Originally Posted by btn
I didn't create them specifically to play on a iphone. And they play on all my other devices and computers.
And I will blame the device for being way too fickle about the specs your
mp4's need to be in order to play back. Seems like an excuse for poor software to me.
Well, considering the Nook Color is primarily designed to be an eBook reader and Barnes & Noble basically included video playback capability as almost an afterthought aka "BONUS"
I think you're perhaps expecting too much.
Alas, it works just fine. It's capable of playing back h.264 encoded files with Baseline profile streams and that's that. It's called Baseline
for a reason - it offers the widest possible compatibility across the broadest possible range of playback devices. iPod touchs, iPads, iPhones, those offer better compatibility with the High profile (and even Simple) in h.264 because those devices are designed for media playback in the first place which the Nook Color isn't.
The fact that it CAN play these videos is remarkable, period. Is there another eBook reader on the market today with a 7" IPS 1024x600 LCD panel and h.264 capable media playback?
Grain is a good thing, believe it or not. If the original source material appeared to have grain that's also a good thing - grain typically means the original footage was shot on film, not video so it is pretty high quality. The fact that you can see grain means the encode is pretty high quality itself.
If by grain you mean pixelation or artifacts in the resulting encode, then yes, that can be a result of too low of a bitrate. HandBrake by default uses the CRF type encoding which is somewhat new and replaces the old 2-pass methodology which, in years past, would do a first pass just scanning the video to find somewhat optimal bitrates to encode each frame of the file, and then use that information to do a second pass with more optimization. Result: encodes took twice as long, literally.
The new CRF system - for Constant Rate Factor - provides near 2-pass results in a single pass. Believe me, the guys that created the x264 encoder that's at the heart of HandBrake have been doing extensive work in video and psychovisual-perception encoding (fancy words that basically mean really complicated mathematical processing) to get the high quality results HandBrake is capable of these days.
Those people have worked on the presets and the CRF settings for a very long time with hundreds of thousands of test encodes so, no offense to anyone but, when it comes to "set it and forget it" encoding, the defaults in HandBrake will give you nearly the best encodes capable for any given source material. You might
be able to tweak a few aspects of some particular video types (high motion, low motion, etc) and get some quality improvements but the basic gist of it is the CRF setting of 20 is the defacto standard and you're not going to do much better.
Anyway, whatever source material you have, the CRF 20 setting will offer the best tradeoff in terms of performance (how fast it'll encode) and quality without needing to muck around with settings or the command line stuff on the Advanced tab. As I said, those developers of x264 and HandBrake didn't put in all that time creating those profiles and presets for people to use if they didn't feel they're going to provide the best encodes possible with the simplest path to creating them.
I created those clips I've posted with basically 3 clicks: select the source file/material, choose the preset (and adjust it for a given clip), and start the encode. Can't get much simpler than that.