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Handbrake is an open-sourced multi-platform video transcorder.  Whew, say that three times really fast!

Translations:

  1. Open Sourced = FREE – Hooray!  Free programs that work well are always good in my books!
  2. Multi-Platform = works with Mac, Windows, & Linux
  3. Video Transcorder = for working with videos

So here’s the deal: Handbrake uses any DVD-like source: VIDEO_TS folder, DVD image or real DVD, as well as most any multimedia file it can read and decode, and it turns around and outputs MP4, MKV, AVI or OGM files, MPEG-4, H.264, or Theora videos, and even AAC, MP3, Vorbis or AC-3 pass-through audios.  Wow!  Can you believe it’s actually free?!?

Here’s an example of how I’ve used Handbrake: My mom had gotten a whole bunch of our old family movies converted from their projector rolls onto 2 DVDs.  Both DVDs were the type that when you put them into your machine, a strange window with a couple of thumbnails shows up on the screen, you have to choose a thumbnail, and then the entire thing starts playing from start to finish.  No menu, no chapters, just plain and simple.  I figured that’s all well enough, the conversion was cheap and I now had our old movies on DVD.  I have a nifty program on my computer that can create/edit movies so that we can make pretty looking DVDs (see a previous blog post that I’ve written all about converting old movies to DVD), but I needed to import these plain DVDs into my computer first, and they had to be in some kind of a useable format.  How to get them into the right format so that I could edit them myself?

That’s when I discovered Handbrake – all I had to do was point it to the plain DVD as the source, choose which format I wanted, wait about a half an hour or so, and voila!  There was the entire DVD ready for me to chop and dice and mix up however my little heart desired!

Since then my Handbrake application has been invaluable, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone.