Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Hopefully all that time wasn't wasted...

Sinus infection going away now. That last round of antibiotics was pure 3vi1.

Finishing up my "I can't freakin' think or breathe so I'll just rip video all day" project so I can get back to Blender modeling. I had originally used mjpegtools to encode all my DV video into MPEG-2. It looked fine on any computer I used, even when burned onto a DVD, but looked like absolute crap on a consumer DVD player. Motion trails, decoder noise... ick.

At first I thought that the player was having problems reading the media - which is weird because I have a Pioneer progressive-scan player that has thus far displayed every form of media, encoding, codec or book type known to man. But I switched from DVD-R to DVD+R to see if anything worked. Same results. Then I thought it might be the multiplexor separating out audio and video from the file stream. I tried both DVDStyler in Linux and Nero in WinXP to build the DVD filesystem, and both had the same garbled output.

I found out it was the mjpeg encoder... so all the work I'd done to encode every single DV tape I had was all for naught. I replaced mjpegtools with ffmpeg and all was beautiful. About twice the size than the mjpeg files, but looked even better than Nero's MPEG-2 encoder. Plus it uses AC3 instead of MPEG-2 audio. You can see a comparison at Transcoding's site - for some reason they still recommend mpeg2enc at higher bitrates, but I just don't see it. I hate the boxy sample noise generated by mpeg2enc.

The one problem is that Kino doesn't split scenes for ffmpeg (it's just a DV pipe). So I either have to

  1. Figure out what options are being (not) passed to mjpeg and try to force 'em
  2. Manually set the beginning frame and end frame for each export using ffmpeg
  3. Write a script to invoke ffmpeg over each individual DV file
  4. Or just archive "movies" instead of "scenes"


So now I'm mullin' thru man pages and examining the command-line options Kino is passing along. w00t. One day I hope that mpeg2enc -v 0 -f 8 -I 1 -n n -a 3 and ffmpeg -v 0 -f rawvideo -pix_fmt yuv420p -s ntsc -r ntsc -i pipe: -an -target dvd -f mpeg1video -maxrate 8000 -ildct -ilme -aspect 16:9 -pass 2 -y make as much sense to me as ps -eLf.

Damn I'm hilarious.

I forced 9000kbps and sent a bunch of arcane commands to mjpeg, which eventually removed the "blockyness," but it still looked worse than ffmpeg. I tried it on different hardware and even custom-compiled the latest CVS version, but still not as nice as ffmpeg. True, mjpeg file sizes are nearly half of ffmpeg's, but the difference in apperance is noticeable.

So I think my final toolchain (I'm big into defining toolchains) will be:


I tried using Nero on the Windows XP side but I didn't find it as easy to use. File sizes and image quality was just about the same as ffmpeg. It encoded on-the-fly which was very nice, but I'd rather rip it all as DV Raw files, then do post-processing, then MPEG-2 encode. Plus I got weird lock-ups at times. The DVD authoring tool was very nice and I might end up using it instead of DVDStyler at times, but you can't save an ISO for burnination later (for some reason it thinks that only CD-R's get ISO's).

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