Transcode video in Debian Linux using HandBrake

If you are looking for a transcoder that is free, open source and cross-platform and perfectly converts your regular media files from one format to another, HandBrake is the right solution for you. The software was originally developed by Eric Petit, aka titer, in 2003 for the sole purpose of ripping DVD media onto storage devices. Since then, the software has undergone many changes to become an efficient solution for converting your multimedia formats. The software uses third party libraries such as libvpx, FFmpeg and x265 and allows transcoding functionality on Linux, macOS and Windows.

Here are a few features of Handbrake things that will help you choose it from the competition:

  • Handbrake can convert almost all video formats to MP4 and MKV
  • This will allow you to resize and crop the video according to your requirements.
  • You can repair low quality videos for better graphics
  • This will help you in eliminating combing artifacts that are commonly caused by telcin and weave.
  • Handbrake provides support for downmix or matrix stereo surround
  • It supports adjusting volume levels and dynamic range for some selective audio formats.
  • It preserves subtitles and also allows you to add / remove subtitles stored as text
  • You may skip unwanted audio conversion for certain audio formats
  • This allows you to make small videos instead of the original ones so that they take up less space in your storage.

In this article, we will list two ways to install Handbrake transcoder on Debian system; one is through the GUI and the other is through the Debian command line, terminal.

We have followed the commands and procedures mentioned in this article on a Debian 10 Buster system.

Install handbrake via Debian Software Manager (UI)

For someone who doesn’t want to open the command line a lot, installing the software present in the official Debian repository through the user interface is very easy. From the Actions toolbar on the Debian desktop, click the Software icon.

In the next view, click on the search icon and type Handbrake in the search bar. Search results will list the handbrake entry as follows:

Finding the handbrake

Select the Handbrake package that suits your needs from the search results. The following dialog will appear:

Handbrake Video Transcoder

Click the Install button to begin the installation process. The next authentication dialog will show you the option to provide your authentication credentials, since only an authorized user can install software on Debian.

Authenticate as administrator

Enter your password and click the Authentication button. The installation process will then begin, displaying a progress bar as follows.

Installing the software

Then HandBrake will be installed on your system and after successful installation you will receive the following message:

Installation of the handbrake was successful

In the above dialog, you can run HandBrake directly and even uninstall it immediately for whatever reason.

You can launch HandBrake through the user interface at any time by entering HandBrake in the Application Launcher search, or access it directly from the application list.

Hand brake icon

This is how the HandBrake interface will look like:

Transcode video with HandBrake

Install HandBrake via command line

Open the Debian command line, Terminal, by searching in the Application Launcher as follows:

Debian terminal

You can access the Application Launcher via the Super / Windows key on your keyboard.

Enter the following command to update the list of available packages:

$ sudo apt-get update

This command will update your system’s software store index and Internet index so you can install the latest software.

Updating packages

The system will ask you for your password as only an authorized user can add, update, remove and configure software in Debian.

Now enter the following apt-get command to install the latest version of HandBrake:

$ sudo apt-get install handbrake

Install HandBrake

The system will ask you to enter Y / n to confirm the start of the installation procedure. Type Y and then press Enter. The installation process will begin, which may take some time depending on your internet speed.

Then you can start HandBrake by entering the following command in your terminal:

$ handbrake

Start HandBrake

This will launch the HandBrake user interface on your Debian.

Delete via UI

You can uninstall HandBrake through the Debian Software Manager by first searching with the Search button and then clicking the Remove button in the following view:

Delete via UI

A dialog will ask you if you are sure to remove the software from your system. Please click the Uninstall button to uninstall HandBrake. An authentication dialog will appear where you can specify the authentication details for the sudo user, since only an authorized user can uninstall software in Debian. Enter your password and click the Authentication button. The uninstallation process will then begin, removing HandBrake from your system.

Delete via command line

To remove HandBrake from your system, enter the following command as sudo:

$ sudo apt-get remove handbrake

The system will prompt you with the Y / n option to start the uninstall procedure. Please enter Y and press Enter to start. Then HandBrake will be removed from your system.

Transcode video in Debian Linux using HandBrake

In this article, you can install the multifunctional Handbrake transcoder through both the GUI and the Debian command line. After reading this article, you can also uninstall the software when you no longer need it. You now have a cross-platform media conversion software that you can add to your list of most used media tools.

Transcode video in Debian Linux using HandBrake