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  1. Member
    Join Date: Oct 2009
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    So ive been trying to figure this out for 2 weeks now... tried 30-40 different programs/approaches and i am not happy with the quality at all.

    Situation -- Went on a cruise, have 105 video files recorded with Flip HD camcorder in MP4 h.264. I took those 105 files and converted them to AVI using mp4 to avi program, i believe it did it losslessly. Now i have 2 files (because file limit was 2GB and total is about 4GB).
    I can easily put those files in VirtuaDub joining them together and then saving it as AVI.

    Here is the dilemma -- I want to be able to play the file on a Phillips DVP5960 player, which means it cant be 1280x720, it has to be below 720x480. From all my research i came to the conclusion that 624x352 is the way to go to keep it in the correct aspect ratio and its the best because its divisible by 16.

    I can do that... but for that I have to use Full Processing, which I read reduces the quality because it has to do color conversions.

    To avoid color conversions I have to do Fast recompress.. but then I cant shrink the size.

    Ive spent last 2-3 hours trying to wrap my head around AVIsynth, but that thing is just insane, i get the basics, and can write batch files for windows and even code some Java... but i dont know what it is about AVI synth.. maybe lack of good guides, but i just cant wrap my head around it, everything i look at is throwing really complex things at me, i just want to resize the video without quality loss thats all.

    Question #1 - regarding AVIsynch... throughout my readings i came across someone saying that even via AVIsynth there will have to be a color conversion... is that true? because if thats the case that would defeat the whole purpose of using it, and i might as well just use Vdub filters.

    Question #2 - Anyhow I was thinking maybe there is a program that will let me convert the 720p to 624x352 without any conversions at all, no color conversion and lossless? and then after I shrink it I can put it in Vdub and do a 2pass Fast recompress to XVID?
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  2. Member
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    resize with the avs script instead of vdub filter, then you can use fast recompress to avoid colorspace conversion

    e.g.

    AVISource("video.avi")
    LanczosResize(624,352)

    I would actually use something bigger like 720x400, with a slightly off aspect ratio

    You will lose quality, because of the resolution reduction, and because you're planning on encoding to xvid

    You can't avoid quality loss here if you want to resize and re-encode to xvid. You can reduce the quality loss by using higher bitrates (low quantizer), but beyond a certain point the standalone players will choke at the higher xvid bitrates (around 4-5Mbps for many models)
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  3. Member edDV's Avatar
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    What you you mean by "AVI"? Uncompressed YCbCr?

    Why not DVD spec 720x480 with "wide" PAR. That would be better quality than 624x352.
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  4. Member
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    Thanks Poisondeathray, yeah dont get wrong i expect to lose quality especially when comparing 1280x720 upscaled to 1080i vs 624x352 upscaled to 1080p... when i said im not happy with quality i meant that so far my end results ended up looking like they were taken straight from a VHS tape or something. I think that was due to the color conversions.

    Your reply actually brings me to another question...

    Question #3 - Throughout my journey in trying to figure this out ive come across applications that have offered different "types" of reize, like lanczosResize you mentioned there... how do you know which is the best? Is there one that is most recent and is regarded as a go to 90%+ of the time?

    another questions:

    Question #4 - Is there such thing as too much bitrate? Like the Phillips DVP5960 i think struggles if anything is above 3000kbps... which from what i have seen is waaaaaaay more than you need for an average clip. Most people seem to be using 1200-1600kpbs for their videos and that seems to produce perfect quality. Should I go as high as I can if storage (space) is not an issue for me? Or could setting it too high actually cause quality loss?
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  5. Member
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    hey edDV thanks for your reply.

    I was going with 624x352 because i wanted to eliminate all possible causes of my VHS looking video... im not very knowledgeble about this reencoding stuff, so I wasnt sure if being off on aspect ratio would cause quality loss or stretching or something.

    oh, and I used Mp4CAMtoAVI to convert it. (http://mp4cam2avi.sourceforge.net/) if it did it losslessly Im guessing it kept the same encoder (h.264) and just changed the container and joined the 105 files into 2x2GB files. Does that answer your question?

    Question #5 - The video is wide screen so 720x480 wouldnt work right? I would have to do something like 704x396?

    PS - before finally finding Mp4CAMtoAVI i tried a dozen different ways to combine the 105 files to either 1 or a few files, and the results were either the programs did reencoding (which i didnt want), or the audio/video was out of sync (MediaCoder). Mp4CAMtoAVI was the first program that actually did it right.
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  6. Member
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    It's highly unlikely that YV12=>RGB=>YV12 colorspace conversion caused the massive quality deterioration. It's 99.99999999% likely the loss of resolution that caused it. Even with the best upscaling players and TV's it will still look like crap.

