Mpeg4 editing

rayn

New member
While we wait with crossed fingers for mpeg4 editing to be incorporated into VRD, would anyone care to comment on this: http://www.videohelp.com/tools?tool=Cut_Assistant

It's a lot more user-friendly than VDub alone and seems to be more accurate in it's cut-points (that VDub uses) too. It's got some surprisingly good and effective features that are fun to mess around with!
 
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rayn

New member
Yes, I've used it to edit DivX & Xvid. It uses VirtualDub to edit & cut avi ( & AsfBin for wmv)- it's a GUI for these programs, but much more. It has a slider like VRD's and a very useful 'last 12 frames/ next 12 frames' display feature. It seems very familiar to use when you're used to VRD.
 

stony

New member
While we wait with crossed fingers for mpeg4 editing ...
I have my toes crossed as well!

There is another thread focusing on MPEG4 TV transmission in Europe, which is probably way off in the future where I live (but who knows with these things), but my need right now is, like you, to be able to use VRD to edit DviX/XviD files that I have downloaded or have been given. I generally make my own AVI files using VRD to first remove commercials and trim back and front, but I will download if I miss recording an episode on my PCs.

I have a couple of downloaded episodes at the moment that are slightly out of synch audio-wise and it would be great to be able to load them into VRD and do the magic. I have used VDub to remove missed commercials in an edited AVI file on a couple of occasions but I don't think it stretches to audio-synching.

I haven't yet found a suitable freeware or cheap AVI editing program to use, so I am hanging out for VRD to add this urgently required feature.

NeroVision Express will accept both MPEG2 and AVI files, so why not VRD? I guess the very long way home would be to load AVI files into NVE and save them out as MPEG, and then work on the MPEG in VRD. Phew!

There seem to be three pressing reasons why VRD should get with digital convergence pronto: (1) MPEG4 TV transmission, (2) PVRs (and DVD recorders?) and TV cards that can now save in MPEG4 format, and (3) existing AVI files that need editing or massaging.

I got hammered several months ago for talking about AVI files, wanting VRD to not only accept them but also to save them as well, with some saying that I should archive in MPEG2 on disc. This is just not on in my case. My place is getting overrun with CDs and DVDs and I just want to be able to retain movies and TV episodes in AVI format on my PCs and MediaGates (and my networkable PVR when someone makes one that works properly). Despite having a number of 320GB HDDs for archiving I am soon going to have to delete some material less deserving of retention. MPEGs are just too large to keep. AVI files look quite OK on my SD TVs, so I don't think I am slumming it by opting for AVI.

Now I am crossing my arms and legs as well, waiting for VRD to take the next step!
 

Lester Burnham

New member
|I have a couple of downloaded episodes at the moment that are slightly out of synch audio-wise and it would be great to be able to load them into VRD and do the magic. I have used VDub to remove missed commercials in an edited AVI file on a couple of occasions but I don't think it stretches to audio-synching.
It most certainly does - either by re-interleaving audio and video frames, or by introducing an offset.

I haven't yet found a suitable freeware or cheap AVI editing program to use, so I am hanging out for VRD to add this urgently required feature.
Well I'd certainly agree that being able to edit mpeg4 files would be a worthy enhancement for VideoReDo.

NeroVision Express will accept both MPEG2 and AVI files, so why not VRD?
NeroVision Express is an authoring package that just so happens includes editing facilities.

I guess the very long way home would be to load AVI files into NVE and save them out as MPEG, and then work on the MPEG in VRD. Phew!
It would be much better to simply edit using Virtualdub and accept the loss in frame accuracy - or use something like Cut Assistant.

There seem to be three pressing reasons why VRD should get with digital convergence pronto: (1) MPEG4 TV transmission, (2) PVRs (and DVD recorders?) and TV cards that can now save in MPEG4 format, and (3) existing AVI files that need editing or massaging.

