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  1. Hi all.

    I have a portable (region free) DVD player that can read files from USB, SD card and CDs. I am not sure if it can play mp4 or AVI files though, so I have to convert all files before before burning to CD.

    The DVD player played the files that were converted by free online file converters, however, could not play files that were converted on software installed on the PC. The DVD player displayed the list of files fine, however, they just wouldn't play. The disc would spin for while and then show the 'stop' symbol. I think it tries to play each file in the list and then shows the 'stop' symbol at the end after it reaches the last file as the display show the last file's name when it stops.

    If I add one of the non-working files to Brasero in a VCD project, it gives the error "does not have a suitable type for video projects", however, if I add a working file, it adds the file without giving an error, so I am assuming there must be something wrong with the conversion process on the PC.

    One of the differences that I can tell between the working and non-working files is that the extension of the working files is mpeg and for the non-working files, it's mpg. I wouldn't have thought this would be an issue, but I am a novice, so I don't know. The other difference I have found, which is what I think might be the issue, is that when I play the working file on the PC, the file information shows both the 'Selected Codec' and 'Format' as 'mpeg1video', whereas for non-working files, it shows both to be 'h264'.

    The options I have selected in Curlew is as follows.

    Video bitrate = 5000k
    Video FPS = 30
    Video size = 720x576 (or default when the resolution is less that 720x576 as this is the maximum resolution supported by the DVD player)
    Video codec = mpeg1video
    Aspect ratio = default (this is greyed out and couldn't be changed).

    Now, I also wanted to reduce my filesize, so found the following code on the net and pasted it into the the 'Other opts' field of the Curlew settings.

    -c:v libx264 -crf 18 -preset veryslow

    so that whole line, incuding what was already set by Curlew read as follows.

    -mbd rd -cmp 2 -subcmp 2 -bf 2 -c:v libx264 -crf 18 -preset veryslow

    Is my suspicion correct that although the file is being saved as an 'mpg' and Curlew shows that it is using 'mpeg1video' as the 'video codec', it is the h.264 that is causing the issue? If so, how do I reduce the filesize (without much loss in quality) AND have the 'Format' appear as 'mpeg1video' in the PC media player's info? I tried removing the libx264 from the code (as below) and that seems to have saved the file in the correct (mpeg1video) format, however, the filesize was only 0.1Mb less than the original filesize.

    -mbd rd -cmp 2 -subcmp 2 -bf 2 -crf 18 -preset veryslow

    I have found an example similar to the following on the net, but the original filename extensions are mp4 and not h264, even though the PC media player info shows the format to be h264, so would the code work (as the extra bit to be added to the code already set by Curlew)?

    -i input.h264 output.mpeg

    If anyone is wondering, I am using h264 instead of h265 as the latter is VERY slow to convert and when I tried it elsewhere before, it resulted in choppy video, whereas h264 had very good video.

    Can anyone offer any advice on what I need to do? I'm assuming just a simple edit of the codes above?

    Thanks.
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  2. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    1st, you should ALWAYS look at what your manual says about the filetypes it supports. NOT just the extension (which could be wrong, or faked), but the
    1. Container
    2. Video codec
    3. Audio codec
    4. Bitrate
    5. Resolution
    6. Video codec's "Family", or Level & Profile

    Use Mediainfo to assist here

    My educated hunch is, very likely your dvd player can only play:
    Mpeg1, mpeg2, avi, maybe mkv containers
    Mpeg1, mpeg2, divx/xvid/mpeg4 video codecs
    Mpeg1layer2, mpeg1layer3(aka mp3), pcm, maybe ac3 or aac audio codecs
    0.5--9Mbps max bitrate
    SD D1 resolution, or CIF if mpeg1
    If mpeg1, CPB profile, if mpeg2 or mpeg4, Main Profile/MainLevel

    Yes, your change in the script is muddying things up. H264 is very likely beyond the capability of this player, sadly. You may have to live with those inefficient older codecs and their larger filesizes/bitrstes, if you want to retain quality.
    But, if you actually are coming from a true VCD, you shouldn't need to be "converting" anything. It should play as-is (well almost).
    As I have stated many times before, VCDs should be ripped using a tool that strips the mode2form2 sector garbage & remuxes into standard mpeg1 container. It already should have proper video codec, rez, bitrate. And while some players don't like the mp2 audio, most should be ok with it as well.

