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  1. I'm trying to help a customer reliant on a 15-year-old Mac Laptop to convert MOV files to AVI files for use by their video sign on the street. The business is a live music entertainment venue, so they FREQUENTLY generate new video content for display on the sign.

    The sign controller software and sign are no longer supported by the vendor, but it all still works fine. But the mac laptop that they use to convert MOV files to AVI files is showing signs of age, and they can't rely on it forever. So far, ANY other program they have tried using to transcode the files has resulted in the sign controller software rejecting the AVI file as invalid.

    I started digging into AVI file analysis, and several programs identify the codec inside the usable AVI files as "Microsoft DIB" or "DIB Full Frames". It appears only files transcoded by a specific version of "Motion" on that old Mac laptop result in AVI files that use that codec.

    I've already downloaded a number of MOV to AVI or other more full-featured transcoders, looking for one that will allow the destination AVI to be encoded using the DIB codec, but so far I've found nothing that supports it. Even a newer version of Motion was tried, but its files were also rejected by the sign controller.

    Google searches about Microsoft's DIB codec - or more specifically, searches for products that support the DIB codec - yield very little useful information.

    Not being able to upload new videos to the sign will be a problem if they can't find an alternative transcoder that generates AVI files using the DIB codec. Again, the sign otherwise works fine so they're not willing or able to spend significant $$ (well into 5-figures) to replace a sign that itself has no problems.

    Anyone know of a somewhat more modern tool that can transcode or export to AVI files using the Microsoft DIB codec?

    Any advice or help is appreciated!

    DragonRand
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  2. iirc. dib stand for 'device-independent bitmap' and was just a name of mjpeg.
    The following links:
    https://www.loc.gov/preservation/digital/formats/fdd/fdd000060.shtml
    http://www.jmcgowan.com/odmlff2.pdf
    https://www.fileformat.info/format/bmp/spec/b7c72ebab8064da48ae5ed0c053c67a4/view.htm
    seems to confirm what I had in mind.
    Can you share a file that works?
    Can you share what mediainfo reports about the file?

    => all in all it seems like you are dealing with opendml avi files which contain some sort of mjpeg data.
    The manufacturer of the sign should also mention in the documentation/specification of the sign what formats it expects/supports,...

    Cu Selur
    users currently on my ignore list: deadrats, Stears555
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  3. Can you please post one of the chose avi file ?
    I can't find anything regarding DIB codec.
    May be Ffmpeg can help you to convert .Mov files to .Avi with DIB, but I haven't found anything yet about FFmpeg and DIB codec compatibility and compliance.

    Does the sign accept any others video codecs and container (maybe MPEG1) ? Can you give us the sign's brand and model ?


    Best regards
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  4. Originally Posted by Hunk91 View Post
    Can you please post one of the chose avi file ?
    I can't find anything regarding DIB codec.
    May be Ffmpeg can help you to convert .Mov files to .Avi with DIB, but I haven't found anything yet about FFmpeg and DIB codec compatibility and compliance.

    Does the sign accept any others video codecs and container (maybe MPEG1) ? Can you give us the sign's brand and model ?


    Best regards
    Selur and Hunk91,

    Thanks for the quick reply! Attached is an sample .avi file provided by the vendor.

    Here's what MediaInfo Shows:
    General
    Complete name : \\sign-pc\c$\Program Files\Ignite\Tutorial Graphics\Watchfire Signs.avi
    Format : AVI
    Format/Info : Audio Video Interleave
    Format settings : BitmapInfoHeader
    File size : 1.76 MiB
    Duration : 7 s 500 ms
    Overall bit rate : 1 972 kb/s
    Frame rate : 20.000 FPS

    Video
    ID : 0
    Format : RGB
    Codec ID : 0x00000000
    Codec ID/Info : Basic Windows bitmap format. 1, 4 and 8 bpp versions are palettised. 16, 24 and 32bpp contain raw RGB samples
    Duration : 7 s 500 ms
    Bit rate : 1 966 kb/s
    Width : 128 pixels
    Height : 32 pixels
    Display aspect ratio : 4.000
    Frame rate : 20.000 FPS
    Color space : RGB
    Bit depth : 8 bits
    Bits/(Pixel*Frame) : 24.000
    Stream size : 1.76 MiB (100%)

    Here's what AVICodec shows:
    Image
    [Attachment 70474 - Click to enlarge]
    And here's what VideoInspector shows:
    Image
    [Attachment 70476 - Click to enlarge]
    The company is WatchFire Signs, and the software used is called "Ignite", by "Time-O-Matic, Inc."

