I know this topic has sort of been beaten to death, but I've searched and searched and cannot find a solution specific to what I am trying to do. I wanted to ask for confirmation that this is impossible before I give up. I know just enough about this stuff to be dangerous...
Wife goes to a vocational school. Teacher has PAL VCD she'd like the class to watch. Using my current weapon of choice, AVIDemux, I copied the video stream while re-encoding the audio to 48K to make a DVD-compliant MPEG1 stream. Works a treat in my Philips DivX-capable DVD player, but won't play at school (some rather vague error like "check settings" results). I suspect that the problem is due to the fact that it's 25fps (although the fact that it's 352 × 288 PAL VCD resolution might also be the hitch). I came across DGPulldown, but according to the docs it's only for MPEG2 streams, not MPEG1.
Any suggestions on how I can get this video to be NTSC DVD-compliant without re-encoding? The vid's already kinda crappy quality-wise and I really want to avoid re-encoding it if I don't have to.
If I absolutely gotta do the re-encoding thing, what filters should I apply to ensure the best quality I can get?
P.S. I'm not tied to AVIDemux - I'm willing to try any free program that'll get the job done.
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So -- any thoughts on how to re-encode for best results? Particular filters and settings and whatnot? Seen plenty of "how to transcode" type threads, but not any that describe using filters to get the best result possible...
basic rule of video :
garbage In, Garbage Out.
Everything you do will be a trade off. If you have blocky, over compressed video then you can use a deblocker, however the trade off will be a loss of detail and potentially over smoothed video. There is no "Make crap into great" filter.
If you encode it to NTSC VCD then you will losing resolution, which might hide some of the image problems. Also, if you encode for DVD at VCD resolution then you can use higher than VCD bitrates, which might reduce the quality hit from re-encoding.
I've never seen a Philips DVD player that wasn't able to convert PAL video to NTSC. My guess is that your DVD player's output is set to the default value of Multi or Any (I don't remember what Philips calls it). Change that to NTSC and you will probably find that your conversion magically works. Or even better, the original VCD will work fine once you change the video output setting.
I think you misunderstood. The video DOES play just fine on my home Philips -- it's the crappy DVD-VCR combo that they have at my wife's school that's flipping the bird at the disc. However, when I get a chance I will look to see if there is just a setting as you mentioned (I don't remember noticing it in my many travels through the menus, but it may have been something I just ignored since I wasn't looking for it) to see if it can be helpful in testing the disc.
GIGO pretty much applies to everything in life, not just video. I am obviously aware of that problem in trying so hard to avoid re-encoding. I know there is no magic filter that replaces lost info (although vReveal looks like a very interesting option, if I could justify the $50 expenditure). I was merely asking for suggestions on the best filters/methods to use to minimize the loss in this kind of conversion.
I had definitely planned on the higher bitrate, but don't know much of anything about filters so I don't know which ones (and which settings of those) are best to use in this situation. I'll play around with the deblocking and softening filters to see what I can get, but if anyone has experience in this and is willing to share their knowledge I'd be grateful.
I've been experimenting with variations of Smurf's guide here:
You'll obviously need to skip most of the beginning of the guide....but as far as from Demuxing onward...it works pretty well.
The audio speed change is quite noticeable....but there are other options in Goldwave that diminish the audio speed change....but it also diminishes the overall audio tone/quality....but it might not matter for some audio situations like voices.
My bad. That's what I get for quickly skimming instead of carefully reading.
I'd advise a PAL VCD to DVD conversion. It may not look good, but depending on the length of the original VCD you could use a pretty high bit rate like 8000 Kbps (no gain for VBR encoding - might as well do CBR if it's less than an hour) and with any luck it might be almost as good as the original, but VCD conversion to any other format is never going to look great.
If you look in the tools section, there are a few programs that can convert VCD to DVD for you. SVCD2DVD works pretty well but it's shareware. However you could use it to try to convert the source VCD to DVD before it times out on you and nags you to purchase it (you get 1 or 2 weeks). There's some other freeware program that does the same, but I never used it. However, I think forum regular AlanHK said he used that program and it worked fine for him.
(Edited to fix name of program in 3rd paragraph. SVCD2DVDMPG is the name of the free program that I didn't remember at the time I originally wrote this.)
Don't be fooled by the screen shots on the vReveal site. Most of them are contrived for marketing purposes and have nothing at all to do with real life results.
vReveal is mostly about perception. It doesn't actually do anything for compression artifacts and blockiness. What is does do is sharpen, moderate noise reduction, and some lighting tricks to make the video appear to be enhanced. It can tidy up a video that isn't really too bad to begin with, but doesn't do anything that can be easily done in free tools.
Is is also limited to SD PAL resolution or less for import, can output up to 720p, but it's "x2 Enhancer" only works on VCD resolution material, and it can only ouput as WMV or uncompressed AVI. The final insult - it uses CUDA for processing, but is still slower than a wet week when exporting. My 10 minute mp4 480 x 272 Youtube test clip (grabbed via Keepvid) took 30 minutes without changing resolution, and just over an hour when exported as 960 x 540. Quality settings didn't seem to factor into the export times either, with Better and Best taking the same amount of time to produce.