Ad-Detective Scan Using Audio Feature Request

msmart

New member
I'm not sure if this has been asked before but I did try to search for it...

I know Ad-Detective scans for black frames to create scene markers to determine where commercials are. Is it possible to combine that with checking for audio to make scene marks more precise?

Sometimes when shows fade to black audio still plays, then goes silent before the commercial starts. Ad-Detective currently places the scene marks before the audio goes silent.

I think looking for silent audio (for lack of a better term) in addition to black frames would make Ad-Detective scans more reliable. I know different stations handle transitions to/from commercials differently so it can never (IMO) be perfect but it has to help, don't you think?

"False" scene markers are added when scenes are very dark. Audio is still present so if audio was used in addition to black frames, these "false" scene markers would be reduced considerably.

What do you think?
 

bits

New member
It has been asked a few times before but I do not recall what the response was. comskip and Showanalyzer both use audio and are better at commercial detection than Ad Detective but they are far from perfect. I have tried them all and comskip (freeware) is routinely updated and is the best of the bunch IMO. If you record a wide range of channels and shows then you will need to manually confirm the cuts. Manual confirmation takes me 15-40secs per show. The .vprj file that comskip generates has all of the scene markers and the cut points. Even though there are false scene markers, scene markers make cut verification faster and easier. IMO false scene markers are a 'do not care' because they do not affect the outcome and rarely are there enough of them as to confuse where the actual commercial segment is.

Audio is more complex than you may think...there are intended silent parts of movies, audio volume, which can be dialogue and or music, can change from quite loud to quite soft with in any given scene or any given commercial. Audio tracks are continuous even though there may not be any actual sound. As I said above comskip and Showanalyzer both use audio but with limited success. I have been detecting commercials for years and I can say without a doubt that it is much harder to accurately detect commercials today than it was even 6 months ago and it will only get harder.
 
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msmart

New member
bits, thanks for the tip on comskip. I'll have to check it out.

While audio may be complex to use, but when combined with black frame checking, it could help VRD be more accurate. Now that you can see audio on the timeline, I use it to make manual adjustments. I click on the left or rightmost thumbnail to backup/advance until I see the audio has bottomed out. While audio may be continuous, there must be a way to compare decibel levels from frame to frame and when it's low enough over a period of frames and combined with black frames, that's where you put the scene marker.

I agree that it's more difficult now as stations try their best to fool applications designed to cut out commercials.
 

bits

New member
bits, thanks for the tip on comskip. I'll have to check it out.

While audio may be complex to use, but when combined with black frame checking, it could help VRD be more accurate. Now that you can see audio on the timeline, I use it to make manual adjustments. I click on the left or rightmost thumbnail to backup/advance until I see the audio has bottomed out. While audio may be continuous, there must be a way to compare decibel levels from frame to frame and when it's low enough over a period of frames and combined with black frames, that's where you put the scene marker.

I agree that it's more difficult now as stations try their best to fool applications designed to cut out commercials.
To use comskip open the comskip.ini file and set output_videoredo=1, save and close. Now just drag the video file to the comskip executable and it will start looking for the commericals.

The comskip.ini file is where you can customize settings and tune it to your needs.

I use Dirmon2 (freeware) to start comskip running as soon as a video has completed recording. comskip truly runs in the background in low priority. Like ALL commercial detection software it is a cpu hog but because it runs in low priority you can still use your pc for other things while it is doing the scan. It works on mpeg, ts and tp files. When doing ts or tp it will choose the first stream, if that is not the one you want then you will need to drop the ts/tp file into vrd and select the stream you want, output that and then turn comskip lose on it.
 

msmart

New member
Bump.....

Running Ad-Detective on The Bourne Supremacy recorded December 1 on TNT is having a difficult time. There are many dark/black frames in the movie. If Ad-Detective sampled audio whilst looking at black frames, I think it return better results.

Comments from VideoReDo is appreciated.

bits, I haven't tried your suggestion yet. Since I have .tivo files I would have to run it through VRD first to get a mpeg file so I'm not sure if I want to do the extra step. But thanks, I'll keep it in mind.
 

bits

New member
Bump.....

Running Ad-Detective on The Bourne Supremacy recorded December 1 on TNT is having a difficult time. There are many dark/black frames in the movie. If Ad-Detective sampled audio whilst looking at black frames, I think it return better results.