    Originally Posted by Chrushev
    Question #3 - Throughout my journey in trying to figure this out ive come across applications that have offered different "types" of reize, like lanczosResize you mentioned there... how do you know which is the best? Is there one that is most recent and is regarded as a go to 90%+ of the time?
    For downsizing, lanczos is sharper than bilinear. Lanczos4 and spline36 are very marginally better and supposed to give less ringing, but it's very very difficult to see the benefits even on test patterns. Lanczos is safe and faster, Lanczos4 and spline36 are probably "better" but slightly slower to process.

    Question #4 - Is there such thing as too much bitrate? Like the Phillips DVP5960 i think struggles if anything is above 3000kbps... which from what i have seen is waaaaaaay more than you need for an average clip. Most people seem to be using 1200-1600kpbs for their videos and that seems to produce perfect quality. Should I go as high as I can if storage (space) is not an issue for me? Or could setting it too high actually cause quality loss?
    You know your own player better than I do... If 3Mbps is too high then use something safer. Yes you should go as high as possible in terms of bitrate

    Also 720x480 anamorphic as edDV suggested would be even better because more pixels compared to 624x352, but make sure your player supports the anamorphic flag first. Otherwise on some standalone players you need 1:1 square pixels, 16:9 AR
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  7. Member
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    *goes to google and types in "anamorphic video wtf is it?"

    Im not sure if it supports anamorphic here are the specs for the player --> http://img234.imageshack.us/img234/2453/dvp59608ia.gif
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  8. Member edDV's Avatar
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    The Phillips 5990 would certainly handle DVD spec MPeg2 with wide 16x9 flags and it can handle DVD bit rates (up to 10Mb/s video + audio for MPeg2).

    For a quality optimization I'd use something like 9000Kb/s MPeg2 video + AC3 or mp2 audio. If you want xvid and square pixels, (e.g. 720x400) then see how high a bit rate the 5990 will take. Try xvid at 3000-4500Kb/s and see where it breaks down.
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  9. Member
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    by the way you guys are REALLY helping me out thanks so much I am learning a lot.... so here are a couple more questions:

    Question #6 - if I am going to be doing anamorphic, and this player supports PAL, should i make my video pal? because that will give me another 96 pixels? (NTSC - 480max, PAL - 576max) ?

    Question #7 - PAL is slower than NTSC when it comes to FPS... should i use PAL's 23FPS (or was it 25FPS) instead of NTSC's 30FPS? I might be totally wrong here, but logic tells me fewer frames would allow each frame to have more bitrate? Like if im using 3000kbps... at 30fps thats 100kbps per frame, where if its 23fps then its 130kbps per frame... right? or am i crazy? lol Also having fewer frames would be easier for the standalone player to read? or no?

    Question #8 - Why Mpeg2? I thought Xvid/Divx was the best when it comes to quality?
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  10. Member
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    If you are using a NTSC DVD player and are using DVD-Video MPEG2 as edDV suggests, it has to be very specific in terms of DVD specifications. 29.97 (30000/1001) fps or 23.976 with pulldown (24000/1001). So if your camera recorded 30fps, a straight conversion wouldn't work (I think the flip HD records at 30fps)

    I'm not sure if your NTSC DVD player will be able to play DVD-Video or Xvid with 720x576 resolution or PAL specs. You would have to test it out or search for others who have tested it

    Using MPEG4-ASP (xvid or divx) usually allows you to use "off" framerates. So it depends on what your source files were recorded at. Use mediainfo if you don't know

    MPEG2 at 8-9Mb/s will look better than Xvid at 2-3Mb/s. Xvid is better than MPEG2 at lower bitrates and has better quality/compression ratio, but if your bitrates are limited, DVD-Video might be a better idea in this case

    The biggest limitation here is your DVD player. If you used HTPC or blu-ray player or PS3 you wouldn't be limited to standard definition, and it would be many times better
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  11. Member
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    Yeah, with PS3 or an HD player i wouldnt have to shrink it at all...

    so when you say Mpeg2- you mean make a DVD? like it would behave as a DVD (with VOB files) ?

    The original is recorded at 30fps. And the player supports both PAL/NTSC... so if I use divx/xvid i can use 720x576 or no?