    One thing I noticed in your re-encode that was a red flag was that you have 30fps and 720x576. Those are in conflict: 30 (or more accurately 29.97, or 30000/1001) is used for NTSC titles, 25 is used for PAL titles. 720 (or sometimes 704)x576 is used for max PAL sd resolution, while 720(/704)x480 is max for NTSC max rez. You were mixing your systems. Computers can easily ignore that mismatch, hardware players - especially older ones - cannot. Not counting the likelihood that you are blending something you shouldn't and creating worse quality.

    Give us the details on your current workflow (esp. apps & settings used)...


    Scott
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  3. Hi Cornucopia.

    Thanks for your reply.

    Yes, I think I looked at the manual (see page 18) BEFORE purchasing the DVD player and being able to play mp4 was one of the main reasons I bought it and after purchasing. The manual that came with the player also references mp4 and AVI, however, I think there is more than one model of this player and it's possible that some support mp4 and some don't. The seller's description DEFINITELY stated it supported MP4.

    The reason I mentioned VCD in my post, was that this is how I thought I could check to see if the files would work before burning them to a 'data' (not 'video') disc/project, not to actually burn them as a VCD and the reason I chose to burn them as data was because, originally, my files couldn't be added to Brasero as it gave the error stated previously, so I tried adding them as data and that worked fine, so I didn't go back to trying burning anything as VCD, but now that I have learnt the h264 issue, I will have to experiment with that again.

    I think Brasero will probably meet the requirements you suggest for burning a VCD. I think it was just the h264 that caused the issue. As mentioned above, I will experiment with this again, but I still need to get the files in the correct format to start with.

    Thanks for the info on the FPS. There were several files that worked that were 30FPS, however, they were 640x360.

    Which apps/settings do you need? I thought I had already stated them all. You can tell I am a novice!

    So, there is no way to reduce the size of mpg/mpeg files for playing in a DVD player without h264 and not lose a lot of quality?

    Another question I have is, I have simply been choosing to convert to 720x576 for any video above this resolution because that is the maximum supported by the DVD player, however, should I be doing this? I would ideally like the whole screen of the player to be filled without any stretching of the video. I am assuming the original resolution makes a difference to this but let's say if the original is 1920x1080, for example.

    Thanks.
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  4. Member DB83's Avatar
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    Sure you appear to have muddled the issue when you said 'VCD' since that is quite a specific format >> 352*288 (PAL) and 1150 kbps

    Are you serious that the video files MUST be on CD and not DVD media ?


    What you might like to try is avstodvd - you can throw just about anything to that, even 1920*1080, and make dvd-compliant mpeg2 video and output as mpeg2 rather than an actual dvd with folders.


    But if you insist on CD then you will be severly resticted with how much video will be on a CD at 5000 kbps. To give a practical example a 4 gb dvd disk will give you 2 hours at 4000 kbps. Do the maths on how much a 800 mb CD will hold. That's a little over 20 mins by my calculator.
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  5. Hi DB83. Thanks for your reply.

    Yes, I am very muddled! When I said VCD, I just meant burning the files onto a CD to play in a DVD player via the option to create a video CD in the burner. Sorry, I thought it was the same thing!

    No, the files do not have to be on CD, they could be on DVD, BUT, I have a cardboard box full of CDs, whereas I would have to purchase more DVDs. Using CDs is perfectly fine for me because a lot of the time, I struggle to completely fill a 700Mb CD and at other times, only one file is over 700Mb, in which case, I use a DVD. There are also times when a file is just over 700Mb and I would have to waste a DVD whereas reducing its size would mean I could fit it onto a CD.

    Thanks for the suggestion, but I run Linux and all of the alternatives in the list provided at the link are for Windows also.

    I think I'll be able to do the same on my existing software. As discovered previously, we think it was the h264 that was causing the issue, so I think creating a video CD might work if I just leave out the extra code with the h264 and just put up with larger files sizes.

    It's time for some more experimenting. I'm optimistic! Will post back with the results.
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  6. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    1st, regarding h264...
    H264 is the video codec, which is 1 generation newer/better/more complex than mpeg4sp/mpeg4asp aka divx/xvid, which is 1 gen. newer/better/more complex than mpeg2, which is 1 gen beyond mpeg1.
    If your manual says mp4, it might be referring to h264, but more likely it will be referring to mpeg4asp aka divx/xvid.
    Or it could be referring to the mpeg4 container. From your wording, it isn't clear, and I assume your understanding of this isn't either, but many manuals are vague in this regard.