I got hammered several months ago for talking about AVI files, wanting VRD to not only accept them but also to save them as well, with some saying that I should archive in MPEG2 on disc.
There's a difference between being able to edit various different video codecs, and being a conversion application between various different video codecs.

Such a difference that you'd have to be quite careful and contemplative before embarking on such a change in positioning.

This is just not on in my case. My place is getting overrun with CDs and DVDs and I just want to be able to retain movies and TV episodes in AVI format on my PCs and MediaGates (and my networkable PVR when someone makes one that works properly). Despite having a number of 320GB HDDs for archiving I am soon going to have to delete some material less deserving of retention. MPEGs are just too large to keep.
Eh?

How cheap are DVD blanks? So cheap you could regularly redo them if you were worried about the longevity of them as a backup medium.

AVI files look quite OK on my SD TVs, so I don't think I am slumming it by opting for AVI.

Now I am crossing my arms and legs as well, waiting for VRD to take the next step!
I just hope they remember their core functions and not lose sight of that in order to become some one-click wonder that dies due to mediocrity and lack of focussed appeal.

Applications that try and do everything at once either require the development budget of an entire nation, or become so diluted at what they originally excelled at, they lose the real appeal.
 

stony

New member
Hi Lester

I guess that we just will have to continue to disagree on two fronts.

I am heartily sick of discs, and I can get them very cheap indeed. I am not alone in opting mostly for AVI for watching and storing. Besides, the multitude of discs I have already burnt get borrowed by family members and friends and I don't want to have to set up a library borrowing system so that I can to keep track of things that I want to watch, when I want to watch them.

OK, I would be happy for VRD to limit its flirtation with MPEG-4 to input. There are plenty of conversion programs around, which indicates that the process is hardly a novel thing for a company so expert in video. You seem to see the process as some huge barrier to overcome, and Dan has mentioned licencing. (Isn't XviD public domain?) I just think it strange that once I have edited a file in VRD I then have to resave it in MPG before I can go to AVI.

I will look into VDub for audio fixing, but I do find it a little clumsy and esoteric.

Again, I regret that I was foolish in getting too excited about MPEG-4 matters. I forgot that you would again jump all over me for my heresy of not wanting to burn a lot of things in MPG or DVD-VOB format. I, of course, still do so from time to time when I want a relative or a friend to watch something on a DVD player without MPG and AVI capabilities. I just can't persuade them to buy a cheap Pioneer player that is both multizone and multiformat!
 

Lester Burnham

New member
Hi Lester

I guess that we just will have to continue to disagree on two fronts.

I am heartily sick of discs, and I can get them very cheap indeed. I am not alone in opting mostly for AVI for watching and storing. Besides, the multitude of discs I have already burnt get borrowed by family members and friends and I don't want to have to set up a library borrowing system so that I can to keep track of things that I want to watch, when I want to watch them.
What I'm not sure of, is what the choice of AVIs / mpeg4 dictates the backup / storage medium?

Surely you face the same challenge using either mpeg2 or mpeg4 - at some point, you'll likely run out of hard disk space and have to use some off-line medium.

Don't get me wrong - I get the point that mpeg4 tends to be smaller files, but - and I've found this myself - you just end up taking longer to get to the same point, really - sooner or later, you'll run out of hard disk space and need to off-load them somewhere.

And I'm not sure I trust hard drives / magnetic media any more than optical media for long-term storagage.

OK, I would be happy for VRD to limit its flirtation with MPEG-4 to input. There are plenty of conversion programs around, which indicates that the process is hardly a novel thing for a company so expert in video. You seem to see the process as some huge barrier to overcome,
I guess my perspective is based on this: I've followed the development of a couple of conversion applications - and they take a lot of effort to get right, and to adapt to codec revisions and revisions in other software, plus mucho tweaking and development to succeed in doing well what they do - convert or re-encode video (and normally audio, too).

Now that is a complex, multi-faceted endeavour that's quite different that say simply editing where you just have to re-encode the odd frame.

