Jan. 13, 2013
Several minor improvements on HD procedures since last notice, and a new solution to Windows 7 sleeping sickness.
Sept. 8, 2012
Major updates: Finally a simple recipe on how to edit, de-logo and recompress HDTV recordings. Moreover, a new dedicated page on mpeg2, major overhauls of the DVD and DVB pages and a page on teaching LCD monitors 50Hz.
Jan. 22, 2012
Breaking news: Logo removal for HD video. Click here.
July 30, 2011
Converted the entire site to CSS and added a page about using Magix for a universally playable MPEG1 encoding with decent quality, and more.
May 11, 2010
Round pieces of plastic are over, harddisk playback rules. Therefore the habit of video editors, producing separate video and audio streams, may sometimes call for a quick and easy multiplexing solution. The job itself is easily accomplished, but batch multiplexing requires a bit more...
May 4, 2010
Defective by Design (what could that mean? DRM, of course) have announced this day the 'Day against DRM'. This means more than just copy protection, it includes the online censoring of very popular devices, and DRM itself can't work 'reliably' without permanent online monitoring and controlling of anything you do, which doesn't only violate human rights but opens barn gates for cyber attacks in a dimension unheard of so far.
Read the six postulates and more about this, and think twice if you need the must-have everybody's buying right now.
Nov. 25, 2009
Computer video isn't as difficult anymore with high performance CPU's and myriads of tools and software. But there's still things to consider.
First, what do we use for shooting? European (PAL) users should be aware that most cheap camcorders simply can't produce material compatiblle to their TV standard, not even 25p or 50i, and the 30p produced at maximum are just good for stuttering pans. Not to mention the all so often crappy implementation of the highly praised AVC video compression.
OK. but if we manage to record anything worth it, what could we use for a decent edit? Some recent experiences lured me to add a page on current software.
Feb. 5, 2009
Flatscreen TV's issues still current: watch very closely if that 100 or 200Hz flat TV you're interested in would first place deinterlace current standard TV sources to 50 fps or 60 Hz progressive at least, which would indeed be nothing too difficult or exotic to ask for at all.
For DVD authoring, comments added about some very nice freeware tools. But consider switching to external harddisks soon, they are getting cheaper per Gigabyte than DVD's and are a lot more versatile, especially when coming in a multimedia player enclosure.
Sept. 5, 2008
A recent test of medimum sized full HD TV's concluded that you wouldn't need full HD at that size. Dead wrong ! A closer look at current sets reveals that there are basically two quality levels when it comes to rendering standard TV: almost all 'HD ready' sets are delivering rubbish here, while nearly any 'full HD' set meanwhile looks good at least for low motion content. They have the better chipsets, these full HD's ! And they're getting affordable, so for anything bigger than a postcard, this is the way to go. For the larger ones at least, 100Hz technology shuld of course be mandatory as well, or keep your tube for a while.
VirtualDub now has input plugins for almost any major format (Video9, Quicktime, MPEG2). Can easily be found by search engines. Alas, there still is no tool adding pulldown to those crappy 15-or 30 Hz digicam-mov's if you're living in a PAL country.
Mar. 15, 2008
Portability of video content is still an issue. No matter what format, you may always encounter somebody whose machine can't play it (except for the bulky ancient MPEG1, maybe). VLC media player could solve this, as it can play almost anything, requires no installation (i.e. admin rights), is available for almost any operating system, and can also run as a portable app from your USB stick. The smallest portable videos you get with SUPER© for example, encoding into .MP4 with AVC(H.264)+AAC. Another encoding option here would be AVIdemux.
Cutting digital TV recordings may sometimes be a bit tricky. Here are some additional hints, on the DVB page.
Feb. 15, 2008
SUPER© is a universal video transcoder supporting an endless number of formats, easy to use in essence, although its numerous settings will disturb beginners. A good choice for exotic formats like MOV, FLV or WMV :o). Also an easy way to make something useful out of crappy photo camera MOV's.
Dec. 29, 2007
Sept. 23, 2007
A little more on motion, and some cleanup done. Have a happy new year.
There is an interesting benchmark on H.264 encoding with x.264 on different CPU's. The differences are impressive, but note that x.264 can make use of multi core CPUs, so results would be less extreme with encoders using only one core. What is eminent: Memory speed is not important.
