I have two questions:
1) Are there any free software packages to reliably edit H.264 Matroska files with frame accuracy? Reviewing past threads in this forum the answer would seem to be, realistically, no.
2) Can H.264 Matroska files be converted to some other format that allows reliable frame- accuracy editing with freely available tools? For what I am interested in I don't mind if there is a loss of quality, as long as the end product quality remains reasonable. I know this is vague, but please bear with me.
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1) Not reliably , even with retail software . The only free one that I know of is mkvcutter by selur. It doesn't work very well (no offense to selur)
Because there are many different variations of MKV, h.264, different levels, profiles, 10bit, etc... Some MKV are VFR which are impossible to edit "normally" .
So some streams can be edited, some can't be edited reliably
In order for frame accuracy, you need a smart rendering editor (so only a few frames around the cutsite in the affected GOP are re-encoded)
eg. videoredo, or solvigmm video splitter, or tmpgenc smart renderer.
I don't know about the last one, but the 1st 2 are OK, but crash on some streams
2) yes, you can ; and even VFR MKV's can be converted to CFR for "normal" editing. There will be some quality loss if you re-encode using a lossy format . Some of the tools you might use are avisynth , x264 . Often you don't need the intermediate conversion, or huge intermediate files (if you use a frame accurate source filter in avisynth, because avisynth is a frameserver)
TMPGEnc Smart Renderer has served me well with MPEG, AVCHD, BluRay, and even some FLV's, if they meet the spec for those standards. If you get a weirdo encode that tries to defy standards, likely nothing will handle it properply. That leaves you with losssless media. Problem is, "mkv" can sometimes mean anything, including garbage.
Last edited by sanlyn; 19th Mar 2014 at 06:59.
If you don't mind a small "potential" quality loss.....
Converting to a lossless format might be an option. Then you can cut exactly where you want to, and re-encode the lossless version when you're done.
Or you can use Avisynth. I create a script for encoding with MeGUI (or rather MeGUI creates it for you), then I open the script with MeGUI's AVS Cutter and apply edits. Because you're working with uncompressed video, you can edit wherever you like. The AVS cutter saves the "cuts' to the script for you, and when you encode it with MeGUI, you're encoding just the bits you specified.