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Old 05-09-2011, 11:48 PM   #1
nrnoble
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MeGUI: Tips and tricks for HD Tivo playback

A thread for Q&A about how to get use MeGUI to create HD videos from DVDs, BluRay, camcorders, and other sources.
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Old 05-09-2011, 11:53 PM   #2
nrnoble
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First question: When I use one-click it always fails with an error messasge:
MeGUI can not write on disc H:\
Please select another output to save the chapter file
Drive H:\ is a mount DVD ISO image. It contains a movie I want to convert. I am unable to find and change any settings that will correct this problem.
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Old 05-10-2011, 06:07 AM   #3
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For the file output directory click 'Options' 'Settings' then near the bottom of the tab 'MAIN' is a place to enter Default Output Directory. This should be a place with plenty of working storage space for intermediate files along with the final output.

I do not think MeGUI will parse a DVD iso file, maybe it can but I just have always used DVDfab to rip to single vob files per episode or movie and then convert the single vob file to compatible mp4. Will try to help, perhaps we will both learn something along the way.

Make sure you are running the current version of MeGUI. I think its 2015 although mine is running 2009 as it has not updated in a few days as its running some files. I'll get updated so we are on the same page.

You will need to create a Tivo Preset for x264. Use the following settings: Const. Quality, Quality 20, tunings: default, AVC Profile: High Profile, AVC Level: Level 4.1, Presets Slow.
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Old 05-10-2011, 11:25 AM   #4
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I haven't played around with MeGUI (I use avisynth and command lines), but do you need to set SAR flags for SD shows or does MeGUI recognize them itself? What about setting the keyframe interval? I find that using a keyframe of ~2X the framerate allows for smoother seeking (i.e. 24fps --> --keyint 48, 30fps --> --keyint 60).
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Old 05-10-2011, 11:43 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by txporter View Post
I haven't played around with MeGUI (I use avisynth and command lines), but do you need to set SAR flags for SD shows or does MeGUI recognize them itself? What about setting the keyframe interval? I find that using a keyframe of ~2X the framerate allows for smoother seeking (i.e. 24fps --> --keyint 48, 30fps --> --keyint 60).
I have never used either of those parameters in MeGUI, not sure where they would even be set aside from manually editing the avs script file. I have no idea what the defaults for those would be under MeGUI either.

Have you used them to correct specific troubles for tivo? I really have not had studdering problems with my encodes under MeGUI in many years. Mostly they play or they don't. Did have audio sync troubles long ago but those are mostly gone. I will admit there are large sections of MeGUI I have never used as I don't know what or why to use them. I have a few 'recipes' that work for me and create files that work on all my devices. May not be optimum and I am always looking for ways to improve them.

I have a few defaults that I always use, mostly to avoid various issues and most of them from DVD sources. HD has been much less of a problem.

If the original source is not h264 and its interlaced, I deinterlace for encoding to h264.

If the original source has a PAR that is not 1:1 its converted to non-animorphic during the conversion.

Tivo is pickey about SD video aspect ratios. I have had success with conversion of video 480p or less to either 16:9 or 4:3 but not PAL 560i. I resize all anamorphic video during encode to a PAR of 1:1. All audio is converted to ac3. Either 2 or 5.1 channels.

In the mp4 file, video is always the first track, ac3 audio the second.


EDITED to revise my norms on SD video based on recently learned data.
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Old 05-11-2011, 08:48 AM   #6
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At the moment there are trade off when I use MeGUI vs Handbreak.

The main issue I was having, video stuttering, does not occur when I use MeGUI. The video is just as smooth as the MPEG2 source.

Downside, when using MeGUI, the output does not include the required black boarders, so when the file plays back on my 16:9 HDTV, the video is wacked out (fills entire screen) unless the source is 16:9. What I don't understand is why MPEG2 files playback fine when steamed\uploaded to the TiVo, but I have yet to get an H.264 video to play at the proper ratio unless the video includes black borders. Clearly the MPEG2 source does not include video black boarders, but the TiVo figures everything out and inserts the black boards to maintain the proper aspect ratio.
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Old 05-11-2011, 09:01 AM   #7
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Series 3 tivos have a bug dealing with HD video in h264 format that are less than full frame. Its fixed in the Premiere but the Series 3s are stuck with it.