    Question # 9 - when it comes to xvid/Divx container... does AVI or MP4 make a difference in quality if the player supports both?
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  12. Member
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    Yes DVD-Video as in MPEG2 as in VOB... but the 30.0 fps might be problematic without a frame rate conversion

    I don't have your player. I don't know what will be compliant for it. Why don't you test it on a sample clip. It has usb input right?

    If you can get away with xvid 720x576 with 16:9 flag it would be slightly better than 720x480 with 16:9 flag. But it will still look like crap (compared to the original) on the HDTV no matter how you slice it.

    Question # 9 - when it comes to xvid/Divx container... does AVI or MP4 make a difference in quality if the player supports both?
    Nope. AVI and MP4 are just containers. It' s what is inside that counts. Think of them as boxes. It doesn't necessarily indicate the quality of what is inside. So if you had the same video in AVI and swapped the container to MP4, it would be the same. But if you encoded using a lossy format (like xvid) the quality would be reduced
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  13. Member
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    thanks again for your help.

    I will give Mpeg 2 a shot. I will try searching, but if you know any guides on converting an HD video to VOB with the flags as we talked feel free to link to it

    I will try the sample file and use the USB stick, but speed of that is significantly slower than DVD.. like i mentioned 3000kpbs on divx/xvid that was for USB slot. On DVD you can get like 5000kbps. So I wonder if Mpeg 2 will be limited to 3000 via USB as well.

    in the end it doesnt matter i will want to put the video on a DVD anyways, especially if I end up with VOBs.

    You also mentioned using AC3 audio or Mpeg 2 audio with Vobs. the source is Stereo (not surround or anything)... its mostly talking and stuff, so on xvid/divx side an Mp3 at 128kb/s was more than enough. Which should I go with if I end up making the VOBs?

    From my understanding AC3 is better for surround? and I dont know much about Mpeg2.. but isnt it just an older version (not as good as) mp3?
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  14. Member edDV's Avatar
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    I'll answer some of this at a level above final instructions because I haven't yet stressed my Phillips 5992 to the limits but here are the broad issues.

    1280x720p @ ~30fps can be encoded to 720x480i @29.97 by first resizing to 720x480p within a 720x480p/29.97 project setting and then encoding to interlace 720x480i @ 29.97 top field first. Audio can be AC3 or mp2 stereo.

    The 5990/5992 will play straight MPeg2 files without converting to 1GB VOBs but eventually you run into two limitations when you increase bit rate and/or clip length.

    First the USB stick needs to handle the bit rate. Level 1 USB flash chokes around 1MB/s (8Mb/s) but this spec degrades with ram fragmentation and wear (cycle age). If you are going to be pushing performance you should be using level 2 to 4 USB flash or a hard drive. The flip cam probably wants at least Level 2 SD flash cards. A USB hard drive is good for DVD player test because it doesn't have this limitation.

    Second The player will have internal RAM and bit rate performance issues when you present an MPeg2 file larger than 1GB (standard VOB size). Players vary on this so you need to test >1GB files for player bitrate or memory issues. You will see the playback stream gap or stop all together. The safest solution is to author a standard DVD Video-TS folder with 1GB VOBs.

    Divx/xvid will have similar bit rate and/or clip length upper limits. The limits will be far lower for these formats. This will also vary by resolution.

    As for PAL, the 5992 will convert PAL 720x576i/25 fps Video-TS folders for NTSC 720x480i/29.97 output but that conversion is lossy. I see no reason to go this route from a 30 fps source.

    I may have time this weekend to test some of this. I have my 5992 down in the living room for playback off a USB HDD so I'd need to bring it to the computer for testing. So far it has played most files on the drive.
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  15. Member
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    Ok so I think we established that its best to do:

    ==============================================

    720x480 NTSC 29.97FPS MPEG2 with Anamorphic flag at 6000-9000kbps

    over

    720x480 NTSC 30FPS Xvid/Divx with Anamorphic flag at 1400-3000kpbs

    ==============================================

    Now I need to find a good program to convert the 1280x720 video to 720x480 with anamorphic flag Mpeg2... any suggestions? Can or/and should I do it with VirtualDub?
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  16. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Chrushev
    Ok so I think we established that its best to do:

    ==============================================

    720x480 NTSC 29.97FPS MPEG2 with Anamorphic flag at 6000-9000kbps

    over

    720x480 NTSC 30FPS Xvid/Divx with Anamorphic flag at 1400-3000kpbs

    ==============================================

    Now I need to find a good program to convert the 1280x720 video to 720x480 with anamorphic flag Mpeg2... any suggestions? Can or/and should I do it with VirtualDub?
    I would fully expect that path will get a higher quality result but it needs testing. I suggest you try it both ways.

