparison to the range of file sizes offered of the same films in allegedly the same qualities. So what could be causing the difference?

Codec.

The “MKV” or “MOV” is just a representation of the CONTAINER to the file. The container is what stores the video and audio content known as “streams”, which are the actual content encoded in different codecs.

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THIS is what really matters

The only difference between containers is that sometimes certain containers can only support certain formats, or in avi’s case there is a 2GB size limit on the total length of content.

The best codec as of 2012 is still h264, a standard since 2004. While some argue that Youtube’s VP8 is comparable, x264’s developers have claimed that VP8 losses valuable compression with a limit on reference frames and the complete absence of B-frames and weighted prediction in an effort to be royalty free. And if you’re reading this article searching for YIFY, you probably don’t give a shit about royalties, so VP8 is out of the question.

Some Hong Kong advertisements for RMVB-capable products say that HongKongers love RMVB. If you love RMVB, then I got news for you: RV40, RMVB’s current codec, is based off h264 like everyone else. However, I have doubts that any RMVB encoder out there will give you as many options as x264, so essentially to you, the average user of the computer world, RMVB is about as useless to this cause as the H263 based DivX. (Apparently DivX has its own h264 encoder, but 1. It’s free version is very limited and 2. it either costs money/ or watermarks your shit, plus it comes with bloatware, and its quality is not on par, so fuck it)

So currently by raw comparison, the most appropriate codec for the cause is x264, and mkv, flv or M4V has almost absolutely nothing to do with better or worse quality of videos.

Lesson #2, THE CODEC DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY IMPLY QUALITY

“Whaaa~? But you just said-”

Yes- while this is true in your average simple “converter”, (again,) x264’s developers have taught us that a well encoded MPEG2 file will be of much better quality than a badly encoded H264 file. And this is true, because codecs do have different levels of compression.

For example, H264 offers several profiles from 1 to 5.1, with each increase in profile implying higher playback requirements.

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Handbrake makes it easy to make your file compatible. Select a preset or just tick off “iPod 5G support” and “Web optimized”, or manually disable B frames and set reference frames to 1, and disable CABAC, 8×8 etc.

For example, your expensive second hand iPhone 4 supports a puny baseline 3.1, which apparently means it will not playback files with resolutions of higher than 1280×720, and is also limited to a bit rate of 14000 in the main profile.

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Not so premium anymore, huh.

Even worse, an older iPod might support H264, but will certainly not support B-frames and CABAC, which both contribute to compression levels significantly. For now, you should stick with H264.

Here’s something you’re not psyched about: H265(HEVC), the successor to H264(AVC), is supposed to be released sometime in the (near future), offering as much as 4x better compression in its (beta? Alpha?) current state of development. Hopefully an HEVC encoder will be available for the general public soon.

Lesson #3 THE BITRATE DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY IMPLY QUALITY

That’s the point of this article. While a higher bitrate generally means higher quality, this is only valid within the limits of the same compression settings. Simple comparison is a CUDA encoding VS a CPU based encoding. The “advanced settings” and options in real encoders do exist for a reason.

Lesson #4 FASTER ENCODING GENERALLY = LESS QUALITY, and avoid (cannot stress this enough) video converters (and some video editors).

Again, why professional encoders never use CUDA for reasons I have already discussed.

“Video Converters” Are good looking software that offer very limited options, its unalterable presets designed only to make your file playable on your iPod in as short a time as possible, and nothing more.

My dad always tells me that if I really want to work with multimedia, I should go work for a big multimedia company with fancy machines because it will never be possible for me to set up a studio in my apartment. In a similar aspect, if you are trying to be a film-maker, the file size of your video should be the last of your concerns. When “exporting” from Premier etc, always export in a format and settings that are near-lossless, then re-encode them later for specific channels of distribution.

Lesson #5 USE SINGLE CORE IF POSSIBLE*, USE SINGLE CORE IF BATCH PROCESSING

“No way”, you say, “I may be an idiot attempting to encode similarly to YIFY when I clearly should shut up and just leave the encoding to the professionals, but even I know that multicore is good for multimedia processing”.

Too bad, moron. While multicore does have numerous (I cannot stress this enough) speed advantages, today’s topic is compression. And the thing about multicore processing is that (to my understanding) data is split into chunks for the processors to process, meaning thread 1 will receive chunk A, thread 2 will receive chunk B and thread 3 will receive chunk C. However, while they are processing, thread 1 cannot actually alter chunk B. Now compression is based on finding similar items and patterns, among other stuff, but when thread 1 is occupying chunk A, thread 2 cannot occupy chunk A to see if there are any similarities between them, thus resulting in a loss of compression. A single threaded operation however, will process the video bits one by one in an orderly fashion, thereby eliminating the chances of missing anything and achieving greatest compression in comparison to multicore operations.

Your average high end nVidia GPU has a shit load of CUDA cores. If it even attempted to do a high compression encoding, I’ll bet 95% of the cores would be inactive half the time, just waiting for the other core to finish processing that chunk of data.

Update: Lemme clarify this some more, as folks at at this page have expressed doubts that a single thread encoding “improves quality”.

What I mean to say is that say on a quad core cpu, running four separate encoding threads with each thread using only one core, in parallel (ie encoding video1, video2, video3 and video4 at the same time) is much more efficient than having four multithreaded encodings run sequentially (ie encoding video1, and then video2, and then video3, and then video4), as restricting the encoding to one core would result in on average a 99% to 100% core usage during encoding, while if you encode in a multithreaded operation you might only have a average cpu load of 90%, because of the cores waiting for the other cores as described above.

So no you won’t lose quality in a multithreaded high compression encode because x264 is smart and understands when you value compression over speed, but you will lose speed and efficiency. Unless you force your multithread encode to operate your CPU at full load, then, the resulting product would definitely be of worst quality than a single core encode.

(assuming “ultra” compression settings) Just as if you run 4 single threaded 7zip compressions in parallel on a quad thread/quad core computer, it would be much faster than running 4 multithreaded 7zip compressions sequentially.  the 4 single threaded 7zip threads would put your CPU at 100% load constantly when a single multithreaded 7zip thread would use between 60% to 90% of your CPU (and therefore 60%-90% the speed) at any given moment.

multicore

But then again CPUs are so damned fast nowadays, so does my advice on speed and efficiency really matter?

edit again: dammit my incompetence sucks ass. yes you can restrict handbrake/x264 to use only one thread by adding threads=1 to the command line.

Lesson #6 BE AS LOSSLESS AS POSSIBLE WITH YOUR ORIGINAL CONTENT

If, say you are not trying to rip a newest blockbuster off your new Blu-ray disk, but rather you are trying to compress your family videos into a smaller size or you are an aspiring Youtuber (or a porno producer), please don’t do a YIFY-styled encoding, because the truth is, despite being far from rubbish, they still suck- the artifacts will still be unpleasantly visible. As a family man/woman/guy, you want to retain your memories with junior in as good a quality as your camera captured it. This means no RF30 for you; go straight to RF15 or less. (This RF stuff will be explained later)

As a producer/ video editor, you want to have the highest possible quality videos available for streaming. Let Youtube or Porn Site screw it up with their own crappy compression, it’s not your job. Your job is to make sure that when a new codec comes out, they will find your old file, re-encode it, and hopefully make it look better.

This is especially true for desktop captures. If you are making a screencap tutorial on using software, for GOD’S SAKE make it lossless! The last thing anyone wants to do is to find out that the lines for writing a GUI for smudge is smudge smudge smudge smudge smudge.

Lesson #7 DO NOT DO FILE SIZE/ BITRATE BASED ENCODES

A lot of P2P groups encode videos to file sizes of 400mb, 500mb, 600mb, 700mb, 1gb, 1.5gb etcetera. This was because it was easy for people to estimate file sizes, and also filling up a 700mb cd with a 699mb file felt good. However, that’s not a very smart thing to do. You see, people are terrible at estimating bitrates, which is why some dvdrips come out with a better quality than others. It was an impractical thing from a time where “699mb” was better than “701mb”- but that time is passed. Now, more and more groups are doing RateFactor based encodes, the “RF” I talked about earlier. The Xvid encoder has a rate factor slider, so does x264. To ensure that every file you ever transcode, whether action movie or cheap animation- comes out with the same quality, you have to do quality based encodes. The default slider in Handbrake is set at 20, however it is suggested that only a RF of 15 or lower can a file seem almost lossless. From my personal estimates, both 720p and 1080p encodes from YIFY are roughly equivalent to a ratefactor of 30, quality wise, and ratefactors of around 30 are recommended.

Lesson #8 DO NOT UPSIZE FILMS

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x264’s default deblocking- from 352×144 to 1366×768

I’ve seen dumb people ask for instructions on “making a DVD into HD quality”, aka interpolating it. Hey- newsflash: basic h264 decoder offers built in deblocking which is similar to “smoothing”, which is also interpolating, which is upsizing, and the deblocking filter is only deactivated optionally on lesser devices, so unless your choice of interpolation software is REALLY FRIGGIN FLY, I suggest you just leave your film at the resolution it is, and let the guest do the dirty work.

Now there IS an exception to this. If you plan on uploading footage from 3D games or you kidnapped Michael bay to make your youtube videos, then it is perfectly acceptable to upscale a 480p or 720p film to 1080p, just so that youtube would give it a higher bitrate and therefore better quality, because for youtube and streaming sites in general, quality will always be crappy for high motion videos, and upscaling is one way of countering that.

Lesson #9 DO NOT RE-ENCODE AT A HIGHER BITRATE FOR NO REASON

Especially when at the same encoding settings.

Re-encoding in general is a bad idea. If you’ve ever dealt with early versions of ms paint, you’ll know that if your file is saved as a jpeg image, each time you press ctrl-s the quality degradation becomes more and more obvious. That is because the jpg file is saved at a quality of around 75% the original in order to achieve what is deemed the appropriate level of compression.

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Re-encoding at a higher bitrate will not “interpolate quality” by itself, which leads to -

Lesson #10 Use filters and “effects”

If you’re a hardcore file sharer who wants to keep the film in as much of its original form and detail, then too bad- “600mb 720p mkv” style ain’t for you. On the YIFY website he clearly states that he uses a combination of software and settings that work best, which will most likely include filters such as “contrast”, “cartoon” or “denoise”.

A light amount of Cartoon special effects will simplify colors, reduce file size requirements while making the film still seem high quality.

Contrast will help simplified colors look better.

Not only does denoise cancel out “noisy” scenes, it also helps compression significantly, because it also smooths out grains, which are bad for video compression. I had a personal experience with this, where I filmed s short walk down a mountain, then used a movie editor to give it noise. The resulting 5min 352×240 file @RF15 in similar AVC encoding settings occupied around 1GB of HDD. Noise is not good for compression, so use denoise filters.

Lesson #11 Single pass bitrate encoding is not necessarily worse than two-pass bitrate encoding

Multi-pass encoding wasn’t just a way to improve quality, it’s purpose was to generate a stats file in the first pass which will be used to determine the appropriate RF used so that the resulting file is same size as that which the user specified. Normally, single pass bitrate encodings convert your bitrate into a RF value with a maximum bitrate limit and takes it from there. The result may be larger or smaller than estimated- multipass merely makes sure it’s the exact bitrate you want it to be.

And Finally- Lesson #12 VIDEO ENCODING TAKES TIME

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Hey BRO, no pain no gain, BRO (source)

I highly recommend visiting the source. I personally find this thread hilarious because its populated with people who really shouldn’t be messing with video encoding.

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Encoding in H264 takes a lot of time. I’ll assume this guy was using one of those gay presets (I automatically assume that almost all presets are gay) in AutoGK, and even that predicted 14hrs for *just 4 hours of film.

