Quick Conversion of Mpeg2 to Zune-compatible WMV using AutoMKV
This guide will:
1. Help you download and install AutoMKV and its supporting programs.
2. Show you how to use AutoMKV to rapidly encode Mpeg2's to 320x240 WMV files ready to download ("synch") rapidly to your Zune Device.
Features of this process include:
1. Short conversion times: 35% of video duration on my 3GHz PC, 55% on my 2.8 MHz laptop.
2. Synch times (from PC to Zune) are well under one minute per hour of video because the Zune PC software does not have to re-encode (which it will do if you synch .mp4 files, or .wmv files that don't fit the Zune profile.)
3. Will automatically handle mpeg2's with either of the two common audio types (mpeg1-layer2 and Dolby AC3). AutoMKV will handle other input formats but these are not covered in this guide because I have not tested them.
4. Autocropping removes the top line of video hash.
5. You will see how you can easily adjust parameters such as audio and video bitrates and can add in filters, deinterlace processing, audio sync correction, etc., which are built-in to AutoMKV but are not used in the "fast" Zune process. (In my experience they have not been necessary but they are there in case you need or want them.)
Windows XP, Service Pack 2 (Might work with SP1, but cannot vouch for it.)
CPU speed: 1.5 GHz (estimated minimum)
Memory: 500 MB RAM (estimated minimum)
Video Card that plays videos well in Windows Media Player 11.
High speed internet for downloads (or a lot of patience).
DOWNLOADING AND INSTALLING:
The "Main Tool Site" for AutoMKV is simply the first post in the AutoMKV thread on the Doom9 forum: http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?t=113811
I'm going to call this the "Main Post" in this guide.
The first link in that post is a continually updated link where you can download the latest AutoMKV package. At this writing the link was: http://www.64k.it/andres/data/a/AutoMKV067.rar(Version 0.67) but you should use the updated link in the Main Post.
Download to a file on your hard drive. This download is in the form of a RAR archive (.rar) and must be unpacked by the WinRAR program.
(Note: Download WinRAR only if you don't already have it installed.)
Go to http://www.rarlab.com/ and look for the latest WinRAR release (not a "beta" release).
Download WinRAR to a file on your hard drive.
Run the file to install WinRAR. When the file associations panel appears I recommend you uncheck all file types EXCEPT "RAR". Leave all other install options unchanged.
NOTE: WinRAR is NOT a free program. You are using it on a trial basis.
You are now ready to unpack the RAR archive, which effectively "installs" AutoMKV.
First make a folder to receive the AutoMKV files, such as C:\AutoMKV
To unpack the rar archive:
Double click the AutoMKVxxxx.rar file you downloaded to open up the RAR archive window.
Click the "Extract To" button. The "Extraction Path and Options Panel" will pop up.
Navigate to the folder you created for AutoMKV (in the panel on the right side) and click on it to highlight it. Then click the OK button, which will cause the files to be extracted to that folder.
Close the WinRAR window.
Edit (24 Feb 2007):
A free program, 7-Zip, can be used to expand .rar files. Download it and install it by running the .exe that was downloaded. To expand the .rar file, right click on the file, select 7-Zip-->Extract Files, then enter the folder you set up for AutoMKV in the "Extract To" box and click OK.
The AutoMKVxxxxx.exe program should be located in the folder you set up for AutoMKV. (You can create a shortcut to it if desired.)
[Edit 1/20/2007: Update versions are frequently available on the Main Post as a separate link. You download this after downloading the full package -- it contains just an updated executable file which should replace the one from the full download.]
Install .NET Framework 1.1 (if not already installed):
Note: Check Add/Remove programs in Control Panel. You may already have it installed. You may see .NET 2.0 there but that is not the same as 1.1.
If you need to install, Use the link provided on the Main Post, download to file, and run the file.
Install Windows Media Encoder 9 Series:
Go to: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/forpros/encoder/default.mspx
Select "Window Media Encoder 9 Series" (Do not confuse with the several other choices!)
Download the file (WMEncoder.exe) to your hard drive, then run it to install.
Install Windows Media Player 11 (If you don't already have it):
First, if you have WMP10 installed check for updates in WMP 10: start it up, go to the Help menu and select "Check For Updates". In my case, when I did this it ended up (after a tedious multistep process) upgrading me automatically to WMP11. I suspect this is the preferred way to go if it works for you. Otherwise go to:
and click the "Download Now" Button.
Install AviSynth (unless you already have it -- Check Control Panel, Add/Remove Programs):
Even if you do have AviSynth already installed, check that it is Version 2.5.6 or later. If not, use Add/Remove programs to uninstall it.
Assuming you need to install AviSynth, use the link supplied in the Main Post. Download to a file on your hard drive. Run the file. Accept default options (although it does allow you to change the language from English, if you prefer).
NOTE: I don't know what the "NeroAAC" stuff on the Main Post is referring to. It doesn't apply to me. If it applies to you, I assume you know what to do about it!
You are now ready to run AutoMKV.
SETTING AutoMKV UP FOR FAST Zune CONVERSION:
1. Run AutoMKV. As you use it, notice the helpful "hints" that pop up as the mouse pointer dwells over various items.
2. Select your input .mpg file using the browse button at the right end of the "Select Input File" panel.
3. Set the Codec(right side of window) to "WMV" using the pull down menu.
4. Set the Profile to "Zune_1_Pass_Quick.xml" using the pull down menu.
5. Set "Filters" (lower right of window) to "NONE" using the pull down menu.
6. In the "Audio Track 1" panel, set the quality to something between 64 and 128. This is the audio encoding bitrate in kHz. I prefer 128 but 64 has also worked fine. If you have trouble getting your target rate with the slider, try using the right/left arrow keys after clicking on the slider to give it the focus, (OR) you can type a number directly into the little box.