    BTW, what is your TV?

    Also, I meant to say above the downsize should be to a wide 16x9 720x480p/29.97 format (non-square pixels) or you can maintain square pixels to 852x480 and then horizontally compress during the encode. The latter will scale twice so may lower quality.
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  17. Member
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    I have two TVs both are 1080p

    one is 47 inch VIZIO (dont remember the model im at work now)
    and second one is a Toshiba 46 inch.

    The vizio is about a year and a half old and the toshiba is about 8 months old.

    Also, I meant to say above the downsize should be to a wide 16x9 720x480p/29.97 format (non-square pixels) or you can maintain square pixels to 852x480 and then horizontally compress during the encode. The latter will scale twice so may lower quality.
    What should i use to do this? VirtualDub?
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  18. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    I agree with what edDV has been saying.

    And if your source was 30p, you're much better off going to 29.97 than any other rate. Even 30p. WHY? Because there aren't ANY standard consumer displays that actually do 30p - they all do 29.97 (or 23.976, or 25, or much higher).

    You don't even have to Frame-Rate-Convert. You could just use an app that changes the framerate flag (AVIFrate, maybe Vdub can do it). Then the video IS 29.97, so no need to convert there--it's just a resize and reencode.

    But something doesn't seem to add up...what bitrate were you seeing on those ORIGINAL, source files from the cam? And what was the total length of all the combined clips? (in Minutes) I'm thinking that the first JOIN that you did may still have lost quality...

    IIWY, I'd create a join playlist in AVISynth, where you could resize (anamorphcially) without changing colorspace, assume framerate, and then frameserve directly to a good X.264 or DivX or DVD-MPEG-2 encoder (at 3 or 4.5 or 9Mbps respectively).

    Scott
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    But something doesn't seem to add up...what bitrate were you seeing on those ORIGINAL, source files from the cam? And what was the total length of all the combined clips? (in Minutes) I'm thinking that the first JOIN that you did may still have lost quality...
    I am at work right now but I remember looking at one of the files and it was 9000kbps mp4 container with h.264 codec. But thats for 1280x720 resolution file. The 720x480 shouldnt need as high of bandwidth.

    The total playtime is 58minutes.

    Ill be home by the time you reply (leaving now), so I can answer more specific questions if there are anymore.

    IIWY, I'd create a join playlist in AVISynth, where you could resize (anamorphcially) without changing colorspace, assume framerate, and then frameserve directly to a good X.264 or DivX or DVD-MPEG-2 encoder (at 3 or 4.5 or 9Mbps respectively).
    Any alternatives to AviSynth? As I said in my first post, its very hard for me to understand it. Or perhaps some guide for a total newbie to do this specifically? All the guides i was looking at were trying to do crazy elaborate thigns with AVIsynth that i didnt care for, so they just further confused me.
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  20. Member edDV's Avatar
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    We are talking optimal DVD 720x480 performance. If you want better, look to a media player that will do 1280x720p over HDMI or analog component to the HDTV. Those that follow the HD path like the quality but see their HDD fill so then they go back to 720x480 or less at least for utility recordings.

    As for me, I sat in true awe at the Microsoft Terraserver. A few years later I've more than broken 10 terrabyte server storage right here in this room and 20 TB more elsewhere.

    Last Saturday I bought 2x SATA 1.5 TB HDD for $90 each. Compression is not always the only option.


    BTW: Frys manufacturer backed inventory reduction deals often foretell the Black Friday Thanksgiving deals coming. $89.95 for 1.5TB seems great to me but what is coming?
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    Ok so, I used DVD Flick to convert the 2x2GB Avi's into Vobs (dvd), outcome seems to be pretty good.. but for some reason the sound is about 1 second off =/ Any way to fix that? Is that because the original is 30FPS and the VOB is 29.970FPS? or is that because the original sound is 44100 and VOB is 48000? or both?


    Here is Gspot info for
    1) Original Camera file (the ones I have 105 of)
    2) The 2x2GB files that came out of Mp4CamTOavi when i combined the 105 files
    3) The VOB that came out when I made the DVD with DVD Flick

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  22. Member edDV's Avatar
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    I've never used a Flip cam. The original microphone and 131Kb/s stereo were marginal but you have converted it twice along the way. I'd listen to each and see where the quality dropped.
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  23. Member
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    Originally Posted by edDV
    I've never used a Flip cam. The original microphone and 131Kb/s stereo were marginal but you have converted it twice along the way. I'd listen to each and see where the quality dropped.
    The audio quality and video quality is good... its just out of sync after putting it through DVD Flick.. i think it has to do with the conversion from 30FPS to 29.97.

