Creating a library using Handbrake and MetaX

    This review will focus on how you can create your own media library. We will consider the process of video conversion and media library design using programs such as Handbrake , MetaX and Apple iTunes .

    An example will show the process of converting a DVD-Rip movie to MP4 format for viewing on devices such as: Apple TV , iPhone and iPod Touch . Also, a free MetaX application will be considered , which is designed to add tags to files in MP4 format and its derivatives.

    At home, I use Apple MacBook 13 " with the operating system the Mac OS the X 10.6.2 . However, many users of Windows or Linux review may also be useful, as the program Handbrake is a free application with open source ( the Open the Source ) and is available for these operating systems, such as: Mac OS X , Windows XP / Vista / Windows 7 , of Ubuntu and the Fedora . The program MetaX is also available for users of Windows and Mac OS X, and Linux users can use EasyTAG .

    So, let's start with the most important thing , namely the video conversion process using the Handbrake program , which is a free application designed to convert MPEG video (including DVD-Video) to MPEG-4 video files in MP4 or MKV format .

    Input format:
    • Video : Any DVD-like source: VIDEO_TS folders, DVD image or real DVD (encoded or non-encoded), PAL or NTSC.
    • Audio : AC-3, LPCM or MPEG audio.

    Output format:
    • File format: MP4 and MKV
    • Video : MPEG-4, H.264, or Theora (1 or 2-pass encoding)
    • Audio : AAC, MP3, Vorbis or AC-3 and DTS pass-through (support for encoding multiple tracks)

    Additional features:
    • Chapter Choice (DVD Chapters)
    • Subtitle Support
    • Built-in Bitrate Calculator
    • Resize image
    • Black and white coding

    The current version of the program is 0.9.4:

    Official website of the program:

    Handbrake Setup

    On the General tab, I recommend selecting the Use iPod / iTunes friendly (.m4v) file extension for MP4 option , in the Audio tab, specify the language for the audio. By default, the specified language, if present, will be the first in the list of languages.


    If you use MetaX to add tags to MP4 movies , I recommend that you select the Send file to MetaX option in the General tab . Thus, after successful conversion, you can add a description of the film, tags, etc. into your movie.

    Coding Source Selection

    To select an encoding source, click on the Source button and select a DVD-ROM or file. In this example, I selected the file format MKV . After the program analyzes the structure of the disk / file, it will be possible to specify additional options. For those who do not want to go into the details of the encoding settings, there are many ready-made templates ( Presets ). For example, for iPhone or iPod Touch, you can select the Apple preset -> iPhone & iPod Touch . But I would recommend setting up your settings and saving them as your destination for future use.

    Video Settings:

    • Video Codec : H.264 (x264)
    • Average bitrate (kbps) : 900

    The bitrate value of 900 kbps allows you to comfortably watch a movie not only on iPhone / iPod Touch, but also on Apple TV and even on a MacBook 13. "If you plan to watch the movie only on portable devices, I recommend setting the bitrate to 600 kbps, to save disk space .
    • 2-pass encoding : I recommend choosing the two -pass encoding option

    Screen Resolution Settings:

    To change the resolution settings, select the Picture Settings (⌘⇧P) item in the Window menu . In the window that appears, you can specify the dimensions you need. If you need to create anamorphic video, then you need to set the Anamorphic parameter to Loose . If you will be watching a movie not only on the iPhone / iPod Touch , but also on Apple TV, I recommend setting the width to 640 pixels. Otherwise, you can set the width to 480 pixels, as this will also save disk space. When you click on the Preview button


    You can select the correct value for the screen width and make sure that there are no black bars. In my example, I set the Anamorphic parameter to None , selected the Keep Aspect Ratio option, and set the width to 640 pixels.

    Sound Settings:

    In the Audio tab, you need to specify the audio tracks that will be added to our final file. In addition to the Russian track, I prefer the film to contain the original track in English. Watching movies in the original also contributes to learning English.
    • Audio Codec : AAC (facc)
    • Mixdown : Stereo
    • Samplerate (khz) : Auto
    • Bitrate (kbps) : 160


    For movies, I recommend setting Samplerate and Bitrate to 48 khz and 160 kbps, respectively. For TV shows, it’s most likely worth setting the values ​​to 44 khz and 96 kbps to save disk space.

    Chapter Settings (Chapters):

    Usually DVD movies are divided into chapters. If you wish, you can save these chapters in the final film. To do this, in the Chapters window, select Create chapter markers and specify the correct title for the chapters next to each chapter in the Chapter Title section .



    In the latest version of the program, it became possible to add subtitles using SRT files. I really missed this option in the previous version, so I had to use the iSubtitle program additionally . There are many sites with a collection of subtitles in the SRT format, for example:

    You can download the SRT file to your disk and add it to the convertible movie by clicking on the Add External SRT ... button .


    Well, that’s all, the basic settings are complete and you can start the encoding process. The Handbrake program allows you to encode several movies in turn at once. Usually I use this function and put a few movies overnight coding. To add coding to the queue, after specifying all the settings, click on the Add to Queue button . You can view and start the encoding process of the queue by clicking on the Show Queue button .


    Saving conversion settings:

    The selected settings can be saved by clicking the Toogle Presets button . An additional block with the current templates will be added to the main program window on the right. At the bottom of the block, click on the + button . A window will appear where you can specify the name and description of your template, as well as the option to save resolution sizes Use Picture Size .


    Conversion process:

    You can monitor the conversion process both in the main window and in the Show Queue window or on the Mac OS X Dock itself .


    When the conversion of the entire queue is complete, a dialog box appears.


    If in the program settings you have set the Send file to MetaX option then the MetaX program will automatically open .

    Program MetaX is a free application to add tags to the file format MP4 . Metadata for foreign films can be downloaded automatically from the catalog . In other cases, you will have to edit the tags yourself.

    Current MetaX Version:

    At the very beginning of opening a file in MetaX, a window appears with a choice of the type of video file: TV Show , Music Video or Movie .


    In this case, since we have a regular movie, select the Movie option . Program MetaX automatically try to obtain from the network all necessary tags. However, it is better to add all the necessary information about the film yourself.

    For my library, I fill out the following fields:
    • Title - The name of the film in Russian and the original name of the film
    • Artist (Show) - List of artists
    • Date - Year
    • Genre - Movie Genre
    • Short Description - A short description of the film

    Also be sure to add the cover of the film. This is approximately what the MetaX window looks like with filled in movie information.


    This information can be obtained using sites such as Kinopoisk or IMDb .

    Since MetaX also supports queues, you can immediately add descriptions to several films at once.

    After you have added all the necessary information, you must click on the Write & Share button . After successfully adding the necessary tags to all the films in the queue, a window will appear about the end.


    After that, you can change the file name, for example, for 2009 - Moon.m4v. Now in the system it will look comfortable and beautiful.


    It remains only to add this film to our library. As a library, I use iTunes 9.0.2 , so my library looks something like this:


    After, you can download your movies to iPhone / iPod Touch , to Apple TV or watch from your laptop.

    I hope this review has been helpful to you.

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