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DivX from Home Video?

 
 
xlo
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      03-03-2005
I'm trying to encode old family videos to DivX format. The old videos
are deteriorating - and it would be very nice to archive them before any
more time passes. I can get it working - but video quality is a bit
less than I hoped for. It takes (a lot of) time to experiment, and I
wondered if anyone had done this, then they might be able to offer me a
few tips. Googling leads me to total confusion on this subject - I
probably don't know the question well enough.

Using composite video output from the video player.
Ulead Video Studio "capture properties" defaults to NTSC. These are PAL
- I can select PAL - but which one - PAL B, D, G, I, M, or N? Does it
matter? Maybe stupidly, I installed both Ulead PAL and NTSC drivers as
the video player does both - and I do have a couple of NTSC videos that
I might want to encode. The video player states PAL B/G - NTSC 4.43.
On the other hand it also states NTSC playback on PAL TV - but I could
only ever get NTSC videos to play back on certain (Sony) TVs.
(Ulead help offers the useful <g> tip - "Click to display the Properties
dialog box where you can customize the settings you chose in the
Property Type" - and then provides no further information).
I am using default 640 x 480 resolution - is there any point using
higher ( or different)?
I lose a bit encoding the resulting mpeg to DivX, but my main problem
seems to be getting good quality mpegs to begin with. Is there perhaps
some way to encode DivX from AVIs?
The best video quality (seems as good as the original) that I can seem
to get is in *.wmv format using Windows Movie Maker at 640x480 high
quality default settings - but files are kind of big compared to DivX.
That also seems to be the easiest option to use. Should I just put up
with the file size and proprietary format, and stick with that? It is
certainly the simplest option that I have found.



Thanks.


 
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cowboyz
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      03-03-2005


xlo wrote:
> I'm trying to encode old family videos to DivX format. The old videos
> are deteriorating - and it would be very nice to archive them before
> any more time passes. I can get it working - but video quality is a
> bit less than I hoped for. It takes (a lot of) time to experiment,
> and I wondered if anyone had done this, then they might be able to
> offer me a few tips. Googling leads me to total confusion on this
> subject - I probably don't know the question well enough.
>
> Using composite video output from the video player.


To start with - before you get too disappointed repeat this five time..

"You can't get better than the source"
"You can't get better than the source"
"You can't get better than the source"
"You can't get better than the source"
"You can't get better than the source"

That being said there are a few things you can do.....

> Ulead Video Studio "capture properties" defaults to NTSC. These are
> PAL - I can select PAL - but which one - PAL B, D, G, I, M, or N? Does it
> matter?

Not a whole lot but NZ uses PAL B.

> Maybe stupidly, I installed both Ulead PAL and NTSC
> drivers as the video player does both - and I do have a couple of
> NTSC videos that I might want to encode. The video player states PAL
> B/G - NTSC 4.43. On the other hand it also states NTSC playback on
> PAL TV - but I could only ever get NTSC videos to play back on
> certain (Sony) TVs. (Ulead help offers the useful <g> tip - "Click to
> display the Properties dialog box where you can customize the
> settings you chose in the Property Type" - and then provides no
> further information). I am using default 640 x 480 resolution - is there
> any point using
> higher ( or different)?


That should be good. If you can select 720x576. I always used this as ti
makes it easier to keep a proper aspect ratio.

> I lose a bit encoding the resulting mpeg to DivX, but my main problem
> seems to be getting good quality mpegs to begin with. Is there
> perhaps some way to encode DivX from AVIs?


Plenty of ways to convert avi to divx but avi's are BIG. really really
big. a gig a minute is not uncommon.

> The best video quality (seems as good as the original) that I can seem
> to get is in *.wmv format using Windows Movie Maker at 640x480 high
> quality default settings - but files are kind of big compared to DivX.
> That also seems to be the easiest option to use. Should I just put up
> with the file size and proprietary format, and stick with that? It is
> certainly the simplest option that I have found.


I always captured to mpeg to save space and put up with the quality loss.
If you capture supports it you can capture using the "huffy" codec which is
very very good for quality.

Takes a bit to get it right but persistance is your friend.

>
>
> Thanks.



 
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Curly
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      03-03-2005
xlo <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in
news:1109887241.538979@ftpsrv1:

> Using composite video output from the video player.
> Ulead Video Studio "capture properties" defaults to NTSC. These
> are PAL - I can select PAL - but which one - PAL B, D, G, I, M,
> or N? Does it matter?


http://www.alkenmrs.com/video/wwsnr.html
New Zealand is PAL B/G
Choose either B or G, it should not matter (not sure what the
difference is)
(Other PAL standards (PAL I for example) have the sound at a
different frequencies.)

http://encyclopedia.laborlawtalk.com/PAL


> Maybe stupidly, I installed both Ulead
> PAL and NTSC drivers as the video player does both - and I do
> have a couple of NTSC videos that I might want to encode. The
> video player states PAL B/G - NTSC 4.43. On the other hand it
> also states NTSC playback on PAL TV - but I could only ever get
> NTSC videos to play back on certain (Sony) TVs.