    The extent of detail provided in the documentation is as follows:
    Note: Import Animation will only import AVI files. If your animation file is
    not saved as an AVI, you will need to convert it before you try and import.
    Conversion tools are found in most video editing programs and are also
    available throughout the internet.
    So although not all AVI files are built the same, they provide NO guidance for codec requirements, nor do they provide specific examples of conversion tools that can provide satisfactory files.

    Hope this helps! Thanks again for the assistance.

    DragonRand
    Image Attached Files
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  5. October262,

    Thanks. I'll also start looking into that to see where it leads me.

    DragonRand
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  6. Originally Posted by DragonRand View Post
    October262,

    Thanks. I'll also start looking into that to see where it leads me.

    DragonRand
    So to follow up: This hasn't worked out. IIUC, the COPY option for -vcodec simply passes through the codec from the original container. In this case, my source MOV files are encoded using MPEG-4. I tried it, and the output AVI files result in a reported codec of hvc1. So unless ffmpeg supports some little-known codec of DIB or "Basic Windows Bitmap Format", I don't think it's gonna get me there using that approach.

    As always, open to new/more information.

    DragonRand
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  7. It's just uncompressed 8bit RGB in AVI container . vdub2 is probably the easiest way on windows. FFmpeg can do it on any OS

    For FFmpeg, it would be

    Code:
    ffmpeg -i input.ext -pix_fmt bgr24 -c:v rawvideo -an output.avi
    You might have to resize it using -vf scale or change to framerate (-vf fps) , or trim some frames to make it compatible with the sign . Your sample video was 128x32, 20fps, 150 frames
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  8. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    I agree w/ pdr, uncompressed 8bit RGB. Not sure if it is planar or packed. if the output of the ffmpeg conversion doesn't have the proper fourCC, just use a fourCC/Hex editor to fix it (make it "DIB" or "DIBs", etc - whatever the known good files use).

    If the Mac is using QT 7 (pro), it is probably saving as AVI uncompressed there. On a new Mac computer QT7 doesn't exist, and QT10 isn't the same thing. It may or may not allow for true uncompressed output (probably only offering MP4, or offering MOV in Uncompressed, Animation (maybe!), ProRes, or more further compressed formats like h264/AVC and h265/HEVC).

    Having worked with Time-O-Matic equipment and the corporation itself (as one of our production company's clients) so many years ago (20?), I am betting that those displays your client is using, bless them, are WELL OVERDUE for an overhaul to something new. We're talking not much better than chaser lightbulbs, monochromatic LEDs or grayscale LCDs.

    Scott
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  9. If it's easier, vdub / vdub2 writes the DIB fourcc by default . Just make sure you are outputting rgb24 in video=>decode format

    -vtag DIB for ffmpeg does not seem to work for AVI files, not sure if it matters
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  10. DIB is internal MS Windows format for old API (pre GDI or even earlier) - external version of DIB is BMP .
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  11. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    I assume that is true, @pandy, but am betting the app being used is pre-GDI, and so is expecting (and requiring) an explicit dib fourcc.

    Scott
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  12. Thanks to all for the follow-up replies. A few comments:

    I'll definitely look into vdub2.

    If it's easier, vdub / vdub2 writes the DIB fourcc by default . Just make sure you are outputting rgb24 in video=>decode format
    I'll definitely check that.

    If the Mac is using QT 7 (pro), it is probably saving as AVI uncompressed there. On a new Mac computer QT7 doesn't exist, and QT10 isn't the same thing.
    This makes perfect sense. I don't have the old Mac Laptop on-hand, but it's running Mac OS 10.5 so I wouldn't at all be surprised if what you're saying about QT 7 is exactly what's going on.

    Having worked with Time-O-Matic equipment and the corporation itself (as one of our production company's clients) so many years ago (20?), I am betting that those displays your client is using, bless them, are WELL OVERDUE for an overhaul to something new. We're talking not much better than chaser lightbulbs, monochromatic LEDs or grayscale LCDs.
    The sign is old-(ish), but it's still nice. It was purchased in around 2008 and was still sold until about 2011. It set them back around $350k at the time. When they got it, all the other venues in town were jealous because it really does look good; even by today's standards it doesn't look particularly dated. It's full-color LED supporting (at least) 30fps video, it's large, and the aspect ratio is actually 0.9:1. It's clearly not as high-res as more modern displays, but it's lightyears better than chaser lightbulbs, monochromatic LEDs or grayscale LCDs. The resolution is 432x480.

