1. Loading the Source
The first thing we do is to load the input video into StaxRip. From the "Source" section, use the open button to load one of more files. The sample file I will be using is a DVD VOB file.
StaxRip will load the file and at the same time process it to make it ready for encoding (this includes demultiplexing the audio, creating the D2V file, auto cropping, etc...). Once loaded, the "Source" section changes to display details about the loaded video.
2. Selecting the Profile
The next thing we need to do is to select which encoding profile we are going to use. Profiles are pre-saved encoding configurations that we can load and use for encoding, without having to re-configure the settings each time we start the program. To select a profile, go to the "Profile" menu, "Encoder" -> "x264" -> "More" -> select a profile here
Selecting the right profile is quite important, as it will determine the encoding speed and the output quality. I will also go through some of the recommended profiles here. To see the full description for each profile, you should head on to the official forum thread
for these profiles (produced by Sharktooth).
If you require compatibility with standalone hardware, you should have a look at the "PD" (Portable Device) profiles, available for iPods, PSPs and even Xboxes. You should also look at either the "CE-QuickTime" or "CE-Baseline" profiles, as these offer Apple QuickTime compatibility (the "Baseline" profile being the most compatible).
If quality is what you are after, and you don't mind the encoding speed, have a look at the "HQ" profiles.
If you don't care about quality and just want the fastest encoding time, then look at the "1P-Maxspeed" profile, which can be useful for real-time video capturing.
Lastly, if you are encoding animated content (eg. anime), use the "AE" profiles.
3. Select Container
The next step involves selecting the container. While we are using H.264 as the video compression, the container can actually be AVI, MKV, MP4, DivX or even the Sony PSP's PMP format. It really is a personal preference thing (although using DivX when the format isn't DivX compatible may be strange), but for H.264 video, the most common container format is MP4, so this is what I will use in this case.
4. Codec Configuration
This step involves configuring the x264 encoder. Technically, we can skip this step because the selected profile should already have set all the options correctly. But we may need to modify at least one setting (the "Loop filter" setting), and there are always some settings you can tweak yourself (eg. the "Input/Output -> Threads" setting if you have a dual core and/or hyperthreaded CPU). If you like this kind of tweaking, please have a look at our x264 Options Explained Guide
for information regarding every setting that can be accessed through StaxRip.
To modify the codec setting, click on the "Codec Configuration" option.
From the official forum thread for this profile, it is recommended that the "Loop Filter" setting be set to 0:0 for movies, and as the clip I'm encoding is clip from a movie, I will change the "Loop Filter" setting to 0:0 (Alpha = 0; Beta = 0).
Again, please consult the x264 Options Explained Guide
if you want to change more settings (and beware that compatibility may be affected if you deviate from a profile too much).
5. Cropping Configuration (optional)
When StaxRip loaded the source file, cropping has already been performed, so this step is optional. You can have a look at the cropping results by pressing the "F4" key or going to the "View" menu and selecting the "Crop" item. This opens the cropping tool.
Assuming you are familiar with cropping (go to a bright scene and removing the black bars, if any), I'll describe what the cropping tool shows. The light blue
bar shows the currently selected side of the picture that you are cropping, while the white bar shows the cropped area. The screenshot above shows that the top and bottom of the picture has been cropped, but the sides remain unchanged. You can adjust the crop by clicking on the white area and dragging it.
Once you are satisfied with the cropping, press the "Close" button to close the cropping window.
6. Audio Configuration
When the source was loaded, the audio from the source was demuxed and loaded into the "Audio Configuration" section. Here, you can adjust the compression/encoding settings for the audio, as well as add new audio tracks.
(screenshot has been modified to fit this article)
Clicking on the button to the right audio track (marked in red above) will allow you to select which compress codec to use. Typically, H.264 clips using MP4 containers tend to have AAC encoded audio, as it is more efficient than MP3. Also, if the audio track has 5.1 channels, AAC supports 5.1 channel encoding as well (which is what I have selected).