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Old 18-09-2013, 03:05
Loobster
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So I have previously used AutoGK to convert MPEG2 material to MPEG4 (Xvid) to reduce file sizes and keep most of the quality, and been very happy with the results.

I have a Hauppauge Colossus capture card to capture cable DVR output to H.264 (.TS) for my TV archival requirements.

But I may need to rip more DVDs, and am wondering if it's worth investigating a new process in order to take advantage of smaller file size for the same quality (or better quality for the same filesize) of H.264/AVC/MP4 over Xvid/DivX.

Any comments from you conversion gurus on whether the file/quality size difference is noticeable?

If so, what is your H.264/MP4 software encoder of choice, please?
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Old 18-09-2013, 11:18
flagpole
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H.264(AVC) is probably nearly twice as efficient as XviD(H.263)

these days people are using AAC audio instead of mp3 too. all in to either a .mkv or .mp4 container.

if you use a decent encoder on double pass (always use double pass,) you can probably get dvd like video at bitrates as low as 600kbps depending on the kind of video.

it may even be faster too.

there really is no reason to be using XviD unless you have legacy hardware.

the de facto h264 encoder is called x264. as far as there are no other free encoders available. but it is also available in the for of a library that is probably used by the encoder you'll end up using.

you can do a lot worse than freemake video converter. it's pretty simple to use. and it will handle .ts files without any trouble as well as dvd structure. myself i use mediacoder, which has a lot more advance options but can be a bit of a pig to use. try freemake.
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Old 18-09-2013, 16:10
d'@ve
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Yes, use h.264 (High Profile if for HD and for replay on a proper computer) and AAC audio - I stopped using XVid etc. a couple of years ago as most things are compatible with h.264 these days and as mentioned above, can be twice as efficient (and over 4x as efficient as mpeg2).

I use commercial software to edit if necessary and either that, or the free encoding program Handbrake for my final encodes into h.264 .mp4s, Handbrake is fast, efficient, intuiitive and it uses all your CPU cores.
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Old 18-09-2013, 22:59
Loobster
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Thanks guys.

I looked at Handbrake and there seemed to be a lot of new options I hadn't heard of before. I guess I need to figure out what they all mean and what is best to use with DVD material.

I have two WD TV Live network medial player devices, which is why I got into capturing with AVC/AVCHD in the first place. Those will play pretty much anything, including MP4 etc.

I will put a bit more time into Handbrake and give Freemake a spin, too.

If anyone else has any input, I'm all ears.
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Old 18-09-2013, 23:31
flagpole
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I can help you with the options in handbrake if you have any questions.

But give freemake a go.
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Old 20-09-2013, 01:04
Loobster
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I gave freemake a spin, but it gave me a file that was 640x360 and 581MB from a 48 minute DVD episode.

I ran AutoGK and I set the output size at 400MB and it gave me a res of 512x384 for the same show, and it looks just as good, if not better. Freemake doesn't seem to be as customisable, there are hardly any options.

I've watched a few youtube videos on using Handbrake, I have run a few test conversions using different quality settings (20-25) and bitrates (1000 to 750kbps). I am trying a 900kbps conversion now, which looks like it will give me a filesize of about 375MB.

I will compare them all on the TV and see what I like the look of.
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Old 20-09-2013, 10:07
flagpole
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I gave freemake a spin, but it gave me a file that was 640x360 and 581MB from a 48 minute DVD episode.

I ran AutoGK and I set the output size at 400MB and it gave me a res of 512x384 for the same show, and it looks just as good, if not better. Freemake doesn't seem to be as customisable, there are hardly any options.
freemake isn't that customizable but it's more customizable than that.
http://i42.tinypic.com/1q66g6.png
would be reasonable settings.



I've watched a few youtube videos on using Handbrake, I have run a few test conversions using different quality settings (20-25) and bitrates (1000 to 750kbps). I am trying a 900kbps conversion now, which looks like it will give me a filesize of about 375MB.

I will compare them all on the TV and see what I like the look of.
if you're doing your dvd rips you want the video at 720xsomething. possibly 404.

if you set the width to 720 as it is on the dvd and let the program work out the hight that would be your best bet.
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Old 20-09-2013, 23:54
Loobster
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The DVDs I am working with at the moment are of material from the 60s so the original video isn't fantastic anyway.