It takes guts for the average human being to try and encode like YIFY. For example, I’m on an Acer Aspire-481G ultraportable, and that means a 17W i5-3317 ULV Processor. I have no secondary computer, so this means that whenever I encode, I encode on the go, everywhere, anywhere, and anytime, and naturally there are many problems I’ve experienced. For one, I have to put the computer to hibernation every time I stow it in my bag or it’ll overheat. Secondly, the battery drains superfast every time I bring my computer out of hibernation and it continues its task. I have to constantly keep my laptop plugged in, and that is a “bit” damaging to the battery.

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My wonderful computer which can play Sleeping dogs even though it’s so thin and so cheap (source)

So far, it’s just me bitchin about my slim ultrabook wannabe. But here are some things that might apply to you too:

1. If you don’t have a fast processor, it’s gonna take a while. In my trial and error session with a laptop I borrowed, it took almost 4 days for an i7-2630QM to encode Total Recall (2012) to a YIFY-like 1080p output. If you have an old computer, you’re electricity bills are gonna get fagged up, because old processors are totally less efficient.

2. When you have the encoder running in the background, you cannot play games. You’re limited to small tasks such as waiting for the mouse to move from 1230, 230 to 934, 317 (well, not unless you’ve got lots of other shit open), and maybe checking your email. You can’t edit videos, and you can’t play old games even though they’ve got lesser system requirements since when all the threads of your hyper threaded quad core 3.6ghz CPU are used simultaneously, the old single threaded game will only be able to use one thread at a speed and efficiency of around 200-300 Mhz (3.6/4/2=400)

3. You cannot reboot

4. Everything is slow

5. Even if you have the newest fastest consumer processor, you will still be unable to fully utilize your computer for at least a day if you wanna do a single threaded 1080p encode of a 2 hour film, and if you make a mistake, you start over.

Bottom line is, why do it yourself if someone with the time and equipment has done it for you? Therefore I discourage anyone who actually needs their computer every day from doing video encoding. It’s messy and not for the impatient or the morons.

Continue reading if you still think you’re up to the task.

Now that you’ve learnt the basics…

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(Source)

*tips for porn producers highlighted in bold italics

1. Install, then open up Handbrake (this tutorial covers version 0.98)

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2. Drag your film onto the program or select Source-> Video file

3. Downloadthis preset pack for handbrake 0.98 x64 , and select options->import from the bottom right corner of the program. Locate the downloaded file from the window and open it.

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4. Locate “Placebo” in the preset list and double click

preset

5. If you wanna downsize the video, change the width in the appropriate box (green circle) The “display size” might show weird numbers, but it is most beneficial to keep it that way, as leaving the resolution non-anamorphic will result in worse compression. Don’t worry, your video will still be displayed in the resolution it should be.

Check the red circle’s area. If you see that there are numbers other than zero in the listboxes but your video doesn’t need to be cropped, select “custom” and edit all values to zero. This function automatically removes “black bars”, but is buggy in some cases.

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If your video is in an incorrect aspect ratio and you want to correct it using a custom resolution, select Anamorphic and choose none. Now you can set custom values to make it 4:3, 16:9, etc.

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If you want to keep your original resolution, select this too.

6. Now you can flip to the filters tab and apply some simple filters. Note that if denoise is not set to “Medium”, set it to “Medium”. Grayscale encoding might help compression by 0.5%, but the end result is, you guessed it- grayscale.

Note: If you’re producing videos, turn off denoise.

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7. Flip to the video tab. Make sure the codec is set to H.264. Make sure the FPS is same as source, and you can decide whether you want variable or constant framerates. VFR helps compression a bit, and its effects aren’t that obvious as the resulting framerate wouldn’t be hugely affected- you probably wouldn’t even notice it were there.However, constant frame rate is preferable for high motion videos- better safe than sorry, right?

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8. The default RF value is set as 30, good for 1080p (1920*xxxx) and 720p (1280*xxx) all the way to DVD quality (720*xxx). For 480p, use a RF of 25. For 240p, use a RF of 23.

If you are producing, use RF15 (or23) for full HD, RF14 (or20) for 720p, RF12 (or 18) for DVD and 480p, and RF 10(or17) for 240p.

*OR values are for if you really value your HDD space that much, then fine.

If you insist on a specific file size, calculate the bit rate (including the audio of 96kbps by default), select Avg Bitrate, enter value, select 2-Pass Encoding and leave turbo first pass alone. This is only useful if you’re encoding for cd or DVD. I personally use the xvid encoder that comes with klite codec pack to calculate bit rate, but I’m sure much better solutions are availabe.

9. Switch to the audio tab. If the box is empty and your video is supposed to have audio, click “add track”. If your video contains multiple audio tracks and you want to add a specific one, click on the listbox beneath “add track”, and select from the list. You can add multiple audio streams, however if you do, please change the container from MP4 to MKV, as the MP4 container does not support multiple audio streams. If a track is labeled as o 0 (as shown in picture below), you have to remove it and add it again. To remove audio tracks first click on a track, and then press “remove”.image

Make sure the audio codec is faac, mixdown stereo, samplerate auto and bitrate @96. If you really hate faac that much, you could always mux in your nero/itunes encoded aac stream later.

If you’re a producer for (especially music videos), select “360” for the audio bitrate.

10. Switch to subtitles tab. If your video contains subs, now is the time to add them. I recommend that you add all of them since subs are so damned small anyways, however if you add subs you have to set the container as mkv (matroska)- mp4 does not support built in text subs. You add subs the same way you add audio streams, and here you get to change several properties of the subs as well.

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update: If you know your video contains special subtitles (such as the Jabba the Hutt translation in Star Wars) and you want to preserve it in your encode but it isn’t listed in the list of subtitles, add “Foreign Audio Search” to the list of subtitle tracks. 

11. Switch to the advanced tab.

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“Holy crap, what the hell is that?”

You are now at the very last stage. This is where you set the compatibility of your video if you want it to work with a specific device. Check the spec sheets of your target device for things on this list you might want to disable to meet various profiles. If the preset don’t import properly, copy and paste this into the box at the bottom of the window:

ref=16:bframes=16:b-adapt=2:direct=auto:me=tesa:merange=24:subq=11:rc-lookahead=60:analyse=all:trellis=2:no-fast-pskip=1:threads=1

Note: disable (ie. delete) threads=1 if you’re only encoding 1 video

These settings basically emulate the “placebo” preset in x264:

This setting pushes h264 to its very limit. It’s a general purpose set of options that ensure maximum compression happens. For more info on the settings (and this is why I like Handbrake so much), hover your mouse on each of the options and a description will appear explaining it.

*edit: add “threads=1″ to the options. this is a life saver in both batch processing videos and in cases where you might want to be able to utilize the rest of your cores/threads for other uses if on multicore computers. However if you only plan on encoding one film in the near future, might wanna disable threads=1 as it is seriously slow on multicore and/or hyperthreaded systems and is only useful for batch processing.

If you are encoding for production, you might want to completely disable Psychovisual Rate Distortion and Psychovisual Trellis, as well as Deblocking. These can cause artifacts. Or blurring.

12. Now you’re all set.

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Press Start, dumbass

Happy encoding!

Last but not least…

Video quality is nearly always more important than video resolution. The way YIFY has been able to evade its lawsuits… the ugly truth is YIFY encodes are still sub-par copies that no sane film producer would sell (aside from youtubers, amiright). I personally archive my films in a relatively high quality- low resolution format which I call “Recap Format”, basically VCD resolution @ RF23. And I’m happy to say that watching recap format can be a much better experience than watching a YIFY low bitrate 720p encode, even if the source of the recapped video is YIFY.

In the future when bandwidth, lossless video compression and storage mediums evolve, we will be able to stream lossless videos without artifacts off Youtube and download a few TBs of near-lossless 4320p films off iTunes- and by that time, YIFY styled encodes might just be headed towards obsolescence.

New: if you want you can download a sample of a recap format encoding by visiting recapstore.wordpress.com, where I am setting up a website dedicated to archiving films in the format.

Also new: grab* my 720p encode of TPB AFK at bayfiles here or via torrent  (tpb page) (encoded using aforementioned settings) and compare it with YIFY’s 720p encode of TPB AFK, and compare the picture quality to see for yourself.

FAQ:

Q: Why use HB when u can use x264 directly, fake n00b nerd?

A: Because some people (including me) are too dumb and/or lazy to use command line, then mux stuff in themselves, and manually crop them using video editors etc…

Q: The resulting file size after an RF15 encode using your settings is bigger than my source video, you time wasting asshole!

A: That is because your source video is in bad quality, and since RF15 is near-lossless, it will try to retain most detail in your video, including the artifacts in your video. To solve this problem, increase the RateFactor value to lower the encode quality, so that at some point x264 might decide to smooth out the artifacts (and some detail, because you will always lose some quality when reencoding unless in a lossless encode). 

Q: Why some 1080p vids come out 1000000kbps while others come out 180kbps?

A: When one is a lossless encode of high motion action sequence while another is a lossless encode of a very simple animation in 1080p

Q: 1280×544 isn’t 720p, 1920×800 isn’t 1080p, you dick

A: your 1080p monitor is incapable of displaying every single pixel of a 2592×1080 image at the same time without resizing it, so why do you consider it a 1080p monitor? AFAIK, 1080p, 720p etc isn’t about vertical resolution, its about horizontal resolution.

Q: I’m one of the several white trash you’ve encountered over the internet who’ve decided its okay to make racist comments about you

A: Stop fucking your sister, retarded hick

Q: Son are you trying to be a comedian? 

A: I attempt to humor and entertain from time to time

Q: Now that the educational portion is over, why am I reading this crap?

A: Obviously I didn’t write this article just to educate people :P , so if you liked this article, subscribe and/or like and/or comment!

This article will be constantly updated until the next version of handbrake comes out, so in the meantime if you think I made a mistake somewhere, comment in the section below and I will investigate into my error, and correct my ways.

And while we’re on the topic of encoding, check out my new article on choosing a suitable codec for use in the awesome game recording software Dxtory, which you may find useful if you intend to record any gaming footage.

This article and its images (unless specified) ©Eric Yan 2012 All Rights Reserved

Hi there. If you look around my blog, you’ll notice that I write the occasional poetry. But what you don’t know, is that I occasionally record the poetry and magically turns it into a rap song. Sometimes I record enough of them to form an Album, and this is one of those times. Check it out (please?), it’s free!

No part of this article may be reproduced without the owner’s explicit written permission.

Software is Handbrake – open source

Dreamworks image used under fair use.

183 thoughts on “THE secrets of YIFY and high quality and small file sizes are not so secret after all… Encoding High quality Low bitrate Videos in Handbrake for any device

  1. LOL, what a waste of time and space this all is.

    As being an admin of YIFY, I can tell you that you will never get YIFY quality in a bloated program like handbrake, just sayin’.

    Good day to you all.

    • LOL, sure these aren’t the exact settings you guys use, but unless I am mistaken, YIFY encodes are still h264 encodes encoded using x264.
      Handbrake is, (wait for it), a GUI for x264, which means that while it may not be able to perform the filters YIFY uses (if any), encoding via handbrake will result in file sizes and quality pretty close to what you guys offer.
      Yes the settings provided in the tute are merely everything @ max compression, which tries to emulate the “placebo” preset in x264 and should therefore provide better compression than YIFY since you guys seem to have left some compression settings at a lesser value in an attempt to maintain compatibility with some devices, but no comparison between these settings can really be made unless a 2-pass encoding of the same source of a film is performed @ the exact same bitrate as a YIFY encode of the same film.
      I would also note that you guys don’t always seem to be able to find the best source for every single film, and your encodes, while much better than youtube 1080p(which is total shit), still don’t deserve the V10 that most people give you guys. V:8 is what your encodes deserve at the most.
      I chose handbrake because it really is a beginner friendly program that’s both intuitive and offers a wide range of options along with explanations unlike most video converters, plus its much easier to use than having to encode and mux seperately via x264 CLI and other separate programs.
      And this is more of a general encoding tutorial, so a lot of stuff is gonna be more general purpose than specifically towards encoding in a YIFY-like manner.

