Why am I having problems playing my MP3s?

Episode 1192

Rick from Placerville, CA

Rick wants to know why his acoustic MP3s skip around. Leo says it could be the software he's using to play them back. Leo says it's weird that it would get better over time, rather than just being from a bad encode. It could also be the software he used to rip the CD with.

The chatroom says that some MP3 players have a check box that says "skip gaps," and the acoustic music could have silent sections in it that causes it. Leo says to try a different player, different medium and look for commonality.

How can I rip my DVDs to a hard drive?


Episode 1099

Joe from Van Nuys, CA

Joe wants to rip his DVD collection and put it on an external hard drive. How big of a hard drive will he need? Leo says that regular DVDs have 4.7 GB of space, if he wants to keep all of the data from the DVD. But if he just wants the movie itself, then it won't take up as much space.

Joe should get Handbrake and VLC Media Client. Then if he encodes the movie and strips out everything else, he'll have a movie at about 1 GB. He could store a lot more movies that way.

How can I capture home movies onto a computer?

Elgato Video Capture Card

Episode 957

Elliot from Agoura, CA

Elliot wants to capture old VHS movies to a computer he plans to buy. He needs to get a capture card for it. Does the processor speed have anything to do with it? Leo says that capture cards have the capability to re-encode as it captures. Unless it's a cheap one and then it may rely on the CPU to do the heavy lifting. Look for one that supports built-in H.264 encoding. That way, the card does the work.

Which video format should I use for my movies?

Episode 881

Wayne from California

Wayne has multiple copies of all his movies, in different video formats -- .MOV, .M4V, .WMV, .AVI, .MP4 -- and is wondering which one he should keep. Leo says it's not that one is better than another, it really depends on how he's encoded them. For example a low quality .M4V will look worse than a high quality .AVI. If all the settings were the same, then Leo would choose to go with H.264, or .M4V files.

Can I use Handbrake to do distributed video rendering on my home network?

Episode 876

Gary from Texas

The software will have to support distributed rendering, and Leo doesn't believe that Handbrake will do this. Apple's Compressor (in the Mac app store) that comes with Final Cut Pro can do this, and higher end pro products will allow the use of multiple machines to speed up the process. Rendering, or transcoding, can be sped up by distributing bits of the render to multiple computers across the network which they call a "render farm".