I think I have settled on a Handbrake conversion with the following settings:

Preset: High Profile
Cropping: Auto
Codec: H.264
Framerate: Same as source
Quality: Avg Bitrate 850kbps (2-pass)
Audio: Retain primary audio track only

Everything else at defaults.

This converted a 48 minute show which started as a 1.75GB VOB to be an MP4 file of about 360MB, and it looks good. The file is 720x482.

I guess I'll need to try those settings with better quality original video and see if I need to bump the bitrate up a bit.

I guess I missed that additional setting in Freemake where you can adjust the bitrate. I may try again with it later. It did seem to convert the video very quickly when I tried it though, must be a single pass, wasn't sure if Handbrake would just do a better job anyway, since I seem to have got to grips with it ok.
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Old 21-09-2013, 00:40
flagpole
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They will both use x264 as their core encoder anyway.

Lower quality source material actually requires a higher bit rate. The encoder does not know the difference between the noise of low quality video and the actual video. It takes up bandwidth replicating the noise.

Try HB with your ts files as well as DVD.
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Old 22-09-2013, 20:46
Loobster
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I don't need to reduce the size of the .TS files, I capture them in the res I want using settings for the capture software, it scales to the required res in hardware on the fly.

I tried Freemake again, the resulting video had bad audio sync issues (about a second out of whack).

I think I've settled on 720x480, 850kbps as my output options with Handbrake.
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Old 22-09-2013, 21:49
d'@ve
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720 x 480 is an odd aspect ratio though, 1.5:1. For 16:9 DVDs if UK format you'd need to re-encode them anamorphically to end up with the correct display ratio and if you are going to do that, you may as well capture anamorphically at 720 x 576 in the first place (if you can) and retain the higher vertical resolution.

Of course, if they are US format DVDs, anamorphic recording at 720 x 480 and 29.97 fps is a correct method (apologies if this is teaching you to suck eggs!).
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Old 22-09-2013, 22:15
Orbitalzone
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Loobster's in the US so 720x480 is standard US / NTSC format for TV and DVD for him unless he's got some programmes brought over from Blightly
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Old 23-09-2013, 00:30
d'@ve
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Ah OK, that explains it. I did check his profile but there are no obvious clues there or in his posts in this thread, though he's been around for so long that I probably should have known!
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Old 23-09-2013, 04:30
Loobster
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Yeah sorry I tend to presume that everyone remembers I'm in the US now.

Will be 5 years in a couple of months ... time flies ....
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Old 23-09-2013, 10:04
flagpole
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it's still an odd resolution.

most people who encode video in modern formats tend to do it using square pixels, or a pixel aspect ratio of 1:1 as this is used in the display panel. and makes life a lot easier.

the choice for SD TV is normally 720x404
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Old 04-11-2013, 02:00
Loobster
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Ok so I'd like to ressurect this thread to ask another question or two.

I've been getting varying results with different types of source material (but most of it is from DVD).

On some material, Xvid conversions just plain look better than their MP4 equivalents. No question. Even for the same filesize.

I just am not sure why that is. Or if my process can be improved to get better results with the MP4s.

On some MP4s, I am finding that there are what looks to be horizontally running lines (a bad term to use but I am not sure how to describe it). It almost looks like the picture is like the printout of an inkjet printer where the printer moves the paper up by an incorrect amount and either a tiny sliver gets missed, or double-printed.

The MP4 is a higher res than the Xvid, but the Xvid picture just plain looks better.

Any suggestions, or ideas on what is happening? I could post a couple of video clips somewhere if that would help.
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Old 24-11-2013, 01:30
Loobster
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So no takers on the above question?

Update:

I've figured out for my archiving procedure from the cable PVR, that capturing everything in HD (.TS) and then downconverting to lower resolutions (MP4) is the way to go for shows that I don't need to retain in HD.

I've settled on capturing at 8Mbit/sec in 1080i from the Colossus. The HD stuff stays as captured, and just gets edited with Smart Cutter.

The stuff that doesn't need to be HD gets converted to 600x360 @ 850Kbps. It looks great and is only about 150MB for a 21-minute show.
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Old 24-11-2013, 11:29
flagpole
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So no takers on the above question?

