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Old 3rd September 2011, 00:35   #1  |  Link
lovelove
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well-kept MKV secrets: editions, segment linking, ordered chapters, virtual timelines

I recently stumbled upon 2 blog posts about
"101 things you never knew you could do with Matroska":
part 1 and part 2.

It got me all excited. Countless possibilities came to my mind (inserting external deleted/alternate scenes in your favorite film, repeating video sequences with zero file size increase, enconding common parts only once for a group of videos, etc.) I checked and the features are officially documented in MKVmerge since 2003, so I was quite optimistic that it would indeed work.

Seems I was wrong. I "enabled splitting" in MKVmerge and "link files", but neither VLC nor MPC-HC is aware of the linking and thus none of the abovementioned features work.

Still, there are people here on D9 who use e.g. ordered chapters.. I wonder how. The impression I got from the mod16 blogpost above is that only the Haali splitter supports these features. Though that's something I'd rather avoid, as if possible I prefer self-contained, standalone, portable environments (like VLC, MPC-HC) which don't interfere with the whole system or other programs.

So what is the state of affairs?
Is it true that VLC, MPC and MPC-HC don't support these Matroska features?
Are there any other standalone players which do?
What are your thoughts/recommendations/alternatives/workarounds/ideas ?


Last edited by lovelove; 3rd September 2011 at 13:20.
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Old 3rd September 2011, 12:26   #2  |  Link
TheElix
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Quote:
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The impression I got from the mod16 blogpost above is that only the Haali splitter supports these features.
Not anymore Stay tuned for news from the author of AVSplitter!
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Old 3rd September 2011, 13:06   #3  |  Link
ForceX
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MPlayer2 supports ordered chapters and editions. http://www.mplayer2.org/comparison.html You can use it with SMPlayer portable version.
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Old 3rd September 2011, 16:12   #4  |  Link
hello_hello
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Does any player splitter support forced subtitles yet?
ie When subtitles are disabled the forced subtitles will still display.
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Old 3rd September 2011, 18:07   #5  |  Link
lovelove
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@ForceX: thank you, looks promising!
@TheElix: thank you, is there a project name already? where should I look (link)?
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Old 4th September 2011, 18:04   #6  |  Link
TheElix
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The project's name is AVSplitter. You should probably look in this branch in the next 4-5 days.
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Old 4th September 2011, 19:51   #7  |  Link
lovelove
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thank you

Quote:
TheElix: Stay tuned for news from the author of AVSplitter!
lovelove: is there a project name already?
TheElix: The project's name is AVSplitter.
made my day, lol
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Old 5th September 2011, 16:21   #8  |  Link
TheFluff
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AFAIK VLC supports ordered chapters (i.e. the virtual timeline) but not segment linking. Very annoying, that, since it will present the entire virtual timeline regardless of external segments, and then just refuse to seek to parts of it. Whatever, VLC is still sort of a bad idea, even though it's infinitely better now than it used to be just a few years ago.
I have no idea what MPC-HC's internal MKV splitter does or does not support, but why are you using that? If you're using Windows I strongly recommend using Haali's splitter instead, since MPC-HC's internal splitter is (or at least used to be) pretty bad. Actually, the same goes for quite a few of MPC-HC's internal filters and/or decoders; the external variants are simply better maintained and less buggy.

Also, I've changed my mind in the four years since I wrote those posts. The features mentioned are cool, sure, but they're not really all that useful in reality. Even when you can use them to get a tangible benefit (such as only encoding the opening and/or ending theme of a TV show once), that benefit is generally not worth the effort required to set the ordered chapters up.

Last edited by TheFluff; 5th September 2011 at 16:23.
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Old 5th September 2011, 17:50   #9  |  Link
Midzuki
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Besides the MKV splitters by Haali and Gabest, you can also try the ones by nevcairiel and SolveigMM, respectively. At least these latter are not intrusive like Haali Media Splitter, and do not lead to non-functional graphs whenever their (non-existent) "hunger for power" is not duly satisfied

Last edited by Midzuki; 5th September 2011 at 19:52.
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Old 5th September 2011, 18:48   #10  |  Link
Stephen R. Savage
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@TheFluff: That's correct. VLC has always had ordered chapters but no segment linking (although I've never tested anything with ordered chapters but no external segments). Actually, AFAIK, there's been a regression in VLC regarding this. It used to just skip over external segments, but now it goes back to the start of the file and progresses in an infinite loop.

As for "special" features in Matroska, the thing is, after getting off the Kool-Aid, most of the features really don't offer all that much aside from making playback software unnecessarily complicated.

1. Ordered chapters: The only order anybody would want to watch a movie is beginning-to-end.

2. Segment links: The only reason someone would want to split a movie into multiple parts is to pirate it over USENET.

3. Ordered chapters + Segment links: Marginally useful in that it lets you recycle footage in TV shows. However, the only place you would see large sections of a program being nothing but recycled garbage is in animu, and nobody watches animu.

4. Editions: In 99% of cases, there's only one way that anybody would want to watch a movie.

Note that there's a feature you forgot to mention!

