Major Bugs in ConvertX2DVD?

Using the latest version as of Feb 19, 2006:

  1. Setting the defualt langauges for subtitles and audio NEVER is saved…each time run a different default shows.

  2. You never get to choose the audio format (always greyed out)…why is that? You can’t choose bitrate for AC-3.

  3. If you do not choose a working folder manually the program always tells you it cannot create a default one, even though it does.

Observations:

  1. If you have a video that already has ac-3 in it (5.1), does the program leave it as is an NOT re-encode it?

  2. Why is the minimum bitrate always 0? User should be able to change this because if you have an XviD, etc source it is already compressed…so allowing a 0 bitrate can make a mess of the re-encode…allowing the user to set the minimum at, say 3000, would help this.

-any thoughts?

Hi there,

  1. Setting the defualt langauges for subtitles and audio NEVER is saved…each time run a different default shows.

I assume you are using v2.0.6 Not Yet Public version.

This is a known issue and VSO are working on it !

  1. You never get to choose the audio format (always greyed out)…why is that? You can’t choose bitrate for AC-3.

You are right, from what I know and understand, they use 1 fixed bitrate but I could be wrong. Only an VSO Official could confirm this !

Observations:

  1. If you have a video that already has ac-3 in it (5.1), does the program leave it as is an NOT re-encode it?

Again, I think you are right. It will not re-encode already AC3 audio.

  1. Why is the minimum bitrate always 0? User should be able to change this because if you have an XviD, etc source it is already compressed…so allowing a 0 bitrate can make a mess of the re-encode…allowing the user to set the minimum at, say 3000, would help this.

This, you would have to send the suggestion to VSO.

http://www.vso-software.fr/contactform.php?topic=general

no…this is downloaded 2.0.5 on their page…won’t work for me…

Hello,

  1. Setting the defualt langauges for subtitles and audio NEVER is saved…each time run a different default shows.

Default settings for audio and subtitles were carefully checked. In the forecoming version this issue is resolved, defaults language for subtitles and audio are properly saved, loaded and applied as you add video segments in the project

  1. You never get to choose the audio format (always greyed out)…why is that? You can’t choose bitrate for AC-3.

The ability to choose the output audio format is a future feature that we may finally not implement, we choose to set AC-3 output as it is the most widely supported on DVD players and has support from 1 to 6 channels. For the bitrate of the audio output, we wanted also to avoid too many settings that are not really useful. Giving this setting would have required a different value for each number of channels. So the current behaviour is 192 Kbps for up to 2 channels, and 448 kbps for up to 6 channels. If source file has AC-3 track, it’s just copied without re-encoding, so it takes the bitrate of the source.

  1. If you do not choose a working folder manually the program always tells you it cannot create a default one, even though it does.

We have carefully checked this behaviour, and weren’t unable to reproduce. If there is a problem here, we need more information on the steps to reproduce.

If you have a video that already has ac-3 in it (5.1), does the program leave it as is an NOT re-encode it?

yes, AC-3 is left as-is, and not re-encoded. Same for DTS source.

Why is the minimum bitrate always 0? User should be able to change this because if you have an XviD, etc source it is already compressed…so allowing a 0 bitrate can make a mess of the re-encode…allowing the user to set the minimum at, say 3000, would help this.

minimum bitrate must be set to zero, setting to another value may lead to playback problem. Previous version {divxtodvd 1.99.x} had a setting for minimum bitrate, but it was a mistake from us, we should have never exposed this value. Furthermore, quality is not a matter of bitrate only, we set internally about 80 parameters with the goal to achieve the best possible quality.

Nonsense!!! Why would there be playback problems with a min bitrate? I can use anyone of many encoders and set the min, avg, and max bitrate and playback is fine. How does your encoder work? It is not true variable bitrate is it?. Playback should not be affected as this is how hollywood does it, and most users. If it is then the encoder has some issues. For example, I just used CCE Basic with min 4000, avg. 6000, max 8000…perfect on over 8 players; and this gives easily seeable better results than using min bitrate of 0 on divx or xvid files. When working from DV then 0 is fine as you are using a much less compressed source.

