video encoding&cleaning

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June 20, 2004

New page on digital TV (DVB). Not intended as an introduction or general guide, but covering issues like authoring DVDs from DVB recordings and converting HDTV to DVD format.
Also some updates on the TV-out and the audio page.
Pegasus Imaging have just released version 3 of their PIC MJPEG codec. Very good upgrade/ cross upgrade price of only $14. (Remember that Studio9 has v.2 already included. Check up the new features to see if v.3 is interesting for you).

April 3, 2004

Studio9 version 9.08 seems to be the final release now. A major progress from Studio8, in features and usability: MPEG2 smart rendering works, making it a good Mpeg2 editor, beneath all the other features (make sure you just select DVD compatible output and your input files do not have wrong bitrate entries in the header; patch with DVDpatcher if necessary).
Another long wanted improvement: Workspace up to 1600x1200 supported. Attention: Studio9 now includes the PIC Mjpeg codec. All even present in the OEM (SE) version. A bargain in any case. Studio9 also installs its own DV codecs and some other filters.

Cinemacraft announced CCE Basic v. 2.69, several new features. Test results should not have changed from v. 2.67. Also compare the crispness tests on the DV page.

March 5, 2004

Pinnacle Studio9 is out. Lots of new features like smart MPEG2 rendering, Image correction filters, support of larger PC screens. Opinions about its stability are still divided (I crashed it fiddling around with DVD menus) and it lies about frame drops with MPEG cature, but it seems to be a good MPEG2 editor: Always leaves original MPEG as is and even compresses new transisions at the same bitrate (which can be a problem at low bitrates becaus it can't do that well). Peculiar that it always insists to recode the audio to 224 kbps. ZDnet review of Studio9.

Have a look at Magix: Magix Video Deluxe has an easy interface, lots of terrific functions including great restoration features, and is not expensive. Same for Magix Audio Cleaning Lab: Everything from decrackling over time stretching to surround effects, and much more. Also a very easy interface. They have several other programs too, trials can be downloaded.

A correction to the MPEG2 resolution test: Green was a little dark with CCE, due to a bug in VirtualDubMPEG2 that I used for frame grabbing. Now it's all even. CCE is top, no doubt.

January 13, 2004

Several changes/new Items in Audio Page.

January 8, 2004

DVDauthorGUI is a frontend for the GPL software DVDauthor. A free package that may be not yet be quite as easy to use as some of the commercial home solutions, but it can already handle multiple audio streams. There is also a guide to it.

Added some resolution tests for DV, MJPEG and MPEG2 encoders.

December 25, 2003 - Merry Christmas !

New page with DV/DVD encoding examples.
Revised article on source filtering for DVD.

Stabilising older camcorder videos is still not so simple. I've been digging into this again with Deshaker filter for VirtualDub and got some very encouraging results. Read about these experiments and see some quite impressive results.

November 8, 2003

Since yesterday, Ahead Nero 6.00.23 update is available. This is an important update, because until now, Nero6 burned files in backward order (from z to a), which couldn't be seen in the burner window or if you opened a DVD in Windows (both sort files no matter what the original sequence was), but was evident during burning and a very annoying and astonishingly stupid bug if one tried to play mp3 or mpeg files on a DVD player in orderly sequence. 6.00.23 fixes that.
Roxio WinOnCD gives you full control over the sequence of files being burned, as well as more options on DVD recording formats.
Both programs are available as very cheap OEM versions and coexist without problems, so one may just select what works best for a given task.

October 25, 2003

Some new filtering and authoring tricks (dual language), see DVD page.
Also some news and updates, useful software links in Audio Page.
New Software hints:
VirtualDubMPEG2 is a version that can read MPEG2 and AC3 audio.
GermaniXEncoder is a universal encoder/transcoder for many audio formats; also available from Fileforum.

October 5, 2003

A major site update will be necessary due to newer developments. For most current information, check the DVD page. Has been updated today.
Also have a look at Scenalyzer Live again. It now comes with multiple start/stop timers: The perfect quality TV recording application if you have an analog/DV converter or a camcorder with this capability built in.

August 31, 2003

TMPGEnc DVD Author now comes with a menu editor.

August 25, 2003

You may have noticed the new DVD page. Not only the prices for DVD burners, also the immaturity of available software has delayed my decision to add this section. Now it's about time. The first chapters of DVD page have been finished, more to come.

July 11, 2003

Accidentally, I played around with Dscaler 4.16's timeshift features and found it to be very convenient and stable. The setup is a bit tricky and it can only record 1/2 frame height, but other than most recording programs it works with almost any TV card and tuner !
I wrote a timer program for it that can also set the TV channel at start of recording. You may pre-program multiple TV recordings by starting multiple instances of it. More.
Also new versions of VDtimer, see link page.

Finally a real headline from the codec front: Microsoft has released a version of its Windows Media 9 codec that works with VirtualDub and Media Player 6.4. Download link to Microsoft.

Feb 27, 2003

The excellent CinemaCraft encoder has become affordable:
CCE Basic offers 2-pass VBR, at an advertised price of 58$.
DVD Burners are also affordable meanwhile, so this is the right product at the right time. A properly encoded DVD can reproduce your DV videos with no quality loss, easy handling and a convenient menu structure.

