Learning to use Vidcoder

Mar 12, 2013 at 4:08 AM
At last it seems I found in Vidcoder the right HD tool for what I need to do.

The task is to make 1080p video files fit into an 8Gb size.

Even I did use Vidcoder once or twice in the past, conversion times were enormous. So it had to wait until assembling a better machine to get back to it.

So I did, and I now have an i7 3770 based PC, which allows 8 core multithreading. Times are still long, but much better than what they were, and hopefully they will get better.

Using this setup I have already converted three videos, and I only had a problem on the third one. I set a 7400 MB target size, converting no audio along with it to be added later, and I ended up with 4533 MB size. Why did happen and what should I do to avoid that error?
Coordinator
Mar 12, 2013 at 5:01 AM
So it got close to the target 8GB on the first two videos? Can you post a log for the third one? What video bitrate did it pick on each try?
Mar 12, 2013 at 12:32 PM
The size I targeted on, as mentioned, was 7400MB, and Vidcoder converted to 4533MB.

About the log, the one provided by Mediainfo would do? I can put the original and converted side by side.

Or is it some other log you talk about?

In the first two the bitrate was on target.
Coordinator
Mar 12, 2013 at 4:52 PM
The VidCoder log. Windows -> Log. Also, what was the specific bitrate that differed on the correct and the incorrect encodes? As in _____ kbps.
Mar 12, 2013 at 7:20 PM
How do I do to get a log on a past job?

In any case, just now I did finish my fourth conversion and had no problems. Final size was as targeted.

Processing took a long time: 14:21 hours. The original file was 12.6 Gb and 2:44 hours long.

Encode specs were those recommended here:

http://digiex.net/guides-reviews/guides-tutorials/media-guides/10725-vidcoder-settings-tutorial-high-quality-h-264-x264-mkv-video-encoding.html#post65921

Perhaps you can tell me where I can compromise and where I should not to get very good results. As it is things look quite good.
Coordinator
Mar 12, 2013 at 7:53 PM
Look in %appdata%\VidCoder\Logs for past logs.

I'll have to check out that link later, work is blocking it. But I use very simple x264 settings: Medium preset, automatic profile & level, no tune, no extra settings. You don't need target size unless you're trying to make sure you fit on an 8GB usb stick or something.
Mar 12, 2013 at 10:00 PM
As I said above I do need an 8Gb maximum target, in order for the files to fit into a DVD DL disc.
Mar 13, 2013 at 3:20 PM
There seems to be some problem with that specific log, as I find all of them except that one.

In any case I did process two more videos after that with absolutely no problems.

So I will process that video again and see what happens.

Encoded videos are looking very good, even if the last one took 18:13 hours to process, with no other processings running at the same time.
Mar 13, 2013 at 3:29 PM
A small detail that I just perceived on my last conversion. It converted the bitrate from 720p to 1080p, so that explains why it too so much time to process.

Is there a way to preserve all the original specs, only changing the target size and/or bitrate to get to the size I need?
Coordinator
Mar 13, 2013 at 3:43 PM
720p and 1080p aren't bitrates, they're resolutions.

If you leave the Width and Height on (auto) it will preserve the original resolution. Though you are still not providing any logs so it is difficult to say for certain exactly what is wrong.

Now about that guide: it tells you to change a bunch of settings on the Advanced panel. You don't need to do anything here. Just leave the options string blank. The encodes will look basically identical and take much less time to complete. The reason it's taking so long is the guide is telling you to crank up a bunch of settings to their maximum that eat a lot of processing power and don't provide a lot of benefit in terms of picture quality.
However, for TV. shows, I generally like to predict my target size so I can be consistent with all episodes of every season across the board. And after all, generally t.v. episodes within a series require about the same bitrate to maintain the same quality, since the original sources are very similar.
That's pretty much silly. You can use CRF for TV shows as well. CRF is better at maintaining a consistent quality than manually forcing all the episodes to be the same size.
Mar 13, 2013 at 3:53 PM
Sorry, wrong word, not wrong concept. Of course I know 720 and 1080 are resolutions.

What happens if I leave the options blank in Advanced? Will Vidcoder keep the original ones?

"The encodes looking basically identical" can be something subjective, you know that. I'm trying to avoid the subjective part. If I could keep the original file settings and just work on the bitrate, that would be perfect. Though I imagine that to modify the bitrate it should work on all areas, isn't it?

At the end of your comments you are putting something about TV shows that I didn't say. Someone else did.
Coordinator
Mar 13, 2013 at 6:26 PM
Yes, I know you didn't say that. You said you were following that guide, and I decided to comment on that.

If you leave the options blank in Advanced, VidCoder will use the defaults for x264, which provide a good balance between quality and encoding time. As far as what settings you can preserve, that's basically going to be the resolution, framerate and audio. You can do passthrough on the audio and keep the same resolution and framerate, but you can't preserve anything on the Advanced panel. Those settings describe how the encode is done only.

Anyway subjectivity does matter. If you can't tell the difference between the output of two different settings, why would you pick the slower one?
Mar 13, 2013 at 7:47 PM
If I do passthrough on the audio, would that take more processing time than leaving it out altogether or none at all?

Yes, I'm very much aware of what subjectivity implies. Unfortunately it's also deceiving. For instance, I guess that eventually I will buy a larger, higher resolution TV screen in the future, or even a projector, to replace my present 42" 720p Panasonic plasma. Which is very good, and I did check that at the shop when I bought it, comparing it to all other 1080p 42" there. But when you go over 50", things start changing. 1080p starts to make a difference over 720p.

That's why I started picking 1080p versions of the same movie if I could find it. The problem was file size, and I needed a tool that could help me fit them into smaller sizes which lost as less quality as possible. My previous converter had been Xilisoft's, but Vidcoder seems much better.

As I can't quite compare the original files to the converted ones, at least I would like to preserve most of the original specs to reassure me. Then only bitrate would be the differing data.
Coordinator
Mar 13, 2013 at 9:12 PM
Passthrough means less processing time: it doesn't need to re-encode the audio. Though that also means you can't compress it, which is one of your goals.

To preserve video quality, you want (auto) for Width and Height, Cropping: None, Strict Anamorphic, Variable framerate (Same as Source). All the other x264/advanced settings are just about how good the picture will look, what player compatibility it has and how long it takes to do it. If you want to let it take a bit longer and get a bit better compression, you can change the x264 Preset on the Video tab.
Mar 13, 2013 at 10:01 PM
What I do with the audio is process it separately, with Avisynth. As DTS files are quite large and my mkv disc player has some issues with it, I convert those files to full quality (640kbps) Dolby 5.1. So I don't need Vidcoder to take care of that or waste time with it. I think it's a fine compromise.

How do I do to set (auto) in Width? As it is now I set it to 1920 for 1080p files. Do I go up or down on the arrows until it gets to "auto"?

For Cropping I'm using "automatic" and for Anamorphic "loose". Should I change that?

The rest of the settings are following that tutorial I showed above, which is of course open to revision, or I wouldn't be talking here. :)
Coordinator
Mar 13, 2013 at 10:26 PM
VidCoder can process the audio as well. You might not need a 2-step process. Try using AC3 (Libav) with Auto bitrate and mixdown of 5.1 channels.

To get (auto), just delete the number.

As for cropping, I mentioned "none" because that will preserve the original video the most. When you crop, you might change the dimensions of the 1080p picture a bit, which means the pixels from the video no longer match up exactly to a 1080p display. It has to do a bit of rescaling to get it to fit, which might degrade the picture quality a little bit. However sometimes it will leave black bars on the picture if you don't use it... it's up to you really.

Loose anamorphic is fine.

As for the tutorial you posted, I think it's a little bit misguided in the video settings it's telling you to use, but whatever. I've already told you what settings I would use.
Mar 14, 2013 at 1:24 AM
OK, I will try processing the audio as well.

For cropping I'm using automatic because there's no "none" option: only automatic and custom. Of course I want to preserve the original ratio, with no rescaling.

For me this is a learning path, so I will not let you off the hook so easily. What do you think misguiding in the video settings?
Coordinator
Mar 14, 2013 at 3:40 AM
Edited Mar 14, 2013 at 3:40 AM
Well you can just enter manual settings with 0s all around. There's a "none" option in the beta.

As for the video settings, I did a test. 1 minute of video at CQ 20 with no audio:

Standard settings (empty advanced options, Medium preset, automatic level and profile):
42.3 MB
1:33 encoding time
http://engy.us/pics/x264_Test-Standard_settings.png

Settings from the guide:(rc-lookahead=100:ref=8:bframes=8:badapt=2:direct=auto:me=umh:subme=10:merange=32:analyse=a ll:trellis=2:psy-rd=1.0,0.10):
42.8 MB
3:34 encoding time
http://engy.us/pics/x264_Test-Stupid_settings.png

Standard settings, but with the preset changed to "Slow":
37.7 MB
2:38 encoding time
http://engy.us/pics/x264_Test-Slow.png

To me, the picture quality is nearly identical across the board. The settings from the guide actually increase the file size, while more than doubling the encode time. However if you had simply changed the preset to "Slow" you would have saved 12% on space and taken less time than you would have if you had followed the guide.
Mar 14, 2013 at 1:29 PM
Today in the morning I got another conversion from that same file that had changed settings by itself.

Two different problems now:

1) One is minor: the size was targeted to be 7.3Gb and ended up in 7.04Gb.

2) The other is worrying: the converted file does not show the video of the final tiles.

This time I have the log. How do I load it here? Simply as text? It's rather long.
Coordinator
Mar 14, 2013 at 3:57 PM
pastebin.com is always good for that. I don't know what you mean by "video of the final tiles".
Mar 14, 2013 at 5:05 PM
Never dealt with pastebin.com

What I meant is there was no video with the final titles on the merged new file.

But I just now checked and saw that part is missing on the converted file.

So maybe this is a defective file after all, which should explain the problems on the first conversion too.

I don't think there's any use in pasting the log file, which should be similar to all the others I did with no problem. Or does the log report the problems that come by?
Mar 14, 2013 at 5:15 PM
Important: the original file does have the final titles.
Coordinator
Mar 14, 2013 at 5:47 PM
You mean the end credits were missing? Yes, a log would be helpful....
Mar 14, 2013 at 8:03 PM
Hi RandomEngy,

Would you mind posting your personal Preset, as I would be keen to take a look at it?

Thanks!
Mar 14, 2013 at 11:23 PM
The encode log for the problem file is in pastebin.com

The name is [ Vidcoder_log#1 ]
Coordinator
Mar 14, 2013 at 11:27 PM
Link to the paste. I'm not going to go browsing through the thousands of pastes on the site looking for it.
Mar 15, 2013 at 2:00 AM
Sorry, I didn't know how it did work. Here it is:

http://pastebin.com/MA0GUanB
Coordinator
Mar 15, 2013 at 2:44 AM
And you said it missed the end of the video? The scan says the video duration is 02:29:56 . Is that what you see on the original file? What's the duration of the encoded result? How long did it say it would be for chapters 1-20?
Coordinator
Mar 15, 2013 at 5:42 AM
tony62:

I use these presets:
http://engy.us/misc/Blu-ray.xml
http://engy.us/misc/Live%20DVD.xml

Targeting playback for PCs. They use stock settings pretty much and the DVD preset has some settings turned on to deal with anamorphic pictures and interlacing.
Mar 15, 2013 at 8:11 AM
[code]**RandomEngy wrote:**
And you said it missed the end of the video? The scan says the video duration is 02:29:56 . Is that what you see on the original file? What's the duration of the encoded result? How long did it say it would be for chapters 1-20?[/code]
Yes, the original duration is 02.29.56, but both conversions I did ended up exactly at 02.21.06. I checked and it was about a minute before the final fade and titles.

So now I think it might be some kind of glitch in the original video.

With Bitrate Viewer you can see that the bitrate a bit after 2.21.06 goes down to 236kbps and then climbs back, but that is because there's a fade and no video info, I think.
Coordinator
Mar 15, 2013 at 4:03 PM
Not sure what's going on. Looks like VidCoder is passing the correct parameters to the HandBrake engine. Might be a bug in the HB engine. ( http://vidcoder.codeplex.com/wikipage?title=Submitting%20bug%20reports )
Mar 15, 2013 at 4:50 PM
Edited Mar 15, 2013 at 4:54 PM
RandomEngy wrote:
tony62:

I use these presets:
http://engy.us/misc/Blu-ray.xml
http://engy.us/misc/Live%20DVD.xml

Targeting playback for PCs. They use stock settings pretty much and the DVD preset has some settings turned on to deal with anamorphic pictures and interlacing.
Thank you!
Mar 15, 2013 at 6:17 PM
OK, I reported the event there.
Oct 1 at 2:43 PM
Edited Oct 1 at 3:11 PM
Overnight I tried to do a conversion as I always do, to lower down bitrate, but this file has some particular things I want to keep and it didn't work out as I wanted it to.

The original file was an Imax version, so it has parts in 16:9 and parts in anamorphic. I want to keep that.

On

How should proceed?

My guess is I should change something in Picture Cropping, but I don't know what and how.

Any guidelines?

Edit: forgot to explain that the original picture is 1920:1080, but the program is converting it to 1920:800. I want to keep the original ratio. It seems "None" gives me what I want. Is that so?
Coordinator
Oct 1 at 4:52 PM
Yes, "None" will disable cropping and sounds like what you want.
Oct 4 at 7:28 PM
One thing I noticed when I am processing with Vidcoder is that it takes over practically all my CPU capacity and memory.

So navigating or doing anything else gets very slow.

Is there a way to control that on the VC setup?
Coordinator
Oct 6 at 6:34 PM
VidCoder's process has a priority of Below Normal by default, so it shouldn't impact normal use. Anything with a Normal priority will kick VidCoder off the CPU. The memory use I can't do much about. Sometimes HD encoding can just take up a lot of memory. During an encode is your available memory low in the task manager?
Oct 6 at 7:13 PM
Doing other things, particularly writing or moving the mouse, when using VC, becomes an act of pacience.

You write the letters but they don't show until after a few seconds, things like that.

So I do think there's a priority above normal at least on my VC. Where do I check that?

I have a quad CPU and 8Gb of memory, with Windows 7.
Coordinator
Oct 6 at 7:15 PM
Options > Advanced > Worker process priority
Oct 7 at 11:39 AM
Thanks.

Mine was set to Normal, and not as default. Now it's Below Normal.

I was googling to find out if there was a way to edit parts out when processing with VC, as on some series there's a "Previously on..." and "On next episodes..." that takes up unnecessary space on the file. But apparently there is not, is that so?
Coordinator
Oct 7 at 3:56 PM
There's no way to automatically do that. But you can do it manually by selecting a chapter range or a time range.
Oct 7 at 4:22 PM
Any place where I can see how to do it?
Coordinator
Oct 7 at 4:32 PM
It's just... right there after you open a video. Just look at the UI near the top of the main window after you scan something.