MeGUI can easily add the boarders during the encode such that the h264 video is 16x9 and it adds very little data to the file for simple black boarder.
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Old 05-11-2011, 11:05 AM   #8
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Thanks for the info... What setting are you using to add the borders? I don't mind adding them; I had to add them with HB. I've looked at the MeGUI settings, and didn't see anything that was similar to how HB handles boarders.
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Old 05-11-2011, 11:08 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcthorne View Post
I have never used either of those parameters in MeGUI, not sure where they would even be set aside from manually editing the avs script file. I have no idea what the defaults for those would be under MeGUI either.
The aspect ratio information isn't done within the avisynth scripts but rather handled during encoding and when packing into containers. For x264, I use the flag --sar 40:33 (or 10:11). You can also do something similar using mp4box to assign non-square pixel sizings.

Code:
mp4box -add video.264:fps=23.976:par=40:33 -add audio.aac video.mp4
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcthorne View Post
Have you used them to correct specific troubles for tivo? I really have not had studdering problems with my encodes under MeGUI in many years. Mostly they play or they don't. Did have audio sync troubles long ago but those are mostly gone. I will admit there are large sections of MeGUI I have never used as I don't know what or why to use them. I have a few 'recipes' that work for me and create files that work on all my devices. May not be optimum and I am always looking for ways to improve them.
I think that you were asking about my use of --keyint. I use it only to improve seeking during FF/RW.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcthorne View Post
I have a few defaults that I always use, mostly to avoid various issues and most of them from DVD sources. HD has been much less of a problem.

If the original source is not h264 and its interlaced, I deinterlace for encoding to h264.

If the original source has a PAR that is not 1:1 its converted to non-animorphic during the conversion.

Tivo assumes SD video is 4:3 and HD is 16:9. All my endodes resize, add boarders or crop (rarely) to fit that. I used to have to do this for HD video as well but the Premiere seems to handle just about any size HD file. Still a bit odd with non-4:3 SD files though so I still fix them.

All audio is converted to ac3. Either 2 or 5.1 channels.

In the mp4 file, video is always the first track, ac3 audio the second.
Tivo will read the header of the container to determine aspect ratio. It doesn't really differentiate between SD or HD video. I set a SAR flag of 10:11 for 4:3 SD video and 40:33 for 16:9 SD video. HD is generally 1:1 not 16:9.
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Old 05-12-2011, 07:38 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by nrnoble View Post
Thanks for the info... What setting are you using to add the borders? I don't mind adding them; I had to add them with HB. I've looked at the MeGUI settings, and didn't see anything that was similar to how HB handles boarders.
Add the line:

addborders (L,T,R,B)

to the avisynth script. You can edit the script MeGUI creates on the script tab of the AviSynth script creator. L, T,R,B are the number of pixes of black board to add to each side. The script creator will also let you preview your script while you work so you can see what you are doing before encoding. you can also save an avisynth profile to include this line for future use.
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Old 05-12-2011, 08:04 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by txporter View Post
The aspect ratio information isn't done within the avisynth scripts but rather handled during encoding and when packing into containers. For x264, I use the flag --sar 40:33 (or 10:11). You can also do something similar using mp4box to assign non-square pixel sizings.

Code:
mp4box -add video.264:fps=23.976:par=40:33 -add audio.aac video.mp4


I think that you were asking about my use of --keyint. I use it only to improve seeking during FF/RW.



Tivo will read the header of the container to determine aspect ratio. It doesn't really differentiate between SD or HD video. I set a SAR flag of 10:11 for 4:3 SD video and 40:33 for 16:9 SD video. HD is generally 1:1 not 16:9.
This may indeed be the missing piece of a puzzle I have been working around for some time. I do not know how to specify a SAR for the mp4 file in MeGUI's muxer, I think it assumes 1:1 at the moment. For HD material this is not a problem but much DVD sourced material is not. If I take DVD sourced material and encode to an h264 mp4 file at its original 720x480 resolution it will not play correctly on the tivo. Tivo plays it in a 4:3 pillarbox.

I need to do some checking on this and perhaps check with the developer for adding the option to the muxer.

EDIT: I found a 'Force SAR' parameter in the x264 profile. I'll play with that and your suggested settings and see if the resultant mp4s play correctly on my tivo.

EDIT2: I toyed with the Force SAR parameter in the x264 profile and it effected the final mp4 but not the way I expected, rather than replace, it seemed to have an additive or multiplier effect on the AR that was already in the file. But I did learn that if a 480p file is sent to a Tivo premiere as PAR 1:1 and DAR 16:9, it played correctly. It seemed to me easier to just manipulate or resized the video to that thus eliminating the anamorphic property. I still need to play with PAL video that is slightly larger than 480p as that was where I ran into Tivo display problems with SD video before. I will work on that.
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Old 07-22-2012, 09:58 PM   #12
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I'm trying to use MeGUI to convert from some BluRay ripped .mkv files to a file playable on the TiVo. I find the MeGUI interface completely incomprehensible, and the tutorials I have found are of virtually no help at all.

