If you ever wanted to deliver the best possible scheduled stream for your viewers then you should definitely take a look at HandBrake software. It's a free cross-platform tool that allows you to compress videos without losing much quality and prepare a video file that will both look good, and stream well.

Important: In this article, you will learn how to prepare a file for Facebook streaming, but the principle is common for all platforms - just keep in mind their streaming guidelines. You can find the best-recommended setting for different platforms here.

Setting up HandBrake

HandBrake main page

1. Navigate to the download page, and select the platform you're using to get the distributive for you:

Download HandBrake

2. After installing the app, drag the file you'd like to stream to the app or click the menu on the left to convert a whole folder or a single file:

Source selection

3. After your file is selected, you'll see the basic app window:

HandBrake app window

4. To start off, select a Preset from the list. This will be your basics, which you can later adjust to get the perfect look and size of your file. In this article, you will learn how to prepare a file for Facebook streaming, but the principle is common for all platforms - just keep in mind their streaming guidelines. Facebook needs to be streamed to in 720p, 30 FPS, so we'll take this preset as a basis from Presets - General - Fast 720p30:

HandBrake presets settings

5. Next, in the summary section of the app optimize the file for web streaming:

HandBrake video format settings

6. Switch to the Dimensions tab, and select the resolution of your choice. Always keep in mind the guidelines of platforms the video will be streamed to. In our example, 1280x720 is already selected to fit Facebook, but you may want to select 960x540 for Periscope, or 1920x1080 for the majority of platforms if you're transcoding a 4k UltraHD footage:

HandBrake settings dimensions tab

7. Next, in the Video tab select the framerate (FPS) of your video. In most cases, FPS 30 is preferred, but some platforms allow you to playback 60 fps streams just fine, so select the best FPS value for your target platforms. In the case of Facebook it will be 30:

HandBrake settings video tab

8. It is important to select Constant Framerate afterward:

HandBrake constant framerate option

9. You can then select Encoder Level. If you are not familiar with this parameter, just leave it on Auto, and the best value for your resolution will be selected:

HandBrake encoder level

10. Next, on the right side of the Video tab, switch from the Constant Quality option to the Average Bitrate, then select the bitrate for your target platforms. Some platforms, like Periscope (which requires a bitrate of 800 kbit/s), will struggle with higher video bitrates, while others won't bother getting 12 Mbit streams. In the case of Facebook, 4000 kbit/s is the maximum recommended value, and the other platforms, like Twitch and YouTube, will work with this bitrate just fine too:

HandBrake average bitrate

11. Next goes one of the most important parameters in the whole encoding process - the time your PC will spend on compression. The longer you'll let it work on the file, the better the quality will be. To get a file fast, switch Encoder Preset to Veryfast - it's the least recommended preset for a decent quality, and it will encode in almost real-time; to get the best quality with lower bitrates, set Encoder Preset to Medium or slower values, but remember that encoding may take much longer than the duration of your video with it. Normally the slower preset is, the better:

HandBrake video settings

12. To add the final touch to the great video, we need to add an Extra Option for the encoder. Get the FPS value you've set at Step 7, and multiply it by 2. In our case we have FPS = 30, so we need to set the keyframe interval every 2 seconds, which is equal to every 60 frames. In the case of 60 FPS video keyint should be 120. Let's insert keyint value for our 30 FPS video next:

HandBrake keyint extra option

Note: Even though the keyframe interval should be set to 2 seconds in most cases, it may be slightly off in the end file depending on the file duration. Shorter videos may have a bigger difference with the desired keyint, but it shouldn't affect the performance of Restream Events or destination platforms in general.

13. Now we're ready to specify the name of our desired file. Hit the Browse button in the bottom right part of the window, and select your file's destination:

HandBrake save as button

14. Now, when you are finished, press the Start Encode button in the top part of the window:

Start encoding in HandBrake

15. Your encoding will take some time depending on the values of Resolution, FPS, and Encoder Preset. You will be able to see its status in the bottom part of the window:

Video encoding status

16. If you want to save this set of parameters, you can do this by accessing Presets - Set Current as Default. This will help you to save some time if you will use this preset often.

Handbrake setting preset as default

17. After the file is ready, you can upload it to Restream for further use. You can read more here.

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