Call to Arms: AVTECH4

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Call to Arms: AVTECH4

Postby mirkosp » Thu Aug 16, 2012 8:37 pm

(Or maybe AVTECH 5, The Search For 4)

2012 is getting to a close, and if Maya were trolling us, that means 2013 is coming. The AVTECH 3.1 is from 2010, and as many of you probably realized, it's getting outdated. It doesn't handle BDs well enough, and misses coverage for newer formats (HEVC is coming soon, too). Furthermore, the theory section is currently somewhat confusing yet not as thorough as it could (or perhaps still more than it should?).
So for the next iteration of the AVTECH, we should probably split the guide in two. A very simplistic guide, with a few helper functions to deal with everything you might need, and a very complete guide, which will go through all the details.
There are currently two issues I have in order to set up.
First, somebody should help me with the design of the guide. We need to lay out a clear and simple workflow and this would then need to be written in html/css/javascript/fancy things I know nothing about, so if somebody is willing to help me for that, it would be awesome.
Second, I'd like to have a lot of beta test. Not just from experienced people, but from total newcomers as well. I need to know what is that people most seek to know, how things are clear and all. This would also have a say in the design too.

Right now I believe that there's a basic design phan did, however it's somewhat tied to the older avtech. I'm quite fine with doing a major rewrite of the theory part too. Many people skim it, and it's sometimes confusing. Ideally, I'd like to pretty much integrate the useful theory bit by bit along with the more practical things, so people don't skip on it, and learn just what they need to know. This, at least, for the simplified part. In the advanced guides, I could probably be verbose about without fear. :P

So yes, let's get this done, but I need your input and help too in order for it to be as helpful, clear, and straightforward as possible. :up:
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Re: Call to Arms: AVTECH4

Postby TritioAFB » Thu Aug 16, 2012 9:16 pm

I could help you in the second area, since I also have to do the similar situation all the days. Wish to help you in the first issue but no idea about making one design
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Re: Call to Arms: AVTECH4

Postby Cannonaire » Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:51 pm

I would not be any use for the first thing, but I could help with the second. Let me know.
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Re: Call to Arms: AVTECH4

Postby mirkosp » Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:16 am

Well, right now I really am looking for help for the second thing. Prettier design can be done later anyway, and i can just write html on my own if need be.
About the design, this is what I had in mind: the guide homepage itself would be mostly unchanged, as it would be featuring the more complete guide. More or less at the beginning, though, there'd be a link for the more basic guide.

My idea for this is to take a Q&A sort of approach. The following is a partial example of how it would work.

First we should ask if the user does have the avtech 4 software installed, and then would give two buttons, a simple Yes or No. First button obviously brings to the next question, latter button brings to the page with all the software. In this version I'd like to drop the amvapp itself (aside from the avs plugins pack, I guess) and have the users download the recent versions from the sites themselves, so we should be able to avoid the outdated programs and plugins issue (which has been felt with 10-bit avc in the last year or so).

Next question would be something along the lines of "What are you working with?" and would have a button for DVD and BD, and one for Other. Questions sort of start to split at this point.
For Other stuff, I'd first ask "Do you know how to tell what you have?" and if not, I'd bring a page that explains how to use mediainfo in order to make out what one has at hand.
For DVD and BD I'd first have to explain how to rip with DVDFab. I might have an alternative page with MakeMKV since some people don't like DVDFab. DVD Decrypter could be a fallback option since so many people like it and its IFO mode, but I honestly would prefer to avoid it. Then I'd ask precisely if the user has DVD or BD.
At this point, who's following the other route is where he'd get a list of formats and suggested ways to load them, and always reminded to try FFVideoSource if in doubt, and if nothing works, to ask on the forum about the format, whereas DVDs and BDs are split at indexing.
For DVDs, we'd bring up DGIndex in a MPEG-2 guide, easy.
For BD, first I would ask what codec is there. If MPEG-2, I'd just point to the DVD guide, if AVC I'd list the various free and not solutions, if VC-1 there's like only 3 ways to go and the only reliable one requires to pay, but I'd list all of them anyway, and if they have no clue how to check what format they have I'd link the former page about mediainfo (which at the bottom would have "To BD" and "To Other" buttons I guess). Once that's settled, I'd run through the various options, free and not, for avc; same in the vc-1 page.
The various pages about indexing would also ask if they need the audio or not, as I'd like to avoid people to demux audio if they don't have it, and if they do, it's best to teach people how to extract it properly, which can be tricky for BDs.
Then I'd run over loading the indexed projects into avisynth, and for others I'd have a list of formats and how to handle 'em, with ffvideosource as fallback, and link to the forum for worst case.
This would be the first point in which users get exposed to scripting, so it would be vital to explain well what avisynth is and how to use it.

