Encoding made simple, please

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Encoding made simple, please

Postby ladubois » Thu Sep 15, 2011 2:59 pm

I've noticed the guides on this site, and tried read through them and follow their instructions, but they aren't very newbie friendly.

[slight rant]IMHO, a newbie guide doesn't need all of the history of the different codecs and containers, or even the mechanics behind how each one differs. I'd wager that most people just getting into AMV making probably wouldn't understand it anyway, let alone care. Beginner guides should be short, sweet, and to the point. Explain the bare minimum of a handful of formats' differences, which ones are useful in which situations, and maybe why if you really had to technical at some point, but any explanations of new terms should be concise or footnoted rather than woven into the how-to so that the reader can't tell what's relevant to what they are trying to do, and what's just background info that they don't need to worry about.
Think about it this way: does a book on drawing go into how the molecular structure of graphite differ between 2B and 4H? No. It'll say that 2B is soft and useful for making dark marks, while 4H is hard and good for making lighter ones. Because that's really all you need to know to use them.[/slight rant]

So basically, in the simplest, shortest way possible, what's a quick explanation of how to encode a high quality video, and perhaps how to encode one for making a smaller file, or a couple of other useful purposes. Short list of pros and cons of certain methods could also be welcome.


And if someone wouldn't mind terribly, specifically how to do these things with PiTiVi Video Editor on Ubuntu would be nice... But I'll certainly settle for just knowing my main request.
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Re: Encoding made simple, please

Postby ladubois » Thu Sep 15, 2011 3:01 pm

Or simply, on pretty much any open source program that I can easily acquire/run on Ubuntu.
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Re: Encoding made simple, please

Postby Zarxrax » Thu Sep 15, 2011 9:01 pm

Unfortunately, this stuff is not simple.
Everytime I see someone suggest an alternative "Hey guys, just do this, its way easier", it is almost always something really stupid which can have bad implications to either quality or stability.

http://libav.org/ is an opensource program which runs on linux which can handle your encoding needs.
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Re: Encoding made simple, please

Postby Mister Hatt » Fri Sep 16, 2011 4:48 am

If your footage is in a format that "just works" in your media player and you want to encode it, either use avconv (part of libav and rather difficult to use) or grab x264.exe directly from x264.fushizen.eu

As much as everyone is going to spout that CLI is hard to use, x264.exe video.avi --profile veryslow --tune animation --crf 18 --output video.mkv is a lot easier than figuring out howto use some graphical program. It can do audio with very little effort, or use mkvtoolnix.

The reason the guides are so detailed (although imo still quite poor) is that encoding is NOT EASY OR SIMPLE. You need to have a proper understanding of your content as just throwing it at a program will not give you a good let alone high quality result. You really only should encode to h264 and whatever audio format, but the processing is what the guides address. Things like telecine and VFR and filtering (srsly amvers stop overfiltering jesus fucking christ) are not easy concepts but they are critical to getting a result that doesn't hurt your eyes.

tl;dr if it's too hard for you, then don't do it. There are no simple or easy guides because there isn't a simple or easy way to do it in the first place. Harden up princess.
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Re: Encoding made simple, please

Postby ladubois » Fri Sep 16, 2011 9:45 am

Well, after some experimenting, I found that using FFmpeg MPEG-2 PS format (DVD VOB) muxer for the container, FFmpeg ATSCA A/52A (AC-3) encoder for the audio codec with the bit rate set to 128000, and FFmpeg MPEG-2 video encoder with a 300000 bit rate and all other options set to their defaults for the video codec gives me a suitably good quality video that is of decent size.

I don't know what almost any of that means, but it works, and for now I don't <i>need</i> to know what it means. I'm sure that I c/should probably mess around a little more to get a better quality video or smaller file size or something, but for now it's perfectly fine.
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Re: Encoding made simple, please

Postby ladubois » Fri Sep 16, 2011 9:52 am

The snippiness was aimed at comments that it isn't simple. It might not be, but I just made it simple. "This works quite well in this situation." is all that a newbie needs to know. Not why, not how, not when did this come about - what works in situation X, what doesn't work in situation Z. No Y is needed (sorry, bad pun :p). They can look up the mechanics behind it or the history of it on their own if they so desire.