I did somehow manage to get one file converted, but I have absolutely no idea how I did it, and I am unable to replicate the feat. What's more, the resultant video is 24 fps, and I don't really think that is what I want. There are some artifacts at the edge of the video screen, and I think these might be due to the frame rate.

I'm using MakeMKV to rip the BluRay disk, and it produces a number of .mkv files. The first issue is trying to decide which files to include in the final video. So far, I haven't come across anything that can show me what is the files. Somewhere in all the menues I came across something in MeGUI that attempts to show the video, but it doesn't work. I am unable to open the files wth any other software, either.

It seems the indexer may be what I need to use to get multiple files included in the output, but I am unable to get it to work properly. Exactly what am I supposed to be doing here?
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Old 07-23-2012, 04:24 AM   #13
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First, MeGUI will not rip a Bluray disk, you need anydvd for that.

Are you trying to create an mp4 file of only the main movie or are you trying to create a set of files for the whole BR disk?

Usually extracting the main movie in its native m2ts format is sufficient, muxing into an MKV is an unnecessary step.

In MeGUI, the simplest method is to use the one click encoder. As the Tivo is not one of the predefined devices meGUI has profiles for, you will need to create your own.

Audio, ac3, 448kbps
Video, x264, AVC Profle High, AVC Level 4.1, suggest starting with quality 19, constant quality, medium presets.

Output file, mp4

Setting it up the first time is a chore, especially if you don't know what you are trying to achieve with all the tools available. MeGUI has a LOT of tools available.
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Old 07-23-2012, 10:50 AM   #14
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First, MeGUI will not rip a Bluray disk, you need anydvd for that.
I never said I was trying to use MeGUI to rip the BluRay, although anydvd is not an option, here. As I specifically stated, I am using MakeMKV to rip the BLu-Ray disk, and it creates a number of .mkv files.

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Originally Posted by jcthorne View Post
Are you trying to create an mp4 file of only the main movie or are you trying to create a set of files for the whole BR disk?
Well, one step at a time.

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Originally Posted by jcthorne View Post
Usually extracting the main movie in its native m2ts format is sufficient, muxing into an MKV is an unnecessary step.
MakeMKV does not support that option. The files are .mkv.

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Originally Posted by jcthorne View Post
In MeGUI, the simplest method is to use the one click encoder. As the Tivo is not one of the predefined devices meGUI has profiles for, you will need to create your own.
And just how does one do that?

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Originally Posted by jcthorne View Post
Audio, ac3, 448kbps
Video, x264, AVC Profle High, AVC Level 4.1, suggest starting with quality 19, constant quality, medium presets.
Will that limit the VBR to no more than 25,000K?

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Originally Posted by jcthorne View Post
Output file, mp4
That one is easy. The hard part seems to be setting an input file or files and determining which files to include.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcthorne View Post
Setting it up the first time is a chore, especially if you don't know what you are trying to achieve with all the tools available. MeGUI has a LOT of tools available.
Once again, *WHICH* tool is the one that needs to be selected? The ones I tried all wound up with errors.

I manged to get what seems to be a playable video using Handbrake, but none of these tools seem to let one set a maximum bit rate. Dropping the average bit rate down until the maximum does not exceed the limit is a poor compromise.

I used ffmpeg to create a .mp4 file from the source, but pyTivo recodes the resultant file when it pushes to the TiVo for some reason.
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Old 07-23-2012, 11:09 AM   #15
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Ok, from mkv. You will need to determine which mkv is which from MakeMKV and prep the one you want into an mp4 for tivo. I was trying to suggest only ripping the main movie to a single file, mkv if thats what you want, rather than all bits of video on the disk.

Are you using meGUI build 2153?

The one tool I was suggesting you use is the one click encoder. its the easiest path with the most automation. The easiest way to get the one click encoder is a simple File, Open and select the mkv. meGUI will ask if you wish to use the one click encoder or the file indexer. meGUI is essentially asking which path, automatic or full manual. One click is also available from the tools menu drop down.

As far as profiles. Open the one click encoder dialog box. In the audio section there is a drop down menu for encoder, adjacent to that is a config button which will take you to a box for configuring, saving or creating audio profiles. Suggest creating one called TivoHD.