    If your machine truly does accept h264 in mp4 container (by far the most common arrangement), and you are hell bent on reducing the filesize/bitrate, you should not specify mpeg1 video anywhere in your script (unless it requires it as a description of the input format).
    Since true VCDs use CIF resolution, you may not really benefit from upscaling to D1 rez, and I would suggest you leave it as is and let the player/TV do the upscaling. So that would be 352x240 @29.97 for NTSC or 352x288 @25fps for PAL.
    No need to deinterlace, since VCD already uses reduced rez progressive frames (one of its worst shortcomings, IMO).
    At that size, you could re-encode to h264-in-mp4 using 1/2 to 1/4 or maybe smaller size by reducing the bitrate from VCD's standard 1150Mbps to that equivalent fraction.
    Understand, however, that regardless of your bitrate, even bitrates ABOVE the original, you are still losing quality. Whether it is noticable to you depends on you and your chosen settings.

    If you decide you don't want to or need to convert, or if you want to use actual vcd discs, let us know. I have a number of suggestions, all of which appear better than what you are currently using. This includes ripping vcds, authoring vcds, burning vcds, remuxing vcds to files, and perhaps even converting to h264-in-mp4.


    Scott
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  7. Thanks for the information, Cornucopia.

    Before I consider your options, I am pleased to report that my first experiment resulted in the video working, the quality fine and the screen filled, BUT now there is no audio!

    The audio plays fine on the PC and the settings also seem fine (see below).

    Format: mp3
    Bitrate: 128 kbps
    Rate: 44100 Hz
    Channels: 2
    Selected codec: mp3

    There is an 'include all tracks' option that is unchecked in Curlew but I don't think that would make any difference, would it?? There is also the option of mp2 in the dropdown, but the manual clearly states that mp3 sound is supported.

    Annoying!

    For information, the first experiment was to convert the files I had already converted to mpg, to mpg again, but without the h264 code.
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  8. Originally Posted by Traveller View Post

    Can anyone offer any advice on what I need to do? .
    I read the manual, it shows formats not codecs, it can't play AVC codec

    I suggest you get a cheap chromebook + 120GB SSD + slim DVD player + VLC software

    you don't have to convert anything, it's portable plus it plays HD video

    VCD requires mp2 audio
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_CD#Audio

    if you add mp3, the bitrate is limited to 192

    if you want to stick to this cheap player, convert every thing to DVD
    make video everyday
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  9. Results from experiment 2 was the same as experiment 1, ie, no sound, but I have noticed something else with both, video that was 324x576 (like portrait), also stretched out to fill the screen. Not sure if there is anything that can be done about this or whether it has to do with some setting on the DVD player.

    Thanks for your reply, 4kblurayguru. At the present moment in time, cheap junk is exactly what is required, haha. I could have got any old second hand laptop instead, but for now, this is the most appropriate option. I hope to get the required results in the end.

    Thanks for the info on mp2. I will try selecting that instead of mp3 or typing one of Cornucopia's suggestions, 'mpeg1layer3', into the field.

    Will post back with results.
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  10. Result of experiment 3, SUCCESS! Selecting mp2 made the audio work.

    I forgot to mention that too much less than 5000k for the video didn't give very good quality so that is why I had to go for a high number.

    In experiment 4, I tried to burn the files as an SVCD image, however, Brasero came up with a message telling me I need to manually install about 7 applications! I will leave that for now and look over the information here as well as on the net and have another try.

    For now, as mentioned in a previous post, is it possible to have the 'portrait' videos not stretched out to fill the screen?

    Thanks.
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    Originally Posted by Traveller View Post
    when I play the working file on the PC, the file information shows both the 'Selected Codec' and 'Format' as 'mpeg1video', whereas for non-working files, it shows both to be 'h264'.
    Originally Posted by Traveller View Post
    Result of experiment 3, SUCCESS! Selecting mp2 made the audio work.
    Who would have thought? This is pure magic!

    Video:
    • Compression: MPEG-1
    • Aspect Ratio: 4:3
    • Resolution:
      • analog NTSC compatible: 352240 (240p)
      • analog PAL/SECAM compatible: 352288 (288p)
    • Framerate:
      • analog NTSC compatible : 29.97 or 23.976 frames per second
      • analog PAL/SECAM compatible : 25 frames per second
    • Bitrate: 1,150 kilobits per second (constant bitrate)

    Audio:
    • Compression: MPEG-1 Audio Layer II a.k.a. MP2
    • Sample Frequency: 44,100 hertz (44.1 kHz)
    • Output: Dual channel, stereo, or Dolby Surround
    • Bitrate: 224 kilobits per second (constant bitrate)
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    Also, right here:
    https://www.videohelp.com/vcd
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  13. Ok, make fun of the file conversion newb!