I understand NTSC playback on PAL TVs is "PAL 60Hz": PAL formatting
of colour information, but sent at 60 frames per second, so some TVs
are OK with this and some are not (usually at 50Hz for PAL).

> (Ulead help
> offers the useful <g> tip - "Click to display the Properties
> dialog box where you can customize the settings you chose in the
> Property Type" - and then provides no further information).
> I am using default 640 x 480 resolution - is there any point
> using higher ( or different)?


http://www.videohelp.com/glossary?all#NTSC
<<...an NTSC full D1 DVD is 704 or 720 x 480.>>

http://www.videohelp.com/glossary?all#PAL
<<...a PAL full D1 DVD is 704 or 720 x 576.>>

In other words, NTSC has 480 visible scan lines (out of 525), and PAL
has 576 visible scan lines (out of 625). The ULead default of
640x480 gives a 4:3 aspect ration, and uses an NTSC compatible of 480
visible scan lines.
You may want to try 768x576 which gives a 4:3 aspect ratio and a PAL
compatible 576 visible lines? OR not... VHS can't actually record
more than an effective 240 horizontal "lines", so 768 is over the
top. I know my (DivX compatible) DVD player would barf if I gave it
a 768 wide AVI file, so perhaps 640x480 is the best...
(Warning! I'm talking *******s!)

http://66.102.7.104/search?q=cache:z...ci4J:www.divx-
digest.com/articles/vhs_capture.html+vhs+resolution&hl=en

> I lose a bit encoding the resulting mpeg to DivX, but my main
> problem seems to be getting good quality mpegs to begin with.
> Is there perhaps some way to encode DivX from AVIs?


VirtualDub can read AVIs and create DivX AVIs (?)
(But you must know that already, are you asking if there is some
"shortcut"/"high quality" way to create a DivX AVI? - I don't know)

> The best video quality (seems as good as the original) that I
> can seem to get is in *.wmv format using Windows Movie Maker at
> 640x480 high quality default settings - but files are kind of
> big compared to DivX.


Could you not just set the DivX bit rate higher, or use DivX with a
quantizer instead of a bit rate (I'm on shaky ground here sorry, but
I believe you can create DivX using as many bit as needed to capture
the detail, rather than forcing it to a specific bit rate.)

> That also seems to be the easiest option
> to use. Should I just put up with the file size and proprietary
> format, and stick with that? It is certainly the simplest
> option that I have found.


Could you encode to MPEG-2?
That would be non-proprietory, and should be good quality (?)
(Would need to find an MPEG2 codec)

Curly
 
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xlo
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      03-04-2005
Curly wrote:
> xlo <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in
> news:1109887241.538979@ftpsrv1:
>
>
>>Using composite video output from the video player.
>>Ulead Video Studio "capture properties" defaults to NTSC. These
>>are PAL - I can select PAL - but which one - PAL B, D, G, I, M,
>>or N? Does it matter?

>
>
> http://www.alkenmrs.com/video/wwsnr.html
> New Zealand is PAL B/G
> Choose either B or G, it should not matter (not sure what the
> difference is)
> (Other PAL standards (PAL I for example) have the sound at a
> different frequencies.)
>
> http://encyclopedia.laborlawtalk.com/PAL
>

Okay thanks - I guess the sound frequency offset isn't important for
what I'm doing - that will be on the RF output from the video - not
composite video and audio. As I'm using Audio out to soundcard, it's a
red herring - probably of interest if someone is using a TV card to get
video to their PC. Will set to PAL B/G and give it a try.

>
>
>>Maybe stupidly, I installed both Ulead
>>PAL and NTSC drivers as the video player does both - and I do
>>have a couple of NTSC videos that I might want to encode. The
>>video player states PAL B/G - NTSC 4.43. On the other hand it
>>also states NTSC playback on PAL TV - but I could only ever get
>>NTSC videos to play back on certain (Sony) TVs.

>
>
> I understand NTSC playback on PAL TVs is "PAL 60Hz": PAL formatting
> of colour information, but sent at 60 frames per second, so some TVs
> are OK with this and some are not (usually at 50Hz for PAL).
>

Aha - that makes sense - I have lent this video player to people that
wanted to watch NTSC videos - and most of the time have had to lend them
one of my Sony TVs as well.
>
>>(Ulead help
>>offers the useful <g> tip - "Click to display the Properties
>>dialog box where you can customize the settings you chose in the
>>Property Type" - and then provides no further information).
>>I am using default 640 x 480 resolution - is there any point
>>using higher ( or different)?

