What are you going to use to playback these mp4s?
If you are going to use computer to playback, I would go with either handbrake or vidcoder.
30 gb isn't very much cushion for working with high def.
If you get glitches from either of these programs then something is wrong with your ripping (copying program to hard drive)
or your system.
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Just going through some of the points you raised.....
Media Player Classic is, as far as I know, no longer developed, and rather out-dated. You probably should use MPC-HC instead. I haven't used MPC in quite a while, but I don't think it comes with all the internal codecs and splitters which MPC-HC does, which is why you probably sometimes need to use external codecs. Mind you MPC-HC can still use external codecs just as MPC does, but it should play all of the common file types and formats "out of the box". Plus I doubt MPC supports DXVA (hardware decoding, where the video card does the decoding instead of the CPU). You could probably get MPC to decode using ffdshow's DXVA decoder (or LAV Filters) but MPC-HC also has DXVA decoders built in.
I suppose you could look at MKV as being more versatile than MP4 as a disadvantage in some respects, given MKV can contain a wider variety of video and audio types, but generally they tend to be used for the same thing and you can use a program such as MediaInfo to look at what's inside. MPC-HC also uses MediaInfo to display information about files. When you open a file you can use the File/Properties menu and there's a MediaInfo tab in the window which opens. I can't remember if MPC has the same.
I'll confess what WMP can and can't do hasn't influenced my decision as to which container to use. I never use WMP, partly because Microsoft is always behind the rest of the world when it comes to their media player.
I've never used Vegas but I assume if it won't open MKVs it's simply because they're behind the rest of the world too. I'd guess one day there'll be a version which will.
I've never used VSO Blu-ray Converter either so I can't comment on the issues there, but for most people here "ripping" is the process of extracting the original video and audio from the disc and nothing more. "Converting" it to another format is a separate process. It sounds like VSO Blu-ray Converter does both, basically as a single step. That might be the cause of some glitches.... I'm guessing.... but if the disc isn't being read correctly the program might keep on converting regardless, whereas if you rip first, then convert, it should ensure you have a good copy to use for converting. If it's converting and ripping at the same time.... I also don't know which encoder it uses. Maybe the encoder itself isn't perfect. They're definitely not all created equally. Most freeware programs use the x264 encoder as it's one of the best, if not the best, h264 encoder. Plus if you are ripping/converting, then editing, then converting again, it's not ideal. You really want to only convert once, after you've edited, if need be.
DVDFab no doubt has an option to "rip only" (no conversion) but I don't use it myself.
For the ripping process itself..... I use HD-DVD/Blu-Ray Stream Extractor. It's also built into the encoder GUI I use (MeGUI). You need AnyDVD running in the background (DVDFab HD Decrypter might work too but I've never used it) and then you open the disc with HD-DVD/Blu-Ray Stream Extractor. It'll analyse the disc and let you select the streams you want, then it extracts them to your hard drive (no conversion). I think it'll only extract the video to MKV or as a raw video stream, but you can always open the MKV/video stream with a program such as YAMB and resave it as an MP4 if need be. The extracted, unconverted video will probably be somewhere between 15GB and 30GB in size though. It'll also extract the existing audio and/or convert it to another format in the process.
I haven't read Bladrick's guide for converting, but while generally most of the free encoder GUIs use similar third party tools "behind the scenes", the idea of the GUI is to allow you you use them without needing to know how to use them individually. Many encoder GUIs use AVISynth for much of the work but it doesn't mean you need to know how to use AVISynth yourself, you just need to have it installed. The GUI will generally open the video with a preview for setting up your desired cropping, resizing and filtering etc and create an AVISynth script to use for encoding for you. Some hide it from you so you mightn't know they use AVISynth, while some don't. Some programs (such as MeGUI) can use their own portable version of AVISynth so you don't have to have the full version installed.
Vidcoder/Handbrake is a popular choice for converting (it's not an AVISynth based encoder GUI) as it's fairly easy to use.