At this point the source line should be there in the script, hopefully. Next in line would be checking if it's progressive or interlaced (and a third option to explain what interlacing is if they don't know), and then ask what kind of interlacing it is if that's the case (pure 50/60i, 3:2 or euro pulldown, or a mix) and, again, an extra option to tell how to check.

And so on and so forth. Basically, in my opinion, currently users just try to glance at the home while looking for the point of the guide they need, and hardly ever read it whole. This is troublesome because they might be missing things they need to know, but at the same time the guide is very long, so just having it all there is daunting and uninviting. A simple Q&A approach should ensure that users gradually understand what's the workflow to get a source ready and they can also skip on reading things they already know, but at the same time it ensures they don't forget steps they need to take (which they can't overlook since the question order is forced) and also teaches everything they need bit by bit in smaller pages, so it should be less intimidating.

I would like to know what you guys think of this idea, though...
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Re: Call to Arms: AVTECH4

Postby Cannonaire » Fri Aug 17, 2012 4:13 am

Interesting idea. I'll have to think it over for a bit before I form an opinion. It would also be nice to have some sort of navigation tree or w/e also, so you can see every step of the process. That kinda defeats the purpose though I guess.

Instead of having a simple guide and a more complex one, you could have simple instructions to follow and then under something like a spoiler tag you could have the pedantic explanations of why you're told to do it that way.

On the topic of what goes in the AVTECH 4 software pack, obviously the AVS plugins need to be chosen carefully. I would also recommend having version numbers in the file names (IE instead of mt_masktools.dll you would have mt_masktools-26.dll or something along those lines).
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Re: Call to Arms: AVTECH4

Postby mirkosp » Fri Aug 17, 2012 4:54 am

It's not a bad idea to have spoilers for the why. The main problem is that I intended to have some more automatic things for the simple guide, and be actually thorough in the more complex. As in, keep it somewhat short on ivtc for the simple guide, and possibly cover manual ivtc/yatta for the advanced one. Currently the hardest thing I want to explain in the deinterlace guide would be how to recognize if it's a pulldown or not, and as such if you should perform ivtc or something else.

I'd keep the navigation tree around, though I think that should be kept for the advanced guide. Mostly what I want to avoid is for a new user to be pointed to Read ErMaC & AbsoluteDestiny's Friendly AMV Guides and then he gets to the tree and then kinda looks around for what he needs here and there and just doesn't understand or does the wrong thing.
Perhaps the simple guide would have a "Want to know more? This topic in the advanced guide." link at the end of every small page. I really want the base guide to be split in small steps with many images. Ideally it might even have a few pages for each step, with some button to get to the next bit. If the pages are too long and don't have enough images, users get scared by the amount of information, so splitting it all up and having many images will probably make it more inviting.
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Re: Call to Arms: AVTECH4

Postby Cannonaire » Fri Aug 17, 2012 5:41 am

Sensible. I like the direction this is going. Have you compiled lists of topics to cover in each guide?
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Re: Call to Arms: AVTECH4

Postby mirkosp » Fri Aug 17, 2012 8:45 am

I made a flowchart (in glorious paint) so I have a better idea how to handle the topics.
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Obviously most of the topics will have more than a single page, since I want to keep the single pages short, something that wouldn't even require the user to scroll possibly.
I'll see if I can get a simple version with a bunch of the things out there soon.
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Re: Call to Arms: AVTECH4

Postby BasharOfTheAges » Fri Aug 17, 2012 9:08 am

I like the "choose your own adventure" style you mentioned - It seems like it would help new users out a lot. It's still important to have an index, though, especially to the avisynth related parts. I know a lot of people that pull the current (and previous) guides up to find a concise, limited list of functions to use for cleaning.
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Re: Call to Arms: AVTECH4