Back to the One Click Encoder window. Advanced Config tab, there are sections for video, AviSynth Settings and Output Settings. In the video section, again a config button for building video profiles. You will need to create one for x264 to encode for your Tivo. I would not suggest specific bitrates but rather the constant quality setting. Yes the AVC profiles limit max bitrate. You would have to look up the AVC Profiles definitions but 4.1 high profile is the max profile TivoHD or Premiere support. Stay within that and you will by definition meet the spec. This is where the bitrate limits and other limits for Tivo came from.

Output settings, you do not care about maximum filesize as tivo does not have a known limit. No splitting, one file per input file. Container format MP4, device type ISMA.

There are MANY other ways of accomplishing an mp4 file in megui with far less automation but I thought it easiest to start with one click.

The manual method would entail indexing, avisynth script editing, encoding audio and video and then muxing. Each a seperate step.
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Old 07-23-2012, 09:12 PM   #16
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Ok, from mkv. You will need to determine which mkv is which from MakeMKV and prep the one you want into an mp4 for tivo. I was trying to suggest only ripping the main movie to a single file, mkv if thats what you want, rather than all bits of video on the disk.
Yes, but that can be problematical:



As you can see, there are three good candidates, all 22.1GB each. Which one is the "right" one? That 750M title with 39 titles is an interesting suspect, too. An SD version, perhaps? Do the three (or four) largest files need to be spliced together? Without some form of preview, that's all hard to determine.

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Are you using meGUI build 2153?
Yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcthorne View Post
The one tool I was suggesting you use is the one click encoder. its the easiest path with the most automation. The easiest way to get the one click encoder is a simple File, Open and select the mkv.
OK, I don't think a single one of the tutorials I saw suggested this. It begs the question, however. What if one needs to splice together several files, as might be the case for a DVD rip, and possibly some BRD rips? Not being familiar with BRD structures, I thought it fairly likely I would have to splice together several smaller video segments.

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meGUI will ask if you wish to use the one click encoder or the file indexer. meGUI is essentially asking which path, automatic or full manual. One click is also available from the tools menu drop down.
Along with a dozen other tools, all presumably starting with some sort of input and ending with some sort of output. I think I can be forgiven for not knowing which one of the 13 I needed to choose. Indeed, it is perhaps not unlikely <One Click> is not the best choice for me, but since there doesn't seem to be a functional description anywhere of what the other 12 do...

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As far as profiles. Open the one click encoder dialog box. In the audio section there is a drop down menu for encoder, adjacent to that is a config button which will take you to a box for configuring, saving or creating audio profiles.
In the One Click dialoge box? I see no such thing:





I do see something like what you describe in the main window, and I did create profiles for audio and video there.



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Back to the One Click Encoder window.
When did we leave it?

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Originally Posted by jcthorne View Post
Advanced Config tab, there are sections for video, AviSynth Settings and Output Settings.
I see the AviSynth, but not the others. The AviSynth config is a total mystery. Where is a functional description of what the fields do and when to use them?

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In the video section, again a config button for building video profiles.
Do you mean on the Encoder Config tab?

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Originally Posted by jcthorne View Post
You will need to create one for x264 to encode for your Tivo. I would not suggest specific bitrates but rather the constant quality setting. Yes the AVC profiles limit max bitrate. You would have to look up the AVC Profiles definitions but 4.1 high profile is the max profile TivoHD or Premiere support. Stay within that and you will by definition meet the spec. This is where the bitrate limits and other limits for Tivo came from.
I was given to understand the maximum bitrate for the S3 was about 25M, while the Premier could handle about 35M. The THD seems to have problem with a video I encoded at a Q of 17, while the S3 and the Premier don't (I think - I'm having several other issues, so it is a bit hard to tell).

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Output settings, you do not care about maximum filesize as tivo does not have a known limit.
I don't see this parameter.

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Originally Posted by jcthorne View Post
No splitting, one file per input file. Container format MP4
OK.

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Originally Posted by jcthorne View Post
device type ISMA.
Now who the heck would have guessed that? I guess in retrospect it is clear.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcthorne View Post
There are MANY other ways of accomplishing an mp4 file in megui with far less automation but I thought it easiest to start with one click.

The manual method would entail indexing, avisynth script editing, encoding audio and video and then muxing. Each a seperate step.
I have no problem with fairly manual methods of operation, but there needs to be a clear guide detailing what each step does and the implications of variations in each step.

Last edited by lrhorer : 07-23-2012 at 09:23 PM.
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Old 07-24-2012, 10:03 AM   #17
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Again, ripping the BR content to a single file for editing or further manipulation is not part of meGUI. If you need to see what each of the parts are in makeMKV, suggest you work with that software's author to add the functions. makeMKV is not what most folks using meGUI use, nor are the preview and rip functions a part of meGUI. I really cannot help you further on the ripping. I use AnyDVD. Perhaps someone else can help you with makeMKV.