And in doing so, you'd either have to devote lotsa time and effort, or lose focus on what's currently the main point of the app.

and Dan has mentioned licencing. (Isn't XviD public domain?)
Well either DivX or Xvid would have licensing implications - DivX is clearly a commercial codec, now, so would incur licensing costs. And whilst Xvid is open source, is suspect is used under GPL conditions which also has some implications - even if they're not financial ones.

I just think it strange that once I have edited a file in VRD I then have to resave it in MPG before I can go to AVI.
In fairness, though - up to this point, VideoReDo has always been an mpeg2 editor with the emphasis being on DVD as a possible destination.

The problem, I believe, is that everybody extrapolates - as soon as mpeg4 is mentioned as being possible to edit, people then stretch the point and talk about conversion - which I can seem the *connection*, but I think the implications aren't always realised.

I will look into VDub for audio fixing, but I do find it a little clumsy and esoteric.
Really?

Virtualdub is a gem of an application - and freeware at that!

Again, I regret that I was foolish in getting too excited about MPEG-4 matters. I forgot that you would again jump all over me for my heresy of not wanting to burn a lot of things in MPG or DVD-VOB format.
That's not what I'm doing - so spare me the sarcasm.

I do plenty of AVI / mpeg4 work and conversion, so I'm far from simply obsessed with mpeg2 and DVD-Video.
 

stony

New member
Lester, you have your views and I have mine. Let's leave it at that.

I would be ecstatic if VRD were to accept MPEG4 files. The more people capture video in this slimmer format, the more inevitable it will be that they will want to edit it directly rather than have to convert to MPEG2 beforehand. VDub is an alternative editor, but I would prefer to use VRD to trim front and back and delete ads, whatever the format of the video files involved.

I accept that exporting to MPEG4 format would be a significant step for VRD to take and that the company may not want to take that step.

Meanwhile, I will continue to watch and store TV shows and movies in AVI format. After all, AVI files on average take a sixth of the space taken up by MPEG and VOB files.
 

Lester Burnham

New member
Lester, you have your views and I have mine. Let's leave it at that.
What makes you think I'm doing anything more than that?

You've expressed your opinion, and so have I...

I would be ecstatic if VRD were to accept MPEG4 files.
Me too.

The more people capture video in this slimmer format, the more inevitable it will be that they will want to edit it directly rather than have to convert to MPEG2 beforehand.
Which makes no real sense to simply re-encode, merely to edit.

VDub is an alternative editor, but I would prefer to use VRD to trim front and back and delete ads, whatever the format of the video files involved.
Me too.

I accept that exporting to MPEG4 format would be a significant step for VRD to take and that the company may not want to take that step.
But that's how it starts, and that's my point - I personally want, and think it's a great idea for VideoReDo to be able to deal (ie edit) other containers and codecs (other than simply mpeg2).

However, what I wouldn't want to see is them diversifying and going into the video conversion arena, to the detriment of their core purpose - editing. That's why I'm not overly interested in them getting into the DVD authoring sector, either.

Meanwhile, I will continue to watch and store TV shows and movies in AVI format.
I'm not trying to convince you otherwise.

After all, AVI files on average take a sixth of the space taken up by MPEG and VOB files.
All I'd say on that score, is if you've started out with mpeg2 / VOB / DVD files, then I feel they are the ideal format to store - sure hard disk space is easily filled - and always will be - you'll just get their sooner with mpeg2 compared with mpeg4 files - but quality DVD blanks are cheap as chips, and a reasonable method of storage - or at least to me, good DVDRs seem about as reliable as mag hard disks. And cheap enough to redo backup / archive disks every couple of years.
 

kubalister

New member
Meanwhile, I will continue to watch and store TV shows and movies in AVI format. After all, AVI files on average take a sixth of the space taken up by MPEG and VOB files.
Now that is a silly thing to say. AVI is a CONTAINER format that can have virtually any video and audio codec combination with subsequently huge variations in bitrate and quality.
It's also an absolutely awful prehistoric format that is a relic of old PC standards and lacks essential features like anamorphic display ratio fields etc that are essential in working with broadcast video recordings and any MPEG container format that does support display ratios.

