Saturday, August 25, 2012

Video Encoding tip…if at first you don’t succeed…

Our place of worship records video/audio records of the services as well as some special events.

The setup is pretty low-quality and simple.

Multiple remote-controlled cameras feed their signals into a standard video mixing board (Panasonic AV-HS400AE) where we can flip between signal inputs and do some standard wipes/PIP/transition-fades,etc.

From there we output the “mixed” SD signal into a consumer-grade DVD recorder along with audio out of the audio sound board.

When the event is over we finalize the DVD disk.  We can then make copies upon request for the membership.

So last Sunday, one of the young college-aged men in the church proposed to his girlfriend in a pretty spectacular way after the service was over. Since it was in the sanctuary, we got it all on video.

We made some copies of the DVD, but he also wanted to have a digital copy to upload and share with family around the country.

So I had to convert the DVD into a digital file version.

No problem…done it lots of times.

I popped the DVD into our A/V system PC, fired up VLC Media Player and verified the DVD played and the material was actually captured to DVD as expected; it was.

Then I ran Format Factory and selected the option to covert DVD to a digital file format; I think I picked WMA at first. I’ve used Format Factory for quite a while and it has always proved useful in ease of use, configuration details and conversion formats available. Never had any issues.

The conversion completed without errors, however when I went to replay it in VLC, it played fine for a bit, but then started to grind to a halt on the video playback.  I skipped ahead and it played fine but then started grinding to a halt. Hmm.  The system is x64 Win 7 with a i7 processor and 8 GB RAM and a high-end video card, so resources weren’t the problem.  I tried recoding it again in a few different formats and with different quality and sizes and the problem kept happening.

I was able to determine that the grind-down happened during fades between camera shots. Hmm.

I apologized that I couldn’t seem to do an immediate conversion that same day, but would try some more at home over the weekend to see if I could resolve the issue.

I have more than a few additional video format converters I use from time to time;

Each have their own pros/cons.

However for some reason I reached for Kirara Encoder; probably because it runs natively in x64 and I wondered if the additional encoding juice might help.

I fired it up, noted an update was available, snagged it and brought it current and relaunched.

I had also noticed a lot of optical drive activity while encoding before, so back at home I first ripped the optical DVD into an ISO file format to hopefully speed up the file access process.

Then I mounted the ISO file as virtual DVD.

Then I pointed Kirara Encoder to the virtual DVD, selected the VOB file (160MB), and after selecting the video output format (AVI) I wanted, let it rip.

Kirara chewed up the file and had it converted so fast on my laptop (i7,8GB RAM,X64) it amazed me. It was really, really fast.

I then went to replay the converted video file in VLC and it played smooth as buttah! Hurray!

That was so fast I then converted it into MOV, MP4, WMV and FLV formats for good measure. Too easy! All played perfectly with no issues. Quality was fantastic.

Feeling way ahead of the game at this point, I launched Windows Essentials Movie Maker and imported the AVI file, trimmed it up a bit, added an opening title and closing credits. I then exported it in both MP4 and WMV formats optimized for uploading to YouTube and/or Facebook, whichever.

I then burned all the files (including the ripped DVD ISO file) to a CD ROM disk for hand-back to the young groom to be.

For some reason, Format Factory just couldn’t easily encode the DVD video file during the fade transitions. If I had a deeper technical knowledge of what I was doing I probably could have customized the settings to work past it. However, Kirara let me be a hero-monkey (monkey sees the light come on, monkey presses the correct button, monkey gets the banana) without any drama.

So now, Kirara has moved to the top of the heap of video converters I will reach for the next time I need to do any video conversions.  It also has some advanced settings to change image quality (hue/saturation/gamma/contrast/brightness) and stuff.

More views and reviews on Kirara here:


--Claus V.

1 comment:

Attila-Mihaly Balazs said...

Some time ago I would have recommended DVD Decrypter + Auto Gordian Knot (AutoGK). However those projects seem to be abandoned, so I would recomend Handbrake: (haven't used it personally but heard good things about it).