What sort of editing are you doing? Is it just simple cutting or are you adding effects etc? If it's the former, you can easily do that with the right AVISynth GUI without having to know how to use AVISynth. You mightn't need to use Vegas at all.
In my case, after having extracted the desired streams with HD-DVD/Blu-Ray Stream Extractor, I'd open the extracted MKV with MeGUI and let it index the video. Then when the Script Creator window opens, I'd use it to apply the desired cropping and resizing etc and save the script for encoding. You don't need to understand the script, MeGUI does that for you. Once it's saved I'd open the script with MeGUI's AVS (script) Cutter. It opens the video using the script and a preview window, and allows you to edit it. You basically use the script cutter to specify which sections of the video you wish to encode, so you'd effectively be editing and encoding at the same time. Once you've specified the "cuts", MeGUI saves them to the script. It'll also save a "cuts file" to use when re-encoding the audio so it's edited while encoding in the same way. Once you're done editing you encode the video and audio and MeGUI will output it as a single MKV/MP4 for you when it's done.
To be honest if I installed Vegas for the first time I'd probably be just as lost trying to use it as you might be with a program such as MeGUI, but it's just a matter of becoming familiar with a new program, regardless of which it is. Of course not every program does everything, so what you want to achieve may limit which programs you can use, and none of the freeware programs are designed for serious editing.... at least not when it comes to doing stuff like adding effects.
On the subject of the type of output, whether it be "standard" or for a specific device etc.... some devices are more limited than others in respect to what they'll decode. The same encoder is used, but it might be more limited in terms of the way it compresses the video when encoding for a particular device, or might be restricted to a maximum resolution or bitrate etc. H264 specified various "profiles" and "levels" to use when encoding, and different devices should specify which level they support. You can read about the various profiles and levels here:
The upshot of it though, is if a device specifies it supports "Main Profile, Level 3.2" and you use that for encoding, the device should have no problem decoding it. So when a GUI has presets for a particular device, it'll be encoding using the appropriate profile and level, and maybe limiting the resolution too.
These days "standard" is pretty much "High Profile, Level 4.1". Not all portable devices support it, but most standalone devices such as Bluray players do.
Is the real question here "Am I getting the same glitches while playing back on the computer (as in the DVD player)?" The answer is, yes, I see glitches on the computer, too.
Cool, I'll try VidCoder, too, and I will post back.
P.S. Yeah, I think HandBrake probably needs more space to handle HD. (Not Vegas or VSO or DVDFab. And the source Blu-ray is under 30 GB, too, by the way.) When I free 50 GB, or so, though, I'll try it again. How much free space do you suggest to have, please?
That's a vicious circle. Updates, or the need for updates, can drive one mad. I turn auto updates off for every single program I install.
As for MPC, I installed MPC on a computer running Windows XP, a long time ago. Even now, it still works quite well with pretty much all SD files. (I play HD files on another computer, though. That other computer, running Windows 7, has BSPlayer and a recent WMP which supports MP4 out of the box.)
Maybe you can see here another reason why I might have problems with MKVs.
Yeah, so, for me, basically no MKV (or WMV, MOV or even MP4) when it comes to standard def. MPG or VOB is fine. Because, if I have AVI (or a common kind of MPEG), I can use my DVD player to play the file.
No MKV when it comes to HD that I need to edit. But MKV is okay for HD files that I will only watch.
And, so, I hope we've put this controversy to rest.
Yeah, you're right. WMP is always behind.
I rip first, then convert. I guess I was referring to ripping, as you say, as copying to the hard-drive. I do this with DVDFab. And then the conversion, from one large M2TS, I used to do with VSO Blu-ray Converter.
I'm not getting any additional glitches after editing. The glitches that exist after the conversion are the same ones that remain after editing, too.
You might think that I'm trying to praise Vegas, but I've never seen a Vegas rendered file contain errors which were not in the initial file. (Of course, I'm not including pixelation from loss of quality / lower bit rare.)
