What Is Handbrake For Mac

admin 12/11/2021

Let’s learn about HandBrake, the free video transcoder. In this video tutorial, we’re covering the details about how to make good use of HandBrake.

When it comes to transcoding video, most of us likely turn to Adobe Media Encoder. However, HandBrake is a free, open-source transcoder that a lot of people may not know exists. In this tutorial, we’ll walk through how to use HandBrake and how it compares to other apps like Adobe Media Encoder.

What Is Handbrake For Mac

What Is HandBrake?

Handbrake is a well-known program and offers great functions like ripping DVD, therefore, it is safe for Windows 10 and earlier versions and Mac. From May 2 to May 6 of 2018, there was a security warning posted on the website. Handbrake download was affected by Malware, especially for MAC users.

Handbrake windows 10
  • HandBrake is a cross-platform, open source video transcoding tool. The highlight of new released HandBrake 1.0.0/1 must be the support of Intel Quick Sync Video (QSV), which greatly improves its performance producing a fast transcoding speed.
  • Handbrake and MacTheRipper are so far the best Mac DVD rippers that are thoroughly free to everyone. If you get caught up in dealing with the chaotic DVDs and want to make them movable especially on the road, these two pieces of Mac DVD ripper software are definitely the best companions that allow you to freely decrypt and rip DVD movie on Mac.

Handbrake Video Converter Reviews

HandBrake is a free, open-source video transcoder. It’s used to convert video from many different formats into more commonly used ones (such as MP4) and it’s really efficient at reducing a video’s file size. It can be downloaded from handbrake.fr, and it supports Mac, Windows, and Linux. The iconic HandBrake logo is quite unorthodox, featuring a tropical drink and pineapple.

Video Formats

While HandBrake can transcode video from many different formats, it can only output video to three formats currently. Those container formats are:

  • MP4: Common multimedia format, typically for codecs like H.264 and H.265. (Note: HandBrake actually exports MP4 files as WAV files. We’ll take a closer look at this later on in the tutorial.)
  • MKV: An open-source container format that can hold an unlimited number of video and other media tracks in one file. Also known as the Matroska format.
  • WebM: An open-source container format specifically designed for playback on web browsers.


What makes HandBrake so powerful is how it can encode MP4 files with the H.264 codec. It uses an open-source encoder known as x264. If that sounds a little confusing, to put it simply, HandBrake can compress MP4 files better than most other encoders.

Comparing HandBrake to Adobe Media Encoder

Let’s check out a quick comparison of an MP4 export between HandBrake and Adobe Media Encoder. I’ve got an example video clip of me talking on camera. The original clip is 0:16 long and the resolution is 1920×1080.

With Media Encoder, I exported an MP4 and used the preset Match Source – Medium Bitrate, which has a very low target bit rate of 3 Mbps and a max bitrate of 6 Mbps. The exported video file was 6.55 MB, which is pretty small.

I then exported the example video through HandBrake, using its default Fast 1080p 30 preset. The exported HandBrake video was 3.67 MB, which is almost half as small as the export from Media Encoder. And the files showed no noticeable differences upon playback.

If you “pixel-peep” the HandBrake video frame-by-frame, you’ll start to see more noticeable compression. The important aspect is that the compression isn’t noticeable to the viewers during normal playback. I actually didn’t even notice it at all until I zoomed in on the video clip frame-by-frame.

Benefits of Compressed Video Sizes

The file size reduction you get using HandBrake makes it perfect if you’re hosting your own videos online or if you have a lot of looping video backgrounds on a website. It can really help cut down on loading times. Social media videos are another good use for HandBrake, as those platforms tend to prefer smaller video sizes.

Using HandBrake

Using HandBrake to transcode videos is pretty straightforward. Once you launch the app, you can drag-and-drop the video you want to compress.

From there, you can select between the tab options to dial in various settings.

You can also select from many different built-in presets. The default preset is called Fast 1080p 30, and serves as an ideal starting point in most cases.

If you ever wonder what a specific setting does, just hover your mouse cursor over the setting and wait. An explanation text will usually appear.

MP4 Files Export as M4V

As mentioned earlier, HandBrake actually exports MP4 files with the extension M4V. The HandBrake documentation states that this makes the file compatible with QuickTime and QuickTime-based apps. HandBrake also states that the M4V file is exactly the same as an MP4, and you can simply change the extension on the file from .m4v to .mp4 if you prefer!

Too Much Video Compression?

If your video comes out looking too compressed with artifacts, check out another tutorial we have on the Shutterstock blog — Tips for Reducing Visible Video Compression in Video Uploads.