    • well bary, in the FAQ of yify, it’s written that you use handbrake. Anyways, if THIS is not the way to get the best quality, what is ? It’s easy to say “hey, you suck, it’s not like that”… propose something else !:)

      • Actually, that’s not what the FAQ says. Here is the relevant portion of the FAQ:

        ==================================
        =
        = Question: How do you do it? Making movies so small,
        = yet such good quality?
        =
        = Answer: Magic hehe. But in all seriousness I use a
        = combination of software and settings that I have found
        = to work best. For beginner encoders I recommend
        = Handbrake and Format Factory, very powerful tools
        = that do a really good job.
        =
        ===================================

        Note that it recommends that beginner encoders should use Handbrake. It does not state that the YIFY team uses it. YIFY uses “…a combination of software and settings…”

  2. It looks like they are using external denoising (i.e. not the x.264 built-in). Maybe something like the MSU denoiser. Looking at the 720p version of Bourne Legacy, I can’t see any grain or noise in the images. In a few frames I see what could be ghosting from multi-frame smoothing too. Without any noise or grain, many of the 4×4 blocks reduce to a highly-compressible DC constant. Having tried various noise filtering techniques starting with VirtualDub filters, I’m impressed with the job the YIFY encoders have done on that front. As for the encoder, I agree with Yan and think it’s just x264.

  3. Turns out, all you really need is a hex editor. And a YIFY rip. From what that reveals, a few trickeries up your sleeves will take care of the rest. Yan, I’m interested to hear your take on these settings, as compared with the “placebo” with which you have some experience already.

    1080p YIFY movie (an animated one, which may have specific settings)

    x264 – core 129 r2245 bc13772 – H.264/MPEG-4 AVC codec – Copyleft 2003-2013 – http://www.videolan.org/x264.html

    options: cabac=1 ref=5 deblock=1:0:0 analyse=0×3:0×113 me=umh subme=8 psy=1 psy_rd=1.00:0.00 mixed_ref=1 me_range=16 chroma_me=1 trellis=1 8x8dct=1 cqm=0 deadzone=21,11 fast_pskip=1 chroma_qp_offset=-2 threads=12 lookahead_threads=2 sliced_threads=0 nr=0 decimate=1 interlaced=0 bluray_compat=0 constrained_intra=0 bframes=3 b_pyramid=2 b_adapt=2 b_bias=0 direct=3 weightb=1 open_gop=0 weightp=2 keyint=240 keyint_min=23 scenecut=40 intra_refresh=0 rc_lookahead=50 rc=2pass mbtree=1 bitrate=1890 ratetol=1.0 qcomp=0.60 qpmin=10 qpmax=51 qpstep=4 cplxblur=20.0 qblur=0.5 ip_ratio=1.40 aq=1:1.00

    720p version of the same animated movie:

    x264 – core 129 r2245 bc13772 – H.264/MPEG-4 AVC codec – Copyleft 2003-2013 – http://www.videolan.org/x264.html

    options: cabac=1 ref=8 deblock=1:0:0 analyse=0×3:0×133 me=umh subme=9 psy=1 psy_rd=1.00:0.00 mixed_ref=1 me_range=16 chroma_me=1 trellis=2 8x8dct=1 cqm=0 deadzone=21,11 fast_pskip=1 chroma_qp_offset=-2 threads=12 lookahead_threads=2 sliced_threads=0 nr=0 decimate=1 interlaced=0 bluray_compat=0 constrained_intra=0 bframes=6 b_pyramid=2 b_adapt=2 b_bias=0 direct=3 weightb=1 open_gop=0 weightp=2 keyint=240 keyint_min=23 scenecut=40 intra_refresh=0 rc_lookahead=60 rc=2pass mbtree=1 bitrate=805 ratetol=1.0 qcomp=0.60 qpmin=10 qpmax=51 qpstep=4 cplxblur=20.0 qblur=0.5 ip_ratio=1.40 aq=1:1.00

    • Heh, the posted version is much more clear to read than the input box. Wow. 12 threads. And two of them are lookahead threads. I’mma have to get back into the x264 documentation. It seems to have evolved significantly since I last had the opportunity to become lost deep within it.

      I want a 16 core cpu now.

    • Here’s what I get from a recent YIFY encode, info from mediainfo: cabac=1 / ref=5 / deblock=1:0:0 / analyse=0×3:0×133 / me=umh / subme=9 / psy=1 / psy_rd=1.00:0.00 / mixed_ref=1 / me_range=16 / chroma_me=1 / trellis=2 / 8x8dct=1 / cqm=0 / deadzone=21,11 / fast_pskip=1 / chroma_qp_offset=-2 / threads=12 / lookahead_threads=2 / sliced_threads=0 / nr=0 / decimate=1 / interlaced=0 / bluray_compat=0 / constrained_intra=0 / bframes=3 / b_pyramid=1 / b_adapt=2 / b_bias=2 / direct=3 / weightb=1 / open_gop=0 / weightp=2 / keyint=240 / keyint_min=23 / scenecut=40 / intra_refresh=0 / rc_lookahead=60 / rc=2pass / mbtree=1 / bitrate=1817 / ratetol=1.0 / qcomp=0.60 / qpmin=0 / qpmax=69 / qpstep=4 / cplxblur=20.0 / qblur=0.5 / ip_ratio=1.40 / aq=1:1.00

      and compared to readings from your hex editor, mediainfo doesn’t seem to be hiding anything. And therefor I would not recommend using a hexeditor if simpler tools such as mediainfo are available. At the time of writing the only hexeditor i had installed was frhed, and it requires loading the entire file into RAM, something some of us may not have the luxury of performing (especially when the only YIFY encode you have on hard drive is 2GB in size). (besides, I’m too lazy to download another 700mb file just for the sake of using a hex editor, it isn’t neccesary)

      I can’t decipher all of these results as I am unfortunately not a professional, but what I can tell is that they obviously have left many settings at a medium level. This is a fairly good decision they made, as it decreases encoding time as well as playback requirements so their fans may stop complaining about videos not working on their xbox or whatever people use as media players these days, and besides, even without full compression x264 is still a pretty decent codec as long as you use it in a CPU-based encode. I once encoded this 11.6GB 1080p copy of total recall 2012 into 1080p but with a RF value of 23 via the “normal” preset in handbrake, and the result was a relatively short encoding time as well as great quality, which you would expect from RF23, as well as a file size of less than 2.5GB for the 130 minute action film, which to me, was a rather pleasant surprise.

      as for the 12 threads thing I still say it doesn’t really have much of an impact on quality, and so even if you only have a quad core processor, you could still encode a YIFY encoding with the proper options settings and video filters.

      However I still recommend people use the settings I specified, or the placebo preset (slowest of all x264 built in presets), as devices do evolve, and sooner or later devices are gonna be so fast it would be pointless not to encode H264 in the placebo preset.

      • Yeah, mediainfo is a really great tool too. I only used a hex editor because I’m familiar with it, making it a quick and convenient way to find text strings in a binary file. I have only good things to say about this one: http://sourceforge.net/projects/wxhexeditor/

        One of the best things is that it does NOT pre-load the entire file into RAM, and it only uses as much memory as it takes for the current operation, which it frees as soon as it makes sense to. Also it’s built for WIn/Lin/Mac making it nice to have the same experience across platforms.

        I’m definitely going to look into the results of the placebo preset as well as what I found in this YIFY file. I am interested to see if I can fairly closely match one of their BR releases (filesize / quality) with an encode of a title I happen to have the disk for.

        By the way, THANKS SO MUCH for the tremendous documentation of your handbrake workflow. I’ve been using handbrake for quite a while, and your perspective sheds light on some aspects I had always glossed over. And you reinforced my building suspicion that quality is way more important than resolution which I find especially true with the availability of postprocessing playback filters. Of course there is a beautiful balance somewhere, intersecting lines of quality and resolution. I’m still honing in on it, and this blog post has led me tremendously closer. So thanks again!

        (Unrelated entirely: I agree on another of your entries: McAfee is a terrible scourge OEMs need to abandon like it’s leprosy. Personally I have become familiar with, if not fond of, Comodo and PeerBlock.)

        Take care.

  4. this is just fucking brilliant. thx!

    I eventually settled for one of the simple gay presets (slower) @ crf 24 and a 128kbps stereo quicktime-encoded aac stream. eh, good enough.

    • Why even recode the audio? I just stream it in without any processing, this provides the original quality sound. The only time I can think it would be better to recode the sound is for compatibility with a shitty device that can’t handle DVD (AAC, AAC+) audio playback.

      Also x264 may indeed be gay because it is
      ♬ ♪ ♫ ♬ FABULOUS ♬ ♪ ♫ ♬

      • eg. you re-encode audio when you wanna thin out 100 kbps but retain most of the quality. Remember this is a tutorial for producing YIFY-like results, and part of maintaining a low bitrate is via re-encoding audio.
        And BTW for audio, most DVDs use AC3 encoding, that’s why you recode it to AAC.

  5. Does anybody have actually test this? I’ve tried several days with different videos and after enconding a fifty minutes video for 14 hrs in a quad core microprocesor cpu set what I got is a fuzzy video that is not worth watching. I am not an expert and probably have done something wrong but I just started to encode to high quality video trying to stick to these instructions.

    Regards

    • 1) 14 hrs is good time. Be grateful you have a fast CPU :)
      2) Dislike the quality of RF30? Then reduce the RF value. The lower the RF value the higher the quality. Encoding is about experimenting, there is no single preset that solves everything.

      • hay just to be sure i have a 720 by 1280 mkv video file when i right click select propertise and go details its trying to tell me its total bitrate is 92kbps i dont belive it for shit but its 109mb at 24 minutes long didnt think it was possible

  6. Yan. The link to your profile preset isn’t working in any of my browsers. What other profile would you use? I have been using High Profile.
    Also, how about cutting the framerate down to 23.9? Almost everything I download is 23.9 I never notice any twitching.

    • when you set for so many r-frames and b-frames, by default you are using high profile. If you want to know more about how adjusting the encoding settings can affect the profile/level you can visit the h264 wikipedia page.
      As for the frame rate, unless your source framerate is above 30, using the original frame rate would be fine. But sure if you wanna reduce size by all means keep the framerate limited to 23.976
      Also, 1) I apologize for being greedy and using adfly and 2) direct links have been temporarily put up for your convenience.

      • Ok. I realize Standard or High Profile don’t matter because I’m going through and entering all your values anyway. So It took 16 hours to encode 33% of a 90 minute Blu-Ray. I opted to knock it down to 1280(720p). I played what I had in VLC, and it looked pretty bad. Nothing even close to a YiFy 720 file. When I do my encodes, I usually leave everything on Hi Profile default, 1280 Anamorphic loose, Auto crop, 23.9fps FAAC@128. That usually gives me around a 3gb file for a 90-120min movie with near equal quality to the original BR. Truth be told, I can’t tell the difference between 720 and 1080. I have Identical LG 50″ sets, one is full HD the other is 720. I don’t see any quality loss when I watch a blu-ray in my bedroom, as opposed to the full HD in the livingroom.