>
>
> http://www.videohelp.com/glossary?all#NTSC
> <<...an NTSC full D1 DVD is 704 or 720 x 480.>>
>
> http://www.videohelp.com/glossary?all#PAL
> <<...a PAL full D1 DVD is 704 or 720 x 576.>>
>
> In other words, NTSC has 480 visible scan lines (out of 525), and PAL
> has 576 visible scan lines (out of 625). The ULead default of
> 640x480 gives a 4:3 aspect ration, and uses an NTSC compatible of 480
> visible scan lines.
> You may want to try 768x576 which gives a 4:3 aspect ratio and a PAL
> compatible 576 visible lines? OR not... VHS can't actually record
> more than an effective 240 horizontal "lines", so 768 is over the
> top. I know my (DivX compatible) DVD player would barf if I gave it
> a 768 wide AVI file, so perhaps 640x480 is the best...
> (Warning! I'm talking *******s!)
>
> http://66.102.7.104/search?q=cache:z...ci4J:www.divx-
> digest.com/articles/vhs_capture.html+vhs+resolution&hl=en
>
>
>>I lose a bit encoding the resulting mpeg to DivX, but my main
>>problem seems to be getting good quality mpegs to begin with.
>>Is there perhaps some way to encode DivX from AVIs?

>
>
> VirtualDub can read AVIs and create DivX AVIs (?)
> (But you must know that already, are you asking if there is some
> "shortcut"/"high quality" way to create a DivX AVI? - I don't know)
>

It would be a handy thing IMO.
>
>>The best video quality (seems as good as the original) that I
>>can seem to get is in *.wmv format using Windows Movie Maker at
>>640x480 high quality default settings - but files are kind of
>>big compared to DivX.

>
>
> Could you not just set the DivX bit rate higher, or use DivX with a
> quantizer instead of a bit rate (I'm on shaky ground here sorry, but
> I believe you can create DivX using as many bit as needed to capture
> the detail, rather than forcing it to a specific bit rate.)
>
>
>>That also seems to be the easiest option
>>to use. Should I just put up with the file size and proprietary
>>format, and stick with that? It is certainly the simplest
>>option that I have found.

>
>
> Could you encode to MPEG-2?
> That would be non-proprietory, and should be good quality (?)
> (Would need to find an MPEG2 codec)
>



I am ouputting Mpeg2 from Video Studio. Can now get an acceptable
result by tweaking bitrate. I think my main problem was default bitrate
setting for that. No surprise that increasing it gave me a big
improvement. Mpeg2 is giving me about 40 mb / minute. Encoded same to
DivX is using 6.6 mb / minute. With *.wmv at 640 x 480 high quality,
I'm getting almost exactly 10mb / minute. Over an hour on a CD isn't
bad IMO - quality is good, and (best part) it's easy to do. So far, I'm
geting a better result from Windows Movie Maker than DivX. Looks like
I'll have to keep tweaking if I want to improve the result with DivX -
which I would like to do.

 
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xlo
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      03-04-2005
cowboyz wrote:

> xlo wrote:
>
>>I'm trying to encode old family videos to DivX format. The old videos
>>are deteriorating - and it would be very nice to archive them before
>>any more time passes. I can get it working - but video quality is a
>>bit less than I hoped for. It takes (a lot of) time to experiment,
>>and I wondered if anyone had done this, then they might be able to
>>offer me a few tips. Googling leads me to total confusion on this
>>subject - I probably don't know the question well enough.
>>
>>Using composite video output from the video player.

>
>
> To start with - before you get too disappointed repeat this five time..
>
> "You can't get better than the source"
> "You can't get better than the source"
> "You can't get better than the source"
> "You can't get better than the source"
> "You can't get better than the source"
>
> That being said there are a few things you can do.....
>
>
>>Ulead Video Studio "capture properties" defaults to NTSC. These are
>>PAL - I can select PAL - but which one - PAL B, D, G, I, M, or N? Does it
>>matter?

>
> Not a whole lot but NZ uses PAL B.
>
>
>>Maybe stupidly, I installed both Ulead PAL and NTSC
>>drivers as the video player does both - and I do have a couple of
>>NTSC videos that I might want to encode. The video player states PAL
>>B/G - NTSC 4.43. On the other hand it also states NTSC playback on
>>PAL TV - but I could only ever get NTSC videos to play back on
>>certain (Sony) TVs. (Ulead help offers the useful <g> tip - "Click to
>>display the Properties dialog box where you can customize the
>>settings you chose in the Property Type" - and then provides no
>>further information). I am using default 640 x 480 resolution - is there
>>any point using
>>higher ( or different)?

>
>
> That should be good. If you can select 720x576. I always used this as ti
> makes it easier to keep a proper aspect ratio.
>
>
>>I lose a bit encoding the resulting mpeg to DivX, but my main problem
>>seems to be getting good quality mpegs to begin with. Is there
>>perhaps some way to encode DivX from AVIs?

