Differences Between VBR 1 Pass and 2 Pass

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VBR 1 Pass is often known as just VBR. VBR allows a smaller file size as it accommodates the progressive imagery. But it is bigger in terms of VBR 2 Pass.

In VBR Pass 2, the first pass analyses how much bitrate is needed and the second pass renders the video. And hence it needs twice the time to render.

Now that I have given you a small intro for the topics, let’s take a look at the differences between VBR Pass1 and VBR Pass 2.

VBR 1 Pass vs VBR 2 Pass: Quick Comparison Table

Here are some key differences between VBR 1 Pass vs 2 Pass:

DifferencesVBR 1 PassVBR 2 Pass
Render TimeLessMore
File SizeBiggerSmaller
Bitrate OptimizationYesNo
What is VBR? VBR is the abbreviated form of Variable Bit Rate. Variable bit rate (VBR) is an encoding technology used mostly in communications and computers to increase audio quality while reducing file size. The bit rate is continually altered during the encoding process to achieve the VBR, depending on the nature of the audio.

What is the Key Difference Between VBR 1 Pass vs 2 Pass?

I will talk about the key differences between the two types of VBR in this segment. VBR Pass 1 and VBR Pass 2. So let’s begin.

Render Time

As I have said in the intro, in VBR Pass 2, the first pass analyses how much bitrate is needed and the second pass renders the video. And hence it needs twice the time to render.

Therefore, if you are not restricted by the size of the file, but are in need of an edited file pretty quickly, VBR Pass 1 should be your choice. But if the file size is your first priority, you should go with VBR Pass 1.

File Size

As I have mentioned in the comparison table, VBR 2 Pass provides a smaller file, compared to a bigger file of a VBR Pass 1.

VBR Pass 2 is the perfect choice if you want to fit the file on a 700MB DVD disc. But if not, you can easily go for a VBR Pass 1 encoding to save a decent amount of time.

Bitrate Optimization

In the VBR 2 Pass encoding, the first pass is an analysis pass that examines the video content of the program for high motion segments, low motion segments, as well as complexity.

On the second pass, when actually encoding, it uses this analysis data to assign more ‘bits’ to scenes with high complexity motion and fewer ‘bits’ to static scenes with little or little motion.

VBR Pass 1 on the other hand, encodes each scene as it comes by it. Hence, it has less optimization of bits.


With 2 pass VBR, you’ll get better encodes at a little lower datarate than with 1 pass VBR. Both generally deliver superior encodes at far fewer total file sizes than CBR.

2 pass VBR is often not worth the extra time. As they take twice as long as VBR Pass 1. As long as your encodings are set to realistic datarates and you don’t require the absolute shortest feasible encodes.

These are some of the factors that might affect your choice to use either of these encodings. In the end, it mostly comes down to your necessity and personal preference.

Which Encoding Should You Choose?

As I have stated earlier, in the end, it all comes down to personal preference and necessity. Let me brief the topic in detail.

The difference in quality between the encodings isn’t all that noticeable. But yes, technically, VBR 2 Pass will provide better quality than the VBR 1 Pass encoding. But, the difference in quality can hardly be noticed in most cases.

VBR 2 Pass makes the file sizes smaller. So in situations where you have a restriction on the file size and have to fit between a given size. It is the best decision to opt for VBR 2 Pass, in return for a longer render time.

But if you are not bound by such a restriction, you can easily opt for a VBR 1 Pass encoding. As it will bring down your render time to half of what it was before.

So, as I have said multiple times before, it all comes down to your needs and preference.

Final Words

Throughout this article, I have tried to cover all that is to know about VBR 1 Pass vs 2 Pass. I have discussed their working procedure as well as the key differences which make them different from each other.

If you do not have a restriction on sizes, it is always the best option to save your precious time and opt for VBR 1 Pass instead. But other than that, VBR Pass 2 could be your choice if you are looking for smaller file size.

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