In general you will not need to splice files together for BR. Using a good ripper, you would have a single file from DVD as well even though they are stored as a group of 1GB VOB files.

I agree the menus and functions of meGUI are a bit confusing to the uninitiated. I do not mean to sound like you should have known or that any of this is obvious. Its not. meGUI is a front end and toolbox maintainer for a group of video and audio tools. Its a toolbox. The tools are by others. There is no 'normal path' through. It all depends on what you are trying to do. Your comment is akin to complaining to Sears that a Craftsman tool box does not have instructions for rebuilding your transmission. Enough excuses, I am not the author but its the most complete and well maintained set of AV tools available. And the price is right even if the learning curve is steep.

It appears you are not using the latest one-click encoder. What you have will work fine for single files though. The newer version handles batches of files and the dialog boxes are a bit different layout. I'll try to comment on what you are seeing. The latest one-click tool is available seperatly at the moment as it has not been rolled in to the production or beta server for meGUI.

Looking at the settings you have for one-click dialog, most look correct but would like to see your settings for the one-click profile on the General tab. Also, on the encoder config tab, change the device type to ISMA.

I think you are close. Just trying to pass on what I learned works for a tivo encode. Took me a long time and much trial and error to find my way through. There are no good guides that I have found.

AVIsynth script files are a bit much to try and explain at the moment. I have barely scratched the surface of what they can do. Used that function more when I was encoding for THD than for Premiere as the THD still has the 720p bug when handling non-full frame video. The Premiere handles these fine.
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Old 07-25-2012, 11:47 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by jcthorne View Post
I would not suggest specific bitrates but rather the constant quality setting. Yes the AVC profiles limit max bitrate. You would have to look up the AVC Profiles definitions but 4.1 high profile is the max profile TivoHD or Premiere support. Stay within that and you will by definition meet the spec. This is where the bitrate limits and other limits for Tivo came from.
Actually, not. I looked up the specs, and the 4.1 High spec allows for bit rates up to 62,500 Kbps, which is far beyond what any currently shipped TiVo can support. Indeed, I confirmed a 4.1 coding with a Q factor of 17 from HandBrake causes issues with a TiVoHD while displaying high differential frames (snow, smoke, bat swarm, etc.) while the S3 and the Premier did not stutter or burp on the same file. OTOH, I am converting a file right now using MeGUI with the settings you suggested, and it looks like the file will be significantly smaller than the one created by HandBrake. This does suggest a lower bit rate, with possibly a consequentially lower maximum bit rate, but it also suggests a potentially lower PQ.
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Old 07-25-2012, 12:22 PM   #19
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Again, ripping the BR content to a single file for editing or further manipulation is not part of meGUI. If you need to see what each of the parts are in makeMKV, suggest you work with that software's author to add the functions.
I've considered that, and in the long run I may indeed see if I can get the developers of MakeMKV to include some additional features. If I get some time, I might even put them in and submit them, myself. It is, after all, open source. OTOH, HandBrake has the ability to create short test clips, which is a better solution, since it kills several birds with one stone, including some that cannot be killed by a atand-alone ripper, so perhaps a better solution is to get the developers of MeGUI to create a similar functionality for MeGUI.

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Using a good ripper, you would have a single file from DVD as well even though they are stored as a group of 1GB VOB files.
Not really. First of all, I don't think MeGUI is intended solely for the purpose of converting BRD rips. Secondly, even with a BRD disk, there are often going to be multiple video sources. This disk is an example. I'm not certain what the other two 22G files are (probably different release versions or some such), but the first 22G file is the entire movie. Any disk (BRD or DVD) with multiple releases or multiple films is going to produce multiple files, and the only way to know which file is which film is to preview it.

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makeMKV is not what most folks using meGUI use
I fail to see how that is particularly relevant. A preview function can be handy no matter what was used to create the original file(s). Obviously the developers of HandBrake considered it a useful tool, the fact HandBrake has generally fewer tools and features notwithstanding.

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I agree the menus and functions of meGUI are a bit confusing to the uninitiated.
It's not the menus that are the problem, although they could have been much better organized. The problem is the lack of descriptions.

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Its a toolbox. The tools are by others. There is no 'normal path' through. It all depends on what you are trying to do.
Again, that's not the issue. The issue is knowing which tools do what.

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Your comment is akin to complaining to Sears that a Craftsman tool box does not have instructions for rebuilding your transmission.
That's a poor analogy. A better analogy would be an unassembled transmission kit with no parts list and no assembly drawings.