6. Enter the desired name of the output file in the "Movie Name" entry box (lower center of the window). Do NOT include an extension. This is automatically provided (and will be .wmv for the cases in this guide.)
7. Enter the folder to contain output files in the "Select Output Folder" panel (upper left of window). You can browse for this using the browse key at the right end of the panel.
At this point the AutoMKV window should look like the above figure, although your input and output file names will of course be different. Also, if your input file has AC3 audio the "Audio Track 1" panel will say "AC3 Audio Stream 0" instead of "MPEG Audio Stream 0"
8. Now click on the "Advanced Settings" tab.
9. For "Deinterlacer" (upper left of window) select "NONE" from the pull down menu.
10. In "Global Options" check "Del Temp File"
11. In "Demuxing and Indexing Options" verify "Allow use of DelayCut" is checked. (Opposite of what is in the above figure.)
12. Check "Specify Bitrate" (center-left of window). An entry box will appear to the right. Enter 500 plus the audio bitrate you selected, i.e., 628 in this example. This will force CBR video encoding at 500 kbps and the "Output File Size Options" setting on the "Basic Settings" tab will be ignored. [Edit 1/23/07: Starting with version 0.71 this setting is just the video bitrate (i.e., not including audio bitrate). Thus it would now be 500 for this example.]
The AutoMKV window should look exactly like the above figure now except that "Allow use of DelayCut" should be checked (Revised 1/14/07) and the Specify Bitrate entry should be 500 (Revised 1/22/07).
13. Go back to the "Basic Settings" panel.
14. Click the "Save Settings" button (lower right in the window). Now AutoMKV will remember your settings (on both the basic and advanced panels) every time it starts.
15. At this point you can either click the "Start" button (to convert this one file immediately) or you can click the "Add to Queue"button which will add this conversion to a list waiting to be converted, which can be seen and managed on the "Queued Job" tab. Then when you have all your conversions queued up, you click the "Start Queue" button which appears at lower right when a queue list exists.
Note: The first time you encode, a message may pop up saying something to the effect that Windows Media Player 11 is not sure it can open this file type (.avs) and do you want to continue. This is normal. Check "Do not ask me again" and then click OK. (I don't remember the exact wording of the message and it of course no longer appears on my computers.)
While encoding occurs, you can select the "AutoMKV LOG" tab to monitor progress although some technical expertise is required to understand the messages. You will notice that a log file corresponding to the input file name is created in the same folder as the input file.
You can preview the new Zune files either in WMP11 or in the Zune PC application. They are ready to be synched to your Zune (very quickly! ).
You can adjust audio and video bitrates if you feel the need. The Zune profile used in this guide uses the WMV7 Codec, which according to the official Zune website, will support total bitrates (audio+video) up to 800 kbps. Note that there are three other Zune profiles in AutoMKV. They use either the WMV8 OR WMV9 codecs. You can see what codec they use on the "Advanced Profiles Editing" tab. Consult the posts in the AutoMKV thread (starting at the "Main Post") for details. Zune says the total bitrates for the WMV8 codec should also be limited below 800 kbps. The WMV7-based profile is used for this guide because it encodes much faster than WMV9.
If you have audio sync problems, obviously you should check the DelayCut option. It approximately doubles the total conversion time so that's why I don't use it by default.
[Correction (1/14/07): My information here was totally incorrect. DelayCut only increases processing time by a few percent and therefore it should always be used. Intructions above have been corrected in accordance with this.]
If you suspect problems due to interlaced field issues, I assume you would want to select "AUTO" for the "Deinterlacer Setting".
The application discussed in this guide doesn't begin to fully utilize the capabilities of AutoMKV. I frankly don't even know what some of the Advanced Settings mean! You can also create your own customized XML profile files, if you know what you're doing!
Keep your eye on the AutoMKV thread. The author is very active and responsive and new versions are coming out very rapidly. I hope this guide isn't obsolete before it is published! 8)
Edit: Addtional comment, 1/20/2007: As of update version 0.70e, you can load AVI files with xvid video, mp3 audio, for Zune WMV conversion. Correct operation has been verified either with or without "Use DirectShowSource" checked on the Advanced tab. However, on some computers only one or the other of these choices may work correctly, depending on your MP4 codec setup. The program author recommends installing ffdshow to support the DirectShowSource option -- my experience is consistent with this.
1. (1/14/07) DelayCut should be used by default.
2. (1/20/07) Mentioned updates, added comment about AVI inputs.
3. (1/22/07) Specify bitrate is just video rate starting with V. 0.71.
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I love the tool for the conversion to ZUNE - But all my conversions are interlaced. I have tried various settings with no luck. Any ideas? Thanks.
I have been having tremendous success using the ffmpeg encoder WMV8 option, which you can select on the advanced tab. No need to de-interlace, there is no waiting for scripts, no waiting for the duration algorithm to gather data (encoding starts nearly instantaneously) and I'm encoding Zune ready material at 235 fps, or about 8x realtime(!) To me eyes, the quality is as good if not better than the WMV7 method described above, and much faster.
(Later) I find the ffmpeg encoded audio has random crackles. Too bad.