AVI should have died a long time ago. Unfortunately far too many people still use it along with horrible hacks to butcher the resolution of the original MPEG container video to make it fit within the 1:1 aspect ratio limitation of AVI.

If you want to work with MPEG-4 codecs (whether ISO form (DivX or XviD) or AVC format) then use the container format that doesn't require stupid hacks i.e. .MP4

I hope the developers of VideoRedo wisely ignore anything to do with the AVI container format so it can slowly die.
 

Lester Burnham

New member
Now that is a silly thing to say. AVI is a CONTAINER format that can have virtually any video and audio codec combination with subsequently huge variations in bitrate and quality.
It's also an absolutely awful prehistoric format that is a relic of old PC standards and lacks essential features like anamorphic display ratio fields etc that are essential in working with broadcast video recordings and any MPEG container format that does support display ratios.
Well whilst mpeg2 has aspect ratio information possibly stored by packet header, and also DVD-Video has aspect ratio information signalled by IFO, aspect ratio information is possibly stored actually within the video signal (line 23) as well as purely flags in the data.

AVI should have died a long time ago. Unfortunately far too many people still use it along with horrible hacks to butcher the resolution of the original MPEG container video to make it fit within the 1:1 aspect ratio limitation of AVI.
"butcher" is a tad harsh, I feel. Most people who convert from DVD / mpeg2, that's also anamorphic widescreen, simply do so by actually preserving aspect ratio, but discarding the anamorphic aspect or additional detail.

After all, DVD-Video simply, effectively sends either 4:3 or anamorphic widescreen as the aspect ratio signalling (letterbox widescreen, is signalled (correctly) as 4:3).

Whereas line23 WSS does have more options for signalling other aspect ratios.

If you want to work with MPEG-4 codecs (whether ISO form (DivX or XviD) or AVC format) then use the container format that doesn't require stupid hacks i.e. .MP4
Which is all well and good for purely storage, and / or things that can playback mp4 contained video.

However, my only interest in AVI, really, is because I have some mpeg4 players that either only play AVI (as a container) or in my PMPs case, AVI or WMV.

I hope the developers of VideoRedo wisely ignore anything to do with the AVI container format so it can slowly die.
Which may well happen, but there's plenty of people with standalone devices that may not have other options for mpeg4 playback, other than the AVI container.
 

kubalister

New member
Well whilst mpeg2 has aspect ratio information possibly stored by packet header, and also DVD-Video has aspect ratio information signalled by IFO, aspect ratio information is possibly stored actually within the video signal (line 23) as well as purely flags in the data.
Not for AVI it doesn't. Have a look at the data fields for AVI, it can't support anything other than 1:1 aspect ratio. This is why DIVX (the company) has tried to push the .divx media container format to overcome the limitations of AVI.

"butcher" is a tad harsh, I feel. Most people who convert from DVD / mpeg2, that's also anamorphic widescreen, simply do so by actually preserving aspect ratio, but discarding the anamorphic aspect or additional detail.
Yeah, they take a 720x576 (PAL) or 720x480 (NTSC) res (4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratio, both of which are anamorphic) source video in an MPEG container format and literally butcher the vertical resolution down to match the horizontal resolution so that aspect ratio 'appears' correct, e.g. taking a 16:9 720x576 source MPEG video and reducing the vertical resolution to give a file that is 720x405.
It's not surprising then that the resulting video has a reduced file size since you've dumped nearly 30% of the data in converting to AVI!

After all, DVD-Video simply, effectively sends either 4:3 or anamorphic widescreen as the aspect ratio signalling (letterbox widescreen, is signalled (correctly) as 4:3).
Whereas line23 WSS does have more options for signalling other aspect ratios.
Yes, MPEG1/2/4 & VOB containers do support ANY aspect ratio since it has such a data field in the container - AVI does not.