Also…is your AC-3 REAL AC-3 or a modification of besweet? If it is not real Dolby Digital then that is why I could see some players not working. It is not the result of a minimum bitrate.

Dear Ron,

taking a look at cinemacraft page http://www.cinemacraft.com/eng/basic.html, you can see that CCE basic do only CBR encoding for packetised stream (the vob format): MPEG2 PS (CBR only)

well, if you output Video elementary stream with CCE, yes you can do VBR, but you need a nice muxer then.

For the sound, you have a wide choice as input. it’s uncompressed wav or uncompressed wav, and the output is mpeg1 audio or uncompressed wav.

the sp version of cinemacraft add more than 2 pass feature and accept still image sequences as input, for the nice price of $1950.

and for the pro version, they say “call us for a price quote”

So, with CCE basic standalone, you can only output elementary stream if you want VBR, so it need a rework after. You must also have the decoding software installed, e.g. to convert a Divx, you must have Divx decoder installed.

So now, as you have only an ES, you must generate the audio, mux it and author your dvd. To do that, and produce as well a reference dolby 5.1 one of the most affordable solution is the couple sony Vegas + DVD architect + sony pictures digital AC-3 encoding software, price $699.95 (30% off, used to be $999)

So, to achieve your goal, you have to purchase several products, some of them are let’s say expensive, and you have to do a lot of manual operations.

On the other hand, you have ConvertX, a 35 bucks 2-clicks solution (select input file(s), push build button)

Yes, you can’t set the minimum bitrate, yes the AC-3 encoder is not the reference one (dolby refuse to license its reference encoder for a converting/transcoding app). But ConvertX support about 100 different formats of input file/video/audio such as AVI, DIVX,XVID, MOV, DVR-MS, DVD, DVB, WMV, HD, AC3, DTS, MPEG 1,2,3,4, NERO DIGITAL and many more without the need of any installed readers for these formats, support simple multipages menu, support up to 64 video segments, support several subtitles format with font color definition and unicode, automatic line wrap, tagging, support chapters manual or automatic, and the produced result work just fine on hundredth of different dvd players model - well that’s what our customers says.

For the quality our encoder has been compared to several professionnal solution and has been found equal to mainconcept encoder (a $149 one) and also the second fastest encoder. The page for that comparison is here (in French) : http://forum.gravure-news.com/encodage-dvd-mega-compratif-convertxtodvd-vp161637.htm

We have designed convertX to be as simple as possible, but with a good quality target. Yes it’s not perfect, yes it has lots of bugs, but the inability of setting minimum bitrate or the fact that our dolby encoder is not a reference one is imho in no way a “Major bug” as you have stated. As we have found with our users experience that in our imperfect encoder leaving this setting accessible might cause playback problem if improperly set, we have removed it and we still think it is a good decision for the products we have.

I understand that ConvertX is not an application that meets your needs, so I can only suggest you to buy the solution that matches your criteria, which will cost you an affordable $777 (CCE, Divx codec, Sony vegas + dvd architect + reference dolby encoder), were you will be able to set whatever bitrate parameters you like.

If you want to compare us, do it with products of the same price range that provide the same kind of feature.

Could you clarify please. How do you have/know about 2.0.6 if it’s not yet released?

BTW, elsewhere, in CD-RZone I just read it had been released, which got me searching for it in vain!
http://www.cdr-zone.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=24963#24963

Also, is that version checking facility broken? The one that asks to go onto the net to see if there are any updates? I had 2.0.4, and only half an hour ago that feature was saying “You have the latest version”. But I see 2.0.5 on the web site, and have just downloiaded that.


