video.NET user guide

What is video.NET?

video.NET is a video conversion program that supports most of the common media (video|audio) file types, including disc inputs (BLU|DVD|ISO), and outputs low, standard, or high definition MKV and MP4 files for your PC, mediaplayer, game console, or Apple iDevice like the iPhone|iPad|iPod.

No need to wonder which sets of files contain the movie, or extras, or whether the 'black-bars' will be cropped, or whether the conversion will be the correct screen size, this is all taken care of automatically. video.NET uses the excellent 'HandBrakeCLI' for its core conversion routines but don't be fooled into thinking video.NET is just like the HandBrake GUI or any of its 'clones', it is not, nor are its profiles/presets.


video.NET the basics

Top right of the main video.NET screen (see screenshot) there’s three button: CONFIG|MINIMISE|EXIT. The ‘CONFIG’ option will be discussed later and I’m sure I don’t need to explain what ‘MINIMISE' or 'EXIT' do.

 

The INPUT|OUTPUT buttons (shown in the screenshot as the big ‘DVD|MATROSKA’ buttons) have dual functions, meaning they do different things depending on whether you 'left-click' or 'right-click' them.

Left-click, loads in a file or ISO, right-click loads in a disc. If using a ripped disc or ISO as your source (input), you'll be presented with a title selection screen.

When you load in a DISC, ISO or FILE you'll eventually be presented with the video, audio, and subtitle contents of your selected title.

Basically, you select your required tracks then add the current title to the 'job-list' by clicking on the green arrow. Once added, you'll see the job (input and output format icons) shown on the bottom section of the video.NET interface. Each double set of icons represents your input and output file formats. Hovering your mouse over the icons will display some brief information on that job, clicking will give you the ability to remove that job if required. Press the green button to start.

video.NET remembers most of your settings, so once you have used it a few times, your favourite settings are always remembered. I hate programs where I have to go through loads of options, usually the same ones, over and over again, every time I load in a file. But, it's now time to get serious and take a deeper look into all the settings, yeh I know, boring, but what else can I say? I write a program, I have to explain all the settings, hopefully you'll only have to do this a few times, once you're happy, you'll find video.NET one of the most user friendly video conversion programs you've ever used. Sorry I can't offer you a 'money-back guarantee', video.NET is free but hey! You can always email me and have a moan ;-)


Output format and options

So with the basics out of the way, we'll now move onto the output settings. First thing, 'right-click' the output button, as previously noted, the output button in the screenshot above is the 'MATROSKA' button, you'll now be presented with the output options.

 

We have two output modes, MATROSKA (MKV) and mp4. The output mode is determined by the profile, but that being said, you can still over-ride the output format after setting the profile if you so wish.

The green arrow takes you back to the main screen.

All these settings are important and we'll now take a look into each of the options and their behaviour and what they do.


.chapters

BLU|DVD discs, and some other video files will have chapters. The chapter option allows you to select just a section of the video to encode, very handy for testing purposes, by default all chapters are selected.


.video

The most important section of all, the video options, along with probably the most important setting, the 'profile'. The profile forces certain advanced settings allowing the resulting converted file to be compliant with certain devices, like media players and tablets|phones. The 'HB.high' and 'HB.norm' are what you would use for playing your movies on a PC or media player. There's also a bunch of 'apple i' profiles, hover your mouse over to get a quick list of apple devices per profile. Lot's of individual apple devices fall into the same category, it seemed pointless having a never ending list for each device.

The profile also changes other options, like the output container, preset, maximum screen size limit along with some audio output settings so set your profile first. You can then go along and change some of the other options if you so desire.

The 'preset' option can be changed from 'very-fast' all the way to 'very-slow' and will have a great impact on how long your encode|conversion takes to complete, along with quality and compression efficiency.

The 'tune' option allows for some x264 fine tuning, for film or animation for example.