DivX5.03 has been out for a couple of weeks. Main progress is true interlacing support, which is only available in the pro version however. Since they still require you to accept molestations like ad support or activation with this, and since DVD burners got so cheap, I however doubt if this will beat MPEG2 with interlaced (DV or TV) material.

Jan 5,2003

Ogg Vorbis rocks. More at the Audio Page. New Tool: VirtualDubMod is a must if you want to further edit your .ogm files. It can also do a LOT more, have a look at their site.

Result from long and extensive test with DivX 5.02 at my MPEG4 Page.

Oct 3,2002

Surprisingly, after the DMCA blues, a reasonable proposal for a fair copyright law.
DivX 5.02 is really easy to use. Added a example (1.75 MB) from very difficult DV footage, DivXpro, VirtualDub, only told DivX to use qpel, bidirectional and 2-pass at about 1150 kbps, no VirtualDub filtering. The result is astounding for this bit rate and frame size. Telling Divx that the source was interlaced, top field first, did a quite good deinterlacing; however I would prefer if it could encode truly interlaced, like MPEG2 does.

Sept 19,2002

Recently, the German c't magazine has tested several audio codecs including mp3pro, WM9, MP4-AAC, RealMediaSurround. Ogg Vorbis 1.0 beats them all at 64 as well as 128 kbps.
Added some hints to Audio page: How to get rid of hum.
Added a preliminary page on MicroMV.

July 20,2002

Ogg Vorbis Audio 1.0 has been released. It's a free, open-source, high compression audio format that's a real alternative to mp3. Very good results for movies at 64 kbps/vbr, best of all for that rate. Essential for movie applications of course the Ogg DirectShow filter, that also supports multiple audio streams (selectable language in Media Player, for example).
If you prefer mp3 and need dual language, have a look at the Morgan Stream Switcher.
There is a new ISO compliant MPEG4 codec from Sigma designs. It's free and can do interlaced mode. Not yet tested here. Sigma Designs also develops a chip for MPEG4 playback.
For compatibility with future hardware MPEG4 players, a true MPEG4 file format is preferable to the wrapping in an avi file that's most common now. Have a look at MP4UI and MPEG4IP for the task.
CDRs with 90 or 99 min capacity may be a solution for large media files or backups. Added links for media and a drive compatibility list (in German).
If you want to squeeze even more into one CD (useful for all MPEG file types) have a look at Mode2CDMaker.

June 28,2002

Pinnacle Systems has announced Studio8, scheduled for August. Features, like 'real time DV - MPEG2 transcoding' and comprehensive CD/SCVD/DVD authoring look very promising.

June 25,2002

Codecpage has been down for almost 2 weeks because of provider problems, maybe linked to their ongoing business restructuring.
They couldn't yet resolve it so I decided to switch to a new provider and a new web address:
Sorry it hasn't even been possible yet to set a redirection at the old site.

June 5,2002

Thanks to reader feedback, I could update the TV-out page: Matrox G450/G550 definitely deliver true RGB to SCART connectors.

May 18,2002

DivX 5.02 has been released. It's the first 5.x version that's really woth upgrading to from 4.12. Still the silly 'activation' is in it, but you can also use the ad supported version (safe in terms of stability, however it spys on your surfing habits). Like many of these apps, the ad software starts from HkeyLocalMachine/run in the registry so there is also a possibility to disable it.
DivX5 does not have the option to leave DivX3.x in place for older movies, however as far as I could evaluate, 3.x playback has been improved to about 100% quality and in some aspects it's even better than with the original codec, because it's more fluent. Same with 4.x movies; especially the dualhead TV ouput profits significantly from the new features.
Playa 2.0 that comes with it cannot play as wallpaper any more. I hardly used that but it was way cool. I don't yet know if the old playa could be saved somehow.

There are some utilities so useful that I have added a General Utilities section to my links page.

Added links to MP4 and Ogg Vorbis Audio.

May 3,2002

Our German readers may be interested in an online petition against the European version of DMCA.

Apr 5,2002

'There is evil there that does not sleep' - instead of abolishing DMCA as unconstitutional, US lawmakers are preparing to exaggerate it into something that would not only threaten everybody's civil rights but also the whole future of information technology and thereby our all personal wealth and security. This due to the greed and influence of one tiny (and in great parts quite useless, ain't it?) section of the economy, the media industry.
Links about it :
Stop Policeware

EFF Action Alert
U.S. Senators alphabetically

United States Senate Committee comment form
If don't like Mediocracy and if you're a US citizen (they do not like foreign opinions although they're trying to oppress their local laws to anybody else in the world), then you may contact your representative about it or share one of the petitions mentioned in the links.

