> Guide Index

Method 1: Creating Clips for Source Footage:

I'm sure you've already read the codec guide, if not do so now as it's a handy general overview of different video codecs.

Before I actually get onto the conversion details I would like to emphasis a few things:

DO NOT USE DIVX OR XVID or any divx variant. They are very difficult to edit with and the quality, no matter how good it looks to you when you are editing, will make things look worse than if you used a lossless compression codec. MPEG4 codecs may well be small but they are not good things to edit with.

DO NOT USE MPEG1 - lots of people like using mpeg1 for editing. However, even in Premiere and other programs that have mpeg1 support, the editing will not be frame accurate and you may find that the cut you thought was spot-on actually pops into the next scene when editing. This is very bad, not to mention that the quality will be pretty aweful when it's all done too.

Also, do not use mjpeg unless you really have to - if you have the space for lossless compression then please use a lossless codec. If you MUST use a lossy codec like MJPEG, choose a very high quality. If you want to make DV files, use your native software/hardware solution. If you want to use anything else, for God's sake at least make sure all the frames are keyframes :)

Preparing the Clips

What you should have:

If you have followed the guide so far you should have an avisynth script that

  • Imports Footage
  • Removes Interlacing (makes the footage progressive)
  • Corrects any Aspect Ratio issues
  • Is generally nice, clean and looking good
If you have not being going through this guide sequentially and have skipped parts to try and hurry your way through these instructions then do yourself a favor and go back and read them. It's useful information, will really help you get the most out of your footage and it's free - it only costs your time in reading it.

Compressing with Lagarith

There is one codec which I highly recommend that you use, and that is the Lagarith codec. This codec is fairly fast, and compresses the files quite small (relatively speaking, of course).

Open up VirtualDub and in the menus go to  Video -> Compressor and in the list choose Lagarith. The options are very simple:

Enable Null Frames: This option will increase compression when you have special content that contains completely static scenes, but the output it produces can be problematic to edit with, so it is not recommended for stability reasons.

Always Suggest RGB Format for Output: This is a decoding option that will cause Lagarith to decode video in RGB unless a program explicitly tells it otherwise. If your video appears black or you get a similarly strange error, it is recommended that you enable this. I leave this enabled all the time, and you probably should, too.

Use Multithreading: If you have a multi-core processor, you should select this. Otherwise, leave it disabled.

Mode: This may be confusing if you don't understand what this setting does. This sets the highest colorspace that Lagarith can encode to, not the colorspace that will be used. This means that if its set to RGB, and you feed YV12 video into Lagarith, it will still be encoded as YV12. However if you set this mode to YV12, and you feed RGB32 footage into lagarith, the video will be down-converted to YV12. What this basically means is this: If you want to encode in YV12 colorspace (as you almost surely will want to do), its fine to set this to YV12, and you will definately get YV12 compressed video.

Once you have the compressor selected you must make sure that you select Video -> Fast Recompress which will ensure that there will be no colorspace conversions between your input (from Avisynth) to your output (Lagarith). Lagarith can compress YV12, YUY2 and RGB but if you are using DVD footage then (unless you have changed the colorspace in avisynth somehow) you will compress in YV12 which will be identical to the dvd source.

Making the Clips

Once you've got the codec and the compression method set up, you can search through your source using the bar at the bottom and then use the two rightmost buttons (Mark In and Mark Out) to select the area you want to convert into a clip. After you have chosen the range, simply go into the File menu and choose "Save as avi..."

You may remember in the VirtualDub guide that I talked about the Job Control. Well job control is definitely something you will want to use here. Instead of saving to disk, add them all your your job control and then run them in one batch later. It's much quicker than waiting for each clip to encode.

You will notice that these files will be very large - much much larger than the DVD source you are taking them from. This is because DVDs use a lossy compression method, whereas codecs such as Lagarith information without losing any quality. To store video like this you need a lot of space.

Repeat as necessary.

Now that you're done, you should have a look at how you set up a project in your video editing application.