Comments from VideoReDo is appreciated.

bits, I haven't tried your suggestion yet. Since I have .tivo files I would have to run it through VRD first to get a mpeg file so I'm not sure if I want to do the extra step. But thanks, I'll keep it in mind.
The main reason I suggested it is because I doubt VRD is interested in improving Ad-detective. As I said earlier your suggestion has come up several times before and I am not aware of any changes or improvements to Ad-Detective in a very very long time.

VRD is great software and the VRD team is the best I have dealt with and they may surprise me on this but....I think you may have actually gotten your answer...since they did not respond to this thread earlier.
 

msmart

New member
The main reason I suggested it is because I doubt VRD is interested in improving Ad-detective. As I said earlier your suggestion has come up several times before and I am not aware of any changes or improvements to Ad-Detective in a very very long time.

VRD is great software and the VRD team is the best I have dealt with and they may surprise me on this but....I think you may have actually gotten your answer...since they did not respond to this thread earlier.
You may be correct, but I'm still holding out hope for a response.

BTW, here is an image showing audio in the timeline where audio is "flatlined" along with black frames then jumps up as the show/movie comes back from commercial. Just before the audio spikes is the perfect place for a scene marker.
 

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Danr

Administrator
Staff member
We have some improvement scheduled for AdDetective in the coming year. Using audio as a factor actually wasn't on the list, but we will take another look at it. The issue with audio wasn't that its hard to implement in the detection logic, its that it didn't provide a consistent signature between programs.

We will take another look at audio when we revisit AdDetective.
 

bits

New member
You may be correct, but I'm still holding out hope for a response.

BTW, here is an image showing audio in the timeline where audio is "flatlined" along with black frames then jumps up as the show/movie comes back from commercial. Just before the audio spikes is the perfect place for a scene marker.
I am quite familiar with the audio timeline and that sometimes it corresponds to a scene marker...but many times it does not and even more importantly there are other commercial detection softwares that DO use audio and have been for a long time but with limited success (this was the other reason I suggested you try comskip, you could gain first hand knowledge in regards to the use of audio) because believe it or not audio is not a good indicator for defining where a commercial break/segment starts and ends.

I do agree that Ad-Detective would probably be better at detecting commercial breaks/segments (that is really what you want it to be good at) if audio detection were added but only marginally. There other things that they could improve that IMO would make a much bigger contribution to better detection....such as the ability to have a lot more user configurable settings....logo detection, more flexibility with setting break and segment lengths, ect...Ad-Detective is a nice basic feature but it is hardly the best of breed nor do I think it is intended to be.

Given what you have mentioned so far, it seems that running QSF+comskip/Dirmon2 vs QSF+Ad Detective is virtually identical in terms of key strokes and simplicity. The real difference is that while you are waiting for VRD to reconsider your request you can get better commercial detection and gain more knowledge about other software commercial detection tools and techniques.

VRD-QSF--->output QSF'd file to a specified folder or as an mpeg or tp or ts file to the same folder it resides in--->Dirmon2 watches this folder and when a file with the specified extention shows up in it it kicks comskip in (btw you can specify whether it starts on the file right away or whether it waits until the file is complete)--->comskip generates the .vprj file--->you verify the cuts and batch process with VRD.

FWIW and in my experience comskip is considerably better at running in low priority than Ad-Detective, hence it truely can be run in the background. And finally comskip is constantly being updated and tweaked which up to now has not been the case for Ad-Detective.

Knowledge is power....
 
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msmart

New member
Dan, thanks for your comments. I know you're all busy with DVD authoring now but look forward to the Ad-Detective improvements you have planned. Thank you for considering audio.

bits, Looks like I got my answer, hope prevails.

I downloaded and ran comskip on a couple files. While it seemed to work well, it doesn't create scene markers in the .vrpj file. Did I miss that option or does it not have that option?
Given what you have mentioned so far, it seems that running QSF+comskip/Dirmon2 vs QSF+Ad Detective is virtually identical in terms of key strokes and simplicity.
I don't do QSF+Ad-Detective. I just save the .tivo file as .mpg using the Ad-Detective .vrpj cut points. So using TVS is quicker (IMO) than your process even if I have spend a few moments cleaning up the cut points.