    I tried using FAVC to make VOBs out of the same file, set everything to highest quality and the result was MUCH worse quality than what DVD flick came out with.. but that result didnt have sync issues....
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  24. Member edDV's Avatar
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    I haven't used those programs but 30fps to 29.97 shouldn't be a frame rate conversion, just instructing the player to play at 29.97 fps rate. If the audio went non-sync the difference over an hour would be 0.1% or about a third of a second at the end.

    This all assumes the flip was really running at true 30fps.
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  25. Originally Posted by edDV
    I haven't used those programs but 30fps to 29.97 shouldn't be a frame rate conversion, just instructing the player to play at 29.97 fps rate. If the audio went non-sync the difference over an hour would be 0.1% or about a third of a second at the end.
    No, 3.6 seconds. Audio de-sycn will be noticeable with a few minutes. The audio length has to be adjusted or you can drop one frame out of every 1001 (about every 33 seconds) to keep sync.
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  26. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jagabo
    Originally Posted by edDV
    I haven't used those programs but 30fps to 29.97 shouldn't be a frame rate conversion, just instructing the player to play at 29.97 fps rate. If the audio went non-sync the difference over an hour would be 0.1% or about a third of a second at the end.
    No, 3.6 seconds. Audio de-sycn will be noticeable with a few minutes. The audio length has to be adjusted or you can drop one frame out of every 1001 (about every 33 seconds) to keep sync.
    Oops. I should avoid late night math.

    Still this problem illustrates the value of using a "real" 29.97 clocked camcorder if one wants to edit and repurpose video. Even then, when shooting an event mult-camera, one quickly sees audio sync drift unless the cameras are gen-locked to a common sync generator. Even small free run clock errors become noticeable within a few minutes.
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    While digging through DVD Flick i did find a thing that said -160ms delay (on audio).. perhaps thats the issue...

    why would it default to that? werid =/

    once i get home from work ill try to reencode it selecting "ignore delay" checkbox.
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  28. Resize and change FPS in AviSynth:

    Code:
    DirectShowSource("filename.mp4")
    LanczosResize(720,480)
    AssumeFPS(29.97) #3.6 sec audio desync after 1 hour
    Or:

    Code:
    DirectShowSource("filename.mp4")
    LanczosResize(720,480)
    ChangeFPS(29.97) #throw out 1 frame every 33 seconds
    DirectShowSource() requires that you have DirectShow filters installed to open and read MP4 files and decompress the video and audio. If you can play your files with Windows Media Player you have the correct filters installed.
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  29. Member
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    Originally Posted by jagabo
    Resize and change FPS in AviSynth:

    Code:
    DirectShowSource("filename.mp4")
    LanczosResize(720,480)
    AssumeFPS(29.97) #3.6 sec audio desync after 1 hour
    Or:

    Code:
    DirectShowSource("filename.mp4")
    LanczosResize(720,480)
    ChangeFPS(29.97) #throw out 1 frame every 33 seconds
    DirectShowSource() requires that you have DirectShow filters installed to open and read MP4 files and decompress the video and audio. If you can play your files with Windows Media Player you have the correct filters installed.
    Thanks Jagabo, Ill try it out when i get home.

    So do I have these steps right?

    1) Install latest AVIsynth
    2) Create a .txt and copy/paste the second example you gave into it and save it as a .avs and change the filename to actual file location/name...
    3) Open the .avs pretending its the original file with VirtuaDub?
    4) Fast Recompress it to whatever i want?

    thats it?

    Do i need to do anything with AVIsynth after installing it?
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  30. Originally Posted by Chrushev
    So do I have these steps right?

    1) Install latest AVIsynth
    2) Create a .txt and copy/paste the second example you gave into it and save it as a .avs and change the filename to actual file location/name...
    If the AVS file is in the same folder as the video file you don't need to specify the entire path name in the DirectShowSource() function. If the AVS file is in a different folder you have to use the full path name.

    Originally Posted by Chrushev
    3) Open the .avs pretending its the original file with VirtuaDub?
    Yes. Or your MPEG encoder. I use HcGUI for DVD encoding these days.

    Originally Posted by Chrushev
    4) Fast Recompress it to whatever i want?
    Yes.

    Originally Posted by Chrushev
    thats it?
    Yes.

    Originally Posted by Chrushev
    Do i need to do anything with AVIsynth after installing it?
    No.
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