Which is all well and good for purely storage, and / or things that can playback mp4 contained video.
However, my only interest in AVI, really, is because I have some mpeg4 players that either only play AVI (as a container) or in my PMPs case, AVI or WMV.
Which may well happen, but there's plenty of people with standalone devices that may not have other options for mpeg4 playback, other than the AVI container.
Well as long as we continue to support AVI and create video for it we will have to deal with its limitations. If people continue to support products that have inferior limitations then they only have themselves to blame. It's the same principal as overtly restrictive DRM in products - if you buy those products then you're encouraging the manufacturers to produce more DRM riddled products.
 

Lester Burnham

New member
Not for AVI it doesn't. Have a look at the data fields for AVI, it can't support anything other than 1:1 aspect ratio.
You're conflating PAR with DAR, there, though.

All I'm saying is that mpeg2 (in header, and optionally in packet information) and DVD-Video (in IFO settings for the domain / PGC) stores very simplistic information in terms of what can be signalled - and that effectively boils down to anamorphic, or non anamorphic.

And the only direct signalling of that, tends to be via pin 8 in SCART connections.

Otherwise, some other method of signalling can apply - and that's stored actually within the video signal, in line23. And that's largely concerned with DAR.

This is why DIVX (the company) has tried to push the .divx media container format to overcome the limitations of AVI.
That's not the only reason, though...

Yeah, they take a 720x576 (PAL) or 720x480 (NTSC) res (4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratio, both of which are anamorphic) source video
It's far from always anamorphic - either widescreen stuff, or 4:3.

And anamorphic stuff just has narrower black letterbox bars encoded in.

in an MPEG container format and literally butcher the vertical resolution down to match the horizontal resolution so that aspect ratio 'appears' correct, e.g. taking a 16:9 720x576 source MPEG video and reducing the vertical resolution to give a file that is 720x405.
It's not surprising then that the resulting video has a reduced file size since you've dumped nearly 30% of the data in converting to AVI!
It's not all valid video information that's dumped, though - there is black borders encoded in most anamorphic widescreen DVD material - especially 2.35:1 or greater - but even with 1.85:1.

And in fairness, mpeg4 can compress the video more before obviously suffering because of it.

Yes, MPEG1/2/4 & VOB containers do support ANY aspect ratio since it has such a data field in the container
All that mpeg2 and / or DVD-Video signals, though (realistically) is anamorphic, or non-anamorphic.

Outside of using SCART connections, how would, say, a standalone DVD player signal such anamorphic, or non-anamorphic picture to the display equipment?

AVI does not.
That doesn't mean to say that nothing could be signalled via line23 concerning the DAR of the video contained.

Well as long as we continue to support AVI and create video for it we will have to deal with its limitations. If people continue to support products that have inferior limitations then they only have themselves to blame.
To blame for what?

Personally, I'm not just going to dump well functioning and very useful devices just SIMPLY on principle over the capabilities of the supported video containers.

Just because AVI has no overt, data signalling of aspect ratio, it doesn't matter too much - all AVIs that I've encountered are not anamorphic.

And aspect ration signalling only really matters when it IS anamorphic, so that the display equipment knows to deal with the extra anamorphic detail.

I get that your argument is partly that because of the restrictions of the AVI container, anamorphic video can't be easily signalled - but display equipment can be manually adjusted to deal with it.

It's not ideal, but then people tend to use AVI (containing mpeg4) more out of convenience, than high-end, home cinema viewing.

And in complete and utter fairness - most people I encounter wouldn't have a clue about anamorphic signalling, and the main thing they want is their TV screens filling, whether that's simply by stretching or cropping / pan-and-scanning.

How many people do you think out there have DVD players, widescreen TVs, but still have DVD players outputting letterbox widescreen rather than anamorphic widescreen? Same with DVB boxes (satellite or aerial based).

It's the same principal as overtly restrictive DRM in products - if you buy those products then you're encouraging the manufacturers to produce more DRM riddled products.
It's not the same principle at all.

That succeeds because of money.
 
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