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  1. Member
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    Oct 2005
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    Chicago
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    I've got a library of video files and play them on my media player. But it's cumbersome to fast forward to parts that I want to watch if I don't want to sit through the whole thing.

    Is there a file format that I could convert them to that would allow me to put in chapter markers?

    I've heard that MKV allows for this, but I can't for the life of me find a piece of software that allows you to author MKV files.

    Can anyone point me in the right direction?
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  2. Always Watching guns1inger's Avatar
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    What media player ?

    You can add a chapter file to the MKV file using MKVMerge, but not all players will observe it.

    .Divx allows for chapters on Divx Ultra certified players.
    Read my blog here.
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  3. What format are your video files in ? If they're DVD MPEG-2 then Handbrake can convert them to MP4/M4V or MKV, both of which support chapter markers.

    If you already have MP4 files I believe you can use Subler to add chapters or something like Metadata Hootenanny.
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  4. Member
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    Whatever you do, stay away from MKV or you're in for a disaster of Biblical proportions.

    As others have asked: What is your media player?
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  5. Member
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    I swear that I posted this last night.

    My media player is a Seagate FreeAgent Theatre+. It plays almost everything and all in all I'm fairly happy with it. The interface leaves a little to be desired, though. And I wish that when viewing DVDs that you could group them by title (for TV shows or movies that span multiple discs).

    I can handle staying away from MKV. Was just curious about the format, which I've never played around with.

    But, I've got some AVIs and MP4s that I'd like to add chapters to.

    I downloaded Subler and it doesn't seem to be what I want. I also found a couple of utilities for MP4s and I'm wondering if anyone has used them: SimpleMovieX and MetaX.

    And apparently there's a patch for Handbrake to do this. But I thought Handbrake was simply for converting DVDs and that's not what I want.

    Are there any utilities for AVI on a Mac?

    What'd I'd love to find is some utility that would allow me to scrub the timeline and put in chapter markers where I want.
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  6. Looks like Metadata Hootenanny may well do what you want for the MP4s. You're SOL with AVIs...no chapter support.
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  7. Member
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    Thanks for the info!

    Dammit about the AVIs. I'll just convert I guess.

    Another question on MP4s then. How do I determine what a good data rate is? I want them to look perfect but I don't want to compress and have to redo just to get the right data rate.
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  8. Originally Posted by whoisquilty
    How do I determine what a good data rate is?
    No sarcasm intended but whatever looks good to you on your set-up. If you're compressing from your own DVDs with Handbrake then I'd suggest trying a chapter with one of the presets and seeing if that looks OK to you. It really all depends on how much of a factor storage space is. If you've got the space then take the high road...if you ain't then test lower but, as you say, you only want to do this once. With the AVIs I'd personally take no chapters over conversion any day but if they look acceptable to you...
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  9. Member
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    For 640x material I use between 700 and 1000 kbps depending on the fps rate. For 720p I tend to use 2000-2500hbps. I'm a bit picky so you might try a lower rate.

    In Handbrake you may stop your encoding and review what's been done so far. Do two minutes worth at one rate and see how it looks. Rinse and repeat.
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  10. Member
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    The method below has been a fair bit of trial and error, but hopefully some of the steps might help others that want to add chapters to Video files.

    1. Set up the Chapters in SimpleMovieX 3.9, use VLC to find the chapter change points and then set the time value in SimpleMovieX along with a Name for Each Chapter.

    It is useful to do a Screen Capture of the Chapter Positions and names for the video file, and save the screen capture as an image file in the
    same directory as the Video File in case the export from SimpleMovieX fails for any reason.

    2. When Chapters are named and defined, export the Movie from SimpleMovieX as a QuickTime Movie file using the same Video Dimension Size as the original and the Quality at Maximum.

    Unfortunately when converting this file to an MKV file, the audio track within the QuickTime Move file cannot be read and is discarded, so you need to export the Audio Track from QuickTime Pro as a separate WAVE file.

    3. Open MkvMerge and navigate to the source Quicktime .MOV file, add it to the Input list and then add the separate Wave file as a Second file in the Input list.

    4. Un tick the .mp4a Audio Track from the .MOV file container and make sure that the PCM (Wave) file is selected in the Tracks, chapters and tags box.

    5. Set the Output filename to where you want the finished .mk3d file with the embedded chapters

    6. select "start muxing"".

    You should now have a complete .mk3d file with embedded chapters and an audio track.

    Unfortunately these tend to be some three times the size (Mb) than a re-compressed .mp4 or .mkv file using handbrake, so to get the file to a suitable size the next step may be useful.

    7. With the completed file, you can now re-encode the .mk3d file in Handbrake at a constant quality setting of say 1000 kbps and go to the Chapters Tab and ensure that the "Create chapter markers" is ticked.
    Make sure the Output format is .m4v ! The .mkv output format loses the positions of the Chapters and will only give approximate positions for the chapters.

    To get the chapter positions to stay in the correct place with the .mkv format files, se the Frame Rate on the Video Output tab in Handbrake to the same as the source file e.g. 23.976 for NTSC, if the Frame Rate is set "same as original" then a drift error occurs with the Chapter positions being in the wrong place on playback.
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