>
>
> Plenty of ways to convert avi to divx but avi's are BIG. really really
> big. a gig a minute is not uncommon.
>
>
>>The best video quality (seems as good as the original) that I can seem
>>to get is in *.wmv format using Windows Movie Maker at 640x480 high
>>quality default settings - but files are kind of big compared to DivX.
>>That also seems to be the easiest option to use. Should I just put up
>>with the file size and proprietary format, and stick with that? It is
>>certainly the simplest option that I have found.

>
>
> I always captured to mpeg to save space and put up with the quality loss.
> If you capture supports it you can capture using the "huffy" codec which is
> very very good for quality.
>
> Takes a bit to get it right but persistance is your friend.
>
>

Thanks for that. Yep - I realise that you can't make a silk purse from
a sow's ear. I think that my best way is to get the Mpeg as good as I
can. I don't think I have "huffy" codec - I'll look into it.
The bitrate settings that I was using were way too low. The file size
of the MPEG doesn't really matter, as it's effectively only a temporary
copy from which to encode a DivX - so not a lot to lose by increasing
it. Then I have better raw material to work with from the start.
To MS's credit - Movie Maker seems to do a very effective job with their
*.wmv format.
 
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Stephen Worthington
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      03-04-2005
On Fri, 04 Mar 2005 11:01:01 +1300, xlo <(E-Mail Removed)>
wrote:

>I'm trying to encode old family videos to DivX format. The old videos
>are deteriorating - and it would be very nice to archive them before any
>more time passes. I can get it working - but video quality is a bit
>less than I hoped for. It takes (a lot of) time to experiment, and I
>wondered if anyone had done this, then they might be able to offer me a
>few tips. Googling leads me to total confusion on this subject - I
>probably don't know the question well enough.
>
>Using composite video output from the video player.


Here is the start of your problems. To get everything that is on a
VHS tape, it is best to use an S-VHS video for capturing the data to
disk. That way you will have a realistic chance of getting all the
quality that exists on the tape. VHS videos are built very much to a
price these days, and they limit the bandwidth to VHS only, and often
to less than what the VHS specification actually allows for. You need
some headroom above the VHS signal to be able to capture it fully, and
an S-VHS video gives you that, plus they are still built to a better
quality standard (and cost much more too of course).

>Ulead Video Studio "capture properties" defaults to NTSC. These are PAL
>- I can select PAL - but which one - PAL B, D, G, I, M, or N? Does it
>matter? Maybe stupidly, I installed both Ulead PAL and NTSC drivers as
>the video player does both - and I do have a couple of NTSC videos that
>I might want to encode. The video player states PAL B/G - NTSC 4.43.
>On the other hand it also states NTSC playback on PAL TV - but I could
>only ever get NTSC videos to play back on certain (Sony) TVs.


NZ is definitely not PAL B, so try PAL G - that sounds right, but it
is ages since I set my system up and I am having trouble remembering
exaxtly.

>(Ulead help offers the useful <g> tip - "Click to display the Properties
>dialog box where you can customize the settings you chose in the
>Property Type" - and then provides no further information).
>I am using default 640 x 480 resolution - is there any point using
>higher ( or different)?


If you are converting to DivX, then you want the most data you can get
out of the capture process, so that the least information is lost.
The very best way of doing this is to capture to a completely
uncompressed AVI format, or lossless Huffy compressed AVI format. You
can only do this though, if you have a monster size hard disk - IIRC,
Huffy compressed capture takes 1 Gibyte per minute, and completely
uncompressed takes at least another 30%. If you want to do this, the
tool to use is VirtualDub or VirtualDubMod:

VirtualDub:
http://www.virtualdub.org

VirtualDubMod:
http://virtualdubmod.sf.net

However, depending on the capture card you are using, VDub(Mod) may or
may not be able to talk to it properly. You will need to Google to
find the Huffy codec - I can not remember where I got mine from. If
you can not find it, let me know and I can put my copy on my web site.

If you can not do an uncompressed AVI capture, probably the next best
option will be to capture to a high bit rate CBR (= constant bit
rate) DVD MPEG-2 format. Most capture cards can do this, using the
software provided with them (or Ulead). You want to capture at the
highest bit rate you can, and use "Full D1" DVD format, which is
720x576 for PAL and 720x480 for NTSC. The resulting files would then
be burnable directly to DVD if you want to do that, or you could then
use VDub(Mod) to convert to DivX.

See this for the standard DVD formats:
http://www.videohelp.com/dvd

>I lose a bit encoding the resulting mpeg to DivX, but my main problem
>seems to be getting good quality mpegs to begin with. Is there perhaps
>some way to encode DivX from AVIs?


