I only just noticed that a “snapshot build” of the next version of Handbrake was released last month. There seem to be two major differences – firstly, it can take normal files as input (the previous versions could only read from DVDs). Secondly, you need to have VLC installed if you want to rip DVDs.
But it’s the first point that’s really useful. A lot of my use of ffmpeg from the command line was to enable me to encode many files in one go (typically running overnight). Handbrake has a batch queue, and a good preset system, so it’s easy to build an encoding queue quickly, and let it run.
A quick summary of apps I find essential for editing and converting video.
- EyeTV – for recording DVB broadcasts. OK this one isn’t free, but I’m not aware of any equivalent free app.
- MPEGStreamClip – for editing, and a bit of conversion. It’s editor is much more accurate than EyeTV’s. (Windows version also available)
- VLC – can play a wider range of video formats than anything other app I’ve found. It can also do conversion, and act as a streaming server… all of which requires a much more detailed post sometime. (Windows & Linux versions also available).
- Handbrake – for ripping DVDs and converting to MP4 or DivX. (Windows version also available)
- ffmpeg – general purpose video converter, covered in many of the examples on this site. Also ffmpegX, a Mac GUI for it, although I’ve never really got on very well with that – not sure why, just personal taste probably.
- mplayer – another “play anything” player, and MPlayer OSX. This is one of the few tools which can play the horrible RealMedia format, and can capture Real streams from the web. The other thing I use it for is ripping individual titles from DVDs (more on that another time).