Hi, I'm using SUPER converter (can anyone recommend me a better alternative video converter that lets me tinker with specific aspects of a video so that I can convert a file to the best quality my iPod/Android devices can view?
Anyway, I'm trying to use SUPER converter and there's profiles I can use--one of them is an MP4 profile and another is Android (MP4). My question is: what is the purpose of Android (MP4)? Why can't I just use the MP4 profile and adjust the settings to match those that my device can support? I'm skeptical of using the Android (MP4) profile because often times video converters with profiles do not give you the best quality--they tend to give you the most compatibility instead.
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There is not just mp4 profile for mp4 video (with H.264 in it), you can use baseline, main and high, it depends on your device, bitrate, size of video, check it out here:
Android device might support only Baseline profile, it depends,
you can use Main profile for latest iPhones, tablets, but iPod I think still needs baseline (did not tested myself), older smartphones baseline,
Android device could be also tablet, not phone, and tablet generally support Main profile,
Guess is main is 20% better then baseline for the same bitrate, crossfades, badly lit scene are much better with main profile if you do not have enough bitrate. if you are generous with bitrate (for given resolution) - doesn't matter that much.
also you always watch for # of reference frames (not too high for mobile devices), complex settings, that make it more difficult to decode, so for all of this that is why there is separate Android settings ... don't know SUPER though, not sure how reliable it is overthere
x264 encoder's default settings while specifying the maximum profile and level the device you're using supports. Some devices also have additional bitrate and/or resolution restrictions, but that's becoming less common these days.
Here's my logic.... I don't encode for specific devices any more..... I try to buy devices which play standard encodes instead. Life's too short. The defacto "standard" for x264 encoding is currently High Profile, Level 4.1. Any decent player (Bluray players, TVs with built in media players etc) will play High Profile, Level 4.1. It's the level used for DXVA (hardware decoding with a PC's video card).
I'm not exactly an Android expert but it's software, not hardware, so what an Android device can and can't play really comes down to it's CPU and/or hardware decoder. You can't lump all Android devices together. As long as you can install third party software on your Android device it doesn't matter so much what Andriod officially supports. It'd be like not using your PC for playing video because Windows Media Player is a hunk 'o junk. You'd just use a better player. MXPlayer is the one I'd recommend for Android. It plays just about anything as long as the device's hardware is up to it. I have it installed on my Morotola Razr, which has a pretty decent hardware decoder for a phone. It'll play High Profile, Level 4.1 encoded video at 1080p without a problem. In fact I tested it with a couple of "problem" videos with unusually high bitrates. One of those videos comes to a complete standstill if I try to use my PCs video card to decode it, while the phone's hardware decoder stuttered a little but kept on playing. And with MXPlayer installed you're not restricted to specific formats. There was no way I was going to use MP4 just to keep a phone happy. Fortunately I don't need to. MXPlayer happily plays MKVs.
I've not used SUPER in years so I don't know what it can and can't do, but most of the popular encoder GUIs around here will let you start with x264's defaults while picking an appropriate Profile and Level. In the "ease of use" category I'd probably suggest trying "ffcoder" as it doesn't require a lot of setting up or preparation to simply open a video and re-encode it, plus it gives you access to all of x264's settings. Although there's no need to mess with them.... you'd pick an x264 speed preset (medium is the default) the appropriate x264 Tuning (none, film or grain etc), specify the Profile and Level you require, pick a quality and encode.
I use MeGUI myself but it does have a bit of a learning curve. HandBrake and Vidcoder are quite popular. I don't think HandBrake uses the built in x264 speed presets currently (the next version will) but Vidcoder does. Both have their own presets for various types of devices but I've not looked at them to see what settings they use. Someone else may be able to offer suggestions for other encoder GUIs which do a good job without being too hard to use.
Extremely informative--thanks for the info! I'll probably use the specific profiles (Android MP4 for Android, Apple iPod Touch for iPod Touch) since the regular MP4 profile doesn't give me the option to have the video scale size for the mobile devices.
Why? I was thinking of only downloading one video converter and thought SUPER was more thorough. It seems to be offering more tweaks, though I much prefer HandBrake's interface.
Also, I have an unrelated question (from these questions you can tell I'm very new to video converting, but I hope to be able to learn more). Should I convert all videos to the aspect ratio 3:2 so that it fits on the iPod Touch perfectly or should I leave the aspect ratio same as the source to prevent any distortions (such as stretching of the figures in the video)? Is viewing a movie on a 5 inch screen too small for stretching to matter and I might as well use the 3:2 aspect ratio and ignore these distortions?
Just use HandBrake's iPhone/iPod Touch preset. It's smarter than you and I put together.
WinFF has a Full Screen or Wide Screen option in it's presets.....though choosing Widescreen for a Full Screen source is always a dumb idea.