Terry, West Sussex, UK

actually I rather like convertx. First off you can get an free version of TMPGEnc to encode (or HC Encoder, etc), and a free muxer in muxman, and for $30 you can get TMPG ac-3 encoder (official one). XviD is free as well and better than DivX. So in fact you do not spend $700 but can get better quality for $30 (actually far better for the reason I mention above). An you may need to use DGPulldown. However this is MORE work, but is not that much more and is a learning process

I like ConvertX…it is one step. But there is NO REASON at all that putting a minimum bitrate in is an issue…no other encoder presents such problems (you can try main concept, TMPG, CCE, Procoder, etc.) Min. bitrates are permitted as part of the DVD standard…end of story. So if ConvertX projects have issues then it is either with the encoder or the reversed engineered AC-3. Acutally I ran a project last night with ConvertX…did it work? Yep. except on my polaroid 700 portable DVD player. It would not play the sound. So I demuxed it, converted your AC3 to WAV and then back to AC-3 via an official AC-3 encoder…it worked.

I suspect there are other, albeit small, players that will exhibit this and this is the source of issues. For $35 this is an ok risk. It is not the minimum bitrate issue at all it is the reversed engineered AC-3.

Would I buy the product? Sure I would love a one-click thing…saves me time and effort. But I will not because without a minimum bitrate converting already compressed DivX and XviD files looks just plain bad…even on a simple 27" TV. The CCE, TMPG encodes with a minimum bitrate of 4000 look many times better. Your encoder may be as good as main concept, but by forcing a 0 bitrate minimum you are not MAKING look as good in practice for DivX/XviD…not all encodes are from relatively uncompressed DV!!!

You guys fix this and you likely have a customer. But it is something you need to address, but this is just my opinion. I will keep watching for improvements.

thanks for your responses by the way, but assuming I am against your product from the get go is wrong and is bad advertsing.

thanks

Dear Ron,

I ran a project last night with ConvertX…did it work? Yep. except on my polaroid 700 portable DVD player. It would not play the sound. So I demuxed it, converted your AC3 to WAV and then back to AC-3 via an official AC-3 encoder…it worked.

This is finally something we can work with: real world experience, and the model of drive that reproduces the problem. It has been added to the bug list and we will investigate on this.

However, it may not be the AC-3 encoder fault. for instance, it could be our muxer. A good test would be to demux our produced DVD, remux with another product and test the result with your picky player.

and last but not least, if your source has AC-3 audio, then it has just been copied as is, so if the source AC-3 stream was not compliant, then the destination will not be compliant as well, and there’s not much we can do about it.

A log file would also be helpful also to solve the problem. You can find it in c:\documents and settings[user name]\Application Data\vso\ConvertxToDVD.log

about our AC-3 encoder (used with non AC-3 source), it’s the one from ffmpeg with a few modifications from us, it’s a simple but very efficient one, and stable since a very long time. We haven’t done a modification on this encoder since more than 1 year as we have not been informed of any dvd playing without sound up to now.

Your encoder may be as good as main concept, but by forcing a 0 bitrate minimum you are not MAKING look as good in practice for DivX/XviD

Be sure we will check this. If we can get any form of enhancement by setting minimum bitrate to something else than 0, it’ll sure bring this setting back or at least, we may preset it to a different value.

well…I am not at home…and will be travelling for a few days for work (hopefully NOT!!!). The source was not AC-3 proper but PCM, so a conversion was needed by ConvertX.

I did think of your suggestion…it was muxed with muxman…played fine with PCM and TMPG AC-3 using YOUR muxed video stream; only I changed was muxer and audio…tried with DVDLab too…all ok. You muxer seems fine…but my portable is finikey.

To be honests I could care less about the AC-3. My guess is that your stream will be fine for MOST players.

My main point is the video quality…so noticeable with min set at zero.

Will try back some other time

Dear Ron, here is more on the minimum bitrate settings:

I took a Divx Source of reasonable quality (a 01:26:37 video of 699 megs with Divx 5.0 video and 128 Kbps audio).
I encoded it twice with convertXtoDVD with the different bitrate settings and took snapshot of the result:

1st image:
0 minimum, 6632 Average, 8908 Maximum:
http://club.cdfreaks.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=&stc=1

2nd image:
4454 minimum, 6632 Average, 8908 Maximum:
http://club.cdfreaks.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=&stc=1

Clear enough ?