    Don't I get any slack for the manual clearly stating it supports mp3 audio (page 18 of the link in a previous post) and also that the issues were with burning the files as 'data' and not VCD, so that it's not immediately obvious that I need to investigate VCD? Also, 5000k bitrate worked fine, whereas less than that wasn't very good quality and 1,150k would've been VERY bad quality, so wouldn't have been sure if the other maximum required settings weren't true as well.
    Last edited by Traveller; 8th Jan 2024 at 14:18.
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    Originally Posted by Traveller View Post
    Ok, make fun of the file conversion newb!

    Don't I get any slack for the manual clearly stating it supports mp3 audio (page 18 of the link in a previous post) and also that the issues were with burning the files as 'data' and not VCD, so that it's not immediately obvious that I need to investigate VCD? Also, 5000k bitrate worked fine, whereas less than that wasn't very good quality and 1,150k would've been VERY bad quality, so wouldn't have been sure if the other maximum required settings weren't true as well.
    Well you have a point, the manual is not clear and the "curlew" app is a bit dodgy.
    1150 kbps video/224 kbps audio for vcd is/was a standard designed to allow 80 minutes of video per CD
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  15. I love Curlew! Haha.

    I've just run another test for the bitrate and 5000k is definitely the minimum to retain any quality. Are you saying that using another program would allow a lower bitrate with better quality? I have FF Multi Converter as well.

    If I can't use h264, I could live with the quality not being the same as as the original, as long as it's not bad or really noticeable to a 'normal' person, that would be ok.
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  16. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Traveller View Post
    Ok, make fun of the file conversion newb!

    Don't I get any slack for the manual clearly stating it supports mp3 audio (page 18 of the link in a previous post) and also that the issues were with burning the files as 'data' and not VCD, so that it's not immediately obvious that I need to investigate VCD? Also, 5000k bitrate worked fine, whereas less than that wasn't very good quality and 1,150k would've been VERY bad quality, so wouldn't have been sure if the other maximum required settings weren't true as well.
    Yes, slack given...

    However, what you probably don't know is that the various "allowed types" of the various categories (container, V codec, A codec, etc) are NOT freely mix & match. IOW, if you choose a container, only certain V & A codecs work within it. Same with Rez, etc.
    Curlew may be what you have available (particularly for Linux), but it might not be optimal for this task.

    Also, if you have a true VCD burned disc, and used the DVD player to play the disc, I would expect it works right out of the gate because the encoding & authoring (and burning) are tailored specifically to only those options that are compatible with VCDs. With data discs, you can PUT any file you want on there (txt, pdf, xls, etc), doesn't mean that it is "playable" when put on a disc and using a DVD player. But, if closely/strictly following the stated settings for a certain, known-accepted format (such as VCD), it kind of follows that a data file equivalent of that self-same compliant setup will also be compliant. That is how you finally ended up with a working file format.

    Example:
    Assuming the DVD accepts actual true VCDs for playback (BTW, *MANY* newer DVD and Blu-ray players no longer do), that means the Disc must be a:
    1. CD with at least 2 tracks on it, 1st one being CDXA Mode2Form1, and remaining being CDXA Mode2Form2 (*or Audio if you know how to do that - complex but I do)
    2. 1st Track has ISO9660 Filesystem on it and has specific folder structure, as well as specific sector locations, such as \VCD\INFO.VCD, \VCD\ENTRIES.VCD, \MPEGAV\AVSEQ##.DAT, \SEGMENT\ITEM####.DAT, \CDI\CDI_VCD.CFG, etc)
    3. Those entries in ENTRIES.VCD actually point to the sector address of the AVSEQ##.DAT (as well as ITEM###.DAT) "tracks" so they appear to the Operating System as Files (they aren't).
    4. Follow the previously mentioned constraints on NTSC or PAL resolutions & framerates, using the standardized bitrate of 1150kbps.
    5. Use only MPEG1 video codec, and MPEG1Layer2 (aka MP2) audio codec multiplexed within an MPEG1 System Stream-type container (*not counting those extra special audio tracks here)

    So, as long as the resulting ripped & burned files are in this configuration, they ought to also be compliant:
    1. Disc with ISO9660 or hybrid ISO9660/UDF/Joliet file system
    2. Folder structure as outlined to be acceptable by device manual
    3. Filename restricted by device or restricted to 8.3 by ISO9660, using outlined acceptable file extensions (either *.MPG or *.MPEG)
    4. MPEG1 video codec and MPEG1Layer2 audio codec multiplexed in MPEG1 system stream container
    5. resolutions and bitrates as already mentioned above.