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And the price is right even if the learning curve is steep.
The learning curve would be perfectly flat if there were only proper descriptions of what each tool did somewhere.

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It appears you are not using the latest one-click encoder. What you have will work fine for single files though. The newer version handles batches of files and the dialog boxes are a bit different layout. I'll try to comment on what you are seeing. The latest one-click tool is available seperatly at the moment as it has not been rolled in to the production or beta server for meGUI.
<Ahem>
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Old 07-26-2012, 01:57 PM   #20
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The tools are called what thier independant authors called them. Many are self evident by thier name. Regardless, each is described by its author (different from meGUI) along with instructions for use by its creator at a site or forum of thier choosing, mostly available via doom.org

There is a previewer in meGUI but its part of the manual chain. Open Avisynth script creator in the tools menu. When you select a video for input a preview is displayed. Also a preview of the effect of the various settings you apply for the script are displayed so you can see what you are doing as you go. (crop, boarders, resize and aspect ratio) An avisynth script is the input file for an indexer. Once indexed the video, multiple audio tracks and subtitle tracks can be encoded and muxed to a container.

A discription of each tool would be a big undertaking. Simple discriptions would be useless. Again, its a big learning curve to learn all these tools. I will stop trying to make excuses for meGUI. It is what it is and it works very well. Its not easy but it is very full featured. I will continue to try to help where I can. Much of its capabilities are beyond my grasp.
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Old 07-26-2012, 04:22 PM   #21
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Jeez, jcthorne...you are more patient than I am.

Here is what I found with a 5s google search. This is a tutorial about ripping a blu-ray disc with MakeMKV. Surprisingly enough, he was using the Batman Begins Blu-ray for the tutorial.

http://techfleece.com/2012/03/05/how...using-makemkv/

lrhorer, MeGUI and avisynth in general are not tools that spoon feed you everything (or really anything). If you want to use them, then take the time to learn them. It won't be easy or quick and will likely be frustrating until you get a handle on them. If you don't want to do that, then use Handbrake, use whatever you want. Don't jump down someone's throat that is honestly trying to help you.
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Old 07-27-2012, 09:21 AM   #22
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Jeez, jcthorne...you are more patient than I am.
Evidently so, since it seems you are too impatient to follow the thread.

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Here is what I found with a 5s google search. This is a tutorial about ripping a blu-ray disc with MakeMKV.
I never asked or suggested I needed any help with MakeMKV. Frankly, it is insulting that anyone suggest I would. I wouldn't mention it, however, except that it underlines the issue at hand. There are tons of useless, trivial volumes of information on perfectly obvious matters, but almost nothing I have been able to find on important or obscure ones.

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lrhorer, MeGUI and avisynth in general are not tools that spoon feed you everything (or really anything).
I never asked to be spoon fed anything. All I am requesting is a clear, concise documentation set. Although they hate doing documentation, and although they are often terrible at it, it is the responsibility of any developer to see to it such documentation exists.

Oh, and just BTW, spoon-feeding is what any GUI, and MeGUI in particular, is about, which is one of the many reasons why I hate GUIs.

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If you want to use them, then take the time to learn them.
Point me to the documentation and I will gladly do so. I am all for trial and error, but in this case trial and error are not a practical means for a learning path. With each test iteration taking at least a day and often several days, it could easily take years to discover the things one needs to know, given the large number of pathways handled by the program.

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It won't be easy or quick and will likely be frustrating until you get a handle on them. If you don't want to do that, then use Handbrake, use whatever you want.
Ultimately I may, since Handbrake is producing generally superior results at this point, except when played on the THD. Wouldn't it be a shame, however, to abandon what is ultimately a better solution merely because the author failed to provide decent documentation? (Actually, my preference would be ffmpeg, and if I can figure out what pyTivo doesn't like about the output from my ffmpeg string, I will edit it and use that.)

