Calculate HandBrake bitrate

handbrake_compSince HandBrake has removed the option to specify target size in the GUI it has been a pain for many users to calculate the bitrate required to get the same size. However, there is still a way to calculate the bitrate to get approximately the same sized output without any other software.

With the target size option in HandBrake GUI removed, how can you calculate the approx. bitrate for a target size?

My custom setting for audio is Encoder: MP3 lame, Bitrate: 128 and I don’t change it most of the time. When compressing a video I use 5 MB per minute which seems to be of good quality to me.

Let’s try the calculation now. For raw video stream:

video size  in kilobits = length in seconds * video bitrate in kilobits
=> video bitrate in kilobits = video size in kilobits / length in seconds
[PS: it is kilobits]

Here’s an example:

I am having a movie file of 422.3 MB (which is irrelevant right now and for good because nautilus file size calculation in simply wrong nowadays) and on length 37.36 minutes (the part after decimal is just seconds). So i want a target output of approx. 38 minutes * 5 MB = 190 MB = 190 * 1024 * 8 kbits = 1556480 kbits. 37.36 minutes = 2256 seconds. So the approximate bitrate I will use will be = 1556480 / 2256 = 690 kbps.
To compensate for audio stream size, use a bitrate around 20 kbps less then that calculated.

In my observation, 600 to 620 kbps for video and 64 kbps for audio give outputs pretty close to 5 MB per minute.

10 thoughts on “Calculate HandBrake bitrate”

  1. Hey thanks for the help. I need some more help of urs.
    I have a 12.102 GB and want to compress it to 8,5 GB. Its an engagement dvd and want to burn it to the 8,5GB disc. Can u please help me how to get that target size using handbrake? Thanks again

  2. hey i visited the site…it is a nice site. thanks for providing information here…i like your blog post too thanks a lot.

  3. Thanks for your ideas.

    Just a comment: I’ve checked it out, and it seems the 0.9.8 (2012071700) version of handbrake is using the video bitrate as the total bitrate. I mean, the “To compensate for audio stream size” seems to be unnecessary. At least, bitrate i’ve used (target Mb * 8 * 1024 / time in secons) produced exactly the desired size, ignoring if I used it with one or two audio tracks.

      1. I think your observation is wrong at least in case of the latest svn versions. See the last line of my post for a close approximation of 5 MB per minute.


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