Yes, to encode DivX from AVIs you use VirtualDub(Mod). To get the
best result, you need to do a 2 pass conversion, where the first pass
works out what bit rate is needed for each frame and the second pass
does the actual conversion. Here are a set of instructions on how to
do it that I keep stashed away for posting:

=============================================
Load your source AVI/MPEG/VOB file into VirtualDubMod (not VirtualDub
- it does not load VOB files). Select "Video/Full processing mode".
Select your codec: "Video/Compression" and select a DivX 5.2 codec.
Make sure the FOURCC code on the right says "divx" not "yv12". Click
on "Configure" and the "DivX Codec Properties" window should pop up.
Set up the settings you want - I use a bit rate of 1150 kbits/s, so
the file sizes wind up similar to those of a VCD conversion from the
same source, and the "Slow" Encode Performance, for best quality and
compression. The "Video" tab has resize and crop options if you want
them, or you can use the VirtualDubMod filters to do the same job. I
suspect it is probably better to use the ones in the DivX codec, as
they will probably be computed together with the DivX conversion,
instead of being calculated as a separate code layer. On the
"General" tab, set the "Variable bit rate mode" to "Multipass, 1st
pass". Make sure the log file is being stored in a sensible place
with enough free space. Click OK to close the codec window. Click OK
to close the "Select video compression" window. Optionally, set the
mark in and mark out points for the scene you want to process (do not
do this if you want to process the entire VOB file at once). Do
"File/Save as". Make sure the "Save as type" is set to AVI. Tick the
"Don't run this job now" option. Select your output file name and
click SAVE. This will store a batch job for the first processing
pass. Do "Video/Compression/Configure" again, and change the
"Variable bit rate mode" setting to "Multipass, nth pass". Do not
change any other settings at all! Do "File/Save as" again, giving the
same output file name. This will store a batch job for the second
processing pass. If you are processing scenes individually, repeat
the above for each scene you are creating. Finally, do "File/Job
control..." and click "Start". Your batch jobs will now run (for
several hours).

As of the DivX 5.2 codec, the codec will pop up a window asking if it
is OK to overwrite its log file. This stops batch processing until
you answer the question. To prevent this, when setting up the first
pass settings for the DivX codec, change the log file name to one that
is unique for that scene, and on the second ("Nth") pass settings,
turn off the "Update log file" option.
=============================================

Note that you need the DivX Pro codec or DrDivX (which comes with DivX
Pro) in order to not get a DivX logo on your files.

If you want to experiment with the settings for the DivX codec, select
a representative part of your file as a test scene (make sure you
include some fast movement), and try just converting that small
section with various parameters. I have found that I prefer to use
1150 kibits/s for most of my DivX files. If the source is a DVD, this
will capture most of the quality of the DVD in a reasonable file size.
Going much above 1600 kibts/s seems to be a waste of bits even for DVD
quality source material, and you may well find that you can go
considerably below 1150 for VHS source material. The 1150 kibits/s
rate gives files about the same size as VCD (10 Mibytes per minute).

>The best video quality (seems as good as the original) that I can seem
>to get is in *.wmv format using Windows Movie Maker at 640x480 high
>quality default settings - but files are kind of big compared to DivX.
>That also seems to be the easiest option to use. Should I just put up
>with the file size and proprietary format, and stick with that? It is
>certainly the simplest option that I have found.


The WMV format you are converting to there is almost certainly
Microsoft's near MPEG-4 format. This is, unfortunatly, not fully
compatible with the MPEG-4 standard, as it was done from an older
draft of the MPEG-4 standard and things changed between then and when
the standard was adopted. As a result, most of the new MPEG-4 capable
DVD players do not seem to be able to play these WMV files, whereas
they can directly play DivX and Xvid files. As well, WMV files are a
security hazard, as they are able to phone home and do other Internet
access and hence can be a target for viruses. Microsoft does not
allow use of its WMV format without paying them for a licence either,
so a lot of good software (especially freeware such as VirtualDub)
does not handle WMV files. So I think it is best to avoid WMV files
if at all possible. However, that WMV format does produce just about
the same quality as other MPEG-4 formats such as DivX and Xvid for the
same number of bits.

>Thanks.

 
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cowboyz
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      03-04-2005


Stephen Worthington wrote:
> On Fri, 04 Mar 2005 11:01:01 +1300, xlo <(E-Mail Removed)>
> wrote:
>
>> I'm trying to encode old family videos to DivX format. The old
>> videos are deteriorating - and it would be very nice to archive them
>> before any more time passes. I can get it working - but video
>> quality is a bit less than I hoped for. It takes (a lot of) time to
>> experiment, and I wondered if anyone had done this, then they might
>> be able to offer me a few tips. Googling leads me to total
>> confusion on this subject - I probably don't know the question well
>> enough.
>>
>> Using composite video output from the video player.

