A COMPARISON OF "MPEG Streamclip" (MPS) and "Hand Brake" (HB):
After hundreds of tests from VOB files, parametered using HB's profuse help menus, forums and links, I could NEVER reach the same quality as with MPS whose Multiplepass and B-Frames options were selected. This was aiming at the same quality level (70 % = almost perfect) for both HB and MPS.
MPS systematically provided better color rendition and contrast, whatever HB's parameters were. All was tested on 4 readers : MpegStreamClip, Movist, VLC and NicePlayer.
For comparable results, always with an advantage for MPS, it seemed that HB was a bit slower.
Moreover, MPS can (almost always) repair the timecode ruptures that are frequent and hang HB (sometimes causing an overflow of the disk space, because HB's log becomes enormous or its first pass stores endless information). On other occasions HB could also hang my Mac, forcing me to reboot, a most seldom thing on a MacBookPro with OSX 10.6.5 and 2G memory that never happened with MPS.
Finally, while my tests of HB often ended with unreadable files (typically when the Pyramidal B-Frames or the 8x8 BCT options were checked), MPS never produced an unreadable file.
Therefore, I now use systematically MPS and I recommend it.
HOWEVER, HB has some advantages over MPS:
- it does a better job when there are blocks of pixels. It can mould them into a finer grain, so that no block is visible anymore. For example, the 7 Gb of the DVD "The deer hunter" contains many scenes where blocks of pixels are visible. Using HB, they are no longer visible. However, it comes at the expense of a small contrast loss (a frequent and limited drawback of HB)
- HB can read and code.WMV files, while MPS is not able to read more than 3 minutes unless a complementary encoder is paid (Flip4Mac ?)
- HB has a good batch processing function. MPS does not offer this most useful possibility.
- HB might beat MPS when shorter files are aimed at. I did not test this hypothesis, because I aimed at the same quality as the original (or better quality when blocks of pixels where bothering in the original DVD).
- HB provides a good management of the subtitles. MPS is a disaster in this regard.
To sum, although HB should be able to provide the same quality as MMPS, provided that its parameters are "equivalent" to those (unknown) of MPS, I could never find this eventual HB parametering. MPS provides better results (contrast, colors, details) in a slightly shorter time than HB and is much more simple and safer to use.
If you are looking for quality and are ready to spend an average 3 to 4 hours per movie, without a batch capacity and loosing the subtitles, MPS is definitely the right application.
If you have doubts, I suggest that you buy this movie "City of Angels", with Meg Ryan and Nick Cage and test the scene of the sunset on the beach (6th minute) with MPS and HB, you will see...