Hello again. I've been using DVDFab for a while now, primarily for converting my DVD collection to video files/vob's for use on my media server. I just started to use DVDFab for ripping my Blu-Rays to files (m2ts, ts, mp4, etc.), but notice that the resultant files that were ripped to anything other than its original 1080p format seem washed out, like the brightness is turned up, and the contrast is turned down.
I have a quad core Q8400, Win7-64bit 6gb PC, but it's just not enough horsepower to rip (and stream via my media server such as Mezzmo and PMS onto my PS3) at 1080p, so I've opted for 720p. Still looks like a good HD picture on my 61" DLP, but the video is just washed out.
P.S. I should also mention that my older Sony receiver supports Dolby Digital and dts, but doesn't support AAC, so it limits me a little on the file types I want to rip to.
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The issue may be with your conversions, as baldrick says.
OK, I used "ripping" in the generic sense. I was converting directly from the BD to a file with DVDFab. I'll try the two step process of ripping first, then converting, and see where that takes me.
The majority of my library is on DVD (>800 titles, accumulated over 10 years). I've been ripping these into their respective vob's, but the current problem is that my goto media server, Mezzmo, currently doesn't support the multi-file vob file structure (it plays them fine, but one at a time), so I rely on my PS3 to play them back (as consecutive files) with a short pause between each vob.
I have less then 40 Blu-Ray's at present, but that's increasing exponentially. All of these are eventually going to reside on my media server, some day, so I'm trying early on to come up with a viable BD transfer method that keeps the file size manageable (~5gb) while still retaining video quality.
I'd recommend for converting and/or re-encoding Blu-Rays that you NOT use DVDFab.
BDRB, RipBot, AVCHDCoder, any program that uses the x264 encoder (and there are several more) will be much better and can re-encode to whatever target size you want. Or, better yet, use quality based encoding with a crf value of 20 or 22 to get a smaller file and retain enough quality.
Seriously, DVDFab is a great decrypter, but it's not in the same league for encoding as the above.
Good luck.Pull! Bang! Darn!
It sounds to me very much like the video player you're using to play the video is displaying it using the wrong levels. PC monitors are RGB and use a level range of 0-255. mpeg video pretty much always uses 16-235. If you send 16-235 levels to a display expecting 0-255 the video will look washed out, exactly as you've described, so the levels need to be expanded when the video is played on a PC. Why a 720p encode should play using different levels than a 1080p encode though, I'm not sure.
Are you comparing the two using the same playback device? Expanding the levels can be a decision made by the player, the renderer or the video card etc. PCs often display video using the wrong levels and it's easy for it to go unnoticed. If you play a DVD containing black bars they should look black..... as black as black gets on your monitor. If you play the ripped/encoded version and the black bars are dark grey, the levels are being displayed incorrectly.
My solution..... I use my video card's control panel options (Nvidia) to tell it to expand all video levels to RGB 0-255 (might be described as "full" or something similar). That way no matter what player I use, the video always displays correctly, but I'm not streaming the video.
Another option is to see if you can change the level your display expects, or your PS3 is outputting (I've never used one). My Plasma has a VGA input which is fixed at 0-255, or a dedicated HDMI/PC input which lets you change the levels. The options are usually labelled quite unintuitively, ie "low" and "normal" or "low" and "high" etc but try experimenting there. I seriously doubt there's anything wrong with the rips.
PS. It's also possible for the levels to be wrong in reverse. If you send 0-255 to a display expecting 16-235 the picture will generally look way too dark.
PS My personal preference for ripping Bluray is to run AnyDVD in the background simply decrypting the disc. I've not used DVDFab much but I'd assume it does the same thing and as long as it's decrypting the disc it should work just as well.
With the disc being decrypted I then use MeGUI's HD Streams Extractor to extract the appropriate video/audio streams from the largest m2ts file on the disc (which is usually the movie). It'll save the ripped video to an MKV and convert the audio in the process if required. From there I use MeGUI to re-encode the MKV and add the audio when it's done. I generally encode to 720p using x264 and a CRF value of 19, but anywhere from 18-22 should look pretty good (the lower the CRF value, the better quality).
