Best settings for making a h.264 movie?

vbimport

#1

I’ve been a long time user of DVDfab, going way back to, I think, 2004, and I really love the product.

Anyway, up until recently, like in the last few months, I had just been using it to make backups of DVDs that I own in ISO format. (So I can let my buddies borrow my original DVDs without having to buy replacements if they “lose” them.) Now that there are thumb drives capable of holding 32 gigs of data and whatnot, I’d like to convert some of my movies to digital format, as in h.264 so I can bring them with me to my friend’s houses and watch them on their computers.

The problem seems to be that whenever I use generic and try to encode the movies as h.264, no matter what settings I use (making the movie 700mb big, or 2-3 gb big, or whether I use AAC, MP3, or source audio), the audio almost always loses sync when playing the resulting file. Even when playing it off of my hard drive, not the thumb.

The only way I can seem to get it to consistently work is to make a mkv file, with xvid and mp3 at 64 bps, at 600mb.

Which isn’t really a problem, as it works, but the movies almost never really look that great.

Should I stick with xvid, which works, or is there a way to get h.264 to work?

I suppose I could just suck it up and keep using xvid, at higher video bitrates, but it would be nice if I could use the higher quality h.264.


#2

Ripbot264 beats everything else. Just follow the guides listed there and you will do fine. I have tried Handbrake and Super with mixed results, but Ripbot264 always produces great results.


#3

May be that your PC is not powerful enough to decode h264 and keep the audio in synch - a single processor with on-board audio may struggle with hi-def video. what is your PC spec , and what is your CPU usage level when video is being decoded?

PS try playback with vlc player. in its extended settings there are synchronisation controls that work real well with badly encoded files, e.g. you can advance the audio stream until its a perfect match for the video ( assuming as said before that its not a PC power issue).


#4

[QUOTE=cybmole;2182871]May be that your PC is not powerful enough to decode h264 and keep the audio in synch - a single processor with on-board audio may struggle with hi-def video. what is your PC spec , and what is your CPU usage level when video is being decoded?

PS try playback with vlc player. in its extended settings there are synchronisation controls that work real well with badly encoded files, e.g. you can advance the audio stream until its a perfect match for the video ( assuming as said before that its not a PC power issue).[/QUOTE]

Maybe it is a PC issue. I only have a dual-core 1.8ghz processor and 2 gigs of ram.

I’m not sure why that’s preventing me from viewing a h.264 movie encoded at less than 600 kbps (video), and 32 kbps (audio), though. I thought h.264 was supposed to be better than xvid/divx at lower bitrates, but it doesn’t even work.

The only thing I’ve found that consistently works ALL THE TIME is xvid.

Divx is a little dodgy for some unknown reason…

Or maybe it’s because I’m trying to use DVDfab. I don’t know. It’s the only decent DVD ripping program I’ve found that can output into xvid/h.264(?) in custom resolutions and with custom settings.

People might be saying h.264 is the future, but if it can’t play basic low resolution DVD rips without making my computer defecate all over my desk, I don’t think it’s quite ready to replace xvid.

Then again, it might be the codecs I have installed. I went with the CCCP package, and the separate xvid package. I downloaded and installed them last night. My old set was from half a year ago.


#5

you have enough pc power - decoding h264 needs more cpu than decoding xvid, but what you have sounds OK. If you had a single core celeron then I’d blame the pc but dual core 1.8 should be fine. It’s what I have on this PC & I can playback hi-def 720p H264 rips with no problems

It could be that DVDfab does a poor job of h264 encoding - others here have said as much - so see if you can find a h264 encoded file from another source & see how your pc handles that. the ones I watch are from other sources.

you should also try media player classic ( with FFD show), & VLC player ,as they are the best free h264 capable players.

& do the obvious PC checks i.e. video & audio drivers up to date, latest direct X installed, latest divx version installed, drive defragged.

VLC player is good for testing playback with as it uses it’s own internal codecs for everything, plus as said before it has manual override controls to force audio & video into synch.


#6

VLC is no good for h264 playback, especially compared to MPC when you have CoreAVC. VLC just doesn’t cut it, and it doesn’t matter how good your GPU is or how many cores you have.

FFDShow with Haali works, but not as good as CoreAVC. CoreAVC may cost $15, but your time has to be worth something, and it may save you some serious wasted time trying to make VLC fit into a round hole.

I downconvert BD and HD-DVD to h264 at native resolution, and CoreAVC is hands down the single best cash outlay you can make. Video cards, memory, cpu - don’t do anything with those until you have at least tried the 15-day demo of CoreAVC.