On the IFA2007 in Berlin, just anybody showed flat screens with HD content. Only a very few showed fast motion, and many might have thought their show was impressive, but for a critical eye most of them were not. 100 Hz (REAL 100 Hz, synthesizing intermediate frames!!) or flashing backlight are the minimum requirements to compete with a classical CRT anyhow.
Back from the fair, in a local department store, there was not a single one among a hundred or so flat TVs that showed anything remotely resembling a good picture from public TV (that's what people are watching, usually). Feathered scan lines instead of a decent deinterlacing, faces looking like putty dipped in grainy slime, actors diluting into gravel clouds when moving, and in between, on the lowest board of the shelf, two shy CRT TVs, showing the same pictures in a really decent quality.
OK, some still videos in HD format sometimes look well, but if these flatsets can't even deinterlace standard TV properly, what about 1080i HD? (On deinterlacing, see 100fps.com).
It's even more annoying when we compare a this to a digital satellite card in a PC, with a good software decoder like Cyberlink's. There, standard TV (16:9 PAL) looks almost like HD, even motion looks good; at least if the monitor is a fast one. Place something like this, with a good 24" PC monitor, beneath these bloated flat screen gadgets, and they will look like grandpa's nickelodeon retrieved from the attic.
As mentioned here some time ago, on the DM&S site there is a paper about the problems of current LCDs (the key issue of it is simple and obvious, more here). Hopefully, all flat TV chipset designers will read it and their executives won't cut down on quality, thinking their customer are just cattle, content with anything. As a customer, be aware that even the term "100 Hz" may surely be abused, so have a really close look that you get what you're shopping for.
June 09, 2007
More hints about HC-Encoder, especially for quick constant quality encoding of MPEG2.
May 30, 2007
A really useful H.264 acceleration, absolutely necessary to play high definition video from HD-DVD discs on a PC, now comes with the Nvidia 8500/8600 and the ATI X2000 series graphics cards. Most versions will be for PCI-Express, but according to announcements there will also be AGP versions from both manufacturers, for not so brand new mainboards. There is already a patch available for the PowerDVD 7 Ultra player containing the decoders to support full acceleration with these graphics cards.
May 15, 2007
How to save HD films to normal DVD's is frequent question. The last option usually considered is good old MPEG2, but it may actually be the best one. MPEG2 HD plays fluently on many current machines, something that can't at all be stated for AAC, and there is a very good MPEG2 encoder (HC-Encoder) that gives astonishing results with as little as 9000/15000 (avg./max.) kbps (for full HD!). Some movies even encode perfectly with 6000/12000. So one typical HD movie may fit onto one simple DVDR. If this doesn't work, a dual layer DVDR will. Details and a bug workaround on the HDTV page.
The AVC/AAC page has been updated as well, an here's a recipe how to use VirtualDub with DirectShow filters.
Updated the DV page for quick access to the best recipes for backup, cleaning that crappy amateur camcorder footage, end encoding to DVD in the highest quality possible. Plus ultimate gamma settings for camcorder.
Apr 02, 2007
EMI has just chosen to offer anything DRM free for a little more money. It may be a little early to celebrate the end of DRM though, as ideologies like this are quite sticky, but it shows that the customer can't be fooled all the time.
Feb 08, 2007
Jan 20, 2007
There is no reason any more why camcorders should record on tape or disc or why they should be bigger than a matchbox, even HD ones. Current products have fallen years behind technology. Is it because of executives without a clue about technology, trying to milk old cows? The same reason why they still believe in DRM? Finally at least there is one company, Streamburst, proposing watermarks instead of DRM.
If you think about HD, there are some interesting data about accelerated AVC decoding with newer graphics cards on the Elecard page. Alas, the results are not nearly as impressive as we are used to with MPEG2.
Nov 18, 2006
Talking about copyright paranoia and trivial patents is pretty useless as long as it's mandatory for politicians to be computer illiterate. 1984 is past and Orwell's prophecies are kid's stuff, compared to the real future. The rest of it you may sneer about here. Learn about DRM and the the Six Postulates.
With Windows Vista ante portas (for no reasons), some may finally think about upgrading to XP, as it could indicate XP may now be finally debugged. Yet there are still some issues, like the molasses mouse. Unbelievably, this hasn't been mended in any update so far. It may perhaps even be inherited to Vista. The cure you'll find nowhere else on the web.