Cover image logo via HandBrake.

Interested in the tracks we used to make this video?

  • “Rain Rain Go Away” by Cosmo
  • “Lo-Fi Dreams” by Trending Music
  • “Lo Fi Abstract Chillhop” by Trending Music
  • “Bushido Belief” by Tonemassif

What Version Of Handbrake For Mac 10.6.8

Up your video production values with these handy tips and tricks:

Part 1 - How to Use Handbrake to Compress Video with Lossless Quality

As we have mentioned above, video compression codec is the key to reduce video esp. arge-sized 1080p/4K/8K UHD video without quality loss. Yet, which video codec is the best for you to compress 1080p HD or 4K/8K UHD videos while keeping the original quality? The answer is HEVC (H265). With higher coding efficiency (thanks to coding tree unit, enhanced Quantization and entropy coding), HEVC (x265) can achieve 50% higher compression ratio than H264 and 20% higher compression ratio than VP9 while keeping the same quality or even better quality than the input video. It's no exaggeration to say that HEVC is a lossless video codec for video compression.

Here we use Handbrake 1.1.0 to compress video to H265 and test if HEVC can live up to its promise to resize 4K video and 1080p HD video at 50%﹢compression ratio. The input video we use is an H264 encoded MP4 1080p video at 23.98FPS, 38 minutes in length and 1.22GB in file size. And the lossless video compression test is conducted on a Windows 7 computer with Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-3470 CPU and 8GB RAM. The specific operational process and result are below:

Step 1: Import MP4 (H264) Video.
Fire up Handbrake 1.1.0 after the download and installation are finished. Drop a file or folder to Handbrake or load MP4 1080p video via 'File' option .

Step 2: Choose Output Format and Preset.
Select 'MP4' as output format and 'Apple 1080p30 Surround' as output preset.

Handbrake Mac 10.10.5

Step 3: Opt for H265 as Video Codec.
Click 'Video' option and choose H265 (x265), H265 (10 bit) or H265 (12 bit) as video codec. BTW: to know the difference between H265 10 bit and H265 12 bit, you can check the explaination of color depth to know more.

Handbrake Mac 10.6.8

Step 4: Compress H264 to H265 Now.
Tap 'Start Encode' button and this free video compressor will begin to compress MP4 (H264) to H265 (x265) video at Intel QSV hardware accelerated speed (enable it from 'Preferences').

Several mins later, the H264 to H265 (x265) compression, as well as H264 to H265 10 bit/12 bit compression is accomplished. The output file size and quality results are listed below:

Input Video: MP4 (H264), 1080p Full HD, 23.98FPS
Duration: 38 minutes; File Size: 1.22GB

Output VideoFile SizeVideo QualityFrame RateCompression RatioCompression Time

H265 (x265)

565MBIntact23.98FPS55%1 hr 42mins 5s

H265 10 bit (x265)

572MBIntact23.98FPS54%2 hr 39mins

H265 12 bit (x265)

587MBIntact23.98FPS53%2 hr 51mins 36s

From the test data, it's clear to see that HEVC (H265) does an amazing job in video compression with 55% compression ratio to reduce H264 size from 1.22GB to 565MB while keeping the untouched quality. Of course, there is also a downside in HEVC. That is time consuming in HEVC video encoding using Handbrake (Intel QSV hardware decoding enabled), which might discourage lots of users from using Handbrake to compress H264 to H265.

If you do wanna compress H264 to H265 for smaller file size and better quality at the precondition of time saving, then you can consider to use the top Handbrake alternative - MacX Video Converter Pro. It's a professional HEVC video converter, built-in with Intel QSV/Nvidia/AMD hardware acceleration techs to help you not only hardware decode H264 video, but also hardware encode H264 to H265 (HEVC) at 5-8X faster speed than Handbrake. Thus, you can compress this H264 1080p video to HEVC (x265) with only 12 mins 42 seconds.

What Is Handbrake For Mac

Note: the biggest difference among H265 (x265), H265 10 bit and H265 12 bit is the output image quality. To put it simply, H265 12 bit performs a little bit better than H265 10 bit and H265 8 bit in video quality without color banding or color dithering. Therefore, you're suggested to choose H265 12 bit or H265 10 bit if your video playback device supports such color depth in HEVC codec.

HEVC Limitations: Currently HEVC (H265) is nowhere near as popular as H264 (MPEG-4 AVC). So if the video playback device or platform doesn't support HEVC codec, you're supposed to choose H264 codec for 1080p/4K/8K video compression. Check the hardware requirements on HEVC decoding & playback.