        • 1) A lot (not all) YIFY encodes are done bitrate based, meaning they don’t use RF values and therefore quality is not fixed, therefore sometimes their films look better while other times their films look pretty shitty
          2) YIFY doesn’t source their films from Blue Rays. Instead they rely on internet sources, and since a lot of internet people don’t know the important of keeping a constant quality they do bitrate based encodes, and the problem with a lot of bitrate based encodes is the quality is inconsistent, eg. looks better at still scenes and worse during action scenes
          3) Quality is always more important than resolution. A high quality DVD-res film is always better than youtube-quality 720p. 1080p is only useful for when detail is important (such as a software tutorial). Any sane media expert will tell you that quality>resolution, which is why DVD films look pretty good (not great, but pretty good) even when projected onto cinema sized screens.
          4) “16 hours to encode 33% of a 90 minute Blu-Ray” that’s good time. Be thankful you don’t have a slow computer like mine.
          5) If you wanna do things quickly but retain high quality, high profile preset + RF23 + 320kbps faac is the way to go

  7. My computer is nothing special. It’s a 4 year old with an I5 chip and 3GB ram. To encode in High Profile default settings usually tales about 8 hours per 90min.
    I’m still intrigued by the 700mb hi-def rip. And if you’re right about yifi re-encoding other peoples rips, and still getting high quality results. I’m even more curious. I used to use AutoGK for DVDs, I was able to duplicate AxxO’s 700mb rips at about 800-900mb. I could never figure out how to match his file size. I guess that’s the real trick though. Quality is easy, size is the problem.

    • if you just wanna match axxo’s file size, do a 2 pass bitrate based encode with whatever codec he uses. also like h264, xvid has its own “advanced settings” which you can tweak to increase the level of compression and quality. xvid has a built in bitrate calculator which can help you target the precise file size you want. but x264 kicks xvid/dixv’s ass in terms of quality and compression, encoding xvid is generally not recmmended in today’s day and age.

  8. I’m a bit confused…down here in the comments section I see that you ran mediainfo on one of YIFY’s encodes, so you obviously can see that he doesn’t use anything like the settings that are displayed in your picture for the settings under the advanced tab, so if the point is to emulate YIFY, then why are those settings so different from his? Or are you actually trying to out-do him, per se? That’s my first question. My second question has to do with the pictured advanced settings themselves. Your settings for reference frames, max b-frames, pyramidal b-frames, motion estimation method and motion estimation range are completely unrealistic, and very bad advice. You fail to even mention diminishing returns, and even if that weren’t a consideration, those settings are so high and so burden the CPU that anything less than a top of the line processor would be in danger of literally burning up due to overheating. The fact that you fail to warn people not to even try those settings unless they have a top of the line computer is reckless and irresponsible, not to mention the fact that some of them are just overkill, and you can get almost 99% of the quality/compression without setting some of those so high. For example, unless b-adapt=1, you should never set ref to 16. 5 or 6 is plenty, and there have even been reports of quality suffering when ref > 12. Having motion estimation method above umh is ill-advised as well due to greatly increasing encoding time with exceedingly diminishing returns and overtaxing the CPU. Same thing with motion estimation ranges above 32. Deblocking is typically never recommended above 3, and is primarily only useful when dealing with animation. I’m not sure where you got your information, because what youre suggesting for the advanced settings flies in the face of practically everything I’ve learned. You have to consider the enormous strain that encoding puts on CPUs and the drastic diminishing returns effect that happens once you pass certain levels of settings and it doesn’t sound like you’ve considered either of these. In fact, it just looks like your approach was “turn everything up to max because that has to be the best, right?” Actually no, it doesn’t work that way. Were you unaware of these facts, or was every other source that I’ve read on advanced settings wrong?

    • Also, “strict” for b-pyramid is only for blu-ray. If your source isn’t blu-ray, “normal” is actually better. And to just follow up a bit on my previous comments, here is an example. Regarding me settings, esa and tesa are “considerably slower than UMH, with not too much benefit, so is not particularly useful” and this is copied directly from the x264 developers wiki.

      • oh- but I believe for any pirate, ripping from any source other than the original blueray would be pretty fuggin irresponsible, don’tcha think?

        but wait- YIFY does precisely that. But I’m sure anyone reading this probably just wants to rip films off their newly purchased blueray for storage on their ipad legally for personal use. Therefore “strict” for b-pyramid is totally applicable.

        “considerably slower than UMH, with not too much benefit, so is not particularly useful”

        but there still is benefit (at least in some cases), so fuck you.

      • I’m not talking about morality or legality, I’m talking about you recommending settings that can potentially DAMAGE someone’s computer. Your reading comprehension sucks. And then to come back with “fuck you” when I’m making a completely valid point about overheating CPUs? Wow. You’re an asshole of galactic proportions, dude. Did I curse at you? I wasn’t even being deliberately disrespectful. I said that recommending those settings was irresponsible because you could potentially RUIN someones computer by not warning them that only very high end computers should even try those settings – I didn’t say it just to be a dick, like you just were. Wow.

        • I’m not talking about morality or legality either.

          But I’m sure anyone reading this probably just wants to rip films off their newly purchased blueray for storage on their ipad legally for personal use. Therefore “strict” for b-pyramid is totally applicable.

          Your reading comprehension sucks.

          when I’m making a completely valid point about overheating CPUs? potentially DAMAGE someone’s computer. Here’s a source that mentions the overheating problems I referenced: http://veetle.com/index.php/article/view/x264
          hmmm… looks like that article was specifically talking about REAL TIME encoding… so derp on your side, because Handbrake definitely does not force you to real time encode. That being said, people with average computers can do definitely encode on the aforementioned settings. I do my encodes on a i5-3317, and I’d say that’s a fairly below-average processor. Hell, even a pentium 166 could do an encoding using the aforementioned settings, although it would be years before the first frame is completed encoding. So no, heat is not an issue.

          “Good point about the cooling issues – I probably should have mentioned that… at least went ahead and warned people about the cooling issues” - just no. if guides on cpu-intensive applications like handbrake need fucking warnings on cooling issues, then guides on Metro 2033 should also have heat warnings for the load it puts on both GPU and CPU, but they don’t. why? Because processors by default aren’t designed to overheat on full load, therefore your concern, however touching, is invalid.

          “deblocking 0:0 unless its animation. Deblocking is typically never recommended above 3, and is primarily only useful when dealing with animation.” no, high R-frame values are good for animation. Deblocking is good for lowering file sizes on EVERYTHING- animation, non-animation, and low res films especially. Sure you could go for values like -3:-3 for a higher quality look, but here we’re not so much as concerned about quality as about file size.

          “self righteous spazzle fiddly-doo”
          Everyone is self righteous. Its how human beings work. If you weren’t so self righteous about your ridiculous heating concerns, you wouldn’t be posting in the comments about it. But contrary to popular belief, self-righteous is not synonymous with “wrong”.
          And no hard feelings about the me-being-a-dick part, its just that I have to maintain some sort of authority on my post, so that any potential readers won’t go all hysterical over some non-existent heat problem and resort to lesser compression levels thinking it might do something to help with the heat that your CPU generates ANYWAY, since some ppl are completely oblivious to the fact that a CPU’s temp for when running 100% for 2 hours is identical to a CPU’s temp for when running at 100% for 10 hours, reducing the encoding time makes little difference for any decent lengthed film.

          I wasn’t even being deliberately disrespectful.
          Well I guess if attempting to undermine my article on its own page isn’t deliberately disrespectful… Well fuck you anyways.

          How old are you? 16?
          I guess so… lemme just fire up my 3 story calculator and figure it out. My point being, if computers of the 50′s were built to the x86 instruction set, then they could also encode using the settings i provided, and even those would not overheat.

          beeteadubbleU, know any hot high school chicks I can hook up with? incl. pics, cuz dere are no hot girls at my skl i can fab to… dey dun like meee anyway cuz im unpoppuler. i vunder yhhhyy.

    • 1) y ur setting no like yify?

      “so if the point is to emulate YIFY, then why are those settings so different from his”

      Because while the guide is partly aimed towards YIFY-like results, it also serves as a more -if you will- general purpose encoding guide. So no the point is not to emulate YIFY, and the settings provided will under some circumstances out-do YIFY, since YIFY uses bitrate based encodings, and the problem with bitrate based encodings is the inconsistent quality.
      Solution: get to a more professional level, learn the details of each and every setting and what they do, and stop reading third-rate articles like this one.

      2) settings profiddleded is 2 much 4 my cooch

      “turn everything up to max because that has to be the best, right?”

      What are the right settings, then? Obviously, the optimal settings for each film is different. Sure, you could spend tons of time and resources finding the preset that is on average the best for everything, or you could just drag the slider down to the extreme bar and hope for the best. Which is what I’ve done, and albeit time consuming, it works.
      Solution: For a fast encode, the High level preset with RF23 works just fine for most 1080p films, produces a ~2.5GB film for 2 hours of 1080p
      Also, if all I wanted for was to share my preset, I could do it in a fucking twitter post. the point of this article is not just the preset, but also the paragraphs before and after it. Obviously if I wanted to get in detail about each x264 option and what it does, that’d be an entirely different article.

      or was every other source that I’ve read on advanced settings wrong?

      There you have it, not my job.

      3) my CPU explodes when using ur settings

      ” anything less than a top of the line processor would be in danger of literally burning up due to overheating”

      Everyone reading this, I assure you that your CPU will NOT burn up due to overheating, as long as you have reasonable cooling. Contrary to what “Jonathan Meadows” believes, Handbrake/x264 does NOT and WILL NOT overclock your CPU to the point it overheats. If your CPU heats up too much while under full load, then blame your fucking computer manufacturer for not putting heat into your computer’s design considerations. You don’t need to have a “top of the line” computer to use these settings, just beware, as I have warned you already, that not having a reasonably fast processor means a FUCKING LONG TIME spent on encoding, and nothing more.
      Solution: Make sure your computer has adequate cooling. Under-clock your CPU if unnecessary.

      4) A little more explanation of CPU load in relation to heating
      -If you try to do any encoding, or basically any work that requires the CPU to be running at full load for a long time, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure the CPU has adequate cooling.
      -Some computers eg. tablets were not designed for running a CPU intensive program for long periods of time. Other processors have known heat issues (eg. Pentium 4′s). You’re also more likely to have heat issues if you overclock your CPU.
      -Make sure your CPU gets enough ventilation. You can do this by making sure not to cover up the ventilation ports of your computer.
      -If even then your CPU overheats, complain to the manufacturer. Its their fault for not warning you that their product wasn’t suitable for

      5) i so fucking pro, i know 99%/1% a=bc*32-8ms-2
      Then WRITE YOUR OWN FUCKING GUIDE. And in case you didn’t know, handbrake has this cute little feature where you could hover your mouse over a setting and it’ll tell you what it does, which readers could then use to refine/ fine tune based on their film, therefore if anybody wanted to optimize their presets, they cooooooooood.
      Sacrificing a lot of time just for a small compression gain is bad. But if you’re producing for a large enough audience, the bandwidth and storage space saved will eventually be worth it. Sure that might not be the case for your home-brew bestiality videos, but for torrents with tens of thousands of downloads daily the time spent on encoding just might be worth it.

      • I’m glad you didn’t hold back there, so everyone can see what self-righteous fucking dick you are, dude. I like how you reword what people say into idiot-talk to make people seem less intelligent than you are. How old are you? 16?

        First of all, I never said those settings were too much for MY computer. Unlike you, I was concerned for people with average computers.

