Step 2: Configuring and Encoding in RipBot264
Start RipBot264. It looks pretty simple now, because this is only the job queue screen. A job is one unique encoding, so RipBot264 supports multiple jobs, which means you can queue them one by one and encode many files overnight or something without human interference. Anyway, click on the "Add" button to add in our first RipBot264 job.
Now the screen looks a bit more complicated, and rather blank (but don't worry, we will fill in the details soon enough). Next the video input box, click on the "..." button to select your input video file(s).
If you are converting from a DVD source, then RipBot264 will only support unencrypted DVD files. If you are using a commercial DVD, you will need to rip the DVD to your hard-drive. Because ripping a commercial DVD may be illegal in your country, we won't cover these steps here.
For DVD sources, the DVD folder (video_ts folder) will contain a lot of files, but you only need to load in the first file in the VOB set that contains the content you want to convert. For example, if you want to convert the main movie, then locate the set of VOB files that are largest in size. For example, I have this DVD folder with 15 VOB sets (VTS_01 to VTS_15). I determined that the VTS_04 set was the largest since it had two files with 0.99 GB (the largest that VOB files can be), with the entire set 3.02 GB in this 4.35 GB folder. So obviously, the VTS_04 set would be the main movie. I would then load the first file in this set (VTS_04_0.VOB) into RipBot264 ... RipBot264 will automatically load the other files in the set for you.
For other sources, simply load in the file.
Regardless of the type of input, RipBot264 will then scan the file and demux the audio (everything will be put into a temp folder). This could take quite a long time depending on the length of the movie, possibly 10 minutes or so for a typical DVD movie, for example. Once the processing is complete, the "Encoding Settings" screen now looks a bit less empty.
Let's go through section by section and explain the settings you need to configure. First up is the audio and video input boxes, which has now been filled with details of your input file. By default, the audio track used will be the one found in your input video file, but you can also load in a separate audio file if you wish. For DVD sources that have multiple language tracks, you might need to use the "..." button next to the audio input box and select a different audio track - they should be in the temp folder that the current loaded audio file (most likely an .ac3 file) is in. What's also interesting is that above the input boxes on the right hand side is a grey box that will list what kind of audio/video format is being inputted. Not very useful, but interesting.
Next up is the video and audio profiles. A profile is a set of encoding settings that will be compatible with certain types of devices. Clicking on the "..." button next to the video profile lets you see the details of the video profile settings (which this beginner's guide won't cover), and even allows you to create/delete profiles. For the purpose of this guide, select the "[ level 4.1 ] HD . BluRay . Consoles" profile. For the audio profile, you again have several choices, but for compatibility, I recommend one of the LC profiles. 96 Kbps should roughly equal a 128 Kbps MP3 file, but for extra quality, select the "AAC-LC 128 Kbps" profile. If your audio input file is 5.1 channels, you will also get some 5.1 channel options. Note that the PS3/Xbox 360 using the MP4 container does not support outputting the full AAC 5.1 channel audio (it will downmix to 2 channels). If you want 5.1 channel audio, then you will have to follow the instructions in our appendix to make a M2TS file - if this is what you want to do, select one of the 5.1 channel profiles here. Otherwise, select one of the LC 2.0 channel profiles.
The next set of boxes show the duration/FPS information for the loaded files. Nothing to change here except making sure the FPS and duration matches your inputs. If it doesn't, then your output might not be 100% working.
The next set of setting are the most important, as it will determine the output file size and quality. First up, click on the "Properties" button. The new window that opens will let you specify quite a few options, like de-interlacing, crop or resize. If your input video has black bars, and you can use the "Automatically" option under "Crop" to automatically crop out the black bars (which is a good thing to do). RipBot264 will take a while to analyze the video and then automatically give you the crop settings. Resize does exactly what it says, allowing you to resize the video - "Do not resize" is probably what you will be using. Press the ">" button to skip to two further sets of configuration options, but you won't need them in most cases so I won't cover them. The only option that might be slightly useful is on the last screen for "Denoise". If your source is recorded from VHS or something, then it might be useful, otherwise, it will just soften your picture too much. Press "OK" to close this window.
Back to the main "Encoding Settings" screen, to the left of the "Properties" button is what we will configure next. There are two video encoding mode options, "CQ" (constant quantizer) and "CRF" (Constant Rate Factor). The higher the CRF, the lower the file size/quality. A CRF of 18 will give you almost lossless quality (100% quality), while a CRF of "22" (default) will look quite good indeed. The only problem with using this is that the file size is not predictable, as the encoding is based on a quality factor, not a file size factor. To have a predictable file size, use the "2-Pass" option instead - a new "Lock Size" option will show up under the "Output" text box - check the "Lock Size" check box and enter in the file size you want for the output file (includes audio track). Alternatively, if you don't check the "Lock Size" box, you can specify a bit-rate to use in Kbps. For a 720p HD video file, a minimum Kbps of 5000 is required for decent quality.
For the audio equivalent, there is a "Normalize" option which will "even out" the audio volume to give you a more constant volume. If you have a high quality sound system, leave this option to "Off" to here the full dynamic range. There is also an option to specify what RipBot264 should do if the audio and video lengths do not match (cut of the audio, or stretch or do nothing).
We're nearly done. You can also select a subtitle file to load. RipBot264 will include this SRT subtitle file with the encoding, as a selectable subtitle file (ie. you can turn it on and off is the player supports subtitle files). Neither the PS3 nor the Xbox 360 supports this type of subtitle files so it's all a bit pointless to include them.
And finally, choose where you want to output the file and the output format. The PS3 and Xbox 360 only supports the MP4 container, and not the MKV container, so select MP4 here. Press the "Done" button to close and save these encoding settings and return to the job queue screen.
You can see that a job has been created from the encoding settings we just configured. We can start the encoding now by pressing the "Start" button, or we can add in more jobs by repeating the above instructions.
When RipBot264 finishes encoding your job, you will have a MP4 file ready to play on your computer and on the PS3/Xbox 360. If you want to play the file on your Xbox 360, please follow the instructions on this page. The PS3 equivalent of the instructions can be found here.
(Unless you want to read on about turning this MP4 file into a M2TS file for playback on your PS3, with the added advantage of having no file size limit and AC3 5.1 audio)