Now onto a very import option, 'encode mode', CRF or BITS? BITS mode converts using a 'bit-rate' that you enter and does a two-pass to complete. First pass to determine where the bits should go, second pass to do the actual encode. CRF (constant rate factor), or 'quality' mode is pretty much the 'norm' these days, it uses a constant quality throughout the encode and only needs to do a single pass. Lower numbers equals higher quality|larger file size and thus higher numbers equal smaller file sizes|lower quality. Everyone has their own option on 'best' quality to choose so see for yourself. A good starting point is 20 if your source file|disc is SD (DVD), 22 for HD (BLU-RAY).

The output screen size option is referring to 'maximum' screen sizes. It will not force it to that size, it means it will make sure you don't go over that size. Handbrake (the program behind the scenes that does all the hard work) is pretty good at knowing the correct sizes and will amend as required, have faith.

Anamorphic takes some explaining, by default it will default to 'loose' if the input file is a DVD, else it will default to none for anything else. DON'T use anamorphic for 1080p|720p sources. Read the 'anamorphic' section for more information.

The last three options are video filters. Check out the 'interlacing' section for more information.


.audio

Multiple audio tracks can be selected, cycle through the tracks to select and change your options. You can convert to AC3 or AAC and also pass through (untouched) many different audio input formats. Along with channels and bitrate you can also choose the downmix method, stereo or Dolby Pro-Logic II (recommended) and apply Dynamic Range Compression, which without makes the audio both too quiet (usually in speech) and then too loud (action parts), extremely intolerable in my opinion, I don't want to keep turning the volume up and down when I watch a movie.

The last two audio options will allow you to 'normalise' the audio, bringing it up to its loudest without clipping or you can just force an audio gain of between 3db and 9db if your source is really quiet. Be careful with the last option, you could end up with undesirable results.


.subtitles

As with the audio tracks, you can also select multiple subtitle tracks, of which you can make permanent (actually burned into the video - always there) or selectable, you can turn them on and off. Obviously you can only 'burn-in' one subtitle track, the rest would have to be selectable.


.foreign audio search

This last option is referring to 'forced-subtitles', subtitles that appear even without any subtitles selected. They are shown in movies when someone speaks in a foreign language, they are automatically shown. It may be recommended to use this option for all BLU-RAY and DVD inputs unless you know they don't exist. As with the normal subtitles, you can also select whether to 'burn-in' the forced subtitles or make them selectable. Burning in forced subtitles may be an appropriate option.


.configuration

There are some important options you can select by default from the main screen which are certainly worth noting.

 

These drop down boxes allow you to change the modulus, dvd read access method and lastly, the output frame rate mode. Modulus is a number the screen can divide by, this was more important some years ago with older codecs e.t.c. If you're having problems scanning a disc, change to libdvdREAD (or vice versa) then scan again. Output frame rate can be constant, or variable. Constant is more compatible with devices and media players.

 

Commercial movies (and some MKVs) usually contain multiple chapters. You can preserve the chapter markers if the input has multiple chapters. Some programs required apple compatible media files to have the '.m4v' extension, thus select if required. The last option, 'apply filters........' means if you select any of the filters from the 'options' section: decomb|detelicine|deinterlace they will not get applied unless the source file has been detected as having 'combing' in it. This kind of prevents un-necessary filters being applied when not needed, which obviously slow things down.

There's also an experimental option, 'Intel QSV'. I must say, from my own tests on my two year old i3 laptop, I'm very very impressed. The speed increase compared to using the standard x264 (veryfast) option is impressive. Obviously the quality is not on-par with x264 but probably wouldn't be noticeable on screen in real-time and especially with devices. I always use this option with my iphone and ipad conversions, they still look great and convert much much faster.

 

You obviously need an Intel QSV capable CPU (i3|i5|i7) to use this option. Make sure you have the latest graphics drivers installed (go to Intel). Higher CPUs will have more capabilities, again, drivers are important. Lastly, this option is experimental, if problems occur, try again without the QSV option checked.