WinFF defaults to a smaller screen size (iPod Small Full Screen setting)....or you get the monster size if using your iPod to play to a TV.
Why don't you just use an editor and cut a small piece of your movie and experiment until you find the setting that looks best to you.
Oh....and the most recent versions of SUPER are just a MESS.
Ok, I will use iPhone/iPod TOuch reset. 2 questions, though:
1. Why can't I use the same audio from the source on the file that is to be converted?
2. For the Video Quality settings, I can choose Constant Quality or Avg Bitrate 1/2 passes. From Googling, I know that Constant Quality seems to offer better quality at the expense of file size. File size for me is not a concern and I rather have a higher quality. The default presets have Avg Bitrate setting selected instead of Constant Quality. It has 1500kbps average, which is the highest the iPod Touch can support for h.264 files. If I want highest quality displayed for my iPod Touch, is there no point in using Constant Quality with RF of 19 over Avg Bitrate of 1500 with 2 passes?
1. Depends on your original audio source, you have to make it easy for device also, you perhaps choose AAC LC, something like 64 Kbs, maybe a bit more, so if original is 5channel AC3 448kbps, certainly I would not use it.
2. 2passes is a quite waste of time. You choose CRF (not ABR if it is avaiable). I use that trick with buffer using x264 encoder, for example if I want encoder not to go above 1300kbps too much, I set --vbv-bufsize 2000 --vbv-maxrate 1000 or 1100. So resizing to 640x360 , keep aspect ratio 1.0, I do not know your source (note: not sure about actual max iPod video resolution, check that out somewhere) , then using CRF 18 and then those buffer settings, together with --profile baseline --level 3.0 --ref 1 gives you easy profile.
command line for video would be something like this, you can extrapolate those settings for software you use:
x264 --crf=18 --profile baseline --level 3.0 --ref 1 --vbv-bufsize 2000 --vbv-maxrate 1100 --output raw_video.h264 input.avs
then check out resulting bitrate if it is going to work out for you
As you have an ipod touch, I personally wouldn't bother encoding video specifically for it, and I wouldn't use HandBrake's ipod touch preset because it uses faster encoder settings than the x264 defaults which can potentially lower the quality. Here's the video/audio specs for the touch:
H.264 video up to 1080p, 30 frames per second, Main Profile level 4.1 with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats
So Apple seem to have almost caught up, and it'll pretty much play the standard type of h264 video I mentioned in my previous post.
As far as I know the only difference between Main Profile and High Profile, Level 4.1 is the maximum allowed bitrate, so chances are you could still encode using High Profile, Level 4.1 and the bitrate wouldn't be an issue too often, if at all, especially if you mainly encode at 720p.
Each to their own, but given the touch seems to be a pretty decent video player, I'd encode video I tend to use for any device rather than the touch specifically. Either that, or if I ran a separate encode for the touch, it'd just be something quick and dirty at a lower resolution I could delete after I've watched it (in which case any GUI's ipod preset/profile would probably do). I've still got a whole bunch of old Xvid/AVI encodes I use with my phone because the file sizes are much smaller and it takes a lot less time to transfer them to the phone, but that's the only reason. 480p or 1080p, it's really all the same on a four inch screen.
According to the specs it'll only play stereo AAC up to 160Kb/s, but you could probably keep the original audio stream and encode it again for the touch. I gather a lot of people do something similar for playing video with game consoles. It'll only play video in the usual Apple containers (MP4 and MOV etc), but that's what it officially supports.... are there third party media players you could download and install? If so, you'd probably be able to play all sorts of audio too.
Anyway.... if you're encoding video to keep for playing on other devices later on, I'd encode at the quality you want to keep, but whether you'd prefer to do that or encode just for the phone.... or encode twice etc.... well of course it's up to you.
PS I know nothing about Apple devices but in my case I don't encode video to fit any screen. I just encode it using the original aspect ratio (minus any black bars which are cropped). So 4:3, 16:9 or 2.35:1 etc, I just keep the original aspect ratio. The player I use with my phone has a zoom function which lets me zoom any video until it fills the screen. It doesn't distort/stretch the video, you just lose some of the video off the sides of the screen until it fills the display, but what you can do when playing video on the touch, I've no idea.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H.264/MPEG-4_AVC#Profiles , there is a comparison after scrolling down a bit,
but you are maybe right , I guess it is not a good idea to encode just for that device alone, I would crank up settings to Main profile first, some ref. frames, bit higher resolution than SD and tried what it is going to do on that iPod.
Given the phone specs say it'll play Main Profile, Level 4.1 at any resolution, I'd at least use that along with x264's default settings and my preferred resolution etc. There's no reason why that should give you good quality, but of course there's no reason not to use a lower resolution and faster encoder settings either, if it's only being encoded to use with the phone. Each to their own.....