Update:

I've figured out for my archiving procedure from the cable PVR, that capturing everything in HD (.TS) and then downconverting to lower resolutions (MP4) is the way to go for shows that I don't need to retain in HD.

I've settled on capturing at 8Mbit/sec in 1080i from the Colossus. The HD stuff stays as captured, and just gets edited with Smart Cutter.

The stuff that doesn't need to be HD gets converted to 600x360 @ 850Kbps. It looks great and is only about 150MB for a 21-minute show.
the horizontal lines are probably de-interlacing. do a google image search and see if it looks about right.

there are no circumstances under which and h263 codec looks better than h264. avc/h264 can do everything xvid can do. and more. so it must be something else in the process.

usually HD is downconverted to 720x404. (same ratio as 720p and 1080p) whether or not something would look better at that res than 600x360 for the same bitrate is debatable i guess. but i would.
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Old 24-11-2013, 12:22
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Have started using the H.264 codec and will never go back to XviD. The AAC codec also sounds much better than the MP3 codec as well. I only use 720x resolution in my encodes with almost all of the quality settings in the advanced tab in Handbrake on maximum. The resulting file looks amazing.
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Old 26-11-2013, 05:13
Loobster
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there are no circumstances under which and h263 codec looks better than h264. avc/h264 can do everything xvid can do. and more. so it must be something else in the process.
I'm perfectly willing to accept that this is correct. But I need to understand what's going wrong and improve the process. If I can't, I'm happy to stick with Xvid.

I searched for 'deinterlace horizontal lines' but didn't really find anything that matched what I am seeing. It's kind of similar but my results are far less pronounced, that is to say that the lines I see interrupting the picture are very thin.

It's weird how it only happens with certain material. I guess the source material type could be part of the problem.

Would it help if I posted a couple of short clips of what I am seeing?
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Old 26-11-2013, 13:49
flagpole
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I'm perfectly willing to accept that this is correct. But I need to understand what's going wrong and improve the process. If I can't, I'm happy to stick with Xvid.

I searched for 'deinterlace horizontal lines' but didn't really find anything that matched what I am seeing. It's kind of similar but my results are far less pronounced, that is to say that the lines I see interrupting the picture are very thin.

It's weird how it only happens with certain material. I guess the source material type could be part of the problem.

Would it help if I posted a couple of short clips of what I am seeing?
when i say h264 can do everything XviD can i really mean it. video compression is about an array of tools to effectively compress video and to the best of my knowledge h264 has everything in it's arsenal that h263 does and would use those tools if it gave the best result. so we do have to look else where. you are doing both on double pass and variable bitrate?

yes a screen shot or sample would help. may also help determine why h264 is not giving you the results you hoped for.

interlacing is the process by which video is split in to alternate lines, seems weird but there are historical reasons. so first all the odd numbered lines are displayed then one half frame rate later all the even numbered lines are displayed....

...they are also captured at different times too. and so in scenes with movement. the way the two images have been combined can produce horizontal lines showing the difference between the images that were combined to make the frame.

further this is done before the resolution is changed. so when it is downsampled the artefacts may look weird and have some blending.

what are you using to do the encoding?
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Old 26-11-2013, 17:18
d'@ve
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Perhaps copy protection is messing things up, who knows? But yes we need to see screenshots or video clips.

I agree with the comments that h.264 is *always* better than Xvid/h.263 etc., for a similar bitrate - unless a setting is wrong or something somewhere else is wrong.
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Old 26-11-2013, 17:59
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Perhaps copy protection is messing things up, who knows? But yes we need to see screenshots or video clips.

I agree with the comments that h.264 is *always* better than Xvid/h.263 etc., for a similar bitrate - unless a setting is wrong or something somewhere else is wrong.
I doubt it's copy protection because to the best of my knowledge, that can be gotten rid of, although I'm not going to say how.
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Old 26-11-2013, 21:26
d'@ve
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although I'm not going to say how.
Some of us know how, but many don't. Hopefully, some screenshots... I am intrigued.
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Old 26-11-2013, 21:37
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I doubt it's copy protection because to the best of my knowledge, that can be gotten rid of, although I'm not going to say how.
Made a mistake here. I meant to say that to the best of my knowledge, 'all' copy protection can be gotten rid of'.
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