Application highlights: Open source video codec handshake

Introduction: HandBrake is a free open source video conversion tool, very useful. Let’s see what its main features are and how to use them to convert videos from one format to another.

HandBrake: open source video transcoder

HandBrake is a very useful tool to help you convert videos from one format to some widely supported codecs (.mp4 / .m4v / .mkv / .webm)

It can support any video format and help you convert. In addition, you have a number of features to customize the video properties when converting.

If you are looking for an alternative to Format Factory, then this is the best option.

I will highlight some key features to help you learn more.


Features of Handbrake

When you start using video transcoders, you will find many small features for video conversion. However, here I will highlight important information you need to know about HandBrake:

Video conversion presets

Handbrake presetHandbrake preset

Suppose you want to convert a full HD video to play on a mobile device originally tailored for desktop viewing. What would you do?

Will you test various sizes and switch back and forth to get the perfect mobile port? Or would you prefer to have predefined settings for such conversions?

If you choose a preset, you simply select the target device (or device type) from the list of available presets.

It even has presets for PS4 Pro (4K) and Discord. So you can expect a whole bunch of presets available.

Input source support

Unless the file has some kind of copy protection, HandBrake can help you with the conversion. Even if you use Ultra HD Blu-ray discs as the source without copyright protection, there will be no problems.

All available video encoding formats work as input source files.

Basic video operations

Handbrake screenshotHandBrake screenshot

In addition to the video conversion function, it allows you to adjust the video to suit your requirements.

You can change the size, crop, add filters, change the frame rate setting and more.

If that’s not enough, you can also add subtitles and chapter markers.

Live video preview

This may not be a big deal-but I haven’t seen any video converter tools that have video preview and can convert / adjust videos. It may come in handy for specific people.

Install HandBrake on Ubuntu and other Linux distributions

HandBrake is a cross-platform application that you can install on all different platforms, such as Linux, macOS, and Windows. Just go to the heir’s website and download from there.

Download HandBrake for any platform

On FOSS, our focus is on Linux, so I will show the steps to install it on Linux.

Install HandBrake on Ubuntu

HandBrake is available in Ubuntu’s universe repository. If it is enabled, you should find it in Software Center. Just search for the name and install from there.

HandBrake in Ubuntu Software CenterHandBrake in Ubuntu Software Center

You can also install HandBrake using the apt or apt-get command using the terminal:

sudo apt-get install handbrake 

However, the Software Center may have an older version. If you want to install the latest version of HandBrake on Ubuntu and other Ubuntu-based distributions, you can use its official PPA. It is best to uninstall any existing version of HandBrake beforehand.

sudo apt remove handbrake
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:stebbins/handbrake-releases
sudo apt update
sudo apt install handbrake-gtk

You can learn more about using PPA here. If you need to uninstall HandBrake installed via PPA, it will help you remove PPA.

If you want to install the CLI version of Handbrake, just use the following command:

sudo apt install handbrake-cli

Honestly, HandBrake should be used as a GUI application. If the command line is needed, you can always use the more powerful ffmpeg, and HandBrake always uses it below it.

Install HandBrake on other Linux distributions

HandBrake is one of the popular Linux software. HandBrake should be available in the official repositories of almost all Linux distributions.

Just use your distribution’s software center or package manager to install HandBrake.

But again, your distribution may not have the latest version of HandBrale. So if you want to install the latest version, you can try to install the available Flatpak packages. If you’re not sure how to use Flatpak, see our guide on using Flatpak on Linux.


wrap up

A free open source video conversion tool to get the job done. I am personally satisfied with it.

If you use HandBrake extensively, please mention at least one of your favorite features.

If you use other applications to convert the video format, please share with us in the comments.