        I also like how, while berating me for pointing out things you should have mentioned, you at least went ahead and warned people about the cooling issues. A decent person without an ego problem would have just said, “Good point about the cooling issues – I probably should have mentioned that” but apparently that’s asking too much from you. Here’s a source that mentions the overheating problems I referenced: http://veetle.com/index.php/article/view/x264

        “What are the right settings, then?”

        Glad you asked. The changes I would recommend which addresses the diminishing returns and CPU strain while still giving you about 95-98% of the quality are the following: Reference frames no higher than 9 (six is actually plenty,) Max B-frames 5 (6 at the most), Pyramidal B-frames Normal unless encoding a blu-ray, Motion Estimation Method umh, motion estimation range 24 (32 at the most) and deblocking 0:0 unless its animation.

        I really appreciate you taking the time to write the guide, but try not being such a complete prick when someone offers you a few suggestions to improve it.

  9. Q: 1280×544 isn’t 720p, 1920×800 isn’t 1080p, you dick

    A: your 1080p monitor is incapable of displaying every single pixel of a 2592×1080 image at the same time without resizing it, so why do you consider it a 1080p monitor? 1080p, 720p etc isn’t about vertical resolution, its about horizontal resolution.

    Technically 1920×800 is not 1080p. 1080p is a standard that considers picture resolution to be 1920 pixels horizontally multiplied by 1080 vertical lines. 1920×800 is however used by most rippers since movies nowadays are shot with lenses that force producers to add black bars at the top and the bottom in order to meet strict resolution requirements of 1080p standard. The actual picture ratio however is not 16:9, therefore you can as well crop those bars out, reducing resolution and saving data on video stream. Given this explanation, your answer to that question seem to be missing the point of 720p and 1080p standard.

    I’m not sure what you are trying to prove with that example of 1080p display being unable to print 2592×1080 picture. (see explanation above)

    • I guess I reached that conclusion by observation of how Youtube works.
      1) if you upload a 1920×800 video to youtube, youtube resizes it to somethingx720 and then it becomes categorized as a 720p video (which is why all videos in that aspect ratio has black bars)
      2) However, if your video is in 2592×1080, youtube will not resize it due to the vertical resolution, and it will count as a 1080p video.
      3) Obviously in the case of 720p, 1080p and 2160p, the numbers stand for the vertical resolution, so its quite obvious why some people would think 1920×800 is not 1080p. But as some dude puts it nicely, 1080p means 1920×1080 including black bars, and obviously you will not include purposefully black bars in your encodes unless you’re an idiot or a dick, so 1920×800 is in fact 1080p.
      So unless youtube is lying, in which case DAMN YOU YOUTUBE!
      I hope that answers your question.

  10. Why are u mentioning only yify when they are many other great small sized rippers and uploaders like for instance scOrp,he is the first to start doing small sized rips and the pioneer in ripping,yify used to upload his rips before uploading his own rips now…and what about rippers like stylishsalh,anoxmous,kickass and thousand others who are far better than yify…maybe its because you guys dont know anyone else other than yify and watch his crappy rips….try the other guys rips and you’ll know what is quality???didnt wanna be harsh but yify is too overrated…he/group doesnt deserve it…..

    • Honestly, anyone that does bitrate based encodes doesn’t really deserve to be mentioned anywhere. Just that YIFY has a bigger fanbase that’s all, cuz if this article was titled “how to encode like scOrp” nobody wood reed it.

  11. and its common knowledge that rippers including yify use MeGUI and not handbrake as handbrake is used by first timers who wanna learn bout re encoding….

    • Who is gonna read this article, if not first timers? If you honestly think a full-on pro would put the words “yify handbrake settings” in the same Google search term, then you sir might as well go back to doing whatever you were doing before. Besides, MeGUI and Handbrake are both GUIs for x264, therefore if configured properly they could both be able to produce the exact same output. Just because something has a reputation for being an amateur’s tool doesn’t mean it is. So sorry to sound a little harsh there buddy, but Handbrake is a viable tool for producing valid quality h264 encodes.

      “for instance scOrp,he is the first to start doing small sized rips and the pioneer in ripping,yify used to upload his rips before uploading his own rips now…and what about rippers like stylishsalh,anoxmous,kickass”

      If by pioneer you mean using the available tool of x264 to achieve high compression encodes, then sure. However codecs were designed with high quality low file size in mind, so it was just a matter of time before someone began exploiting them for “small sized rips”.

      • Damn people can be hostile. It’s not like the author of this article is
        forcing anybody to read it much less follow his advice. All I want to say is
        a simple thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and experience regarding x264 encoding.

        • Meh- nobody’s perfect. Besides, the hostility is the problem of the core concept of the internet itself- too much free information that people get all pissy over every minor detail :P guess it’s all for the greater good

    • you don’t. x264vfw is only available to application that allow the use of vfw codecs, which handbrake does not support. Just put the following line into the options box: ref=16:bframes=16:b-adapt=2:direct=auto:me=tesa:merange=24:subq=11:rc-lookahead=60:analyse=all:trellis=2:no-fast-pskip=1

      it’s sorta the same thing

  12. thank you!
    with these instructions I was finally able to encode a 600mb+ 720p 22min file into a 220mb file. There’s barely ANY quality loss, the only way you would be able to distinguish if you were to press your face up to the screen lol.

      • Oh yeah, btw. That file didn’t play on my tv, saying the video codec wasn’t supported. So I googled around a bit and put the bit rate to constant, turned off pyramidal b-frames, limited reference frames to 5 and b-frames to 3. Guess what? it worked and the quality is still pretty much the same and the file size is now 197mb lol
        and a tip for everyone: before spending a day encoding one file, set it to encode like only 10 seconds in order to test it out, see the quality, etc.

        • just like to remind everyone that constant bitrate is pretty much a bad idea, the only proper use that could ever justify CBR is streaming. unless you’re talking about a bitrate based encoding, which as I mentioned is a bad idea as well since you’ll get varying quality with different films.

  13. A truly interesting article. I knew that compression is a complex matter, but I realize it’s more complicated than that. No wonder why there’s just a few video converters that are good among millions… Most of them shareware!
    Anyway, I download YIFY’s torrents sometimes, but I think and always say that the quality isn’t that good. Picture has artifacts, and audio is bad many times (it’s just 96 kb/s…). So YIFY is good to watch and delete. I like it just because is superfast to download and not much free disk space is required, but it definitely isn’t the best quality. Not at all. But people seem to confuse terms and don’t understand that.
    Anyway, thank you very much for this article. I learnt some useful things.
    By the way, I think H.264 is a codec while x264 is an encoder for H.264. Am I right?
    Best regards.

    • “H.264 is a codec while x264 is an encoder for H.264″
      yes.
      “Picture has artifacts, and audio is bad many times (it’s just 96 kb/s…). So YIFY is good to watch and delete.”
      In some way, I’ve always thought that YIFY was like youtube streaming but with lower bitrates and better picture quality- theoretically a well seeded yify encode would take much shorter time to download than a 1080p youtube upload of the same length (even though youtube has those speedy speedy servers)
      As for the audio, judging from mediainfo results YIFY most likely encodes their audio via nero aac, which is a really good audio encoder on par with iTunes encoding in terms of file size and quality. While it isn’t perfect, they still manage to retain audio pretty good.
      And yes people do give yify V10A8s because they’re just fanboys. Objectively YIFY deserves no more than a V7 iin most of their uploads, but people appreciate the small file sizes enough to not care about the artifacts so much. Besides, even with the artifacts YIFY is 99% of the time still better than youtube, and honestly people don’t really have a problem with youtube’s video quality, despite it being total shit.
      As for those “video converters”,, I believe I have warned people enough about those software.
      Thanks for reading btw.

  14. You are an arrogant asshole. I don’t have any questions, I just read your article and comments and just thought you should know that. Good day.

    Oh yeah and thanks for the tutorial.

  15. Can you please help me?

    I tried the UltraYify preset, but my speed is only 0.01 fps for some time, and then it goes sown to 0. I’ve tried using the code instead of the preset, shutting other applications, and restarting the computer, but the same problem occurs. Can you help me find a solution?

    Thanks.

    • try using the code again. make sure the line is “ref=16:bframes=16:b-adapt=2:direct=auto:me=tesa:merange=24:subq=11:rc-lookahead=60:analyse=all:trellis=2:no-fast-pskip=1″. if it still does not work, then probably time to get a faster computer.

    • Should work with older and low memory computers with decent results, if still no-go you can drop the lookahead to about 12, if it still needs lower drop the refs to 3.

      ref=4:b-adapt=1:merange=16:me=2:lookahead=24:trellis=0:no-dct-decimate=1

  16. I don’t know why you say that MP4 container doesn’t support text subtitles. Maybe I’m not understanding something properly, but I use the “Import SRT” button all the time to add “soft” subtitles.

    • any software that removes copy protection, eg. winx dvd ripper which does its job.
      As for the method- first you use the software to remove copy protection ONLY (ie do not re-encode), then you use handbrake to encode your DVD to a suitable file size and quality of your preference.

  17. Thanks for this tutorial. I have a fairly old dual core laptop, and am trying to produce a smaller file size for a two-hour, 720 x 576 sized video which currently comes in at 1.5GB. Encoding with the above presets is running at less than a quarter of a frame per second, so I guess it’s going way too slowly.

    My question is, which settings in which order would you recommend “de-tuning” to speed things up? I don’t mind if the encode takes a day or two..

    • if your video isnt animation, then you could reduce the b-frames and reference frames. Use this line if you’re not looking for maximum compression:
      ref=5:b-adapt=2:direct=auto:me=umh:subq=8:rc-lookahead=50
      this line is the handbrake equivalent of the x264 “slow” preset.

  18. this maybe old news, but H.265 halves the size requirement of H.264 yet it maintains the same quality. I hope i could watch a 90-minute 1080p with a size of 500MB soon!

  19. Hi there,

    Thank you for the information
    Just wondering, is it suppose to be really really slow or is there any problem with my laptop?
    I’m trying to encode a 110mb mkv file to a smaller size using your preset options but it is super slow. Time Remaining is more than one day and the fps is only 000.4.
    The process only takes 16% CPU usage and I can say that my laptop is really strong since its a gaming laptop
    Am I the only one having this issue?

    Kind Regards,

    Andranos

  20. Oh, I also wanna ask this one thing
    I tried to encode an anime in MKV file which already has a built-in subtitle in it
    Just wondering, how to include that subtitle since it didn’t came up in the Subtitles tab

    Cheers

  21. Hi Yan D,

    I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to write this article. You just made my day. +1 internet for you sir!

    Cheers

  22. What modulus should I pick? 16? The default with the downloaded preset is 2 and it gives me a weird resolution.
    Also when I select single threaded or single CPU, in the task manager it keeps jumping from CPU 1 through CPU 8, shouldn’t it stay in CPU 1 only? If it jumps from one cpu to another then it’s useless to use the threads=1 option because the encode its being split into chunks between all the CPUs available, you would need a real single core without hyper threading CPU to be able to use the threads=1 option.

    • Jumping from cpu to cpu is a function of the OS to even wear/heat distribution and it automatically does this with single thread apps unless you set processor affinity, it’s still functioning as a single threaded app.

  23. Thanks for the info. I already knew most of the basics (but you covered them well) and some of the pointers are really useful! And your FAQ made me laugh.