You are maybe right: With CCE, setting min bitrate to more than 0 could give a better result. we’re not CCE, so I won’t say how their encoder is affected.

But now you can clearly see that in ConvertX, it’s the opposite: setting min bitrate to something too high lead to poor results.
with fast action scenes it’s particularly visible and it’s logical. As the encoder spoiled bitrate bandwith by maintaining a too high minimum bitrate value when it was not really required, he’s not having enough free bits left to render correctly a fast action scene. that’s why we removed this settings, because we knew that this would happen, and a lot of guys would have qualified our encoder as a crappy one not because it is, but because settings may have been misinterpreted by users.

So it’s our final notice on this, minimum bitrate setting will stay = 0 and not accessible to users.



thanks for your post…this means that your encoder is doing pseudo vbr then…actually more like cbr since the minimum bitrate is messing up the convertx encode. Real vbr will take into account the motion of the original video by doing 2 passes. If your encoder does this on the fly it will not work, and hence you get the results posted. Your method will be OK for larger movies like 2 gig, but for smaller and proper vbr (not pseudo vbr or constant cq) it does not work nearly as well.

I think users did misinterpret your minimum setting before as the encoder does not do proper vbr, if it did you wwould not get results like above…simple as that.

For me I prefer the higher quality solution, but I am picker than most and ConvertX does not produce for me the quality I like, so I will not buy it. I will continue with CCE, TMPG, or whatever; the difference, in my opinion is so much better. I can easily see the differences and it is very obvious.

You product is good for the one-click crowd and bravo to you. I only wanted to help improve it; however your professionalism in providing support in this thread should make others think that you are a good company, which is GREAT.

My only suggestion now is to develop a proper 2 pass vbr encoder option…then maybe I will buy as your results will be better. BTW your encoding time is the same for 2 pass CCE encode.

Again thanks for your posts and I hope at some point you think of my REAL 2 pass VBR suggestion at some point. This would really differentiate your product!!! I will still follow your development

Best of luck with it!!!

ron - what good is raised minimum bitrate value?

If there is scene of just black - videodata is zero.
Raising bitrate to any value would not change the fact that scene is black.
All it can do is to overflood decoder chip in player with junk data and raise filesize. This junk data might also be misinterpreted by decoder and cause artifacts.

Hello Ron Spencer,

Here’s my 2 cents on the matter.

VSO Software are making a simple to use (Awsome Quality) product, for the cheap price of $34.99US.

They are not in competition with the $2,000US CCE encoder.

They are not in the running in a quality contest.

I think you should be using CCE, and using their commercial and high end encoder. You seem to know alot about video, and like extreme quality.

Pretty sure VSO are not heading this way, their market is more M. Everyone, cousins, even granny and dad :slight_smile:

I think they have done an excellent job and it get’s better everyday.

WOW, finally a company that listens to the little people behind their keyboards (Like me), implement most simple enhancements, without going crazy :slight_smile:

Why did I purchase VSO’s software ?

Because I can understand there product.

I know nothing about video, so stuff like CCE encoder, and Demuxing sound or what ever terms are used, so if I had to used a complicated application, with millions of settings, Demuxer, bitrate selector, minimum 0 or 4400 whatever, I would get lost.

If I walk into a WalMart and complain to the lady working there, that I don’t quite like the design of their Jeans, guess what she will tell me ? hehehehehe

If you would speak with a personal designer, who makes custom close, or a pair of Jeans that would cost you $5,000us, then I can see real picky and complicated matters dealth with :slight_smile:

Have a nice day, and VSO keep on making those damn nice software, for the little people :wink:

I agree…good post…I am NOT USING the $2000 encoder…I would love to use ConvertX and putting in a proper 2 pass VBR encoder would not be that big a deal and I think their product would be snapped up…as I said I will follow them…I am not intending to slam them; just providing feedback

thanks

Hi again,

Putting in a 2 pass encoder, that would make the encoding time longer much longer, not ?

Personally I like the quality it gives me, for the speed.

