One-pass Constant Bit Rate, or two-pass Variable Bit Rate?
All the other settings are the default.
VBR, 1 Pass
Hmm... why only 1 pass with VBR?
Have you tried 2 pass to see if it is better?
I have not tried 2 pass.
What does the 2nd pass do?
My understanding of "Max Bitrate" is that is can be helpful IF your source video had a high color depth, such as 10-bit or 12-bit video, or a lot of graphics. For regular video that started as 8-bit, then Max Depth will not help. Rather, you will want to check the box for "Max Render Quality" as this helps with the downscale quality from HD to SD.
As for 2-Pass VBR encoding, the first pass analyzes the content of the video for motion and complexity, so that it can allocate the bitrates for various scenes accordingly when it does the actual encode on the second pass. This takes longer, but should yield better results. It encodes more efficiently to squeeze the most quality possible out of the video.
Safe Harbor Computers
I am curious about bit rate and how that relates to the subject matter.
If you are shooting a football game on a bright sunny day that should require a high bit rate as opposed to a wedding ceremony in a poorly lit church.
If you shot and processed to DVD an hour of the football game it will take up more room on the DVD than an hour of the wedding ceremony with a variable bit rate?
My $.03 (inflation, ya know?) is that you want VBR for the football game, since VBR was designed (as far as I know) for fast motion