    For those asking about weird resolutions – I’m a little bit OCD at times about numbers being nice and round. I will try taking numbers to the nearest 10 or some multiple of 8 in all sorts of applications. Video IS different. 1080p is supposed to be the equivalent of 1920×1080 on your computer, but it’s just not sometimes. Black Bars taken out from the top & bottom reduce the vertical res. You don’t need to scale up to some massive width, just so the height is 1080p and you can call it “real high-def” – just as sometimes 1284 or some other weird width IS the equivalent of 720p, even if it’s not exactly 1280 wide. Don’t believe me? Go and get the 1959 classic “Ben Hur” in it’s original 2.93:1 ratio and see how big the black bars are on your “widescreen” TV. Note that this was recorded using “anamorphic” lenses – meaning the image is always “stretched” when being viewed. As long as you’re not trying to actually stretch your source image, Handbrake and other software does a great job of picking the right resoution and display size of your encode.

    FYI: I wasn’t searching for YIFY encoding settings, but just for recommendations on H.264 encoding settings – so the page is obviously getting popular in the Google search results! Also, ALL of the image links are broken for me (the ericolon.files. sub-domain seems to return “server not found” errors).

  24. I guess you don’t do much mHD encoding because the settings you are suggesting are ridiculous and incorrect.

    Here are my profile;

    *link hidden*

    • Default

      –level 4.1 –pass 1 –bitrate 450 –deblock -1:-1 –b-adapt 2 –ref 4 –merange 20 –me umh –direct auto –trellis 2 –no-fast-pskip –no-psy

      –level 4.1 –pass 2 –bitrate 450 –deblock -1:-1 –b-adapt 2 –ref 4 –merange 20 –me umh –direct auto –trellis 2 –no-fast-pskip –no-psy

      Default v2

      –level 4.1 –pass 1 –bitrate 450 –deblock -1:-1 –bframes 4 –b-adapt 2 –ref 4 –rc-lookahead 30 –merange 20 –me umh –direct auto –trellis 2 –no-fast-pskip –no-psy

      –level 4.1 –pass 2 –bitrate 450 –deblock -1:-1 –bframes 4 –b-adapt 2 –ref 4 –rc-lookahead 30 –merange 20 –me umh –direct auto –trellis 2 –no-fast-pskip –no-psy

      Fast

      –crf 24.0 –deblock -1:-1 –b-adapt 2 –rc-lookahead 30 –no-psy

      HQ v2

      –preset slow –crf 18.0 –deblock -1:-1 –bframes 4 –ref 8 –merange 24 –subme 9

      Insane

      –preset slow –crf 14.0 –deblock -3:-3 –bframes 6 –ref 12 –rc-lookahead 80 –aq-strength 0.7 –merange 48 –subme 10 –trellis 2 –no-dct-decimate –no-fast-pskip –deadzone-inter=10 –deadzone-intra=5

      mHD v2

      –level 3.1 –preset slow –pass 1 –bitrate 850 –deblock -1:-1 –bframes 4 –vbv-bufsize 17500 –vbv-maxrate 17500 –merange 20 –subme 7 –trellis 2 –no-fast-pskip –no-psy

      –level 3.1 –preset slow –pass 2 –bitrate 850 –deblock -1:-1 –bframes 4 –vbv-bufsize 17500 –vbv-maxrate 17500 –merange 20 –subme 7 –trellis 2 –no-fast-pskip –no-psy

      mHD v3

      –level 3.1 –crf 26.5 –deblock -1:-1 –b-adapt 2 –ref 5 –vbv-bufsize 17500 –vbv-maxrate 17500 –merange 20 –me umh –direct auto –subme 9 –no-fast-pskip

    • I reviewed your preset, and first I see that you’ve turned deblock down to negative. Now in a high quality high def encode, that would be preferable, but keep in mind most of us are okay with a bit of quality loss when strangling down the video’s file size.
      The rf of 26.5 in mHDv3 is decent, but 27 is a pretty good value too. Again it’s up to the user to decide, and I suggest you play around and use the preview function if you have the time and processing power.
      Now the settings I’m currently suggesting in the article are merely the default x264 presets translated into handbrake command line values, and while I’m sure your custom presets may have an advantage over the default presets in certain instances, the default x264 presets are far from being ridiculous and incorrect. Here are what I presume to be the best of Merci’s presets, and if you want to see and compare for yourself the preset I’m recommending vs Merci’s presets, then go ahead, and feel free to share your results.

      mHD v3
      -f mp4 –strict-anamorphic -e x264 -q 26.5 –cfr -a 1 -E faac -B 192 -6 dpl2 -R Auto -D 0 –gain=0 –audio-copy-mask none –audio-fallback ffac3 -x level=31:deblock=-1,-1:b-adapt=2:ref=5:vbv-bufsize=17500:vbv-maxrate=17500:merange=20:me=umh:direct=auto:subq=9:no-fast-pskip=1 –verbose=1

      Insane
      -f mp4 –strict-anamorphic -e x264 -q 14 –cfr -a 1 -E faac -B 192 -6 dpl2 -R Auto -D 0 –gain=0 –audio-copy-mask none –audio-fallback ffac3 -x deblock=-3,-3:b-adapt=2:bframes=6:ref=12:merange=48:subq=10:rc-lookahead=80:me=umh:direct=auto:deadzone-inter=10:deadzone-intra=5:trellis=2:aq-strength=0.7:no-fast-pskip=1:no-dct-decimate=1 –verbose=1

  25. Okay, so I have converted several dvds to itunes files and they’ve worked fine, but for some reason when I try to do this one movie it says it will be 2hrs and 37mins long, but only creates a 2hr long file. How do I fix this?

  26. Well first your headline is all wrong…YIFI and High Quality should NOT be used in the same sentence…When this YUPI group encodes audio at 90kbps or LESS I doubt they even watch these movies which make me think they are russian encoders that just use subtitles an could give 2 shits about audio…OR these rips are meant to pollute the web by the MAFIAA…I think i seen a yifi rip with 60 kpbs audio one time and it sounded like people were talking in a wind tunnel.

    YIFI rips are pure garbage and anyone trying to emulate them is just giving the world MORE garbage…All the encodings also seem to be using different programs as some videos will work with ps3 and some wont…and some wont even recognize the mp4 files.

    If you want to know what the hell I am talking about just dl Avengers 3d by YIFI.

    • lol.

      for most people, 90kbps HE-AAC audio would be extremely sufficient for film audio, especially seeing as YIFY probably uses winamp or nero aac for encoding, you probably just opened up the file with mediainfo and thought “WAAA 90Kbps must be SHIT” without taking into account that bitrate isn’t everything. If you’re using the kinda high end equipment that differentiates between HE-AAC and normal blueray audio, then you probably should just go shell out a few bucks or download those pretty nice 12gb releases.

      And whether a file is compatible or not with your ps3 is no basis for judging whether an encode is good or not. The ps3 is a relatively old device, and encoders are not obliged to make everything work with old shit.

      That being said, like I mentioned, YIFY ain’t perfect. Like they say, if you don’t like the quality then don’t download it. Saves time bandwidth and the legal trouble.

  27. Hi and thank you for your tutorial. What do you think of RipBot264 software?
    What do you think of this encoding … (RipBot264)

    File size : 4.37 GiB
    Duration : 1h 49mn
    Overall bit rate mode : Variable
    Overall bit rate : 5 740 Kbps

    Video
    ID : 1
    Format : AVC
    Format/Info : Advanced Video Codec
    Format profile : High@L4.0
    Format settings, CABAC : Yes
    Format settings, ReFrames : 3 frames
    Codec ID : avc1
    Codec ID/Info : Advanced Video Coding
    Duration : 1h 49mn
    Bit rate mode : Variable
    Bit rate : 5 609 Kbps
    Maximum bit rate : 25.0 Mbps
    Width : 1 280 pixels
    Height : 720 pixels
    Display aspect ratio : 16:9
    Frame rate mode : Constant
    Frame rate : 23.976 fps
    Color space : YUV
    Chroma subsampling : 4:2:0
    Bit depth : 8 bits
    Scan type : Progressive
    Bits/(Pixel*Frame) : 0.254
    Stream size : 4.27 GiB (98%)
    Title : 300
    Writing library : x264 core 129 r2245 bc13772
    Encoding settings : cabac=1 / ref=3 / deblock=1:0:0 / analyse=0×3:0×113 / me=hex / subme=7 / psy=1 / psy_rd=1.00:0.00 / mixed_ref=1 / me_range=16 / chroma_me=1 / trellis=1 / 8x8dct=1 / cqm=0 / deadzone=21,11 / fast_pskip=1 / chroma_qp_offset=-2 / threads=6 / lookahead_threads=1 / sliced_threads=0 / nr=0 / decimate=1 / interlaced=0 / bluray_compat=0 / constrained_intra=0 / bframes=3 / b_pyramid=0 / b_adapt=1 / b_bias=0 / direct=1 / weightb=1 / open_gop=0 / weightp=2 / keyint=240 / keyint_min=24 / scenecut=40 / intra_refresh=0 / rc_lookahead=40 / rc=2pass / mbtree=1 / bitrate=5609 / ratetol=1.0 / qcomp=0.60 / qpmin=0 / qpmax=69 / qpstep=4 / cplxblur=20.0 / qblur=0.5 / vbv_maxrate=25000 / vbv_bufsize=25000 / nal_hrd=vbr / ip_ratio=1.40 / aq=1:1.00

    Audio
    ID : 2
    Format : AAC
    Format/Info : Advanced Audio Codec
    Format profile : LC
    Codec ID : 40
    Duration : 1h 49mn
    Bit rate mode : Variable
    Bit rate : 128 Kbps
    Maximum bit rate : 134 Kbps
    Channel(s) : 2 channels
    Channel positions : Front: L R
    Sampling rate : 48.0 KHz
    Compression mode : Lossy
    Stream size : 99.8 MiB (2%)
    Language : French

    • or

      ile size : 6.99 GiB
      Duration : 2h 35mn
      Overall bit rate mode : Variable
      Overall bit rate : 6 454 Kbps

      Video
      ID : 1
      Format : AVC
      Format/Info : Advanced Video Codec
      Format profile : High@L4.0
      Format settings, CABAC : Yes
      Format settings, ReFrames : 3 frames
      Codec ID : avc1
      Codec ID/Info : Advanced Video Coding
      Duration : 2h 35mn
      Bit rate mode : Variable
      Bit rate : 6 323 Kbps
      Maximum bit rate : 25.0 Mbps
      Width : 1 280 pixels
      Height : 720 pixels
      Display aspect ratio : 16:9
      Frame rate mode : Constant
      Frame rate : 23.976 fps
      Color space : YUV
      Chroma subsampling : 4:2:0
      Bit depth : 8 bits
      Scan type : Progressive
      Bits/(Pixel*Frame) : 0.286
      Stream size : 6.85 GiB (98%)
      Title : Avatar
      Writing library : x264 core 129 r2245 bc13772
      Encoding settings : cabac=1 / ref=3 / deblock=1:-1:-1 / analyse=0×3:0×113 / me=hex / subme=7 / psy=1 / psy_rd=1.00:0.15 / mixed_ref=1 / me_range=16 / chroma_me=1 / trellis=1 / 8x8dct=1 / cqm=0 / deadzone=21,11 / fast_pskip=1 / chroma_qp_offset=-3 / threads=6 / lookahead_threads=1 / sliced_threads=0 / nr=0 / decimate=1 / interlaced=0 / bluray_compat=0 / constrained_intra=0 / bframes=3 / b_pyramid=0 / b_adapt=1 / b_bias=0 / direct=1 / weightb=1 / open_gop=0 / weightp=2 / keyint=240 / keyint_min=24 / scenecut=40 / intra_refresh=0 / rc_lookahead=40 / rc=2pass / mbtree=1 / bitrate=6323 / ratetol=1.0 / qcomp=0.60 / qpmin=0 / qpmax=69 / qpstep=4 / cplxblur=20.0 / qblur=0.5 / vbv_maxrate=25000 / vbv_bufsize=25000 / nal_hrd=vbr / ip_ratio=1.40 / aq=1:1.00
      Encoded date : UTC 2013-05-03 12:16:30
      Tagged date : UTC 2013-05-03 12:21:14

      Audio
      ID : 2
      Format : AAC
      Format/Info : Advanced Audio Codec
      Format profile : LC
      Codec ID : 40
      Duration : 2h 35mn
      Bit rate mode : Variable
      Bit rate : 128 Kbps
      Maximum bit rate : 135 Kbps
      Channel(s) : 2 channels
      Channel positions : Front: L R
      Sampling rate : 48.0 KHz
      Compression mode : Lossy
      Stream size : 142 MiB (2%)

      (Encoding with tune : film activate)

    • You are entitled to your opinion, but it should be obvious that you’re in the minority. While YIFY encodes aren’t studio quality, they’re better than most out there. I’ve tried other prominent rippers (such as axxo and MAXSPEED), and while they’re always at least adequate, the quality is noticeably better in YIFY’s.