If I had the choice of using 2 pass for a little better quality, and take an other hour, I would personally NOT enable that feature, as a user.

Personal choice !

@jj…you are right, but for DV or lossy video only. If I record from my DV camcorder of course I want 0 as a minimum, but only after the encoder does 1 pass over your video to find the high motion stuff and low motion stuff, like black.

However, if you encode DivX and XviD stuff, which are FAR more compressed that even DVD then 0 will make even black fade outs macro block…I have seen it. Hence having a minimum of 4000 will help alleviate this, but as I said this is just my eye for video.

For DV I use minimum 2000, Avg. 6000, Max 8000, the reason why I use 2000 is because I have a cheap DV camcorder that every so often messes up a fade out in terms of quality, so 2000 compensates for this. Remember DV and DivX, XviD, and DVd (MPEG-2) are completely different animals and require completely different techniques.

BTW you will not “overflood” the decoder chip with empty data…doesn’t work that way…only way it will happen is if your combined audio and video bitrates is above DVD spec of around 9800…black is black it is not junk data.

@ cougar: 2 pass takes not longer than the current convertx program for me.

you are right…it is choice

Hi,

@ cougar: 2 pass takes not longer than the current convertx program for me.

Thanks for the info.

Never used/seen CCE and no idea what would the impact be for 2 passes !

BTW your encoding time is the same for 2 pass CCE encode.

things can’t be compared that way.
CCE is often used without the need to perform image resizing (source already has the proper resolution), doesn’t have to encode the sound channels, subtitle channels and output a raw mpeg2 stream without further processing.

So once again you can’t compare CCE that does a basic encoding, and ConvertX that is doing the same basic encoding, plus several other tasks and encoding at the same time.

Or if you want to compare that, then just take the time you will need to have a DVD with your CCE solution starting from the source file, and compare it to the time that will require ConvertX to achieve the same goal.

this means that your encoder is doing pseudo vbr then

Well, there is no such concept as pseudo VBR. An encoder is VBR or is not. It can’t be in between, and it has nothing to do with the number of passes. We are not using constant quantizer and, our output stream analysed show a bitrate variation that is perfectly comparable to any VBR encoder including CCE.


The attached picture (bitrate analysis of the stream produced by convertX) show you that:
1 - our encoder produce a stream that is VBR
2 - bitrate naturally never goes below 2000 (no matter minimum bitrate was set to 0)
3 - we have a small bitrate overflow, but this is benign and very frequent also with professionnally encoded DVD

This is not the VBR or the number of passes that does the quality of an encoder, but mostly its motion estimation algorythm, quantization matrices, quantizer scales, plus a bunch of other settings. Min and max bitrate are here only to allow more or less variation. You reduce the range, you reduce the possible impact on the bitrate, thus you reduce the quality, it’s that simple !

And if it’s not working that way with other encoders, then you may start to ask yourself if it’s not these encoders that has a problem somewhere.


yes they can be compared becuase that is what I did…same file and yes transcoded audio to WAV…not to AC-3 but transcode nontheless. And yes CCE resizes quite well I must add (as it did here).

Pseudo VBR exists…it is called one pass VBR…many encoders do it, including CCE and I think HC. You are not doing full VBR as that requires at least one pass before encode. Do you do this? I think not as I can see the bitrate change as your program goes. If not then yes you ARE doing one-pass VBR, which is pseudo “true” VBR.

Adding more passes DOES increase quality…ask any compressionist, CCE, Canopus, etc. More passes means you can estimate “motion estimation algorythm, quantization matrices, quantizer scales, plus a bunch of other settings” better.

You completely miss the point again!!! I have said before you are right, but ONLY IN THE DV/UNCOMPRESSED domain where constraining the min. bitrate CAN, although not always, reduce quality. In the case of DivX and XviD, where you have an already massively compressed source, then having a min of zero just makes a mess.

Why don’t you try this? As I said on a simple 27" TV the results are striking.

I do not want a pssng contest here…not worth my effort. But you are being so closed minded as to not wanting to improve your program…I don’t care as I do not need the sales :wink: