Tired of being a lazy shit

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Tired of being a lazy shit

Postby MouseBollocks » Tue Apr 15, 2014 3:32 pm

As the title says, I'm tired of being a lazy shit. Up until now, for anything related to the technical pre and post production part of AMVs (ripping, indexing, cleaning, encoding and all that jazz), I've just read the guide which looked the most straightforward to follow, done everything that says, and asked for help here or in any places if anything goes slightly wrong. I was just reading the AVTECH4 thread, and I came to the realisation that I haven't really learned to do any of that stuff for myself, and thus I can't do it myself. If I tried to rip and clean a DVD for footage right now, I'm willing to bet I wouldn't be able to do it without looking at a guide, which really freaking frustrates me. I like to know how to do things of my own accord, so I know that if something goes wrong, at least have some of my own knowledge to fall back on, rather than just running crying to the video help forums, where someone who actually knows their shit will tell me exactly what I'm doing wrong. I've just been following guides like a fucking numbskull all this time simply because I didn't want to spent hours of my life learning the exact technical ins and outs of video and encoding, because I just wanted my footage to look good enough to be accepted so I could get onto the fun part. I've given on so many projects before I could even start editing them for this exact reason; I couldn't be arsed to learn how to do things properly. So, this basically just boils down to "I'm tired of not knowing jack and thus not being able to understand what I'm trying to achieve, I want to learn how this all works" and I figured since after exams I'll have about 3 months of Summer in which I'll have nothing else to do, I might as well take the time to learn all this stuff properly.

So, now to my actual question. How did those of you who actually properly know how this stuff works learn it? I presume that there's no proper classes or anything in video encoding (or at least, the kind we use for AMVs), so you must all be self taught to some degree. How did you do this to the extent that you're able to now appear as professionals on the matter? I am of course aware of the existing AVTECH guide, but I've heard that it's somehow out of date. Also, it recommends using zarx to encode, and whilst I mean no disrespect to that program, it's creator or the author of the AVTECH guide, I'd also like to learn alternate methods of encoding.

So, that's basically it. I'm tired of being lazy with video and want to learn all this stuff properly, and would like to know the best way of going about this. I bet what's going to happen now is that someone's going to say "The AVTECH guide is fine, you're just an idiot" and I'm going to be extremely embarrassed, but I figured I might as well put this out here.

Useful resources I'm already aware of: AVTECH Guide, avisynth wiki.
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Re: Tired of being a lazy shit

Postby MouseBollocks » Tue Apr 15, 2014 3:40 pm

Just read this back another time, and I realise I sound kind of aggressive. That was in no way intentional, and sorry if it pisses anyone off.
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Re: Tired of being a lazy shit

Postby mirkosp » Tue Apr 15, 2014 7:19 pm

I understand full well where you're coming from. Unfortunately encoding is somewhat of a well kept secret.
Doom9 is generally the go-to place for most things, along with the avisynth wiki, which you already mentioned, but even there guides are somewhat outdated. Wikipedia actually helps somewhat on some theory stuff, but you'll have to filter it out a bit.
Then there are all the various things which aren't exactly within reach, like this one, which helps in understanding exactly why we tend to say "crop 8 from left and 8 from right before resizing ntsc DVDs" and other stuff.
Then I have to say a lot of what I learned, has been just through experience after asking around when I was in doubt, mostly on IRC (#darkhold@irc.rizon.net to be precise).
Also if you're serious about encoding, you'll probably want to learn how to use yatta (yatta is here).
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Re: Tired of being a lazy shit

Postby Qyot27 » Tue Apr 15, 2014 7:40 pm

Time and experience, mostly. I actually had an interest in video encoding and disc authoring before I ever joined this site (I cut my teeth by authoring Video CDs and playing around with converting the videos that came on Enhanced CDs between different video/audio formats for really no reason other than to do it), but AMVs naturally hooked into that interest.

Doom9's Forum is probably the single largest resource for the technical knowledge, and it's also where a tremendous amount of the development and knowledge base gathers for open source media tools. To wit, actually following the development process of some of the tools themselves can give insight on this too; it's not just about what commands to use, the ability to test against different versions from date A to date B also provides the opportunity to see how parts of the encoding pipeline grow and evolve, and this can then have an effect on the user's workflow. For instance, the difference between what encoding with x264 was like prior to the introduction of mbtree (or the preset/tune system) and afterward.

There's also simply experimenting with things. The AVTECH guides are a starting point, and a generally excellent one for trying to distill the core concepts into a form that beginners can easily absorb (this actually becomes more apparent when you do just experiment on your own, because then the things the guides say will just start to 'click').

Concerning Zarx264gui, this happens mostly because a lot of the encoding tools are actually command-line tools, so frontends naturally pop up to provide users that don't like the CLI the ability to still encode (and when you actually look at x264's --fullhelp, you'll realize that what Zarx264gui does is more-or-less directly expose x264's existing presets system to the end user). The same things largely apply to any random GUI out there.

In general, you will need to get familiar with command-line tools if you want to really get into the bleeding edge development aspects or really gain an understanding of more intricate encoding features, as frontends may be extremely rudimentary (and they can be pretty clumsy at times, making using the CLI faster and more agile). Windows doesn't quite lend itself too well to getting a handle on command-line usage, and it places more of a burden on the end user to know what to do with the PATH, which is pretty damn annoying. Even though I'd have reasons to use the command line every so often since I was a child, really getting accustomed to it and making it second nature only really started happening around 2005 or 2006. Dual-booting between Windows and Linux also really helped (it also really helps that many of those open source tools I mentioned get developed under Linux). I've also come out on the other side of that, since I've taken to building some of this stuff from source and occasionally contribute patches back upstream and file bug reports.

In a sense, if you look at AviSynth usage, it's not hard to then make the jump to using the command line, especially since you can script that too - .bat files or shell scripts are exactly the means to do that, and like an average AviSynth script, you can see it as one command per line, executed in sequence, to get your result (obviously, both AviSynth and shell scripting can get more advanced than that, with environment variables and for loops and all that fun stuff, but the simplest scripts of both types have similarities that make it look not as threatening).



Another thing to keep in mind is that, whether it's looking around on Doom9, or experimenting, or reading X or Y guide, the way to 'do it right' in this sense is to take it one step at a time. Understand or get a grasp on one part before moving onto the next, since looking for help on a particular subject makes it easier to get clear answers than trying to get it all right the first time. Trying to absorb everything all at once leads to burnout.
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Re: Tired of being a lazy shit

Postby l33tmeatwad » Wed Apr 16, 2014 2:06 am

Time, patience, and Doom9...that pretty much sums it up, lol. Additionally, the best way to learn is to make mistakes, Google your problems, and spend hours figuring something out instead of asking for everything to be handed to you. At the end of the day, you'll learn more about things you weren't even searching for that will be of use later.
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Re: Tired of being a lazy shit

Postby MouseBollocks » Wed Apr 16, 2014 3:01 am

Thank you all for the help! I'd briefly visited Doom9 a couple of times before, but had no idea it was considered so valuable resource, so I'll be sure to start checking that out.
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