You can probably try viewing the source using Notepad++ for individual files. But yes, knowledge of computer programming requires knowledge of different IDEs as well as straight up coding from a notepad (especially if you intend to work across different OS platforms).
I prefer Handbrake for encoding. One of the extremely few that will encode to an MKV container and gives you some extreme fine tuning controls over the quality. Very simple output choices will showing the full potential of what H264 can really do.
But yeah, encoding videos in higher quality usually means having to learn what containers are and how codecs work.