While I appreciate you turning me on to comskip, I just don't have the time or inclination to develop a new workflow right now. I do, however, appreciate the dialog, it was useful to get Dan to consider using audio when they start Ad-Detective improvements. (Maybe they can reverse engineer some of what comskip does with audio). For that, I thank you.
 

bits

New member
Dan, thanks for your comments. I know you're all busy with DVD authoring now but look forward to the Ad-Detective improvements you have planned. Thank you for considering audio.

bits, Looks like I got my answer, hope prevails.

I downloaded and ran comskip on a couple files. While it seemed to work well, it doesn't create scene markers in the .vrpj file. Did I miss that option or does it not have that option?
I don't do QSF+Ad-Detective. I just save the .tivo file as .mpg using the Ad-Detective .vrpj cut points. So using TVS is quicker (IMO) than your process even if I have spend a few moments cleaning up the cut points.

While I appreciate you turning me on to comskip, I just don't have the time or inclination to develop a new workflow right now. I do, however, appreciate the dialog, it was useful to get Dan to consider using audio when they start Ad-Detective improvements. (Maybe they can reverse engineer some of what comskip does with audio). For that, I thank you.
What version of comskip did you use? The most current version is comskip79_112 and the vprj file it generates has scene markers as well as commercial breaks.

I learned a few new things today regarding comskip. I tried the comskipGUI instead of the comskip exe and it provides very useful information and I set output_framearray=1 in the ini file and it provides a very nice but large excel file with more useful information.

Well it is there just in case you need an alternative or if you just want to fool around and do some experimenting.
 

msmart

New member
What version of comskip did you use? The most current version is comskip79_112
Doh! Do I feel stupid, I didn't look at the download page very well and downloaded the top file (_48) thinking it to be the current version. I downloaded _112 and even tried to GUI interface as well.

Well, so much for not having time.... I downloaded Dirmon2, set up TVAP to QSF new files (rather than run Ad-Detective) to a separate directory, set up Dirmon2 to run comskip when it sees the new mpg file. How's that for automation!!

We'll see what happens. One question though, the Dirmon2 service I started runs comskip, but it doesn't create a .vprj file only .txt. I updated the ini file so output_videoredo=1. What am I missing?

ADDED: Never mind. I found THIS thread. I added the --ini string in the command line options field and added vprj with "AND" in the OR/AND section. Working good now.
 
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msmart

New member
We have some improvement scheduled for AdDetective in the coming year. Using audio as a factor actually wasn't on the list, but we will take another look at it. The issue with audio wasn't that its hard to implement in the detection logic, its that it didn't provide a consistent signature between programs.

We will take another look at audio when we revisit AdDetective.
BUMP. Has AdDetective been revisited yet?

Since my last post, I didn't give comskip much of a go but rather using TVAP to automate my process to a point, then manually editing the .vrpj project to fine tune the cuts.

However...
(from the comskip readme.txt file)
Changes in 0.79.142
- Made a big change to the sound detection algorithm...
Please don't let the Jones' get too far ahead. :)
 
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Steve614

New member
First time I caught this thread.
Using audio would definately help.
As it is now, I don't bother with using ad-detective.
By the time I let ad-detective scan, then manually refine the cut points, then save, I can just manually cut the commercials and save 2 shows in the same time period. :(

To me, ad-detective seems only useful for automated functions, but even then due to the fact you have to manually go in and refine the cut points, why bother?
 

bits

New member
First time I caught this thread.
Using audio would definately help.
As it is now, I don't bother with using ad-detective.
By the time I let ad-detective scan, then manually refine the cut points, then save, I can just manually cut the commercials and save 2 shows in the same time period. :(

To me, ad-detective seems only useful for automated functions, but even then due to the fact you have to manually go in and refine the cut points, why bother?
Because you can refine the cut points in less than 20secs for a 1-2 hour show! You can not do that manually starting from scratch. However, I use comskip which is faster and much better than Ad-Detective. I cut between 0 and 12 shows per day.....I could never do that manually...I'd be in the loony bin in no time at all.

For the record, VRD is great software and is the best purchase I have ever made in regards to software. Unfortunately, Ad Detective is not one of its strong points. comskip is actively developed and updated and best of all it is free. Very recently a donation is required in order to get some of the more advanced features but it does a great job. If I did not do so many back to back recordings and did not use a start and end recording buffer 50+% of my files would not require any adjusting at all and those that do are typically a few frames either way. I record OTA HD ts, SD analog and firewire SD and HD and comskip handles them all, including dvr-ms files from VMC recordings.
 
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