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Old 28th August 2008, 20:46   #1  |  Link
kwanbis
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DVDs to H.264 High Profile Recommendations

I'm planning on moving all my DVDs to a 1TB usb hard drive, so i can then connect it to my PS3, and have them all there at once.

As far as i understand, the PS3 supports: MPEG-1, MPEG-2 PS, MPEG-2 TS, AVCHD, MPEG-4 SP, H.264/MPEG-4 AVC Main Profile, H.264/MPEG-4 AVC High Profile, DivX and VC-1.

Of those, the ones i like the best are H.264 Hight Profile (better codec) and DivX (most compatible).

Anyway, my idea is to use 1 GB per 2 hour movie, and seeing that there are a lot of encoding options, (ASXGui, Ani-x264, AutoMKV, Automen, Avi.NET, BENCOS, EasyXvid, FileConvert, Handbrake, Leiming's x264 GUI, Mediacoder, Megui, RipBot264, SUPER, Staxrip, WinMEnc, XviD4PSP), I wanted a little advise on what to use for my plan, taking into consideration that quality > simplicity > speed.

So, assuming that H.264 is the codec, any recommendations on what program to use for encoding considering my needs (H.264/Windows/PS3)? and if possible, what options to achieve best possible video quality for my requeriments (1GB per 2 hour video)?

Thanks a lot.
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Last edited by kwanbis; 28th August 2008 at 21:53.
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Old 29th August 2008, 19:24   #2  |  Link
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Hello,

First off, I'll admit my own ignorance to what a PS3 will or won't support... but I do have a few suggestions.

The first thing I'd do if I were you would be to create a single short chapter from a demanding movie in your collection; you'll want to do some of your own tests, and it takes far less time to encode a chapter of a movie to run tests on than it would to encode an entire movie. I actually used two different movies when I was in this position: The first chapter of First Blood (the opening fade-in is a challenge to some encoders), and the second chapter of Saving Private Ryan (the beach invasion). You can then save these files to your USB drive and attempt to open them through your PS3. If it works... then you can be reasonably assured it'll work when you do the entire movie. Of course, you might want to test even further with a two-chaptered section of a movie to ensure that you can skim through chapter points. It'll also give you a good idea what kind of quality you're going to get.

Everyone has their favorite programs. I like two. Nero Recode, and AutoMKV. AutoMKV gives you far more flexibility, so for your purposes you may find it more to your liking.

1GB files for a two-hour movie I would hesitate on depending on what your viewing equipment is. If you have a smaller television, you may be happy with what you get--but find yourself re-encoding down the road if you ever get a larger screen. Ditto if you're currently watching movies on an analog television, only to later upgrade to HDTV.

I usually set AutoMKV on Insane Two Pass, but under "Advanced Settings," I'll choose the quality setting, set to 100%. This gives me a one-pass encode with Insane profile settings, as good as that profile can deliver. (Unless I'm mistaken--but the results look very good to me.) Sure, you might still get a bit of pixelation, but it's never all that bad... of course, the movie usually clocks in anywhere from 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 GB. (Sweeney Todd came in at 2.35GB, while Heartbreak Kid hit 3.28GB, for two examples.) For audio, I'll use the Nero encoder for original channels, 256Kbs for 5.1, 192kbs for stereo, and 128kbs for mono (which I'll make director's commentaries if I choose to keep them).

Please be aware that you will suffer some quality loss by re-encoding. H264 is still a lossy compression... it's just a very *good* method of compression. In most cases (of course not all), larger filesizes are just part of higher quality.
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Old 29th August 2008, 21:34   #3  |  Link
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Quote:
Originally Posted by writersblock29 View Post
The first thing I'd do if I were you would be to create a single short chapter from a demanding movie in your collection; you'll want to do some of your own tests, and it takes far less time to encode a chapter of a movie to run tests on than it would to encode an entire movie.
That is my plan, yes, but there are about 20 encoding GUIs, so i wanted to at first reduce the universe to about 3.

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Originally Posted by writersblock29 View Post
Everyone has their favorite programs. I like two. Nero Recode, and AutoMKV. AutoMKV gives you far more flexibility, so for your purposes you may find it more to your liking.
I worked with Recode in the past. The ones that look more supported are AutoMKV, MeGUI, StaxRip, RipBot264 and HandBrake. So now i have a smaller universe, even if more than the 3 i wanted to test.