>
> Here is the start of your problems. To get everything that is on a
> VHS tape, it is best to use an S-VHS video for capturing the data to
> disk. That way you will have a realistic chance of getting all the
> quality that exists on the tape. VHS videos are built very much to a
> price these days, and they limit the bandwidth to VHS only, and often
> to less than what the VHS specification actually allows for. You need
> some headroom above the VHS signal to be able to capture it fully, and
> an S-VHS video gives you that, plus they are still built to a better
> quality standard (and cost much more too of course).
>
>> Ulead Video Studio "capture properties" defaults to NTSC. These are
>> PAL - I can select PAL - but which one - PAL B, D, G, I, M, or N?
>> Does it matter? Maybe stupidly, I installed both Ulead PAL and NTSC
>> drivers as the video player does both - and I do have a couple of
>> NTSC videos that I might want to encode. The video player states
>> PAL B/G - NTSC 4.43. On the other hand it also states NTSC playback
>> on PAL TV - but I could only ever get NTSC videos to play back on
>> certain (Sony) TVs.

>
> NZ is definitely not PAL B, so try PAL G -



huh? Is too.



 
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xlo
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      03-04-2005
Stephen Worthington wrote:
> On Fri, 04 Mar 2005 11:01:01 +1300, xlo <(E-Mail Removed)>
> wrote:
>
>
>>I'm trying to encode old family videos to DivX format. The old videos
>>are deteriorating - and it would be very nice to archive them before any
>>more time passes. I can get it working - but video quality is a bit
>>less than I hoped for. It takes (a lot of) time to experiment, and I
>>wondered if anyone had done this, then they might be able to offer me a
>>few tips. Googling leads me to total confusion on this subject - I
>>probably don't know the question well enough.
>>
>>Using composite video output from the video player.

>
>
> Here is the start of your problems. To get everything that is on a
> VHS tape, it is best to use an S-VHS video for capturing the data to
> disk. That way you will have a realistic chance of getting all the
> quality that exists on the tape. VHS videos are built very much to a
> price these days, and they limit the bandwidth to VHS only, and often
> to less than what the VHS specification actually allows for. You need
> some headroom above the VHS signal to be able to capture it fully, and
> an S-VHS video gives you that, plus they are still built to a better
> quality standard (and cost much more too of course).
>

Okay. I can put up with the quality of the composite video source. I do
have one video on one of those huge Betamax tapes - and I might have to
hire a machine to do that.

>
>>Ulead Video Studio "capture properties" defaults to NTSC. These are PAL
>>- I can select PAL - but which one - PAL B, D, G, I, M, or N? Does it
>>matter? Maybe stupidly, I installed both Ulead PAL and NTSC drivers as
>>the video player does both - and I do have a couple of NTSC videos that
>>I might want to encode. The video player states PAL B/G - NTSC 4.43.
>>On the other hand it also states NTSC playback on PAL TV - but I could
>>only ever get NTSC videos to play back on certain (Sony) TVs.

>
>
> NZ is definitely not PAL B, so try PAL G - that sounds right, but it
> is ages since I set my system up and I am having trouble remembering
> exaxtly.


If the difference is just the audio frequency offset - then it doesn't
matter for me anyway.
>
>
>>(Ulead help offers the useful <g> tip - "Click to display the Properties
>>dialog box where you can customize the settings you chose in the
>>Property Type" - and then provides no further information).
>>I am using default 640 x 480 resolution - is there any point using
>>higher ( or different)?

>
>
> If you are converting to DivX, then you want the most data you can get
> out of the capture process, so that the least information is lost.
> The very best way of doing this is to capture to a completely
> uncompressed AVI format, or lossless Huffy compressed AVI format. You
> can only do this though, if you have a monster size hard disk - IIRC,
> Huffy compressed capture takes 1 Gibyte per minute, and completely
> uncompressed takes at least another 30%. If you want to do this, the
> tool to use is VirtualDub or VirtualDubMod:
>
> VirtualDub:
> http://www.virtualdub.org
>
> VirtualDubMod:
> http://virtualdubmod.sf.net
>

1 gb / minute isn't going to work for me - without a trip to my local
hard drive supplier. Back to mpeg...

>
> However, depending on the capture card you are using, VDub(Mod) may or
> may not be able to talk to it properly. You will need to Google to
> find the Huffy codec - I can not remember where I got mine from. If
> you can not find it, let me know and I can put my copy on my web site.
>
> If you can not do an uncompressed AVI capture, probably the next best
> option will be to capture to a high bit rate CBR (= constant bit
> rate) DVD MPEG-2 format. Most capture cards can do this, using the
> software provided with them (or Ulead). You want to capture at the
> highest bit rate you can, and use "Full D1" DVD format, which is
> 720x576 for PAL and 720x480 for NTSC. The resulting files would then
> be burnable directly to DVD if you want to do that, or you could then
> use VDub(Mod) to convert to DivX.
>

Okay - I later got a reasonable result from VBR mpeg at a higher
setting. I'll try a high bitrate CBR setting, and see how that goes. I
guess it should be faster too? That file size isn't to much of a worry -
as I'll delete it once I've encoded the DivX. I was using DvdX to
convert the mpeg2 to DivX, and was using two pass encoding. (It does a
very nice job of encoding a DVD to DivX) I'm not sure if the nasty DvdX
user interface is a design flaw, or a practical result of this not being
a simple thing to do - lots of options that need to be presented.