    Scott
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  17. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    BTW, notice how what I showed didn't ACTUALLY need to be re-encoded, just properly ripped & re-multiplexed, thus avoiding further quality loss.

    This is important, particularly with poor quality sources.


    Scott
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    Here is a PAL clip, VCD-spec mpeg 1, created with TMPGEnc 2.5 in Windows.
    It would normally be authored in VCDEasy, or similar
    Image Attached Files
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  19. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    Yup, @davexnet, that is much closer to what I'd expect to see from a properly ripped & remuxed VCD. All my VCDs are currently in deep storage ATM, otherwise I'd show an example of original straight encode of Uncompressed Master source going straight to MPEG1, using either TMPGEnc, CCE, MainConcept or similar high-quality MPEG1 encoders.

    Scott
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    @Traveller, are you playing this on a DVD player? Why VCD? Do you just have a stack of blank CDs that you have no other use for? Why would not you burn a proper DVD, if you are doing it at 5 Mbps?
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  21. Member DB83's Avatar
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    ^^ Why not just read what Traveller has written and not ask the question (Already answered)
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    Originally Posted by DB83 View Post
    ^^ Why not just read what Traveller has written and not ask the question (Already answered)
    Which is? All I see is:

    The reason I mentioned VCD in my post, was that this is how I thought I could check to see if the files would work before burning them to a 'data' (not 'video') disc/project, not to actually burn them as a VCD and the reason I chose to burn them as data was because, originally, my files couldn't be added to Brasero as it gave the error stated previously, so I tried adding them as data and that worked fine, so I didn't go back to trying burning anything as VCD, but now that I have learnt the h264 issue, I will have to experiment with that again.
    which does not make it any clearer / more reasonable to me. He is making a disc? CD or DVD? He burns videos as data files? At VCD resolution? Why? Why not author a proper DVD? Or, why not burn files at full resolution as, say, DivX, which many DVD players will play as a data file?
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  23. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    There is no INCREASE in quality when resizing & converting again to lossy formats, only further loss, even with more efficient codecs. Maybe that loss is minor, but it's there, and there is NO need to do that.

    Letting the player/tv do the resizing during playback is either equal or less lossy than resizing with subsequent lossy reencoding. This has already been mentioned.


    Scott
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    I thought he re-encodes his files either way. Oh, well.
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  25. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    He/she might, but that ought to depend on their source and their destination constraints, which don't think are yet clear in their mind (it sure hasn't been fully outlined here yet).
    Also, I don't think that recommendation has sunk in yet. But if they are happy with the outcome, I can let sleeping dogs lie.


    Scott
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  26. Member DB83's Avatar
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    @Bwaak

    Now read reply #5 !!!!
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  27. Thanks for all the replies.

    Cornucopia, thanks for that helpful information.

    what I showed didn't ACTUALLY need to be re-encoded
    Does this apply to when the original file is mp4 also then?

    Bwaak yes, playing on DVD player. Yes, because I have a box full of CDs lying around for years. I don't think I ever said I wasn't going to use DVDs. I have to due to larger files, especially now that converting them makes some of them four times bigger, as DB83 warned!

    He is making a disc? CD or DVD? He burns videos as data files? At VCD resolution? Why? Why not author a proper DVD? Or, why not burn files at full resolution as, say, DivX, which many DVD players will play as a data file?
    Bwaak, because I didn't know anything about the process and still do not know much, but have a better understanding from all the helpful replies here. Even if I decide to employ better or more suitable methods, my aim was to get my original issue to work, which has now been done.

    Cornucopia, I will scrutinise this further.

    Thanks.
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  28. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    I still don't think we actually know what your source files are like, format-wise. There could be a variety of types, and since you are using basically a script to convert everything (including rez, codec, framerate, etc), it is obscuring their provenance.

    That's why posting Mediainfo readouts here is helpful.

    It may be that we can further tweak the encode script to either retain their original formats & qualities, or to improve the efficiency of the encodes.


    Scott
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  29. Hi Cornucopia.

    They are just mostly random mp4 files from Youtube, for example.

    If you have any Youtube files, you will be able to see the info you need, unless you want the mediainfo info for a particular file that I choose and if so, is it the info from the original file or the file after I have converted it?
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  30. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    Pick an example clip.
    Give us the mediainfo data of that source clip.


    Scott
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