#7

I think I might need to wipe my computer clean and reinstall windows as well as whatever programs and codecs I might need.

After about a year, this thing has become so cluttered and confused, it deserves a reboot.

edit: also, wtf is up with the official DIVX encoder? Two hours and not even 1% complete on a 2 hour movie?

Do people actually donate money to that crap?


#8

[QUOTE=c__porter;2182991]VLC is no good for h264 playback, especially compared to MPC when you have CoreAVC. VLC just doesn’t cut it, and it doesn’t matter how good your GPU is or how many cores you have.

QUOTE]

Hmm in what sense does VLC “not cut it” - can you see the difference between it & MPC+CoreAVC or are you just believeing the hype ?

I get excellent picture & sound with VLC, and even on my single core P4 PC (3Ghz) my CPU usage is below 40% Also, it’s open source,which means lots of folks are working all the time to improve it, wheras CoreAVC is propriety - CoreAVC’s only claim to fame seems to be that it uses less CPU than other H264 decoderes, at present - but expect open source to win out in time.

PS I’ve not personally done a side by side comparison, but I did study many external reviews & comments on other boards.

And FWIW, I get exactly the same picture & sound playback quality with Zoom player, which uses FFDshow codecs.

Or could it be that you are commenting on how well CoreAVC can encode, rather than decode ?? - VLC player is just a player so it only decodes H264 it does not encode it from hi-def sources.


#9

CoreAVC is decoder only.

I am all for using FFDShow where possible, but I have set up 3 different htpc configurations using Media Player Classic, VLC, and Windows Media Player using alternate codec packs. Xvid, Divx, WMV, and Vorbis all work wonderfully with VLC as well as FFDShow-based players. But my experience with VLC and h.264 hasn’t been as good.

On a P4 2.8 with a 6600GTX, VLC did work quite well with xvid and divx encoded materials. It did not fare well with h.264 material at 1920x1080; 1280x720 was as high as it could get with smooth playback. I found that ReClock did help quite a bit with Media Player Classic, but VLC just could not give me smooth playback. As soon as I began using CoreAVC (with or without ReClock) the viewing experience was spectacular.

I also set up software on an Acer Aspire One Netbook so that it could be quickly connected to an HDTV via standard VGA cable, and its Intel chipset choked badly on h.264 at any resolution. I did not expect any better, but I tried some 1280x720 material using CoreAVC and reclock, and it turned out to be very acceptable. I would not recommend this config though. It just proved to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that CoreAVC really does work better than anything else.

The system I personally am using has a DC Opteron 175 @2.5 and an nvidia 9300gs. The graphics card has hdmi out, but it is extremely weak in my opinion. I got the split-draw effect when playing any h.264 material at 1920x1080. VLC did work, but the split-draw stutter drove me nuts. Media Player Classic with FFDShow/Haali/Reclock was nearly perfect, but occasionally had to resync (video speeding up to catch up with audio). CoreAVC once again is perfect no matter what the encoder or resolution.

I hope I am not buying into any hype. I am sincerely convinced that I can see a difference. I use VLC for almost everything, including converting HDTV recordings to MPEG and DVD, recording internet radio, converting FLV to avi, etc., but hi-res h.264 decoding is one weakness of VLC I can notice.

I do prefer open-source where possible, but none of my hardware has open-source microcode, and I will gladly pay a little more for hardware that works perfectly - I have the same attitude about software.


#10

very helpful , thanks.

I have only used 1280x720 material, which explains why I could not spot the difference but you could. I don’t have any screens that can handle 1080HD.

now we can get back to the original thread question, which I believe was now best to encode into H264, rather than how best to decode it!


#11

Sounds like the same issue I have every single DVD I encode to mpv has A/V sync issues. I know ting has been working hard on this problem, but it appears that we are still not seeing a solution. I tried another (unamed) program to encode to mpv and it does it perfectly without this A/V sync issue.

I do prefer DVDFab since it gives the user much more control over the end product and it is also faster at encoding, but if the end results is an audio sync issue then the file is useless to me because the audio sync makes the movie to me unwatchable. For now I am using a different program to to my mpv conversions and use DVDFab for everything else. I certainly hope this gets fixed very soon, since I do prefer the one program to do it all solution.


#12

Dreamliner, I think the answer to your issue is the same - try Ripbot264 for your encoding, and make sure that your decoding doesn’t create issues. It may seem that you have audio sync issues that result from the encoding process, but decoding methods may be the true source of your problems.