@Mister Hatt: The trouble is that the video isn't in any format. I only had a project file and was trying to figure out how to render it into a decent looking video.
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Re: Encoding made simple, please

Postby ladubois » Fri Sep 16, 2011 9:58 am

Also @ Mister Hatt: I'm a stubborn mule. I'm not going to give up on this no matter how hard it is. If I end up breaking 30 computers trying to figure out how, the oh well. I'm almost beginning to suspect that you guys simply want to make it seem that AMV making is this oh-so-god-like talent people have, when really it's just like drawing - as long as you keep trying, you'll get the hang of it eventually.
I really don't want to think that, but that's what its been looking like for awhile to me.
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Re: Encoding made simple, please

Postby BasharOfTheAges » Fri Sep 16, 2011 10:41 am

how very anti-learning.
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Re: Encoding made simple, please

Postby ladubois » Fri Sep 16, 2011 11:05 am

ladubois wrote:I'm a stubborn mule. I'm not going to give up on this no matter how hard it is.


Anti-learning?
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Re: Encoding made simple, please

Postby ladubois » Fri Sep 16, 2011 11:12 am

...Okay, after rereading my posts, I guess I can see how I might be coming off as a bit of a jerk... (...understatement...)
My apologies. I'm just a little frustrated because the way I learn how to do things is by doing them, then taking apart what I did and examining it. Not by examining what I'm doing while I do it. So hunting through the mountains of text in these guides to find what I'm looking for is particularly time consuming, and difficult.
Sure, this strategy usually means that my first go at something is total crap, but until I have a reference point (my screw-up first project), I can't see or understand what I did wrong or how I could do it better.
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Re: Encoding made simple, please

Postby ladubois » Fri Sep 16, 2011 11:15 am

I guess, to use an analogy, I can't see the dart board until I've thrown a dart.
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Re: Encoding made simple, please

Postby ladubois » Fri Sep 16, 2011 11:26 am

...Also, made a mistake when explaining how I had encoded my video. The bit rate was 1152000 bps, not 300000.
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Re: Encoding made simple, please

Postby Quu » Fri Sep 16, 2011 11:51 am

if you are running ubuntu, then compiling software and reading man pages should not be to scary. you should also be used to the command line

download and compile x264 - http://www.videolan.org/developers/x264.html
this is the video encoder you WANT to use... H.264 is the current state of the art when it comes to video compression, and that is the best encoder

Download and compile FLAC - http://flac.sourceforge.net/
(this is a lossless open source codec... it will be larger than aac, but perfect quality)

download and compile the mkvtoolnix - http://www.bunkus.org/videotools/mkvtoolnix/
this is a container, to hold your video and your audio

encode your video with x264 (my favorite settings are "--crf 14 --preset veryslow", encode your audio with flac (use --best) and then mux it with mkvmerge

if you were running windows we could make it simpler
Last edited by Quu on Fri Sep 16, 2011 11:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Encoding made simple, please

Postby ladubois » Fri Sep 16, 2011 11:55 am

That's simple enough, thanks.
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Re: Encoding made simple, please

Postby Zarxrax » Fri Sep 16, 2011 9:32 pm

There are some general guidelines that you generally want to follow:

You never want to compress your video to a lossy format until the very end (every generation of lossyness makes it look worse... its like copying a paper, then copying that copy, and so on). And yes, mpeg2 is a lossy codec.

So when editing, you want to use lossless codecs. These have big filesizes. You also want to use codecs that are all keyframes. If you don't do this, then 1) seeking around through your footage and general editing tasks will be slower and more painful, and 2) if your video isnt all keyframes, then the editing software may have trouble seeking in a reproducible manner, which means that what you see when you initially make an edit may not be exactly what you see later on when you decide to export your video. This would be totally unacceptable to most editors.

Aside from that, stuff is generally not all that bad unless you are working with dvd footage. DVDs are seriously screwed up and take a lot of learning.
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