As for my setup, I watch TV on an Samsung 61" DLP. There are two primary sources of video, HD cable via component (passing through a Hauppauge HD-PVR), and my PS3 via HDMI (primarily used as my media server "client").
I have several "ripped" video files, most are in 720p and some in 1080p. I also have a Hauppauge HD-PVR, which I record a lot of HD content exclusively in 1080i (which does an outstanding job of HD recording). In any case, all the videos are ran through my PS3 using Mezzmo (or PS3 Media Server), and all but the Blu-Ray rips have normal contrast and brightness levels. It's only the ones that I try to "rip" and "convert" on-the-fly using DVDFab that have the washed out artifacts.
Now one point I need to make is that when I "rip" the BD's alone (not convert) with the DVDFab's default "m2ts.passthrough" profile, I get perfect 1080p copy's and no discernible artifacts. The only downside is that the m2ts files are very large in the 18-20 GB size, which takes up a lot of hard drive space, and uses a lot of bandwidth, upwards of 20 Mbps, and causes streaming playback stuttering. I really want to get these down to around 5GB, and the 720p HD format seems to work well for me for media server streaming purposes. If I want balls-to-the-wall HD presentation, I'll pullout my BD and play it in my PS3.
As for AnyDVD, I tried this, and while its all well and good, that of course creates upwards of 40GB of files, or most of the BD structure, so this is not a viable option, especially when DVDFab works just as well, at 1080p.
The problem I continue to have is when "converting" these 1080p videos to 720p (1280x~720). I tried AVCHDCoder, but I haven't had any luck getting it to work. The last time I used it, it was still running after 18 hours, so I just gave up on that one. You also mentioned MeGUI, and it looks like something I'll also take a look at.
The bottom line is that to make my media server project feasible, I need to be as efficient in file space as possible while retaining as much content quality as possible. Down converting my BD library to 720p is my only option.
If anyone has or knows of tools that do this (free or purchased), while retaining video quality, and supports DTS or AC3 audio (I prefer not to use AAC at this time as my receiver doesn't support it), I'd be very grateful. Thanks!
I still think it's a levels issue. I don't own a PS3 and I don't stream video, but logically there's no other reason for video to look washed out after it's ripped. The ripping process can't alter the video, but it may be played back differently if it's in a different container. Does DVDFab and AnyDVD save the files in the same format when ripping? There's a chance every AVI/MKV/MP4 you play is played using the wrong levels, but it's only your own rips which give you something to compare them to.
Anyway, you can repost what's going wrong again, and I can repost why I think it's going wrong again, but the simplest way to find out is to test it. If your Samsung has an option to change the expected input level as mine does (connected via a dedicated PC/HDMI input) then try changing it. Or see if the device connected to it has an option for setting the output level. If by changing the level you can get the ripped files and the originals to look exactly the same, then it's a levels issue. They could also be describes as TV levels or PC levels as well low or normal etc.
What about when you view the ripped files on your PC monitor? Do they look the same as when playing the discs?
I suspect, although I don't really know why, the video is being displayed correctly when playing the original discs (or the full disc ripped by AnyDVD?) but for some reason when playing the version being ripped by DVDFab (possibly because it's in a different format) the levels aren't being corrected on playback. I've read of instances in other forums where the same thing happens using a particular renderer while playing video on a PC using the PC monitor. The original DVD looks fine, the encoded version looks washed out etc. Manually setting the playback levels fixes it.
Using MeGUI in the way I described above will retain the image quality (and it'll only extract the required audio and video rather than waste time ripping the entire disc). If you extract the required video to an MKV with the HD Streams extractor and it looks washed out on playback then you need to fix the levels your playback device/DLP is using. I use MeGUI in the way I described and my encodes look identical to the original discs, every time. Any program which uses the x264 encoder should give you pretty much the same result using the same encoder settings.
Thanks for the feedback. I really don't think its the video levels you mentioned (at least from a hardware point of view). As I had previously noted, all my DVDFab BD passthrough "rips" at 1080p look fine. It's when I try to do a single "rip/convert", or "rip" then "convert" with DVDFab that the 720p version is washed out. I tried a multitude of settings, and all have the same artifacts. I also have a few 720p videos that were apparently ripped and converted from 1080p BD's (I don't have a clue how they were done) and they also look fine, with the correct black levels.