It's not possible to edit first, then convert. I have no good editor to read the original, 20-or-25-GB M2TS file. Vegas only opens M2TSs from video cameras and the like, I think, because it freezes when I try to open M2TSs from Blu-ray discs, written on the hard-drive by DVDFab.
You convert your video using DVDFab? What setting do you use? And you get no glitches in the MKV or MP4 it makes?
See, the HD-DVD/Blu-Ray Stream Extractor embodies exactly the problem I was talking about, with Baldrick's guide. They, and you, are using two programs to achieve what I'm already using one (DVDFab) for. Why would I want to bother with AnyDVD, when I already have something that does the same job? So, I don't see the point of following that. What I need help with is the conversion, as you say, to MP4, and I'm not super-thrilled when people say "install this, then install that" to use instead of the programs which I've used for a very long time successfully.
It says on these forums that YAMB is an AVI to MP4 tool. Does it convert M2TS to MP4?
When editing, I am adding effects sometimes, yes. I may work only with the audio, overlap audio from some parts of the movie with other parts of the video, etc. I might zoom in sometimes. Fade in and out, cross-fade. And others. It depends on what I'm editing. For some I need to do more, for some I need to do less.
Vegas is very user-friendly. I think you'd pick it up extremely quickly.
Finally, I want to ask you too: For HandBrake how much free space do you recommend, on each of the two hard-drives? Thanks!
P.S. Thank you very much for explaining about the Profiles and Levels. I should definitely keep those in mind.
MeGUI. Everything else stays as it is until I go through a major overhaul. If it works, it works. Currently I'm going through the process of updating everything on one PC. It's the first time I've done any of it in over a year. I've restored last years image of the Windows/Programs partition, just finished Windows Updates.... and now I'm updating all the drivers and programs one at a time and hating every minute of it, but it's got to be done occasionally. Another hour or so and I should be ready to image Windows again and that'll be it for another year or so. Well then I'll have to do this PC too..... but at least it's only once a year.
AnyDVD, which I thought is what you were referring to using yourself. Maybe not. I've not used DVDFab in years. If there is such a thing and you already have it you could try using it to decrypt the disc while extracting with the HD-DVD/Blu-Ray Stream Extractor, but once again, that idea was simply to try another method to see if it rips without glitches. If the ripping process isn't causing the glitches, then it doesn't matter.
YAMB can be a bit hit and miss though.... sometimes you need to extract the video and audio streams and then load them into YAMB individually rather then just load the original input file.... I've no idea why, and it's dog slow, especially when it comes to remuxing very large files (although still faster than converting), and the audio would have to be of a type the MP4 container supports.... You could give it a spin as remuxing to MP4 rather than re-encoding in order to edit would be a better idea. MeGUI also has some muxers under it's tools menu but I think you'd need to extract the audio from the m2ts file in order to add it separately (you could still load the m2ts file for the video) and then it'd remux them as an MP4.
MKVMergeGUI just reads the input files and writes the output MKV, I think YAMB extracts the audio and video, creates some sort of image file, then uses the image file to write the MP4, hence it being painfully slow and needing a lot more space.
By the way, what file types does Vegas open? It's just that there may be another way around the problem using AVISynth. There's a few ways to do it, but the upshot of it is you create an AVISynth script to simply open the video. You wrap the script into an AVI. If you like you can also add the audio. There's no video inside the AVI but it can be opened with any program which can open AVI's and the program can edit it and convert it etc, oblivious to the fact it's not actually working with the original video. Once you know how to do it, creating an AVI like that is very easy and it's a way to work with the original video without needing to bother with remuxing or converting first.
A full install of ffdshow comes with a utility called MakeAVIS. You open a script with it, it'll convert the audio to PCM if you want it to, then it creates the AVI for you. When you open the AVI, ffdshow decodes the original video and the program opening the AVI can work with it as though it's the original video. Of course you'd need AVISynth installed and be able to create a basic script to open the video, but might it might be a better method than having to remux/re-encode in order to open the video with Vegas.... assuming it can open AVIs.