Postby EvaFan » Fri Aug 17, 2012 10:13 am

Since editing amvs with avs files is being purged, this guide has failed me and anyone else who would have liked to try it (If they were informed about it as a possibility anyway which is typically what I'd have expected from a guide to creating amvs).
"The people cannot be [...] always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to [...] the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to public liberty. What country can preserve its liberties, if it's rulers are not warned [...] that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants."-Thomas Jefferson
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Re: Call to Arms: AVTECH4

Postby Zarxrax » Fri Aug 17, 2012 10:41 am

EvaFan wrote:Since editing amvs with avs files is being purged, this guide has failed me and anyone else who would have liked to try it (If they were informed about it as a possibility anyway which is typically what I'd have expected from a guide to creating amvs).

Editing with avs files is not a good idea, its just not. There are too many things that can go wrong unless you know exactly what you are doing. And if you need a guide to tell you how, then you probably don't need to be doing it.
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Re: Call to Arms: AVTECH4

Postby mirkosp » Fri Aug 17, 2012 10:42 am

Adding to what Zarxrax said, keep in mind this is thought out to be very BD oriented; DVDs are gatting phased out, albeit slowly, and I'd really like to avoid encouraging people to download footage regularly.
As the only way to be sure to have frame accurate seeking with non MPEG-2 BDs is to use DGDecNV or DGAVCDecDi and as they are, to the best of my knowledge, 32bit only for avs, people using a 64bit NLE with the 64bit avs plugin won't be able to use them. I should have another look at how pismo file mount behaves in 64bit programs, but if it's only safe for 32bit, I'm sorry but I'll avoid suggesting an editing route which cannot be used in 64bit NLEs.
If you don't want to spend money, the alternative is to try ffms2/dss2, which can be hit and miss when you are not asking frames linearly with BD streams, hence you are forced to re-encode regardless.

EDIT: DGAVCDecDi is 32bit only. DGDecNV does have a beta x64 version. That said, I will not put avs 64bit in the avtech, so it necessarily leaves the solution out of the avtech unless pismo works.
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Re: Call to Arms: AVTECH4

Postby Zarxrax » Fri Aug 17, 2012 10:54 am

Splitting the guide into two DEFINITELY is the way to go. Trying to cater to everyone with 1 guide has just led to failure to really meet the needs of either group. There are some people who want to know exactly what is going on, and then there are (the majority of people) who want things to *just work* and could care less how it works.

I would recommend making them two entirely separate entities. I mean don't just write an advanced guide and then try to trim it down in order to make the simple version. The simple version ought to be created from scratch particularly for people who know nothing about video. And a sort of Wizard guide for the simple version might work fine, though I would recommend just a plain index for the advanced guide.

Finally, mirkosp, you already know my feelings on this, but for the simple guide I think it really ought to be kept simple. Most users really don't need to know a lot about colorspace conversions and determining a pulldown pattern. If they can just get their aspect ratio to be somewhere in the right ballpark, it would be a success.
Working with people in the amv hell and amv minis projects, far and away the largest problem that people have is hardly anyone knows how the heck to handle aspect ratios properly. Everything else is just icing on the cake.
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Re: Call to Arms: AVTECH4

Postby mirkosp » Fri Aug 17, 2012 11:01 am

I'd really like for people to get their motion straight. If they IVTC a 60i source or bob/deinterlace a telecined source, it all will look jerky and that is NOT nice to look at. Dups and dropped frames everywhere are more irritating than a wrong AR, seeing how you can't as easily fix those in playback.
I'll try to keep it as simple as possible, but I really want for people to be able to tell what is a 3:2 pulldown and what isn't. Being able to recognize a pattern is pretty much the only way to go. Alternatively, I'd have to ALWAYS have them make 2 scripts and let them grab scenes from the one that seems to have the smoother motion when checking frame by frame (no unique frame drops/no dups).
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Re: Call to Arms: AVTECH4

Postby EvaFan » Fri Aug 17, 2012 11:13 am

Do whatever you want man, your writing the guide. I just didn't think eliminating a possibility was the right way to go with a guide. You could have just as easily not recommended it on the guide. Also I'm not sure why you brought 64 bit into the equation when I didn't even mention it, I'm guessing it was just because I said it and you know I use it.
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