HandBrake is a free program that can be used to compress and prepare MP4 videos for upload to Vimeo. It can be downloaded for Windows or Mac here.
If you have a question about using HandBrake, or are running into an error, please check out HandBrake's Support FAQ.
Please use the following instructions when transcoding your video with HandBrake:
The Summary tab
- When you open HandBrake, you will be automatically prompted to select your source file. This is the original file you are looking to compress. If you accidentally bypass this step, you can also access the file selection menu by clicking File > Open Source, or by clicking the "Open source" button in the upper left-hand corner of the application.
- Select the file that you want to work with, then click "Open." HandBrake will scan the source file, which may take several seconds.
- Once your file is ready to go, Handbrake will automatically load in some default information:
Title, Angle, Range, Chapters
Handbrake will automatically load this information from your original file. Leave as-is
Handbrake will automatically choose an encoding preset, but once you begin editing, it will automatically adjust the default to “Modified”. You can ignore this section for now.
Set to MP4 File (the default). Web optimized, IPod 5G support, and Align A/V start should remain unchecked.
This is the name and destination path of your output file. You can enter a new file name or path manually, or select “Browse” to choose a new destination.
Now for the fun part, customizing your compression settings!
(Note: all screenshots were taken from the Mac version of Handbrake, however the same options also translate to the Windows version)
The Dimensions tab
(Values marked with a blue star will vary depending on your source file)
|Storage size/ Display Size||
Default. These values should default to your source file's original dimensions.
|Keep aspect ratio||
Default. Should be 1 x 1
The Filters tab
*If you are de-interlacing your video (as described below), you can check this option to detect interlaced frames of video.
Off*If your source file is interlaced you can select Yadif but we only recommend this if you are comfortable using Handbrake. If you are not sure what type of source you have, it’s best to choose Off. You can learn more about deinterlacing with Handbrake here.
Keep "Grayscale" unchecked
(unless you want to convert your video to black & white)
0°, Keep "Flip" unchecked
*If your source file is upside down, you can experiment with other values to fix it.
*If your source footage is low quality, you may want to enable this feature to remove blocking artifacts. Use with caution.
The Video tab
(Values marked with a blue star will vary depending on your source file.)
*If your video is HDR or above 4K (e.g 5K, 8K, etc), we recommend using H.265 (x265)
Same as source
*Although rare, there are some situations where you'll want to choose a frame rate different from the source:
If the frame rate of your file is higher than 60 FPS: Choose a factor of your frame rate that is between 15-60 FPS. For example, if your frame rate is 100 FPS, choose 60 FPS.
If your frame rate is lower than 15 FPS: Choose a multiple of your frame rate that is between 15-30 FPS. For example, if your frame rate is 8 FPS, choose 16 FPS.
|Variable / Constant Framerate||
Select Average Bitrate (kbps). Then, enter the average bitrate appropriate to your video file:
SD: 2000-5000 kbps
*These data rates are suggested for average video files. If your video contains below average visual complexity (such as a slideshow presentation), choose a lower data rate. If your video contains above average visual complexity (such as a video with high levels of grain), increase the data rate.
💡Remember: Lower data rates lead to smaller file sizes and faster uploads! Experiment to pick the lowest data rate that yields acceptable image quality.
|Turbo First Pass||
The Audio tab
Select the audio track you'd like to include in your video file (if you only have one track, you can keep as the default). Or select None if you do not want to include audio in this video file.
⚠️Remember: Multiple audio tracks are not supported on Vimeo. If the extraneous audio tracks do not contain any audio information, you can simply select the one you wish to include in your final output.However, if your original file contains multiple audio tracks, you’ll need to merge all tracks before using Handbrake. We recommend using an editor like Audacity or FFmpeg.
Stereo (if available), otherwise Mono
320 (or highest available)
Leave as-is (0)
Leave as-is (0)
Skip the "Subtitles" and "Chapters" tabs. These aren't required for the average Vimeo video.
That wraps up compression, you’re now ready to export!
- Click the "Start" button in the upper left-hand corner of the application to begin the encoding process.
As a last step, view your finished, compressed, file to make sure it looks and sounds correct — then upload it to Vimeo here.
Having trouble with upload? Please visit this troubleshooting guide.
If you have a specific questions about HandBrake’s encoding options, or you are running into an error, please check out HandBrake's Support FAQ.