5. Menus: CoreCodec claims to still be working on this to this day . There are many clear implementation issues with this, and at the end of the day, menus are useless. Building from the above points, there's only one way to watch a movie and most people would rather just watch the movie instead of having to click through a shoddy menu.

Last edited by Stephen R. Savage; 5th September 2011 at 18:50.
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Old 5th September 2011, 18:55   #11  |  Link
lovelove
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@Stephen: I don't agree with you at all. There are lots of useful applications mentioned in the OP and here and here. If you don't like the features, just don't use them.
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Old 6th September 2011, 00:46   #12  |  Link
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen R. Savage View Post

1. Ordered chapters: The only order anybody would want to watch a movie is beginning-to-end.
What about movies where different cut versions exist ? In this case you will need ordered chapters to create a multi-edition Matroska file. As example, "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" has three different cut versions on the BD. Another example is the BD version of ST:TOS, where each episode is available with original "painted" special effects and modern CGI special effects.

Quote:
...

3. Ordered chapters + Segment links: Marginally useful in that it lets you recycle footage in TV shows. However, the only place you would see large sections of a program being nothing but recycled garbage is in animu, and nobody watches animu.
On most TV series, segment links can be very useful for the intro and the extro, which at least within the same season, are very often identical. By using the segmented link feature it is possible to save some space when doing a backup of such a series.

So IMHO both ordered chapters ( to create editions ) and segment linking are very useful features of the Matroska specs and each splitter should support them earlier or later during their development.

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Old 8th September 2011, 01:18   #13  |  Link
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen R. Savage View Post
2. Segment links: The only reason someone would want to split a movie into multiple parts is to pirate it over USENET.
Have no idea why this kind of splitting is useful at all but if it helps then its a good feature.
Personally i use it to fit all space on DVD or to make something above 4.3 gig fit on it at all.

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3. Ordered chapters + Segment links: Marginally useful in that it lets you recycle footage in TV shows. However, the only place you would see large sections of a program being nothing but recycled garbage is in animu, and nobody watches animu.
you ever heard of trolls? i think i just saw one. Pretty disgusting i should say...
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Old 8th September 2011, 02:13   #14  |  Link
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I don't have an opinion about this spliting feature yet, but judging that many retail BDs have the main movie split in several segments, I believe there is a good reason to do that.
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Old 8th September 2011, 09:04   #15  |  Link
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The usefulness of a feature depends also on its possibility of being exploited into software (maybe hardware). What good that MKV supports internal subtitles (which is a rather common feature) when no BD-player known to me can use them and needs external files?
The more "hidden" a feature is, the lower the probability that a software/hardware (other than the one that created it) could cope with it.
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Old 8th September 2011, 09:12   #16  |  Link
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I'm also not a fan of the way the segment linking/ordered chapters/editions are implemented.
Its really complicated and not straight forward. It feels like someone designed MKV without it, and then later shoehorned those features in.

Dealing with seamless branching on Blu-rays is alot easier, offering the same functionality.
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Old 9th September 2011, 19:58   #17  |  Link
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Yes, still my feelings.

I like the feature, but nor the way its implemented.

With SB on BD you can extract the version you want.
SB in MKV makes that nearly impossible, because if you encode the whole movie into one you cant extract only some parts of if, because mainly those I-Frames are missing.
With linked-segments that may be possible, but there you still have a bunch of files again, and that is not what I like. I like tmv, because you have all stuff in ONE single file, thats easier to handle.

Ordered Chapters is one thing that I dont like at MKV.
I also feel that those thematic is too complicated. I tried to understand the readme, but still dont know where I get those UIDs you need. Its complicated in usage and not optimal I think.
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Old 9th September 2011, 22:09   #18  |  Link
lovelove
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I tried to understand the readme, but still dont know where I get those UIDs you need. Its complicated in usage and not optimal I think.
You can choose the UIDs for yourself. A good muxer auto-creates the UIDs and lets you also edit them. MKVtoolnix can. When you save chapters as xml, you can see the UIDs in plain text.
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Old 10th September 2011, 01:17   #19  |  Link
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lovelove View Post
Seems I was wrong. I "enabled splitting" in MKVmerge and "link files", but neither VLC nor MPC-HC is aware of the linking and thus none of the abovementioned features work.
This type of linking is not the same thing as the type that is usually known as "ordered chapters" (or external segments...). As you can see this type only takes whole files and concacentates them as demanded (their individual chapter info included).

Whereas with "ordered chapters", the combining/linking is achieved on the level of the chapter info - you specify a virtual timeline that references parts of either single file (actually, mkv segment), or several others (in this case you are loading footage from other files/segments), and you can for example insert a segment into the middle of another...

The important thing here: the first type I described and which you used is only supported by haali splitter. The second type (described in TF's blogpost) is supported by haali splitter and also by mplayer2's native mkv demuxer.
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Old 17th September 2011, 08:45   #20  |  Link
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I'm wondering how a file looks for other segments?

I downloaded a file vid1 that is in C:\dir1\ which links to another file vid2 in a subdirectory C:\dir1\dir2\ and it works if I move that file to dir1 (so both files are in dir1). I figure that it'll work as long as it's in the same directory or any subdirectory of dir1 but it also works if I move vid2 to C:\ or C:\dir3\ or C:\dir3\dir4\..
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