  28. Hi there :)

    Thanks for the guide. I’m trying to emulate the same settings in MeGUI as I’m more familiar/ like using MeGUI, but I can’t seem to achieve the same level of quality as opposed to your settings on Handbrake.

    My question then is whether you could advise me on settings for MeGUI to achieve the same results (I tried setting it to the same command line values, but the video still turned out far more inferior to that of when I used handbrake).

    Btw, I also realise that YIFY level encoding isn’t perfect, neither is it high quality in that sense, but for 720p @ 650mb at times with REALLY good quality for size, who can really complain. The aim is really to get a nice balance between file size and quality, and I feel that this achieves it.

    Anyway, any sort of help on this would be nice :D

    Thanks in advanced!

    • the settings are custom tailored to handbrake in that certain settings are ommitted because they are handbrake’s default.
      But as I point out, the settings are simply the x264 built in placebo settings. while I personally don’t know how it translates to megui in terms of command line, it should be pretty easy to find out once you look at the mediainfo of a placebo encoded file.

  29. LAZY question:

    I would like the best compression AND highest compatibility. I’m a hypnotist and I sell a recording of the night’s show to anyone who’s interested of the participants or volunteers.

    I need to 1. edit the video (2-3 hrs processing with cyberlink powerdirector) (2. apparently then I will have to compress it) 3. Upload it to a file share server where I send out the links so the buyers can download it.

    Is there a good video editor that would let me do a good compression straight after the editing? Does it have to be a 2 step process?

    If it does, what would be the most balanced compression settings?

    I need
    1. Maximum compatibility to noone comes back to say “I can’t watch your stupid video on my NewiPad3/windows95/AndroidTwinkie after having paid 10 bucks for it”
    2. Smallest size with a 720 quality (obviously, why the hell else would I be here) so the uploading goes fast, I don’t have to pay so much for server storage and they can download it in a reasonable time
    3. The process to finish overnight preferably (better use the hotel’s electricity than mine, right?)

    Any suggestions for the original recording settings on the camera? Resolution/FR?

    THANK YOU
    O

    • I would suggest you export the video using the highest quality +fastest settings.

      the new hb0.9.9 release supports x264 presets, so here’s what you do:

      (in the video tab)
      -keep your RF to a value of 26
      -if the lighting is bad, tune for grain. otherwise tune for film
      -keep your profile @ baseline, h264 level @ auto
      -check the fast decode box
      -preset value of slow, the process should be completed overnight.

      (audio tab)
      for audio if you export in mp3 then mp3 passthru, in aac then aac passthru, really no point in reencoding audio unless you want to lose more quality. If you have to reencode audio, chose 128kbps aac and auto samplerate

      this should keep your video compatible with 99% of today’s devices while having a decent file size and respectable quality.

      for older device, do the same thing except with very slow preset, resloution of 480x???, RF of 23

      • Thank you SO much for the fast reply, I shall do as you recommended!
        I take it from your replly that NO there is no way to do this in one step, that the video editing software inmediately outputs a compressed file. Right? Probably editing software companies don’t want to freak out their average user with a 14 hour production time of an hour and a half’s video…

  30. Sure, wanna have a laugh? Drop me an email and I’ll ssend you a copy of an older show. Or wait for this one, I just got a new low-light HD camera. These should be much better quality.

  31. Hey, first off theres a reason that preset is called “Placebo” stick with veryslow and it’ll look the same but be less slow.

    Second your comments about quality comparison (CUDA verse x264 for example) is great…

    But then you got suggest faac or ffmpeg for aac neither of which are very good AAC encoders, not sure if its possible to get qaac (itunes encoder standalone) to work with handbrake, but from what I’ve heard LAME-mp3 is better than faac, and I wouldn’t touch ffmpeg (its said to be experimental by the devs themselves)

    • I LIKE PLACEBO! IT’S EXTREEEEEEME!!!! (swidt? Harold and Kumar reference)

      tbh I only included ffmpeg because I had no idea what encoder it was. as for faac, it really isn’t that bad, and at higher bitrates is definitely an improvement over mp3. And it’s 2013, most people can afford higher bitrates for audio, and a veryslow-encoded file’s file size always kicks non-veryslow encode’s asses anyway, that the increase in audio bitrate really doesn’t matter that much.

      I have also suggested you mux in your qaac/nero encoded aac stream later (but I guess that defeats the whole purpose of the simple easy one-stop gui thing now donnit?). But sadly x264 guis will never support qaac or nero due to their proprietary-ness :(

  32. Actually amd opencl video enhancement and direct compute gpu hardware acceleration works better than nvidia cuda.
    You can see anandtech or hardware heaven bench on 7870xt vs 660ti

  33. Yan D, can you please tell me the advantages or disadvantages to this advanced settings line:

    bframes=8:b-adapt=2:direct=auto:me=umh:merange=24:analyse=all:rc-lookahead=60:ref=16:subq=10:trellis=2

  34. “you’ll end up with something so ugly and so full of video artifacts that you would want to kill yourself”

    Funny, that’s exactly what YIFY’s horrible, horrible encodes look like.

    I like the way this article is unveiling “the secret of YIFI”. I’m sorry — what’s the secret? I think it’s pretty plain to see for everyone: Take something that’s already been encoded properly (YIFY doesn’t encode BluRays, he re-encodes BluRay RIPS making everything even worse), re-encode the shit out of it, undersize it, and it will look like crap.

    How is that a secret? It’s obvious to see?

    • So right! YIFY is the Walmart of torrents, but most people don’t seem to care if the audio is pathetic or the video a barely iPad quality.

  35. great read, now all i need is a supercomputer so that i don’t spend an eternity encoding all my BRs for my Vita…

    • Who do YOU recommend who is capable of encoding a better quality at a rate of typically less than 500MB per hour of content?

      • He’s just pissed of because his s****y equipment can’t run YIFY quality. YIFY offers one of the best quality stuff for the lowest size possible.

      • No one can, that’s the point. But if you’re halfway blind and unable to distinguish between a cloud of artefacts and a sharp image, by all means, collect all the crap you want.

        • I CAN, however, tell a difference between YIFY’s files and all the other crap of twice the file size that everyone else posts.

    • So why aren’t you buying the Bluray then? Is somebody putting a gun to your head to download YIFY stuff?

      “Horrible quality” is still miles better than youtubeHD and more than acceptable to most people. Certainly worse than the actual Bluray, sound is substandard but that is the WHOLE FUCKING POINT for being just ~2GB.

      I swear pirate videophiles are some of the worst kind of idiots out there. Complaining about free stuff that isn’t supposed to be is simply rich.

  36. I’ve been downloading torrent movies and tv series for a long time and find that YIFY has some of the best quality downloads available for the size of the file… and don’t kid yourself… size does matter. Unfortunately, bigger is usually better, but with the sheer number of files I accumulate on a regular basis, my home server, even at 16TB is still in a need of another HDD. So, YIFY-like compression has a place for those of us on a limited budget that don’t have the luxury of unlimited HDD capacity. Thanks for the post… EXCELLENT. And to those duffasses that are bitching about the quality of YIFY vids… enjoy your high quality movies… but the rest of us will have 5-6 times as many videos to watch on a comparable system/server… so there!!

    • Well, if you really want 5-6 times the number of movies — in shit quality — then I really don’t envy you. Frightening to think about 16TB of movies in that horrible quality.

      • I watch my movies on a 33 inch 720p screen, and am unable to see any difference between a 6GB file and the ones YIFY creates.

      • If you don’t want “shit quality” then buy the fucking Blu-Ray because that’s exactly what I would do when I want to watch quality 1080p films. It’s as easy as that. Why bother bitching at something you share for free? I don’t see you ripping anything. You’re probably a contrarian basement dweller.

  37. Anyone can install Handbrake and click Start without a tutorial. All you will get is a non 720/1080 video that only looks good on a laptop or tablet. That’s why YIFY is a lamer that mislabels all his mediocre rips. Only trust scene grps for real quality!

      • CHD’s are FAR too large – usually over 4GB. This size is totally unnecessary. While I have downloaded these rips, I usually pass them through Handbrake with RF=24 to get them to a more reasonable size (usually under 1.5GB, and sometimes under 1GB), with no noticeable loss of quality.

    • No, no he’s not. Even if you’re genuinely seeking bashed up and extremely undersized rips, you’re praising a person who doesn’t even care to rip his own rips. An undersized rip of a BluRay is one thing. An undersized rip of a rip of a BluRay is retardation. You praising him is, well, I don’t know. But please stop. Find proper sources. There are actually rippers out there creating undersized rips directly from the source at MUCH better qualities than this yify idiot.

      • Mark MDK – Who do you suggest to supply a properly encoded BluRay rip at 720p for under a gig? I would love to improve my library with good looking flicks! I kept reading your posts that say there is better out there, hoping you’d promote someone that you’re talking about, and nothing. Educate us!

      • What evidence do you have that YIFY doesn’t do the rips? Do you know who they are and do you watch him/her/them prepare the files? I thought not. Any evidence you have is little more than hearsay.

  38. I have no problem with Yify’s video quality but the audio is a mess. I Have to crank the volume way way up to hear voices, all other sounds are through the roof. Should I be modifying any settings in VLC to make this work better?

    • It’s called Wide Audio Dynamics. It’s the way cinematic audio is mixed. If a car exploded near you IRL, you wouldn’t expect it to be the same volume as the conversation you’re having with a friend.

      To destroy the dynamics and get a more neighbor-friendly playback, click the small icon in the bottom right of VLC which looks like three audio faders (at least on OS X, if not, find the menu called “Audio Effects” (perhaps Ctrl+Shift+E on Windows?).

      In the Audio Effects window, navigate to the “Compressor” pane and click “Enable dynamic range compressor”.

      This will destroy audio dynamics on all audio played through VLC, so if you don’t want it on music playback, remember to disable it after watching your movie.

      And for the love of God, get proper rips the next time. If you really want small filesizes, there are usually real alternatives from people who actually rip from a Blu-Ray and not someone else’s rip.

  39. Big Thanks for the effort, really appreciate the extra hdd space gained in the last week after reading this tutorial the other weekend. One question though: How to replicate Cyberlink’s TrueTheater in x264? Maybe batch transform all the video frames to pictures and applying photoshop filters then re-mux them [or what's it called] to video?

  40. I’ve sampled several YIFY 1080p releases and do think they look nice on smaller screens, considering their remarkably small file sizes. However, if you’re looking to stream these to a larger tv (52″ for example), you may be disappointed. You can only go so far with this level of compression. Still, their encodings are impressive (for what they are).