If I take an analogy from my analog days, if the video level is too high, the picture is dark, too low, and the picture is too light (washed out). I don't know if this same for digital video. If so, there must be a codec conversion issue in DVDFab. Unfortunately, there are no video settings adjustments available.
With that being said, I also discovered VidCoder, and my first conversion to 720p seems to be good (same as the original) with few artifacts. The only issue I have to experiment with is the "Constant Quality" and Anamorphic settings. There isn't much info on this program, but it seems to be very robust, but this is for a different thread. VidCoder may be the solution (or one of them) I'm looking for.
I'll keep you posted on my experiment results.
I could be wrong of course... if you're converting the same video using a different program and it doesn't look washed out like it does when converted with DVDFab, then I guess DVDFab is changing the levels while encoding for some inexplicable reason. I've never met an encoding program which does that before, at least not unless you specifically tell it to.
Is this what you're seeing?
If it's more dramatic than that, then something else is going wrong.
If you're converting from Bluray you don't need to worry about anamorphic encoding. It's really only used for converting DVDs which don't have square pixels (the idea being you encode using the same shaped pixels as the source) but Bluray uses square pixels.
Most people encode use a CRF value of 18 to 22. CRF18 is supposed to be where x264 is "transparent". I encode using a CRF value of 19, but how high you go simply depends on how much quality loss you can see. For a given CRF value the file size will vary quite a bit from movie to movie but relative to the original, the quality will be about the same.
I've seen DVDFab do what the OP is describing. I was playing around with Fab's 2D -> 3D conversion, output to SBS 3D transport stream. Which, now that I think about it entails resizing, as the OP is doing. The last time I tested Fab's encoding (no resizing) the result didn't look "washed out", although it was obviously inferior to anything using the x264 encoder. Nothing more to add, as I didn't look into it any further.
Apropos of nothing much, the 2d -> 3D conversion had some depth, but no more than the TV's on-the-fly conversion. Quite apart from the crummy looking re-encode.
Maybe you should consider using BDRB or RipBot to re-encode main movie to MKV container with H264 and AC3 5.1 audio at 640 kbps. One pass using a crf value of 20 (quality based encode) might be a good setting to try. That would likely solve stuttering due to a bitrate higher than your equipment can handle. Assuming your setup will do MKVs.
Last edited by fritzi93; 29th Mar 2012 at 08:19.Pull! Bang! Darn!
hello_hello, your samples look close, to what I'm seeing, but its even more pronounced with a movie at its a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The "black" video is light (washed out) compared to the letterbox bars above and below the video. Again, I only see this with DVDFab's conversion to 720p. With VidCoder, I tried converting several versions of the same movie, with and without anamorphic, and with it off, it conversion looks good at both 18 and 20, with a slight edge better at 18.
Fritzi, both Mezzmo and PS3 Media Server support MKV, but because its not native to the PS3, its always a transcoding issue, and more bandwidth. Using MP4/M4V is an MPEG derivative, and is natively supported by the PS3. I also played around a little with RipBot but I had trouble getting to work, but I didn't spend a lot of time with it. I'll give it a go over the weekend.
For now, DVDFab works fine for ripping a BD "master" 1080p file, and from that, VidCoder does the conversion. It would have been nice to do both in one package, but the combo will do for now. All together, the 2-step process takes a little over 2 hours for a 2 hour movie. Not too painful.
Now, if only someone can figure out Cinavia, so that the Sony BD I purchased can be converted to play on my Sony PS3, and I can hear it through my Sony receiver, I'd be a happy man. Thanks Sony!
Well it still seems like it's probably a levels issue, but I guess it's one being created by DVDFab when converting rather than on playback. If so, I have no idea why DVDFab would change the levels. I've never used it for converting. Does it have some sort of setting?
I guess the simple solution is simply not to use DVDFab for converting (how's that for stating the obvious? ) although it seems rather odd DVDFab would cause that sort of problem.
Other's seem to have had the same problem when "converting" with DVDFab,
Read down a couple of comments.
DVDFab for "ripping" BD's. DVD's work fine too as long as you don't compress the original, keeping it at 100% (usually DVD9 mode, because I'm not copying a DVD to another DVD, so I don't care if the total files are more than 4GB).