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Don't jump down someone's throat that is honestly trying to help you.
I'm not jumping down anyone's throat. The shortfalls of the MeGUI documentation or of the program itself are certainly not jcthorne's fault. Certainly my hat is off to him for his assistance.
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Old 07-27-2012, 02:19 PM   #23
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......... All I am requesting is a clear, concise documentation set. Although they hate doing documentation, and although they are often terrible at it, it is the responsibility of any developer to see to it such documentation exists. ....
Wrong! It is not the responsibility of a developer to ensure good documentation, unless he is making money from the program. Good docs for free programs are great and highly desirable -- but not a responsibility.
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......... Point me to the documentation and I will gladly do so. I am all for trial and error, but in this case trial and error are not a practical means for a learning path. With each test iteration taking at least a day and often several days, it could easily take years to discover the things one needs to know, given the large number of pathways handled by the program.........
I think txporter has already put your situation in a proper perspective:
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.......lrhorer, MeGUI and avisynth in general are not tools that spoon feed you everything (or really anything). If you want to use them, then take the time to learn them. It won't be easy or quick and will likely be frustrating until you get a handle on them. ........
That said, I know you are quite knowledgable in many subjects and have helped others many times on this forum. I'm sure othere will return the favor, as long as you don't ask for the moon, the "moon" referring to complete, thorough, well-organized and easy-to-read docs on all free software.
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Old 07-27-2012, 04:23 PM   #24
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I never could get good results out of Handbrake, indeed when I was attempting to use it, could not even handle ac3 audio or added boarder to create full frame video. Not sure if it ever did as once I found the time to learn work paths in meGUI I never looked back. Every time I need something more or different, its almost always already there if I take the time to look.

If you want to learn the tools, I suggest you learn avisynth script first. Then usage and arguments for x264, aften ac3, eac3to and a few others. Yes, lots to learn. meGUI just makes them all easier to use once you know how and all in one place and all updated by one system. Most of the tools used have a command line interface, perhaps you would be happier using that.

Again, its a toolbox. Not the tools. Instructions are as simple as open tool box, select tool, use, repeat as needed, close toolbox.

You are asking for documentation on the tools themselves. Thats not part of meGUI. See the author sites for each tool, most do have documentation. That's how I learned what I needed.....and how much I have no desire to know.

You will never get ffmpeg to create properly formed ISMA compliant mp4 containers as they cannot be created in a linear fashion. Same reason pytivo does not create them on the fly for push. Its a multipass process and as good as ffmpeg is for some things, this is not one. There is no one tool that can do what you want in one step.
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Old 07-27-2012, 04:53 PM   #25
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Wrong! It is not the responsibility of a developer to ensure good documentation
Oh, yes, it is. It is as much a part of the program as the interface and considerably more so than any installer utility.

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unless he is making money from the program.
Not at all. Just because the developer isn't getting cash for his effort does not mean he is not being renumerated. Whether his ego is being stroked by accolades from users or he merely gets a good feeling helping others, he still is releasing the app because he obtains some personal benefit from doing so.

Even setting aside the issue of renumeration, however, if the developer wants the users to be able to make good use of his efforts, then they are going to need appropriate documentation. If he doesn't want them to make good use of the program, then there wouild seem to be little point in distributing the program. Whatever else may be true, the existence of appropriate documentation can make a big difference in the number of users who decide to keep a tool and who make good use of it, and we may properly infer that widespread and effective use of a developer's product is the goal of every developer who releases software, free or otherwise.

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That said, I know you are quite knowledgable in many subjects and have helped others many times on this forum. I'm sure othere will return the favor, as long as you don't ask for the moon, the "moon" referring to complete, thorough, well-organized and easy-to-read docs on all free software.
man ffmpeg

Less than 700 lines and fewer than 3700 words.

I really do not think something comparable is too much to ask. A brief paragraph or at most two on each feature is more than enough. A slightly formalized version of a paragraph like the one jcthorne posted above talkng about the manual preview feature in avisynth would be fine. If the feature in question is an external tool developed by someone else then at least a link to that work's web page and an attribution to the author is a bare minimum for politeness to the original author, let alone being considerate to one's users.

The developer doesn't even have to provide it themselves. They can simply ask a beta tester or accomplished user to help with a guide, even an expansive one. I've done it, and there are plenty of others out there like me who would be willing and able to collaborate with the principle developer of a favorite free or shareware utility to produce a reasonable set of docs.

Last edited by lrhorer : 07-27-2012 at 05:03 PM.
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Old 07-27-2012, 05:16 PM   #26
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You are right, it would be nice. No one has done it yet. The meGUI project has passed from one developer to another twice now that I know of, with parts by additional authors. Each has interest in a section it seams and none in the sort of documentation you speak of. As its free, good luck in demanding such.

But, if you wanted to publish it, I can't imagine Zathor turning down the help. I have seen no one volunteer for such an effort.
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Old 07-27-2012, 06:04 PM   #27
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I never could get good results out of Handbrake, indeed when I was attempting to use it, could not even handle ac3 audio
Perhaps it has been added, because it is there now.

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or added boarder to create full frame video.
Actually, this is one thing I disliked in the MeGUI output. For most videos, I would prefer a 16:9 crop. I did infer MeGUI does allow this, and if I keep MeGUI, it is one of the features I will need to investigate.