  41. The trolling against YIFY is hilarious. Just like the anti X264 haters because they still want to watch AVI on ancient hardware and can’t be bothered to spend $400 on a modern computer or a cheap BD player

    1. Nothing is stopping other groups from releasing higher bitrate files
    2. Most people don’t expect or need BD of a ~2GB 1080p X264 file.
    3. It’s free pirated stuff FFS. So WTF more do you want, entitled pricks?

    The fact YIFY can squeeze so much out of X264 is an amazing accomplishment by itself.

    • You can d/l the raw BDs, they run around 25GB typically for the movie, and encoded with H264, same as YIFY.

      2GB is therefore tiny.

      YIFY is awful, but not only the video, the audio is also destroyed, they kill the 5.1 surround sound and replace it with stereo, which kills movies dead.

      People just don’t know any better because they probably only have a DVD player, no blu-ray, and they’ve never experienced 5.1 sound, and Yify is sourced from BD so it looks better than their old DVDs.

      if they owned even one BD they wouldn’t touch Yify. It’s just ignorance, and Yify feed that.

      • How do u not get it? Yify is good for its purpose – small size and very decent quality. If u were to fit 5.1 sound in the file it would jump to an extra gig or 2 maybe more. Ppl don’t care about 5.1 when watching on their ipad etc. ipad has limited space especially lacking a microsd so yify is perfect for it. Yify sucks if u were watching on a big home theatre display with 5-7.1 speakers of course but it wasn’t meant for that. It’s more meant for mobile devices. However even I watch yify on my 32″ HDTV with its base speakers (2 channels) and it looks totally fine from my 4-5 m viewing distance.
        No need for hate or saying something sucks. You suck for not understanding it’s purpose/intention moron.

      • I get it much better than you.

        If you are talking about 5.1 sound then AAC is transparent at around 384kbit. 320kbit is excellent. 160kbit is used for broadcast 5.1, but it’s weak on some things, you are definitely bandwidth starved at this bitrate. Yify is using ~96kbit 2.0 (which is downmixed, of itself a problem, but not particularly short of bandwidth).

        I had a look on the YIFY site, a 2hr 12 minute movie is encoded at 2.05GB in 1080p, 980MB for 720p.

        96 kbit = 86MB for that movie.
        160kbit = 142MB
        320kbit = 284MB

        So if you release the 720p file with 160kbit 5.1 and the 1080p with 320kbit 5.1 then that’s respectively 1036MB and 2.25GB.

        Bigger, but not hugely so, and certainly not an extra GB.

        A 32″ TV from 5m is very small, so it probably does look fine.

        The 720p file makes some sense for portable devices because it is pretty small, but the 1080p file is double the size but still crappy.

  42. As someone who deals with video and video encoding on a damn near every day basis I can say YIFY encodes are amazing…I’ve been encoding from DVD, HD-DVD, Blu-ray, etc. since Handbrake came out, when H.264 hit Handbrake got so fun for me and my friends. I can definitely say its an art, some sources are inheritetly harder to compress and when you compress a 50GB Blu-ray from a 35mm film source to 1GB and it looks flawless you feel accomplished. I can’t say I’ve gotten to the level of YIFY’s compression with everything but I certainly have done a fair share of encodes that look great, problem is time for me. I’m a video editor and so editing video takes priority over ripping Blu-rays, still I try and find time overnight to encode. You can definitely get YIFY encodes, he’s not untouchable, you just need to understand x264, how video codecs work (all of them…), understanding how the source can effect the quality (ie: grainy Super 16 is gonna be harder to compress than super clean 5K RED Epic footage). In addition to encodes from Blu-rays I’ve done encodes directly from the source of cameras like the RED Epic, RED Scarlet, various Canon cameras in RAW video, etc. You definitely want to start out with the most quality possible. I could go on but I’ve got an encode to go after now! Got me excited! :-)

  43. The only good yify rip I’ve ever seen was a 1080p of The Social Network, and that’s because it was so dark and cleanly recorded on digital. Everything else is unwatchable.

  44. So cool and interesting stuff! Mark Mdk is gay dont listen to him. Listen to Nate who talks serious and technical stuff. I like these real ppl who actually have something useful to say cuz they have real experience. Not like mark “yify sucks”. Lol get a life dude. It’s plain and simple: yify does a great job for size to quality ratio. Period.
    OBVIOUSLY there’s better rips out the there but for the size they offer, the quality is wow to say the least.

    I found some book online about the h264 standard and I think I’ll check it out. Hopefully it’s not way too technical to understand cuz my math skills ain’t what they used to be :/

  45. im just still thankful YIFY is there to upload those small size movies..NO NEED TO MAKE A BIG DEAL OUT OF IT PEOPLE BECAUSE ITS FREE!!

  46. Nice post dude! Obviously there’s a bunch of paid shills commenting here against YIFY in particular and reasonably sized rips in general (IMO, an attempt to encourage torrent sizes upwards and beyond the reach of the average person). One of the idiots even exposes his agenda by naming himself “Anti-P2P”. LOL! Kinda odd that these turds should care so much about the viewability of YOUR video collection, huh? Pay them no attention unless they offer to buy you the additional harddrive space required to satisfy THEIR needs.

    • Good points Kilroy. I really like Nate’s comments as well. I have to say I have had good luck with Yiffy releases and there is a reason they are the most popular. Also I have not had an issue with my 5.1 sound. Size certainly matters especially when it is not only the original size but the backup of the person’s Library.

  47. You obviously are very knowledgable and appreciate quality. A really informative tutorial when you read between the lines of all our BS. Seriously, have a whinge and then talk down on people some more. If you weren’t such a dickhead about your skills and opinions I’d love to share this page. The net is less becoming a haven for bigotry and anonymous undue insults. You have a blog and you can share yourself, good for you. Grow up, start communicating your knowledge like an adult rather than a pro-COD obsessed child. Get a better attitude and you might get a job where you can afford better equipment. Heads up too, your personal opinions aren’t truly cared for except for a laugh by similar bigot videophiles. Keep it objective and your cause will have more impact.

  48. Pretty hilarious series of posts here! It’s funny how people bash YIFY, but no one has ever publicly released anything that matches (let alone surpasses!) the quality YIFY obtains for the the file size. If that statement isn’t true, please let me know because I would love to see it. It was never claimed to be a method to make ultra high quality rips. If Yify’s rips suck so bad, then why did they become the most popular movie release group in history? Is it because millions of people are just loving terrible quality movies? I don’t think so!

  49. Is this the YIFY “secret”? (found by doing the above steps, then seeing what process runs next):

    “C:\Program Files\Handbrake\HandBrakeCLI.exe” -i “%1″ -t 1 –angle 1 -c 1-16 -o “%2″ -f mkv -w 1920 –loose-anamorphic –modulus 2 -e x264 -q 23 –cfr -a 1 -E faac -6 dpl2 -R Auto -B 320 -D 0 –gain 0 –audio-copy-mask none –audio-fallback ffac3 -x ref=16:bframes=16:b-adapt=2:direct=auto:me=tesa:merange=24:subq=11:rc-lookahead=60:analyse=all:trellis=2:no-fast-pskip=1 –verbose=1

    • I don’t know. I can’t interpret everything but it looks like a constant quality rate of 23. I would like to know what the other settings are to allow that and get good quality. I assume that some of it is the filter settings.

      • Revised general rule of thumb: rf30=youtube/yify, rf26=decent, rf23=good, rf20=pleasant, rf17=near lossless, and anything lower is definitely overkill.
        I haven’t done much encoding lately so uhh, but setting the encoder at the medium preset with rf23 and movie tuning is always a good way to get a quick snappy result that’s around double YIFY’s file size, use it if you don’t need maximum compression and want serviceable quality without waiting for too long. Also if you do that, might as well 320kbps + Dolby Pro Logic II AAC it to preserve the audio.

  50. nice tutorial for an technical noob like me,
    just want to ask if you can elaborate more on other settings like Subpixel Estimation/Adaptive Quantization Strength
    do I need to follow your screenshot or just use the Default?

  51. Heya there, nice article.

    I use HB for quite some time now, mostly to encode DVD’s, either from original discs or dl’ed full rips.
    First I extract the movie with DVDshrink uncompressed, then I run it through HB, using:
    Anamorphic: Loose
    Decomb: Default
    H.264
    Either constant or variable Framerate.
    RF somewhere between 20 16 (or less if required). As for DVD’s, my goal is 2/3 or max 3/4 the filesize of the DVD source, just to be on the safe side. HDD space isn’t much of an issue for me, since the drives come at reasonable prices these days.
    I rarely encode BD’s, cause one can find decent releases all over the web. As for quality, imo, an encoded 2h 1080p movie with demanding visuals, should come at a size no less than 10GB (1 Picture &.1 Audio stream) or roughly 5Gb per hour. For 720p movies I’d recommend a size around 3-3.5Gb per hour. Especially ‘dark’ movies, with sometimes high contrast changes, benefit from higher bit rates. As I said before, filesize don’t bother me much, as long as it’s reasonable, right?

    With all this said, however, I still watch movies on my 24″ Full HD monitor. I still got alotta stuff that don’t match my preferred optimum, but hey…
    Encoded stuff will most certainly almost always be missing some chunks of information, i’d say. But as long as I’m not using one of those 4K screens (which isn’t going to happen soon, neither in the near nor the very far future), I should be just fine, right?
    What’s important, is that I can enjoy what I’m looking at, right?

    • These days it’s hard to enjoy a lower res video since video – especially the text in it – is designed for high res screens. The function of highly compressed HD (a good example would be youtube) is to give you the detail without the quality. Older stuff has ginormous text so that the resolution can be cranked all the way down without you feeling more than a thing. The quality of video is a subjective experience, and of course the content is always more important than the encoding (Prometheus in lossless 3D 4k with 7.1 DTS? FUCK-THAT!)
      There are always ways to improve the quality of audio and visuals, but nothing will remedy a bad film XD

  52. Heya Eric,

    on the contrary, I can enjoy a good flick in a ‘bad’ resolution. But these days I might seek out the max quality available.
    Yet, I don’t expect much of YT, or similar platforms for that matter (merely for educational/informational purpose, nicely put…)
    But you’re absolutely right: quality is a very subjective experience! For an instance: just yesterday I encoded a movie from DVD with a size about 5Gb. Me first run was with RF19 and it came out at 1.9Gb, which – for me, was totally inacceptable (hehe). After 2 or 3 runs, I did one at RF 12 or perhaps 11 (can’t really ‘member) an’ it came out with 3something Gb. Of course I compared all the runs (each took about an 1/2h) and decided the last one was the superior. Okay alright, one could say, this IS OVERKILL, but hey… Well, size doesn^t matter much, as long it’s reasonable, right. The idea is to keep as much information as possible, within reasonable limits (I said this before, didn’t i?)
    I just wish it was so easy just like with mp3′s an’ EAC – you just select your preferred quality through some parameters (which in this case can be pretty tricky too however, hehe) and hit the GO button – and keep it your standard. HB could be considered even simpler, but it takes a thorough background knowledge just as well. But I’m just strayin’… Man, it’s 0.45am an’ Stolichnaya just won’t back off… oh well…

    Oh, an’ by the way, you mentioning ‘Prometheus’ brings a smirk onto me face, cause I was watching a cam release in a horsedumpy quality, way before it was released in my country (just ’cause I was so impatient). But what can I say? The HD release didn’t improve at all – a BS story will remain a BS story, no matter what brilliant visuals it presents, right?

    But nothing will remedy a bad film!!!
    An’ I like your tongue in cheek style, mate, even if some don’t get it… it’s awesome.

  53. Pingback: filmy FULL HD na blu ray - Strona 5 - HDforum

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