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Thread: Compressing Movies - Do You Have Codec Preferences?

  1. Compressing Movies - Do You Have Codec Preferences?

    I was super close to taking the plunge and buying a bunch of digital shows/movies on some store/locker site like Amazon Instant Video, Google Play, Vudu, etc... but after looking a bit more closely at the Terms of Service for these sites and subsequently reading about some rights revocation horror stories I decided that I wasn't comfortable throwing money into a pit of DRM and as a result have decided to simply rip my own discs instead.

    I don't and won't have the storage capacity to hold all of my stuff uncompressed, though, as ideal as that would be. And actually I'm looking at compressing pretty heavily, but even so I figure I can beat out the video quality of these streaming sites.

    Before I take the (massive amount of) time required to do this for all of my movies, though, I'm trying to settle on codecs, settings, and parameters to hit that sweet spot between quality, compatibility, and low file size.

    I'm somewhat educated about this stuff, so I'm not really looking for information per se, but I was curious to know if you guys have preferences when it comes to video and audio codecs, as I am still trying to crystalize my own preferences. And preference is what it all really boils down to.

    So, do you guys have any?

    For a container I've already settled on using MKV over MP4. It's a sacrifice in compatibility but a gain in versatility, and basically a requirement if I want to do soft (not burned in) subtitles correctly. For my situation, I'm basically choosing between H.264 and H.265 for video, and AC3 and AAC for audio. I know that including multiple audio streams is a thing, but again, I'm compressing in the first place in order to get my file size down and I'd like it as low as is reasonably possible without making too many compromises. As a rough summary, some of the pros and cons of each as I see it:

    H.264 Video
    + Mature
    + High compatibility
    + Generally higher video quality compared to H.265
    + Low computing power required for decoding/playback
    + Relatively quick encoding
    - Larger file size compared to H.265 (and isn't this the whole point of compressing in the first place?)
    - Perhaps not as "future-proof" (not an immediate concern)

    H.265 Video
    + Super low file size
    + The way of the future, right?
    - Less fine detail preserved in the image
    - Super long encoding times vs. H.264
    - Current compatibility is a bit more limited (though this will continue to improve with a bit of time)
    - Higher computational requirements for decoding/playback

    AC3 Audio
    + Mature
    + Generally highest compatibility with home theater hardware
    + Easily conveys 5.1+ channel audio
    + Many discs have a profesionally-compressed AC3 audio track inherent
    - Poorer sound quality vs. AAC, especially at low bitrates
    - Google and Apple seem to not like it (relevant) and some AC3 streams require on-the-fly transcoding depending on the player
    - Older tech

    AAC Audio
    + Highest efficiency
    + Higher sound quality, particularly vs. AC3 at low bitrates
    + Alternately, lower file size at the same quality vs. AC3
    + Newer tech
    - Stereo only? While AAC can support 5.1+ channels, player compatibility seems very spotty/limited
    - Cannot transmit over S/PDIF

  2. #2
    All my MP4 files have soft subs. What?
    Quote Originally Posted by Fe 26 View Post
    No one uses sigs.

  3. Why don't you have the space for uncompressed? 500 movies at 30gb is 14 terabytes and change. That's within reach now, and surely a laughably small amount of space in the glorious future.

  4. Quote Originally Posted by Josh View Post
    All my MP4 files have soft subs. What?
    Did you create those from BD rips?

    To my understanding it depends on the format of the subtitle track and the device/software being used to play the file as well. MKV seems to be a more versatile container all-around. You can have soft subtitles in an MP4 container, but I believe issues can stem in the case of 1) image-based subtitle formats, such as the PGS format that's found in almost all blu-ray discs, and 2) multiple subtitle tracks in a single MP4 container on some players/devices.

    Basically I'm just saving myself the step of having to demux, convert subtitle formats, and remux in order to maintain a generally compatible file.

    At least, what I've read has led me to that conclusion, but I might not be fully informed.

  5. Quote Originally Posted by cigsthecat View Post
    Why don't you have the space for uncompressed? 500 movies at 30gb is 14 terabytes and change. That's within reach now, and surely a laughably small amount of space in the glorious future.
    I wish! I'm poor, and will probably want to store these on a RAID1 array for redundancy... maybe in the future it will be feasible for me, but I can't afford 28TB of hard drives right now.

  6. #6
    A RAID for movies is kinda overkill. The internet is full of those movies, probably.
    Quote Originally Posted by koda View Post
    Did you create those from BD rips?

    To my understanding it depends on the format of the subtitle track and the device/software being used to play the file as well. MKV seems to be a more versatile container all-around. You can have soft subtitles in an MP4 container, but I believe issues can stem in the case of 1) image-based subtitle formats, such as the PGS format that's found in almost all blu-ray discs, and 2) multiple subtitle tracks in a single MP4 container on some players/devices.

    Basically I'm just saving myself the step of having to demux, convert subtitle formats, and remux in order to maintain a generally compatible file.

    At least, what I've read has led me to that conclusion, but I might not be fully informed.
    Nah, I download everything. It's faster, and someone else has already done all the thinking for me. h264 encoded movies that sit between 10-15 gb are just fine for me.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fe 26 View Post
    No one uses sigs.

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