Encoding advice:

Ripbot264 is free. It uses x264 under the hood for video. You can use MP4 container if you want PS3/itunes compatibility, or MKV container if you just want to use your files on a media center PC.

If you are a highly technical person, MeGUI claims to offer more control over the process. I tried it and found Ripbot264 to be much easier, which I believe is what you are hoping for with DVDFab - ease of use and usable results.

Decoding advice:

Media Player Classic allows you great flexibility in playback. Many people use this program along with a combination of external splitter and codecs to solve sync problems. One great feature of Media Player Classic is that it will re-sync audio on the fly using the + and - keys, so you may actually need to do only one thing to solve your problems - use MPC! (VLC also has audio sync capability, but changes are made in the settings and require a restart of the player). MPC also has some amazing pan/scan capabilities - just try NumPad 9 and watch what happens.

MPC with Matroska splitter (aka Haali) and FFDShow codecs is probably the most recommended combination you will find on any forum, because it works and costs nothing. If that doesn’t solve all your issues, you still have one more option - CoreAVC, which isn’t free (US 15$), but may be worth the cost.

Another tool you may find helpful - ReClock. A summary, although not technical or maybe even accurate - Your monitor redraws at 60hz (US) or 50hz (these are typical lcd monitor values). Your media serves at near-25 or 29.97 fps. Some frames are dropped to resync periodically, and this may create stutter or split-screen draw effects. ReClock forces the media to be served at a factor of your monitor, i.e., exactly 25 or exactly 30. No more dropped frames, no more stutter, and 10-30% less CPU usage!


#13

it should be possible to decode H.264 using graphics card hardware, but I don’t think that any of WMC, VLC, Zoom players can be configured to do that.
All of the ARI Radeon HD graphics card range , such as my radeon 3650 , claim to have hardware support for H.264 decode on the card, but I think that only kicks in when using a blu ray drive + DVD source & certified software such as Powerdvd8 or Windvd 9.

if anyone knows how to configure any player so as to use graphics card hardware to help decode a h.264 .MKVor .AVI file from hard drive please tell


#14

[QUOTE=c__porter;2183822] (VLC also has audio sync capability, but changes are made in the settings and require a restart of the player).

[/QUOTE]

actually no, with latest VLC version you just exit full screen mode, so as to access menus, then find the synch conrols under advanced settings & you can adjust them on they fly, but that is still nowhere near as user friendly as MPC


#15

Thanks for the tip cybmole.

I prefer vlc for avi playback but had gone to mpc only due to (what I thought was) a lack of on-the fly adjustment. I will give it another go with VLC.


#16

[QUOTE=cybmole;2183855]if anyone knows how to configure any player so as to use graphics card hardware to help decode a h.264 .MKV or .AVI file from hard drive please tell[/QUOTE]

This describes a hardware-accelerated compile of MPC called MPC-homecinema. I used it and found that, although it did access DXVA support, it didn’t give me noticeable improvement and I didn’t dig in in detail to find out what I needed to do to make it work properly. I will probably try to figure it out in the next week. I have an nvidia card and it apparently doesn’t make much difference with my card, but ATI hardware accel is supposed to be good. I am interested in what you find out with your card, should you try it.


#17

Hi again, cybmole - I found a guide and followed it and now have dxva accel on my nvidia card, viewing 1920x1080 with only 2% cpu!! In my previous attempts, I had not followed step 6 to block cyberlink and other codecs.

http://ranpha.wordpress.com/page-1/


#18

[QUOTE=c__porter;2183822]Dreamliner, I think the answer to your issue is the same - try Ripbot264 for your encoding, and make sure that your decoding doesn’t create issues. It may seem that you have audio sync issues that result from the encoding process, but decoding methods may be the true source of your problems…[/QUOTE]

Thanks for the reply!

After all thr ouble shooting I have done the problem must be in the encoding, becasue I have use Ripbot264 as well as the Slysoft software to produce mov files that play with no audio sync issues. However all of the DVDFab mpv files have the audio sync issue regardles of the device doing the decoding.


#19

[QUOTE=c__porter;2183876]Thanks for the tip cybmole.

I prefer vlc for avi playback but had gone to mpc only due to (what I thought was) a lack of on-the fly adjustment. I will give it another go with VLC.[/QUOTE]

the vlc wiki says you canalso control audio sync with these keys:

"You can manually set the audio offset while playing (so you can put the audio back in sync). The default keys to increase/decrease the offset are Ctrl+K and Ctrl+L in Windows, and f and g in Mac. "