How to use Handbrake to Compress Video – Handbrake Tutorial


With our media collections forever growing and the high cost of additional storage devices we want the smallest possible video files. Both DVD and Blu-ray discs both store large volumes of data often too big for TV boxes or TV stick devices. In this post we will show you how to use Handbrake to compress video files. Handbrake is one of the best video compression software packages on the internet. It’s easy to use and best of all it’s free to download. This is an easy to follow Handbrake tutorial to get you started with this great piece of software.

How to use Handbrake to Compress Video – Handbrake Tutorial

This Handbrake tutorial is designed to get you started with this video compression software. Maybe you have created some high definition holiday videos with huge file sizes and want to shrink them down to something more usable. We will look at how to open a file and set its output location. Following this we will then use some of the Preset compression configurations for different devices that Handbrake offers. We will explorer compressing a single file and how to create a queue of files. As an example we will look to compress a holiday video in ISO format into a file optimised for the Apple iPad. Throughout the post you will find links to further reading exploring some of Handbrakes more advanced features. [Read: Best TV Box for Netflix and Online Streaming Services]

Please note that although Handbrake can use discs as its video source it will not read encrypted content. The legal standing on creating backups of commercial media varies from country to country. If you are looking to compress commercial video files then ensure that you own a copy of the original disc and check your own country’s laws before you proceed. This guide is aimed at compressing video files that you have either made or legally own the rights to. [Read: Plex Media Server Review – Stream to Multiple Rooms & Devices]

Handbrake Video Compression Software Key Features

Before we look at how to use Handbrake to compress video we will provide a brief overview of its features and what makes it one of the best video compression software packages. Hanbrake supports a wide range of video file formats allowing you to convert almost anything. It is also comes with a huge list of pre-set video compression settings for different devices. For example if the video file that you are converting is intended for use on the iPad then you can select a pre-configured profile for this and it will automatically apply the best settings for this device. [Read: Enable Kodi DLNA – Create a Kodi Media Server]

Handbrake has a number of advanced features to really enhance your video compression software experience. You can edit all aspects of your video files and tune them to either improve quality or reduce file sizes. You can queue up multiple video conversions and have your PC work for you throughout the night. It’s encoding capabilities are excellent and with Handbrake you can produce some great compressed video files. Hanbrake can also be used to manipulate the audio elements of your video files giving you full control over your media. [Read: 3 Best Windows TV Stick Devices – Alternatives to Android]

1. Handbrake Download

The first stage of your video compression software journey is to download and install the Handbrake software. You can download the Handbrake video compression tool by visiting here. The install comes as a single executable file. We exclude the software installation steps from this post as it is extremely straightforward. Simply run the executable file and follow the instructions on screen. [Read: Best Blu-ray Player Software]

2. Source & Destination Files

When you have successfully installed Handbrake the first thing to do is to tell the video compression software the source file that you want to convert and the output file you want to create. To do this click on the Source button shown at the top left hand side of your screen. You will be presented with the below. [Read: Best Motherboard for Gaming]

how to use handbrake to compress video
Handbrake Source Selection

Here you have the ability to open a file, a folder or an optical disc. In this guide we are going to load in a single DVD iso file into Handbrake. I have a holiday DVD ripped to my PC in ISO format with a total file size of 4.3GB. We select Open File, navigate to the location of the ISO file and select it. You will now notice that Handbrake populates itself with the file information including name, duration and chapters. [Read: Gaming on your HTPC]

Handbrake tutorial
Handbrake Main Window

Next we must tell Handbrake what we want to convert our Source file into and provide the Destination file information. Where it says “Destination” next to the blank box you will see a button called Browse. Select this and navigate to the location that you want to save your compressed video file. Give your output file a name and click OK. [Read: Top 5 Handheld Games Consoles]

3. Handbrake Preset Video Compression Settings

The next step in our Handbrake tutorial is to tell the video compression software how you would like to convert your video file. The Handbrake video settings on offer will really let you go to town here. You can customise everything from the encoding type to use, the audio to include, cropping of the image. With so many configuration items it can be a little confusing for the newbie so I recommend that you use the Preset conversion settings located on the right hand side of the main Handbrake window. [Read: How to Auto Logon Windows 10]

The Presets list contains many well known media playing devices including Apple TV, Android, iPhone, iPad, Amazon Fire TV and Roku. When you select each one it automatically chooses the best Handbrake video compression settings for this device.  When you select a Preset you can still make additional changes on the left hand side of the screen if you want to. You can also save you own Preset configurations by clicking on the Add button at the bottom of the Preset window. As we want our video to be optimised for the iPad we will select iPad as shown above from the Preset list. [Read: Top 5 Emulator Frontends for your HTPC Media Centre]

4. Start the Handbrake Video Compression

The final stage in our How to use Handbrake to Compress Video guide is to kick the jobs off. You have provided Handbrake with both your Source & Destination information and selected one of the Preset encoding options. You are ready to launch. To begin work on this file only you simply hit the green Start button at the top of the screen. If you want to setup multipe files to convert in a batch click on the Add to Queue button. The Start button will then change to Start Queue.

Once your current project has been added to your Handbrake queue you are free to open up a new Source file and begin a new compression job. When you have added all of the video conversion jobs you want to your queue hit the green Start button to begin. It will begin compressing the first one in your queue and then cycle through your list. [Read: Steam Link Review – Stream Games to Every Room]

Depending on your compression settings and your CPU it will now take some time for the application to convert your video. Decent quality can be achieved in acceptable time using an Intel Core i3 processor but for faster performance I recommend and Intel i7 or equivalent.

How to use Handbrake to Compress Video – Final Thoughts

And that concludes our simple Handbrake tutorial. Handbrake is a great piece of video compression software and is made to optimise your video files for different devices. The application is extremely easy to use and if full of features and functionality. With your ever growing media library why not allow the application to shrink each file whilst mainting a good level of quality. This will reduce the overall storage requirements of your media solution and allow you to store more videos. Following on from this How to use Handbrake to Compress Video post will be producing more Handbrake tutorial posts covering some of the more advanced settings of the application. [Read: 30 Best Kodi Skins – The Complete List]