Monday, January 02, 2012

How to encode videos for Android using Handbrake

Nothing like a few favorite videos in your Android device for those occasions when you've nothing better to do with yourself.

If you haven't already, install Handbrake. It's simple to use and multi-platform. Non-Linux users can get their installer from the official site.

This guide is based on this wonderful post which also contains instructions for using software other than Handbrake for encoding purposes. Please head there if you're interested in knowing other options.

Encoding a video with Handbrake: Easy as 1-2-3
 Encoding videos with Handbrake really can't be simpler. Here's the essentials:
  1. Pick a source. This is the original video file you want to make into something better suited to a mobile device.
  2. Pick a profile. On the right hand side, there's a pane with various preset profiles you can choose from. It makes life a lot simpler when you're just starting out. I picked the 'Android High' profile. The resolution settings seem to fit my Desire HD better.
  3. Click the Start button, and wait for the encode to finish.
And that's all you need really. Encode a video in 3 steps. How much easier can it get?


Unfortunately, Handbrake doesn't seem to handle softsubs properly at this time. Either that, or it's the video player on Android.

One way to get around that is to embed the subtitles directly into the video stream. This'll make the subtitles a permanent part of the video though just like VCDs used to do. You'll want to keep the original video for archival purposes.

Adding subtitles is simple too
It's just an extra 2 steps to add in the subtitles.
  1. Add the softsubs into the video in the subtitles tab.
  2. Enable Burned In option for the subtitle.

Of course, be sure to do this before step 3 of the preceeding section.

Now it's just the wait for your video to finish encoding...