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Most of the tools used have a command line interface, perhaps you would be happier using that.
If there are Linux ports, or even if they run under dosbox or wine, you bet.

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Again, its a toolbox. Not the tools. Instructions are as simple as open tool box, select tool, use, repeat as needed, close toolbox.
That's a little like saying the instructions for flying a jet from Miami to Seattle are start engines, get jet into the air, land the jet.

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You are asking for documentation on the tools themselves.
Not necessarily. I am asking for a guide that effectively points out WHICH TOOLS need to be investigated. For example: "Avisynth does X, Y, Z." or "HDstreaminput (or whatever it is called) provides Q." More to the point, some of the functions internal to MeGUI are unclear, and indeed in some cases seem to do nothing at all. One needs ot know when and why they do nothing. For example, neither the output field in the main menu nor the output file name in the One Click menu seem to do anything at all. I tried various things, but no matter what I tried, the output name was sitll the same as the input name with a .mp4 extension.

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You will never get ffmpeg to create properly formed ISMA compliant mp4 containers as they cannot be created in a linear fashion. Same reason pytivo does not create them on the fly for push. Its a multipass process and as good as ffmpeg is for some things, this is not one. There is no one tool that can do what you want in one step.
I have no problem implementing multi-pass operations or using more than one tool.
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Old 07-27-2012, 06:08 PM   #28
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OK, here is an example of what I mean WRT the external utilities. This was written for another video conversion utility, not MeGUI, but it illustrates my point:

Code:
avi2raw:      Extracts audio/video tracks from an AVI file 
lboxcrop:     Vertically crops raw video to a new aspect ratio 
rgb2yuv:      Convert 24 bit RGB data file to a YUV 4:2:0 file 
mp4venc:      Encodes raw video into MPEG-4 encoded video using ISO codec - not available on all systems 
mp4creator:   Creates and hints audio/video tracks to an mp4 file. Can also be used to extract tracks and reconstruct AAC headers, and can encrypt to the ISMACryp specification. It will also assemble:    3GPP files, but not hint them. 
xvidenc:      Encodes raw video into MPEG-4 encoded video using the Xvid codec. Not available with xvid 1.0 (yet) 
mp4dump:      Utility to dump MP4 file meta-information in text form 
mp4trackdump: Utility to dump MP4 file track information in text form 
mp4info:      Utility to display MP4 file summary 
avidump:      Utility to display AVI file summary 
yuvdump:      Utility to display a raw video file on the screen
I just do not think that is too much to ask. What I don't need are "stumble by stumble" guides, tutorials that are badly out of date, too highly specific, or just plain wrong. There are a ton of them for MeGUI.

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Old 07-27-2012, 06:34 PM   #29
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You are right, it would be nice. No one has done it yet. The meGUI project has passed from one developer to another twice now that I know of, with parts by additional authors. Each has interest in a section it seams and none in the sort of documentation you speak of. As its free, good luck in demanding such.
I demand it of more than 29,000 GPL Linux programs, and get it. Many of them have dozens of developers and many have had the principal developer change many times. Try looking at the man page for bash some time, or even mdadm.

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But, if you wanted to publish it, I can't imagine Zathor turning down the help.
Obviously, I am nowhere nearly competent to that task at this point. I certianly would be very willing if it ever comes to pass that I am. It is the least that anyone should be willing to give back for the use of a full featured freeware utility.

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I have seen no one volunteer for such an effort.
Has he asked for volunteers?

Look, I'm not trying to make out anyone as the bad guy, here, nor am I giving MeGUI a bad mark - or any kind of mark at this point. I am just pointing out its documentation leaves much to be desired, and that producing documentration that leaves much less to be desired is simply not a herculean undertaking.
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Old 07-28-2012, 12:41 AM   #30
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.........Look, I'm not trying to make out anyone as the bad guy, here, nor am I giving MeGUI a bad mark - or any kind of mark at this point. I am just pointing out its documentation leaves much to be desired, and that producing documentration that leaves much less to be desired is simply not a herculean undertaking.
The documentation for many free programs "leaves much to be desired", at least as judged by many potential users. Despite your assertion that developers should provide better documentation so their programs will be more widely used, it is apparent that many developers are willing to settle for a reduced number of users (those who are willing to put in the effort to understand program usage in spite of non-optimum documentation) rather than spend more time on documentation. Since they aren't being paid, this tradeoff this theirs to make -- and the users of the program, whatever their number, benefit from it. You can't force a "responsibility" of providing documentation to your standards on developers.
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