Sorry for the late reply. My father came to stay with me for an extended visit, and I got even busier than usual.
So, we agree on the PC updates. Nice.
Yeah, I'm trying to find out, too. Well, it's either DVDFab or VSO's program. But, if you've used DVDFab, and you say there shouldn't be any glitches, then it's probably the other one. (It stands to reason. Most likely. 'Cause with computers I'm never totally sure where an error starts.)
Yes, that's the function of DVDFab I use. The simple one. I just copy the movie contents to the HDD, in a folder.
The things about M2TS files, and why I'm not sure if I should even give YAMB a try, is that Vegas was supposed to be able to open M2TS files, too. But it won't open that one M2TS, copied to my HDD by DVDFab. I got no idea why. So, who knows if YAMB won't make the same fuss, even if it says it opens these files?
But, if it's slow, I still have a couple more alternatives before needing to try another program.
Thank you very much for the advice about hard-drive space.
Two empty 1-TB drives I won't have, that's for sure.
But I guess I could try something like 50 GB on the OS hard-drive and about 100, at least, on the external hard-drive. That should be good, right? (I don't want to re-mux, no.)
Sony Vegas seems to open all MP4s, all MPEGs (even including VOBs - no need to change the extension - if properly installed), all M2TSs that come from my video camera, and then some AVIs.
The MKVs I've tried failed to open, and then that one M2TS that didn't come from my camera also didn't open.
And, of course, it opens audio files like AC3, MP3, WAV, etc., etc.
That's all I know.
I haven't gone back over the entire thread to refresh my memory on what we've discussed, but in reply to your last post:
Try opening the m2ts file which DVDFab ripped to your hard drive with tsmuxer and then resaving it as new m2ts file to see if Vegas will open the re-muxed version. It'd probably be a better (faster) option than trying to remux the m2ts files as MP4s. If Vegas will open the remuxed m2ts file which tsmuxer creates, then I guess there must be something about the DVDFab/m2ts files which Vegas doesn't like (I know nothing about m2ts files so it's just a suggestion). You could also use tsmuxer to remux the video as TS files or AVCHD/Bluray files if Vegas will open them.
Also, if you remux the ripped files as MKVs, you could try using MKVCleaver to extract the video from the MKV and remux it as an AVI (select the "convert h264 tracks to AVI files" option). I've not tried it when the video is mpeg2 so I don't know if it'd work. It's fairly slow (especially for large files) but it might be a way to remux the original video as an AVI.
Another program to try might be Video To Video Converter. When you open a file with it, it asks you to select a conversion preset. There's one for straight remuxing. Then you can choose the output container (MP4, AVI etc) and the convert function will then just remux the video/audio into a new container. It might pay to use a small file to test remuxing to different file types (Video To Video Converter will also split files) to see what works and what Vegas will open, but it's another option to try. Being able to open the original video with Vegas rather than convert it first would definitely be the preferable way to do it so you're not converting it twice. Video To Video Converter will convert to/from lots of different formats.
Last edited by hello_hello; 16th May 2013 at 02:58.
Thank you very much.
I'll try those. tsmuxer first, of course.
It would definitely be better, no doubt, to not have to go through the conversion of taking the Blu-ray structure and creating a MP4 to be edited, then, by Vegas.
So, you're saying passing the file through tsmuxer (- re-muxing m2ts -) is better than passing it through VSO Blu-ray Converter Ultimate or HandBrake, which is like re-rendering.
I should get better quality video by doing that?
In the words of Kramer, "giddy up".
I'll try tsmuxer soon. (If it doesn't help, I'll try Video To Video Converter, too.)
Thanks again. Very much appreciate the help and advice!
I'd try remuxing to see if you can find a method which Vegas is happy with. If tsmuxer doesn't do the job, Video to Video Converter can remux video to a variety of different containers.