Quote:
Originally Posted by writersblock29 View Post
1GB files for a two-hour movie I would hesitate on depending on what your viewing equipment is. If you have a smaller television, you may be happy with what you get--but find yourself re-encoding down the road if you ever get a larger screen. Ditto if you're currently watching movies on an analog television, only to later upgrade to HDTV.
Seeing how movies are encoded in Xvid/DivX in 700MB, i assumed that a 50% increase would be good enough for H.264. Of course, after the testing i would know better. I use a 480p proyector. And this are all non HD dvds.

Quote:
Originally Posted by writersblock29 View Post
I usually set AutoMKV on Insane Two Pass, but under "Advanced Settings," I'll choose the quality setting, set to 100%. This gives me a one-pass encode with Insane profile settings, as good as that profile can deliver. Sure, you might still get a bit of pixelation, but it's never all that bad... of course, the movie usually clocks in anywhere from 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 GB.
Thanks for the recommendation. I haven't tested yet, but as i said, i "think", that for a standard DVD, 1GB should be enough, but obviously i would try.

If it is not enough, i don't see the point of using H.264, as xvid with 1.2 GB is very good quality.

Quote:
Originally Posted by writersblock29 View Post
For audio, I'll use the Nero encoder for original channels, 256Kbs for 5.1, 192kbs for stereo, and 128kbs for mono (which I'll make director's commentaries if I choose to keep them).
Good points.

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Originally Posted by writersblock29 View Post
Please be aware that you will suffer some quality loss by re-encoding. H264 is still a lossy compression... it's just a very *good* method of compression. In most cases (of course not all), larger filesizes are just part of higher quality.
I know lossy encoding looses quality, but I assumed DVD is lossless?

Thanks
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Old 29th August 2008, 23:13   #4  |  Link
RunningSkittle
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megui, staxrip and automkv
They all come with PS3 presets. (I personally prefer staxrip)

btw DVD is not losless, it is mpeg2.
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Old 29th August 2008, 23:37   #5  |  Link
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May I add Ripbot as a recommendation as well? Between MeGUI (<3) and Ripbot, I have everything I need for all of my encoding.

Both come with profiles for optimum quality on the PS3, so they are very easy to use.

x264 will win out over xvid/divx at any file size. Use it. PS3 has supported it well enough for the bugs to be worked out and the profiles to be tuned. Use them.

And yes, DVD is lossy not lossless. As is true for all lossy codecs, encoding from one to another will cause you to loose quality. However, if it is perceptible quality is another matter. x264 is able to produce perfect representations of any dvd I through at it, provided I have a decent bitrate or crf, and the right settings.

Do the right thing. Use x264.
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Old 30th August 2008, 00:14   #6  |  Link
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@kwanbis

H264 will pretty much always retain more video information than an H263 codec like Xvid or Divx at the same filesize, so if you like the quality of Xvid, you'll be pleasantly surprised by AVC output. Of course, your settings will matter tons (just as they would if you were shrinking a DVD9 to a DVD5 using an MPEG2 encoder).

Using a projector that only handles standard def, you most likely won't notice the artifacts that you'd see on an HDTV or HD projector; that's in your favor now, but it boils down to whether you see yourself upgrading your equipment in the future, and whether you'll be willing to reinvest the time it'll take to re-encode. The better your viewing equipment, the worse a bad encode is going to look, in other words. On the other hand--if you did upgrade--you'd probably most likely be playing back Bluray or HD sources as you replace your video library.

DVD is encoded as MPEG2, which is a lossy codec. It pretty much offers a compromise between the amount of space availible (in this case, the size a DVD will hold) to a given amount of quality. Back in its day, it was a marvel! Now it's old technology, and as technology goes, today's usage demands far more detail for the size of media available, making new compression methods a necessity. MPEG4, which includes H264, offers more quality for the target space than MPEG2, making it ideal for those who play back their DVD collections on a computer or HTPC (Home Theater PC, a computer hooked directly to their televisions or projectors). There will always be some loss each time you re-encode any source... H264 just offers not as much loss for the resulting filesize. For example, if you were to try to back up a DVD to a 1GB MPEG2... *shiver!* It'd be blockier and retain less detail than the same filesize encoded at H264.
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Old 31st August 2008, 15:10   #7  |  Link
kwanbis
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Thanks guys for all the info.
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Old 31st August 2008, 15:14   #8  |  Link
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xvid and divx are NOT h.263 codecs... they're MPEG4-part2 codecs

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Old 5th September 2008, 04:46   #9  |  Link
writersblock29
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@Sharktooth

I stand corrected. Sorry 'bout that.
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