> See this for the standard DVD formats:
> http://www.videohelp.com/dvd
>
>
>>I lose a bit encoding the resulting mpeg to DivX, but my main problem
>>seems to be getting good quality mpegs to begin with. Is there perhaps
>>some way to encode DivX from AVIs?

>
>
> Yes, to encode DivX from AVIs you use VirtualDub(Mod). To get the
> best result, you need to do a 2 pass conversion, where the first pass
> works out what bit rate is needed for each frame and the second pass
> does the actual conversion. Here are a set of instructions on how to
> do it that I keep stashed away for posting:
>
> =============================================
> Load your source AVI/MPEG/VOB file into VirtualDubMod (not VirtualDub
> - it does not load VOB files). Select "Video/Full processing mode".
> Select your codec: "Video/Compression" and select a DivX 5.2 codec.
> Make sure the FOURCC code on the right says "divx" not "yv12". Click
> on "Configure" and the "DivX Codec Properties" window should pop up.
> Set up the settings you want - I use a bit rate of 1150 kbits/s, so
> the file sizes wind up similar to those of a VCD conversion from the
> same source, and the "Slow" Encode Performance, for best quality and
> compression. The "Video" tab has resize and crop options if you want
> them, or you can use the VirtualDubMod filters to do the same job. I
> suspect it is probably better to use the ones in the DivX codec, as
> they will probably be computed together with the DivX conversion,
> instead of being calculated as a separate code layer. On the
> "General" tab, set the "Variable bit rate mode" to "Multipass, 1st
> pass". Make sure the log file is being stored in a sensible place
> with enough free space. Click OK to close the codec window. Click OK
> to close the "Select video compression" window. Optionally, set the
> mark in and mark out points for the scene you want to process (do not
> do this if you want to process the entire VOB file at once). Do
> "File/Save as". Make sure the "Save as type" is set to AVI. Tick the
> "Don't run this job now" option. Select your output file name and
> click SAVE. This will store a batch job for the first processing
> pass. Do "Video/Compression/Configure" again, and change the
> "Variable bit rate mode" setting to "Multipass, nth pass". Do not
> change any other settings at all! Do "File/Save as" again, giving the
> same output file name. This will store a batch job for the second
> processing pass. If you are processing scenes individually, repeat
> the above for each scene you are creating. Finally, do "File/Job
> control..." and click "Start". Your batch jobs will now run (for
> several hours).
>
> As of the DivX 5.2 codec, the codec will pop up a window asking if it
> is OK to overwrite its log file. This stops batch processing until
> you answer the question. To prevent this, when setting up the first
> pass settings for the DivX codec, change the log file name to one that
> is unique for that scene, and on the second ("Nth") pass settings,
> turn off the "Update log file" option.
> =============================================
>
> Note that you need the DivX Pro codec or DrDivX (which comes with DivX
> Pro) in order to not get a DivX logo on your files.
>

Weird, but my divX 5.2 pro trial occasionally tells me that I only have
a few days left, but it never seems to expire. I still have the bitrate
calculator and no logo. I'm tempting fate by mentioning this - not that
I'm superstitious...
>
> If you want to experiment with the settings for the DivX codec, select
> a representative part of your file as a test scene (make sure you
> include some fast movement), and try just converting that small
> section with various parameters. I have found that I prefer to use
> 1150 kibits/s for most of my DivX files. If the source is a DVD, this
> will capture most of the quality of the DVD in a reasonable file size.
> Going much above 1600 kibts/s seems to be a waste of bits even for DVD
> quality source material, and you may well find that you can go
> considerably below 1150 for VHS source material. The 1150 kibits/s
> rate gives files about the same size as VCD (10 Mibytes per minute).
>
>
>>The best video quality (seems as good as the original) that I can seem
>>to get is in *.wmv format using Windows Movie Maker at 640x480 high
>>quality default settings - but files are kind of big compared to DivX.
>>That also seems to be the easiest option to use. Should I just put up
>>with the file size and proprietary format, and stick with that? It is
>>certainly the simplest option that I have found.

