Click Networks - IT Support Glasgow

Click Networks - IT Support Glasgow
Click Networks - IT Support Glasgow

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Converting DVDs for YouTube – apply the HandBrake!

Our client Epilepsy Scotland has recently announced a new educational DVD "Taking the Tablets" created in partnership between five UK epilepsy charities (Epilepsy Action, Epilepsy Bereaved, Epilepsy Scotland, the National Society for Epilepsy and the National Centre for Young People with Epilepsy).

As part of it's promotion Epilepsy Scotland asked us if there was any way we may be able to provide their video online for people who live with epilepsy who may be considering anti-epileptic drug treatment so that they can be better informed whilst making their decision.

The most cost-effective options were to use either one of the charities' existing web hosting space or a public video sharing website. As this video was created equally between all the charities a neutral-territory option was preferred, so it was decided that YouTube would be the ideal host for the video as this mitigated any individual responsibility for the video's hosting.

The job set out for us at ClickNetworks was therefore to provide the DVD in a format compatible with YouTube and to upload the video for the world to see.

Whilst the YouTube website states it “accepts a wide range of video formats”, it goes on to say they have specific “recommended video file formats” in order optimally convert the videos into their own Flash Video format.

YouTube distinctly discourages any changes to the resolution, bit rate or frame rate of your existing video so it can be presented in as much of its original glory as possible, the recommended codec was H.264 or MPEG-2 within an MPEG-4 container.

After searching through countless “shareware” “one-click” solutions that provide DVD to MPEG-4 conversion, we finally stumbled across HandBrake – an open source, multiplatform (yes, that’s Mac OS, Windows and Linux) video transcoder.

Available from http://www.handbrake.fr this wonderful software provided an easy to use GUI that allowed us to convert nearly any file format (as well as the DVD itself) into either the MPEG4 or H.264 format with a multitude of different options. After closely following YouTube’s recommended guidelines and adjusting the options on HandBrake’s easy to use interface – the final result was perfect.

The “Taking the Tablets” DVD was in its entirety, approx. 24 minutes long. As YouTube limits you to a 10 minute maximum, we had to split the video into it’s separate chapters. HandBrake provides this option straight from it’s main screen which made the task quick and painless.
The handy queuing option also allowed the whole job to be setup and then left to run in the background while we got on with other jobs.

Our hats go off to the HandBrake developers for making a great efficient application that gets the job done.

So, if you need to get your band’s new music video (provided to you on a cumbersome DVD) or you have an existing video that just won’t upload to YouTube nicely, HandBrake could certainly be a great helping hand in getting your content onto the web.

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