Meanwhile some HD screens are supporting full Euro HD (i.e. have 1080 lines). They might also support interlacing, but it's not always for sure. Even some tests ignore this issue entirely. Apparently, most people writing about TV don't have a clue about the basics at all. Some however do: on the DM&S site there is a paper about the problems of current LCDs (in German, but with many pictures).
With HD in shops, what's next? 3d? As long as we use screens for TV viewing it will remain a funfair attraction, but nevertheless there are new encoding and recording technologies to speculate about.
Oct 05, 2006
FhG offers tools to convert stereo to surround, sample songs and more on mp3surround, and the codec of course. AC3filter is a useful set of codecs/tools for - guess what - AC3 sound. Added a capacities table to the DVD page.
June 25, 2006
Added some links about the basics of video and an update to the Deshaker page.
Remember the news of Apr. 03 (below)? now with the world cup, the press is full of complaints about flat TVs. Wasn't it to be expected? Yet until very recently, I haven't seen any test or review even mentioning the problem.
May 05, 2006
If that's not news: Nero released their AAC audio reference encoder/decoder free for private use.
Apr 03, 2006
HD is gathering ground now also in Europe. Yet the HD screens you can buy don't fit European standards. They are 720 lines (US standard), so 576i has to be deinterlaced and upscaled by an odd factor, while 1080i has to be deinterlaced and downscaled. So standard TV at least definitely looks worse. This also applies to US customers watching old materials on their HD screens, but there it's hard to make it worse than worse.
Currently in Europe I'd wait until they make the appropriate screens for the standard. Otherwise you may be tempted to dump your stuff again in a very few years, causing a lot of unnecessary junk.
Maybe we'll soon be relieved of such problems, when ultra light ultra high resolution display glasses will emerge. These will even change our entire life. More about it here.
What I can recommend already if you're planning that dream vacation, to get a HD (High Definition) camcorder right now, so your films won't appear ugly in 30 years from now. Sony's model looks very good in tests. I only wonder why it still uses tape instead of a harddisk. p.s.: don't mix up HDD with HDV. HDD simply means harddisk camcorder, nothing else. Only HDV models deliver high definition video, those are the ones to go for !!
Jan 01, 2006
Happy new year ! Some experiments with AVC/AAC formats. Hardware for acceleration and stand alone playback is still missing, so this is not for practical use (except for little web films or AAC audio), but we're curious, aren't we.
Sep 23, 2005
Some new tests with lossless or almost lossless compression. It turned out that Huffyuv can also be lossy and that the all too common use of YUY2 is of evil in quite some unexpected ways (case1, case2).
Jun 05, 2005
Finished some tests with Nero Recode 2 (H.263 MPEG4 encoding). Results: HDTV Encoding speeds of 5 fps or better are easily obtained (1920x1080!). Playback works almost smooth, even though there isn't yet an accelerator for it in any graphics card.
You need Nero Vision Express and the Nero Digital plugin, then use Nero Recode to convert your files. For Playback, there are some more options, as what you get is an MPEG4 file. More.
Apr 30, 2005
Some updates to HDTV (XVID encoding) and to TV-Out.
Feb 10, 2005
Feb 05, 2005
Some tests with ATI graphics cards triggered an update to the TV-Out page.
Jan 05, 2005
VirtualDub 1.6 comes with a new 'levels' filter that does gamma correction, something really much wanted for. For example try a setting of about 1.25 and add about 10% color to give your videos that 'professional' look.
Dec 09, 2004
FhG-IIS have released their MP3 Surround format. It can compress 5.1 channels in 160 kbps or above, and the resulting files can be played with older 2 channel decoders as well. An evaluation software is for download at their site. The encoder is valid until the end of 2005, the decoder is unlimited.
Oct 03, 2004
MP3directcut is a freeware tool that cuts MP3 as well as MP2 and has a graphical wave display etc.
Sept 18, 2004
Some updates with the DV and MicroMV pages.
July 25, 2004
Finally a cutting tool for HDTV: MPG2cut2. It's still beta but it works. Only issue that the current beta version eliminates all flags (bitrate, aspect ratio, frame size etc.) from the output file. Use DVDpatcher to correct this or use the latest alpha version that is labeled "unstable" but seems to work quite OK.