I never paid attention to user comments further down the page's of Video Help's software pages, but I will look more in the future. There is one comment someone left, where the said that a DVDFab couldn't be processed in 2-pass mode, but that's not true. I've done it with "Contact". It turned out a decent AVI, but it took forever to process, and even at that, the DVD vob's still look much better.
I've also started using VidCoder more and more on BD "conversions", and I seem to get the best quality at a "Constant Quality" setting of 18 and Anamorphic OFF. I also like the ability to always choose AC3 on MP4's. A 2 hour 1080p movie, converted to 720p is in the 3 GB range, which is very manageable, while still retaining a very good quality picture. Acutally, I hard set the screen width value to 1280, and leave the height to "auto", as most 2.35:1 movies are shorter that 720 lines.
And speaking of DVD's, unlike BD's that can be upwards of 20-30 GB's, I can live with 4 GB's of DVD vob files, but DVD's have separate streaming playback issues because their multi-file structure on most media servers (like Mezzmo), where they can only play one vob at a time, not the whole movie in one shot. Fortunately, the PS3 has a workaround that automatically plays the next title when the previous one is done, although there is a 1-2 second delay between vob's. However, I also plan to experiment with VidCoder using the Anamorphic feature to see if that can give me a good single file alternative.
In my experience though with my PS3, I'm of the impression that the PS3 upscales (line doubles?, in hardware) on DVD's, even when I'm streaming the ripped vob's. As I mentioned, the Contact 2-pass looks OK on its own, but streamed through the PS3, the vob's just look better and sharper.
Last edited by billw6560; 1st Apr 2012 at 12:45.
DVD Shrink. Go into DVD Shrink's options and set the target file size to something large (ie 10000MB) so it won't try to re-encode the video, then deselect the option to split vob files into 1GB chunks. Back in the main DVD Shrink window, select the re-author button. Drag the movie title from the right pane to the left. You can then deselect any audio tracks or subtitles you don't want to keep. You can do the same with any of the other titles but they'll each be a separate vob file. Once you're done use DVD Shrink to save (backup) the DVD to a new location, the new version will contain a single vob file of the entire movie. If it's an episodic DVD you can also use the above method to create a single vob file for each episode (they'll be listed as separate titles in the right pane).
I do the above on occasion if I want to keep the original/audio video as well as a re-encoded version, and I then use MKVToolNix to resave the single vob file(s) as an MKV.
Or, use MakeMKV to remux the DVD as a single MKV (which I think should also include any chapters).
Personally, I go for your second option and re-encode the movie using x264 and anamorphic encoding using MeGUI.
Last edited by hello_hello; 2nd Apr 2012 at 12:04.
DVDFab (or some other alternative).
Right now, I'm in my setup stage, but once I'm ready to "turn it on", I only hope Mezzmo media server will be updated to playback the multi-file DVD structure without gaps, but like video tape, I think that DVD's are the new VHS's, and Blu-Ray's are temporary until someone figures out how to put 100GB on a flash card the size of a postage stamp, and costs a $1 to make. Read about IBM's Atomic-scale magnetic memory, where they are working on storing 1 bit in 12 atoms!
VidCoder, that's gone for good.
MakeMKV should work with both encrypted and unencrypted discs and remux them as MKVs. Alternatively if you run something such as DVDFab or AnyDVD in the background, just decrypting, you should be able to rip the encrypted discs using DVD Shrink, re-author them etc and save the output using single vob files.... as opposed to ripping them first, then resaving them later. Either way you've got to get the files off the discs but you should be able to make it a one step process. If you have more than one DVD drive you might be able to rip more than one DVD at a time.
I have four hard drives in my PC and four drives capable of reading DVD discs. The drives are running in pairs (two RAID-0 volumes) but if I rip two DVDs to one RAID volume and two DVDs to the second RAID volume, I can easily rip four DVDs at a time. The bottleneck will probably be hard drive speed if you're running a single hard drive, but even a single drive should be able to keep up with two simultaneous DVD rips.
RAID is a whole other subject, but it's something to consider if you're going to be moving lots of large files around. I could never go back to running a single drive. It's like driving a car with the handbrake on. Actually.... more like driving a car with two handbrakes on.