Hey guys, LastVanguard here.

In light of some common mistakes with Handbrake becoming prominent in a few of the uploads around OS (no offense to anyone!), and since I'm frequently asked by some of the uploaders here for advice with Handbrake and how to rectify common problems with it in encoding, I thought I'd offer some pointers for how to get around some common oversights with it. I've spent a pretty solid chunk of my life doing video encodes with Handbrake and other programs, and I've learned a few things in the course of my journey about the process.

If your video doesn't have any audio on OS:

The problem is likely because the audio that was attached to your resulting video encode isn't in AAC format. Many video files in their original format don't have AAC audio (AC3 and MP3 are fairly common), so Handbrake needs to be set to encode the audio in your video encode into AAC format. A few revisions ago, Handbrake was changed so that it would no longer automatically transcode into AAC if you had the setting on the Audio tab set to "AAC Passthru". As a result of this, if your source format isn't AAC, you have to manually set the audio tab to "AAC (avcodec)" option and leave the default settings for Stereo and 160kbps audio. It's a good habit to get into setting this, because it ensures that your resulting video file will always have audio that works on OS.

A word of caution to offer on this subject - don't set your audio manually to "AAC (avcodec)" if your source audio is already AAC. This can cause choppiness because you're transcoding into the same format as the source. For some reason, Handbrake occasionally chokes up on this and can cause botched audio. Not always, but sometimes.

If your encoded video has no subtitles on OS:

Ensure that you've added the subtitles on the Subtitle tab in Handbrake, and that the checkbox for "Burn In" is set. If this isn't done, the subs will be soft-coded and OS may not be able to recognize them. This can be a little deceiving because some video programs, such as VLC Player, will show soft-coded subs anyway and can give you the impression that subs will work on OS when they actually won't.

If you're manually adding a separate subtitles file to the video and it's corrupted, Handbrake will usually error out and tell you the file is corrupt. If you'd like to confirm this manually, both of the common subtitle file formats (.srt and .***) are just plain text files that you can open in Notepad or TextEdit. Check and make sure the content is readable, and the file should be fine.

If you'd like to manually check a converted video file to make sure it's OS-ready:

The program I use for this is MediaInfo (do a Google search for it; it's easy to find and free). By opening a video file in MediaInfo, you can see the video encoding format for it, as well as the resolution and quality standards that the streams were done in. This can be really handy if one file plays on OS while another doesn't, and you want to find out why. It can alert you if you've soft-coded subtitles by accident, or if your audio track isn't AAC. I find it really useful for fine-tuning files that work versus files that don't.

If your resulting video file is choppy at points and you're troubleshooting why:

The most common cause of this is that you need to go to the Video tab in Handbrake and set the "Quality" setting to Constant Quality. For many modern animes that have a lot of fast-motion video, you can't use the "Average Bitrage" setting in the Quality section because it hurts fast-motion video a lot. Set the option to Constant Quality instead, and set it fairly aggressively (lower numbers mean higher quality, setting it at 18-20 can often fix this). While this will result in a larger video file, this is simply the price you have to pay for many new animes that have fancy CGI compared to the animes from 10 years ago.

If you're doing mass encodes on OS and are looking for tips to speed up the process:

1. You can actually drag/drop video files into the interface in Handbrake to add them into the queue and customize settings instead of manually going into the File tab and adding each video in.

2. If you haven't done so already, take the video settings that you commonly use for encodes and create a Preset for them in Handbrake. By doing this, you don't have to re-enter this information in each time you have to do an encode. It greatly speeds up the time for doing consecutive encodes because the settings you use are already there.

3. If you have an Intel CPU in your PC with a QSV chip, or an AMD CPU in your PC with a VCE chip, this technology speeds up video encodes by roughly 75%. The majority of CPUs made in the last 2 years have them, but it can massively pay off in the long run to speed up your encodes with a CPU that has this versus a CPU that doesn't, especially if you're doing a large amount of encodes.

I have questions you didn't answer, LastVanguard!

Feel free to shoot me a message, preferably on Skype, and I can answer as best I can. I'll add additional information to this thread as people bring new information to light.

Cheers,
LV