>
>
> The WMV format you are converting to there is almost certainly
> Microsoft's near MPEG-4 format. This is, unfortunatly, not fully
> compatible with the MPEG-4 standard, as it was done from an older
> draft of the MPEG-4 standard and things changed between then and when
> the standard was adopted. As a result, most of the new MPEG-4 capable
> DVD players do not seem to be able to play these WMV files, whereas
> they can directly play DivX and Xvid files. As well, WMV files are a
> security hazard, as they are able to phone home and do other Internet
> access and hence can be a target for viruses. Microsoft does not
> allow use of its WMV format without paying them for a licence either,
> so a lot of good software (especially freeware such as VirtualDub)
> does not handle WMV files. So I think it is best to avoid WMV files
> if at all possible. However, that WMV format does produce just about
> the same quality as other MPEG-4 formats such as DivX and Xvid for the
> same number of bits.
>

Given the relative ease of using Windows Movie Maker to encode a good
quality *wmv, and the relative difficulty of encoding in DivX format,
then if something else free/low cost and easy to use doesn't appear, I
guess MS will take the market by default.
 
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E. Scrooge
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Posts: n/a
 
      03-04-2005

"cowboyz" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:d084t4$qda$(E-Mail Removed)...
>
>
> xlo wrote:
>> I'm trying to encode old family videos to DivX format. The old videos
>> are deteriorating - and it would be very nice to archive them before
>> any more time passes. I can get it working - but video quality is a
>> bit less than I hoped for. It takes (a lot of) time to experiment,
>> and I wondered if anyone had done this, then they might be able to
>> offer me a few tips. Googling leads me to total confusion on this
>> subject - I probably don't know the question well enough.
>>
>> Using composite video output from the video player.

>
> To start with - before you get too disappointed repeat this five time..
>
> "You can't get better than the source"
> "You can't get better than the source"
> "You can't get better than the source"
> "You can't get better than the source"
> "You can't get better than the source"


Yes you can.

At least I have anyway.
1 VHS tape Daleks Invasion Earth 2150 AD copied to DivX using VD of course.
From memory I used the sharpen filter and improved the contrast filter on
it. Then shoved the file into Power Producer ending up with a VCD that's
better than the original VHS tape.

An even better example is the shocking VHS tape of Lord Of The Dance. At
first I had 3 goes at trying to copy it. about 5 minutes enough each time
as the colours were shocking. I was sure my settings must've altered very
badly to look as bad it did with very heavily satuated colours. I was
making it into 2 SVCDs for a friend who owns the tape. I then plugged the
S-Video lead from the VCR into the TV to see how the tape actually looks on
TV. It was satuated to ****, worse tape I've ever seen, nothing wrong with
the actual condition of it as it's been played bugger all from new. The
colour satuation is that bad that it affected the quality of the picture for
sharpness. Plugged the VCR back into the computer knocked the colour
satuation levels way down from what I usually use. I then tried the VCR on
TV1, damn near black and white, but when playing Lord Of The Dance the
colours were damn near spot on. The end result of the SVCDs was much better
than the **** poor original tape. So never say that you can't improve the
original source. The Daleks & Dr Who was only a subtle improvement compared
to the huge improvement of LOTD.

E. Scrooge


 
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E. Scrooge
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Posts: n/a
 
      03-04-2005

"cowboyz" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:d08om5$501$(E-Mail Removed)...
>
>
> Stephen Worthington wrote:
>> On Fri, 04 Mar 2005 11:01:01 +1300, xlo <(E-Mail Removed)>
>> wrote:
>>
>>> I'm trying to encode old family videos to DivX format. The old
>>> videos are deteriorating - and it would be very nice to archive them
>>> before any more time passes. I can get it working - but video
>>> quality is a bit less than I hoped for. It takes (a lot of) time to
>>> experiment, and I wondered if anyone had done this, then they might
>>> be able to offer me a few tips. Googling leads me to total
>>> confusion on this subject - I probably don't know the question well
>>> enough.
>>>
>>> Using composite video output from the video player.

>>
>> Here is the start of your problems. To get everything that is on a
>> VHS tape, it is best to use an S-VHS video for capturing the data to
>> disk. That way you will have a realistic chance of getting all the
>> quality that exists on the tape. VHS videos are built very much to a
>> price these days, and they limit the bandwidth to VHS only, and often
>> to less than what the VHS specification actually allows for. You need
>> some headroom above the VHS signal to be able to capture it fully, and
>> an S-VHS video gives you that, plus they are still built to a better
>> quality standard (and cost much more too of course).
>>
>>> Ulead Video Studio "capture properties" defaults to NTSC. These are
>>> PAL - I can select PAL - but which one - PAL B, D, G, I, M, or N?
>>> Does it matter? Maybe stupidly, I installed both Ulead PAL and NTSC
>>> drivers as the video player does both - and I do have a couple of
>>> NTSC videos that I might want to encode. The video player states
>>> PAL B/G - NTSC 4.43. On the other hand it also states NTSC playback
>>> on PAL TV - but I could only ever get NTSC videos to play back on
>>> certain (Sony) TVs.

>>
>> NZ is definitely not PAL B, so try PAL G -

>
>
> huh? Is too.


LOL For a minute there I was thinking I was only one that uses PAL B, I've
also used PAL M as well.

E. Scrooge


 
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