“2-Pass encoding really takes up so much more time in converting in HandBrake. It takes so much time – so I wanted to know; does 2-pass encoding really make much of a difference in the quality of the movie? Thanks.”

As one of the most popular video transcoder tools in the world, HandBrake has attracted quite great many customers. As an open source video transcoder, HandBrake could help you convert video files to MP4 or MKV files, and even rip both Blu-rays and DVDs. With disc decryption tools such as libdvdcss for HandBrake, HandBrake could even help you convert copy protected DVD and Blu-ray movies. You can optimize your movie files for different devices, screen sizes, and video resolutions.

Some HandBrake users have reported issues about HandBrake’s 2-pass encoding and 1-pass encoding. In this page, we would like to make a detailed discussion about HandBrake encoding issues.

Part 1: What is 2pass encoding in HandBrake?

Firstly, let’s learn what 2-pass encoding in HandBrake is. Two pass encoding, also known as multi-pass encoding, is a video encoding strategy used to retain the best quality during conversion.

In the first pass of two-pass encoding, the input data from the source clip is analyzed and stored in a log file. In the second pass, the collected data from the first pass is used to achieve the best encoding quality. In video encoding, two-pass encoding is usually controlled by the average bitrate setting or by the bitrate range setting (minimal and maximal allowed bitrate) or by the target video file size setting. The best way to understand why this is used is to think of a movie — when there are shots that are totally, absolutely black, like scene changes, normal 1-pass CBR encoding uses the exact same amount of data to that part as it uses for complex action scene. But by using VBR and multi-pass, encoder “knows” that this piece is OK with lower bitrate and that bitrate can be then used for more complex scenes, thus creating better quality for those scenes that require more bitrate.

Part 2. Difference between 1pass & 2pass encoding

Single-pass encoding analyzes and encodes the data "on the fly" and it is also used in constant bitrate encoding. Single-pass encoding is used when the encoding speed is most important — e.g. for real-time encoding. Single-pass VBR encoding is usually controlled by the fixed quality setting or by the bitrate range (minimum and maximum allowed bitrate) or by the average bitrate setting.

Multi-pass encoding is used when the encoding quality is most important. Multi-pass encoding cannot be used in real-time encoding, live broadcast or live streaming. Multi-pass encoding takes much longer than single-pass encoding, because every pass means one pass through the input data (usually through the whole input file). Multi-pass encoding is used only for VBR encoding, because CBR encoding doesn’t offer any flexibility to change the bitrate. 2-pass encoding is the most common multi-pass encoding. In a video encoding, two-pass encoding is usually controlled by the average bitrate setting or by the bitrate range setting (minimal and maximal allowed bitrate) or by the target video file size setting.

Part 3: Is it worth to do 2pass encoding in HandBrake?

So, is it worth using 2-pass encoding in HandBrake when you try to encode video/Blu-ray/DVD movie files? Actually, this depends on what you want. From the above content, you will learn that when you use 2-pass/multi-pass encoding in HandBrake, the encoding quality means the most to you. If you want the encoding quality to be the best, 2-pass encoding is recommended. But you need to know that, since 2-pass encoding has 2 passes to complete, it will take you much more time to complete the encoding, nearly twice as that of one-pass encoding.

In short, in one-pass encoding the encoding is done in the first pass itself, in case of 2-pass encoding the file is analyzed thoroughly in the first pass and an intermediate file is created. In the second pass the encoder looks up the intermediate file and appropriately allocates bits, the actual encoding takes place in the second pass. 2-pass encoding is usually better than single pass encoding (assuming we are considering the bitrate mode.)

Part 4. Best HandBrake alternative to encode video in efficient way – Leawo Prof. Media

Encoding video files with HandBrake is wonderful, but you always get better choices. Leawo Prof. Media, a wonderful HandBrake alternative, could help you easily encode video, DVD and even Blu-ray movie files efficiently, without too many complicated operations like that of HandBrake.

Compared to HandBrake, Leawo Prof. Media provides more practical and accessible functions. As a media encoder, Leawo Prof. Media enables you to convert and encode Blu-ray/DVD/video files in nearly 6X higher speed as that of HandBrake. What’s more, Leawo Prof. Media doesn’t require extra disc decryption tools like libdvdcss for HandBrake to handle encrypted Blu-ray/DVD movies. This media converter tool even provides you quite useful bonus features like video editor, 2D to 3D converter, parameter adjustment, etc.

Follow the below guide to learn how to use this HandBrake alternative to encode video, DVD and even Blu-ray files. Firstly, download and install Leawo Prof. Media on your computer.

Step 1: Launch Leawo Prof. Media

On Leawo Prof. Media program interface, open “Convert” button on the menu bar to enter the “Convert” module.

Step 2: Add source video files

Under the “Convert” module, you could directly drag and drop source media files, or click “Add Video” button or “Add Blu-ray/DVD” button to browse and load video files or Blu-ray/DVD files respectively from your computer.

Attention: If you are going to load Blu-ray/DVD files, Leawo Prof. Media offers 3 different content loading modes: Full Movie, Main Movie and Custom Mode. Full Movie allows you to import all titles, and Main Movie only imports the longest title by default but allows you to switch, while under Custom Mode you could freely choose any title(s) for loading. Choose the one according to your needs and load source Blu-ray movies.

Step 3: Set output format

Hit the button next to the “Add Photo” button and then click “Change” option to enter the “Profile” panel. Choose output format from “Format” or “Device” group according to your needs. Leawo Prof. Media provides more output video format options than HandBrake does. You could choose MP4, AVI, MKV, MOV, H.265, etc. as output format as you like.

Click the “Edit” option on the drop-down panel next to the “Add Photo” button and then you can adjust the output video and audio parameters like video codec, video bit rate, aspect ratio, resolution, audio codec, sample rate, bit rate, channel, etc. Here you could adjust the bit rate, quality, resolution, audio codec, sample rate, etc. to decide the encoding quality and time you need.  

Step 4: Edit media files if you need

Sometimes you may only need to get one clip from a movie or crop video size to remove black margin. In such case, the built-in editor would help. In each loaded video title, click the “edit” icon to enter the editing panel, where you could trim video length, crop video size, add image or text watermark, adjust video effect, apply 3D effect, remove noise, etc.

Step 5: Set output directory and start converting

Then, back on the main interface, you need to click the green button of “Convert” and then click the “Save to” option to set a directory. Required disk space will be displayed clearly. After that, click the bottom “Convert” button to start converting and encoding video, DVD and Blu-ray movie files with Leawo Prof. Media.  

You could then view the entire converting process on the converting panel. When the conversion completes, you will be able to use the source media files in the way you like.

Actually, Leawo Prof. Media provides you multiple other wonderful solutions to improve you digital entertainment such as converting photos into photo slideshow video, burning video/photos to Blu-ray/DVD, downloading online videos, copying and backing up Blu-ray/DVD movies, converting 2D to 3D, etc.

Part 5. Conclusion

With HandBrake, you could freely convert video, DVD and even Blu-ray movie files to MP4 or MKV files for free. It could even allow you to handle copy-protected Blu-ray/DVD movies once you have disc decryption plugins installed for it. It has been a wonderful choice if you simply want an MP4/MKV file from source video, DVD and Blu-ray movie files. If you desire other features such as more file formats output, no extra plugin installation, some basic media editing features, or even 2D to 3D conversion, Leawo Prof. Media is without doubt a better choice. If offers you more wonderful features and functions to enhance your digital entertainment.

What is 2-pass encoding and difference between 1 pass & 2 pass encoding in HandBrake