    I'll be working on this over the next few days so I'll post back with any progress on this.

    Thanks again for all the input.

    DragonRand
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  13. Hi all,

    Thanks again for all the advice. Here's an update, as the problem to solve has shifted somewhat, hopefully making it easier to find a workable solution.

    It turns out the sign vendor is still willing to provide help and software support even though they identify the sign as obsolete. They found that there's a newer version of the software still supported by the client's sign that in addition to accepting AVI files, will also accept WMV files. After upgrading to the newer version, I grabbed their sample WMV file and ran it through MediaInfo, and here's what I got from it:

    General
    Complete name : WF_Ignite_Sample.wmv
    Format : Windows Media
    File size : 1.28 MiB
    Duration : 4 s 460 ms
    Overall bit rate mode : Variable
    Overall bit rate : 2 411 kb/s
    Maximum Overall bit rate : 2 642 kb/s
    Encoded date : 2013-02-15 18:06:52 UTC

    Video
    ID : 1
    Format : VC-1
    Format profile : MP@ML
    Codec ID : WMV3
    Codec ID/Info : Windows Media Video 9
    Codec ID/Hint : WMV3
    Description of the codec : Windows Media Video 9
    Bit rate mode : Variable
    Bit rate : 2 610 kb/s
    Width : 720 pixels
    Height : 360 pixels
    Display aspect ratio : 2.000
    Frame rate mode : Variable
    Nominal frame rate : 25.000 FPS
    Color space : YUV
    Chroma subsampling : 4:2:0
    Bit depth : 8 bits
    Scan type : Progressive
    Compression mode : Lossy
    NumberOfFrames : 100


    So now I'm on the hunt for software (either Windows or Mac) that can convert from MOV to WMV, as that will probably be easier to achieve than the uncompressed AVI I've been trying to solve for. Another wish-item is that it not be too complicated for the end user to operate. Anything that supports the creation of profiles will help a lot, as I can create a profile called "Sign" and train them on how to select/use that.

    I've already begun downloading and evaluating options to find a good solution, but if anyone here already knows of a good option off the top of their head, I'd welcome it!
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  14. That's great news ! And your can show better videos on this sign (higher resolution and frame rates).

    I talked earlier about FFmpeg, this tool should help you to convert mov to wmv

    You can read how to : https://walterebert.com/blog/creating-wmv-videos-with-ffmpeg/

    Just replace the mp4 video file by your mov video file and test !

    Best regards
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  15. Originally Posted by Cornucopia View Post
    I agree w/ pdr, uncompressed 8bit RGB. Not sure if it is planar or packed. if the output of the ffmpeg conversion doesn't have the proper fourCC, just use a fourCC/Hex editor to fix it (make it "DIB" or "DIBs", etc - whatever the known good files use).

    If the Mac is using QT 7 (pro), it is probably saving as AVI uncompressed there. On a new Mac computer QT7 doesn't exist, and QT10 isn't the same thing. It may or may not allow for true uncompressed output (probably only offering MP4, or offering MOV in Uncompressed, Animation (maybe!), ProRes, or more further compressed formats like h264/AVC and h265/HEVC).

    Having worked with Time-O-Matic equipment and the corporation itself (as one of our production company's clients) so many years ago (20?), I am betting that those displays your client is using, bless them, are WELL OVERDUE for an overhaul to something new. We're talking not much better than chaser lightbulbs, monochromatic LEDs or grayscale LCDs.

    Scott
    Hi, sorry to bother, I'm new here, but wanna say the following. Uncompressed 8-bit RGB can work, but whether it's planar or packed depends. So when working with video, we know that uncompressed 8-bit RGB can be tricky, depending on whether it's planar or packed. If there's a codec issue, a fourCC/hex editor can fix it. Similarly, reading books can fix aspects of our lives. I read to understand better everything I need. But it is hard to choose the "right" books, so sources like https://papersowl.com/examples/pride-and-prejudice/ help me get free examples of books like Pride and Prejudice, some ones about math and others. I check a short review paper about the book I am going to read and then proceed to it.

    Therefore, on some pages I found that QT7 is history and QT10 brought changes to Mac. Likewise, books introduce new ideas. They provide options for personal growth, just like different video formats. Consider upgrading those old displays and exploring something newóbooks offer endless possibilities.

    So, like fixing video codecs, reading books can help us find the right format for personal development.

    Cheers,
    George
    Last edited by Georgenoire; 6th Jun 2023 at 11:11.
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