Video Compression using Handbrake: Installation and Usage Guide

Handbrake is an open-source video transcoder that’s widely regarded as the best tool for video conversion. It’s effortless to use, multi-platform, and it covers a vast range of presets and devices as well. This means you will find it easier than ever to compress videos quickly without having to spend money on a conversion or transcoding tool. Instead, you can compress video using Handbrake very quickly, and the results will be great.

Download and Install Handbrake on Windows

The application is available free of charge at, all you have to do is to visit the site and then select the platform you need the app for. They have multiple versions, including Mac, Windows, or Linux. In addition, you can access nightly builds and a command-line version too.

install handbrake on windows

Begin the installation procedure by opening the exe file from the Download location. You should see a screen as follows –

install handbrake on windows

Agree to the License Terms and Conditions and hit “Next”.

install handbrake on windows

Choose an installation location and hit “Next”.

install handbrake on windows

And, that’s it. Handbrake should be installed on your Windows computer.

install handbrake on windows

Steps for Transcoding a Video using Handbrake

Step 1: Select the source file and open it

Once you finish installing the app, open it.

Go to the left side of the app, choose the Source Selection and then flick File. Then you can choose the file you want to compress and click Open. Once the file is loaded, you can choose where to save it simply by clicking Browse. Make sure that you create a name for the video so you can identify it with ease. Add whatever name you are comfortable with, and then press Save.

compress video using handbrake

Step 2: Picking the container type and video codec

Right under the output settings, you can select the container. Ideally, you want to go with the MP4 container format, unless you have any specific containers in mind. Under that you have the Video tab, here you want to select the H.264 codec.

compress video using handbrake

Here you can also select the desired framerate and quality types. The app has options for different video qualities, such as web, HD, and so on. Or you can go with an average bitrate instead of a certain quality. The framerate can be 30 FPS or more. It all depends on the initial framerate of your video. Most of the time, settling for 30 FPS will do just fine.

Step 3: Selecting a preset

One of the main benefits of Handbrake is that it has a vast range of presets. You can browse the list of presets on the right side of the user interface.

Related:  What is Video Encoding or Transcoding - Complete Guide
compress video using handbrake

Normally you can go for Fast 1080p 30, as this is of great quality. But you can easily experiment with a variety of presets and see how the results turn out in the end. The average bitrate for a video should be anywhere from 5000 to 10000 kbps. Normally the higher the bitrate is, the better the video quality, but this will take a longer time to process and upload.

Step 4: Modifying the Resolution and Picture options

In the Dimensions panel, you can see the source resolution and you can keep that or choose whatever resolution you find ok. Here you can also change the Anamorphic mode to None. Ideally, you want to have the modulus option to 16. A good rule of thumb is to maintain the aspect ratio, you can do that simply by ticking the option with the same name right near the picture size.

By the way, go here for a great discussion on the difference between bitrate and resolution.

compress video using handbrake

Step 5: Modifying Audio Information

Go to the Audio tab, here you can modify the sample rate and other options the way you want. A lot of people use 48 or 64 kbps as the ideal sample rate, and the mixdown is Stereo. You can also change the audio codec, not to mention you can modify the bitrate. You may want to stick with a 320 bitrate, as it delivers the best quality.

compress video using handbrake

Step 5: Start the Encoding Process

Once you fully customized everything, you want to press the Start Encode button. Then you can leave or do something else, as Handbrake will work on the video compression.

You will receive a notification when everything is fully completed.


Compressing / transcoding a video using Handbrake is so simple, and this free tool does bring in front incredible results. It does take a bit to get used to the interface, but with a little experimentation, you will have no problems.

We recommend you to give Handbrake a try today, and you will be incredibly impressed with its ease of use and incredible compression quality!

krishna rao vijayanagar
Krishna Rao Vijayanagar

Krishna Rao Vijayanagar, Ph.D. is the Editor-in-Chief of OTTVerse, a news portal covering technological and business news in the OTT space. With extensive experience in video compression, ABR streaming, video analytics, monetization, and more, Krishna has held multiple roles in R&D, Engineering, and Product ownership at companies such as Harmonic Inc., MediaMelon, and Airtel Digital. Krishna has published numerous articles and research papers on the latest trends in OTT and frequently speaks at industry events to share his insights and perspectives on the fundamentals and the future of OTT streaming.

1 thought on “Video Compression using Handbrake: Installation and Usage Guide”

  1. Pingback: Bitrate vs. Resolution - Which Is More Important For Video Streaming? - OTTVerse

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