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  1. Is there a consensus on the best software to do this? To be clear, I am interested in converting a non-copyrighted DVD comprised entirely of home video (or a MPEG-2 file) to AVI. I am mainly interested in obtaining the highest-quality AVI file possible.

    I have tried MPEG Streamclip, but it skipped frames and "doubled up" frames in places. Otherwise, it's a great program--but I'm curious if there's another option out there.

    I love Handbrake, but it only provides MP4 files.

    Is there anyone out there who has done this? What software have you used?

    Thanks in advance.
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  2. What kind of avi file are you looking for, what's it's purpose? Divx for viewing? DV for editing?

    If it's mainly for viewing, mp4 is more universal these days and you may want to consider staying with that.

    Also that sounds like very unusual behavior for mpeg streamclip unless you're doing a frame rate conversion.
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    Older versions of Handbrake can do this. You'd need 0.9.3 which can be found here: https://www.videohelp.com/download/HandBrake-0.9.3-Win_GUI.exe

    Many people used AutoGK for this process. It is simple to use.

    If I were doing it now, I might use one of the GUI's for ffmpeg, like XMediaRecode or Video to Video, but really, there is nothing wrong with AutoGK when starting with DVD-video and going to Xvid AVI.
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  4. Why AVI? How will you watch it?

    I love Handbrake, but it only provides MP4 files.
    Up to vers 0.9.3 (Here) you can make AVI/Xvid.
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  5. I will probably try MPEG Streamclip again, just to see if it happens again. This was a conversion from MPEG-2 to a Quicktime MOV file (DV). Nothing special, no frame conversion. When I got it into FCP to work with it, certain frames were clearly screwed up. I was really surprised, because I have used MPEG Streamclip a lot and the results are usually good.

    Sorry for not being clearer. This would be DV in an AVI container, to be edited.

    Edited to add: Thanks for the Handbrake link - I was not aware of that in older versions. Do you think the AVI results are good? Why did they discontinue the ability?
    Last edited by moxiecat; 7th Aug 2015 at 14:36. Reason: saw new post
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  6. You can make dv movs directly in FCP (or with compressor that comes with it.) If you're using FCPX it will convert everything to ProRes anyway.
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  7. Why did they discontinue the ability?
    They consider AVI crap and a long outdated container format.


    http://www.pcauthority.com.au/News/164982,handbrake-abandons-divx-for-ripping-dvds-should-you.aspx
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  8. Originally Posted by smrpix View Post
    You can make dv movs directly in FCP (or with compressor that comes with it.) If you're using FCPX it will convert everything to ProRes anyway.
    Sorry, I didn't mean to mix OS's and create any confusion.

    For this project, I am working on Windows and need to create an AVI. I was only referencing MPEG Streamclip because I had trouble using it to convert an MPEG-2 to DV previously--but that was for a different project (on a Mac, using FCP, but not FCPX).

    I will look at this software referenced upthread. But it sounds like the older versions of Handbrake did a decent job converting MPEG-2 to AVI....is this correct?

    I realize that AVI is not favored anymore. What would you prefer to use to edit standard def video in a program such as Premiere?
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  9. Nothing wrong with .avi per se, but Divx .avi has been pretty much superseded by mp4.

    As far as DV, it works fine in either an .avi or .mov container. There's really no difference except an understandable loathing of Apple's quicktime.

    While Premiere is very content with DV in either container, if you're using a fairly current version of Premiere (CS3 or later) on a fairly current computer you can just copy the vob files from the DVD to your hard drive and edit with them directly. No conversion is required until final output.

    Hope this isn't making it too confusing.
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  10. AutoGK is a good choice. It has DVD player compatibility options, and you can run either single pass, or two pass encoding. If you do the latter by specifying a file size, and leave all of AutoGK's settings in auto mode, it'll run a compressibility test and make adjustments to output the best quality it can. It tells you what the expected quality will be. It aims for no more than 70 or 75% compression (it's listed as quality, but it aims for a bitrate no more than 70 or 75% of the bitrate required for maximum quality. Once you go over about 75% there's very little visual difference between that and 100%. 70% is roughly the best compression/quality ratio for Xvid.

    I don't know of any other programs that'll automatically make adjustments for you. Aside from maybe Staxrip, I'm not sure any other encoder GUIs will even run compression tests these days.

    If you don't want to run two pass encodes, and you can pick a single pass quality, around 75% would be a good idea. The file sizes will vary all over the place, but they'll be the same quality relative to the source each time. That's a better way to do it than trying to make every encode the same file size.
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  11. Thanks again for everyone who chimed in on this thread. I tried AutoGK, Handbrake, and Adobe Premiere Pro, and wound up using Premiere. The quality was the best, IMO, and the encoding time was surprisingly short. However, I ran into one issue that I'm hoping someone can explain: why the MPEG-2's that I'm converting to AVIs have slightly different running times, depending on the program that opens them.

    For example: I have an MPEG-2 that was saved in Womble DVD Wizard and authored to DVD in Adobe Encore without any trouble or transcoding (which is notable because Encore is very picky in my experience). These are specs when the file is loaded into Womble:
    224 MPEG-2, 720x480 (3/4), 29.97 fps, bitrate 7300 kbps (variable), length: 1:01:12:28.

    However, when the same file is loaded into MPEG Streamclip, a few of the specs change, specifically:
    bitrate: 29.9699999999 fps
    length: 1:01:16 (no frames given)

    The same length discrepancy occurs when the MPEG is loaded into Adobe Premiere. The fps is always 29.97. But in the Project and Properties panes, the length is given as 1:01:12:28 (same as Womble). But in the Info pane, export settings, and exported AVI, the length is 1:01:16:18.

    I checked the AVI that was created from this MPEG-2, and I can't find any problems with it (even the audio is in sync, all the way through).

    Is there a simple explanation for what is going on? Does it have something to do with that weird bitrate that MPEG Streamclip noted? And most importantly, is this a normal phenomenon that I don't have to worry about OR is it an issue I have to fix? A difference of a few seconds seems significant to me.
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  12. Originally Posted by moxiecat View Post
    why the MPEG-2's that I'm converting to AVIs have slightly different running times, depending on the program that opens them.
    Some of the software is counting in drop-frame timecode, some of them are counting in non-drop. Look closely to see if there are colons or semicolons between the numerals. It has no effect on the media itself.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SMPTE_timecode#Drop_frame_timecode
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  13. Thanks smrpix, I had a hunch (or at least hoped!) it was something technical and normal like that. I will check the colon/semicolon situation to be sure. Thanks!
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