You might have wondered why I didn't yet comment on DivX5. Well, there is no doubt that DivX is worth what they ask for it and I already had already drawn my credit card, when I read that they added 'activation' to it.
Activation is a very stupid invention. It has the incurable flaw that it links programs to a machine, not to the person who bought them. Just imagine if everybody would do this. A failed harddisk might cause me to have to call dozens of companies to re-'activate' all my - of course legally purchased - programs, in order to be able to use them on a replacement disk.
If my PC fails I usually plug my harddisk into another machine, which would probably cause the same thing to happen.
It's already a big nuisance if an OS uses activation, but a codec ??

Feb 16,2002

Bitrate calculator v.2 with Divx4 button and source.

Feb 15,2002

DVD recorders have now dropped to a price that people used to spend for a top CD burner not even 2 years ago. Media prices have reached the $/byte ratio of CDs. For example, there's a remarkable offer at this link (of course we're not related to this in any way and can't say anything about quality. You can find some user comments at AVSforum).
The beginning price war indicates that DVD recording will likely see an explosive growth this year.
If you want to try DVD for video recording, best way seems to be a DVD-R/RW drive because according to a large number of tests published, it should be much more compatible to standalone players than DVD+RW.

Feb 13,2002

TMPGenc is about to get commercial. More at Pegasys.
It seems that while encoding speed was improved, they are stripping capabilities from it a bit too deliberately, under the label of user friendliness. Keep your old copies until the dust has settled.

Feb 5,2002

Experiments resulted in a pretty universal filter combination for VirtualDub that works with both High and low quality sources, interlaced and non interlaced. Good for TV recordings where sources are often wildly mixed. With preparation like this, DivX4 really excels at large frame sizes. 1350 kbps sufficient for full PAL(2-pass encoding).
Added more example pictures.
Added link to FreeVCR.

Jan 27,2002

Recompressing MPEG2: plugin for TMPGenc and more

Jan 25,2002

Added a sample recipe for 2-pass DivX4.
Added link to Elecard MPEG2 engine. The Elecard site also contains links to some other interesting things.

Dec 13,2001

Due to a hacker's attack, the Freenet host has been down for days. I hope they could fix the security problem.
However uploading files was impossible for 2 weeks, so several improvements got stuck in the pipeline:
Exchanged the MPEG4V2 example video for a DivX4.11 and also updated the TMPGenc example for direct comparison. Edited several of the recipes to reflect the latest results.
Added DV codec generation tests for MS and MC codec.

Nov 20, 2001

I've now tested the new DScaler 3.1.0 (former dTV) for several days, and the conclusion is that this is a very significant update with excellent features and stability. It's the perfect way to view TV on a PC.
They are also working on a time shift feature (with already very promising results), and on a DirectShow filter of their deinterlacer.
Note that I've added some hints about compressing DV material, and done some general editing. All audio hints are now on the audio page.

Oct 31, 2001

Added a page about TV-Output, mainly the Matrox DualHead cards.

Oct 27, 2001

With average processor speeds approaching and passing 1GHz, doubling frame rates becomes a practical solution for encoding interlaced material for PC playback. TMPGenc has these very good frame doubling deinterlacers that allow to make 50 or 60 Hz MPEG2.
It can also be used to encode other formats at double rate, DivX4 for example. More in the TMPGenc section.

Oct 15, 2001

Some experiments with TMPGenc 2.0 on DV footage led to very good results with extended SVCD format. Yields >30min of DVD quality on one CD. More here.

Sept 28,2001

TMPGenc 2.0 final is out for download. Still a '30 day test' version. More at

Sept 9,2001

Added some simple nandub recipes, updated WindowsMedia8 page with comparison to nandub and DivX4.

Sept 3,2001

For people using DVD2AVI and the vfapi converter: VirtualDub's proxy (Aviproxy and Auxsetup) can affect the vfapi converter, resulting in strange error messages and unusable files. Temporarily disabling the proxy will help.

Aug 31,2001

Some days ago, DivX4 final has been released. Meanwhile I have finished some tests and I'm amazed. More here.

Aug 10,2001

Have a look at Steadyhand from Dynapel. A promising and affordable new image stabilizer. Demo available (haven't yet tested it myself). Dynapel also has MotionPerfect, an application that can perfectly change frame rates. This one I've tested and it's marvelous.

Several people have complained they were asked about passwords when downloading files from this site. Neither I nor my provider can reproduce this problem. If it happens to you, please e-mail me and also tell me about your OS and browser configuration. What seems to help is to right click on the links and choose "save target as".

Aug 02,2001

New ScenalyzerLive recognizes scenes while capturing and directly writes compatible files for StudioDV. Especially great for people who have old 8/Hi8 tapes and now use a Digital8 camcorder :
Digital8 devices play analog tapes significantly better than the original camcorder, and the whole following process is lossless. This may be reason enough to re-cut some old projects.

July 25,2001

Alert: There's a worm named Sircam spreading rapidly on the Internet. Got some over my reply address. (No, I'm not that stupid to double click on any mail attachment I'm not 100% sure about :-). Read more on AVP's Sircam page.

There has been a rapid development in so called 'smart bitrate control' (SBC) encoding. The best of these softwares, nandub, is now in release candidate state at It works with MS MPEG4V2 as well as some hacked varieties. Frame by frame bitrate control and measures against stuttering make this method superior even to the new WM8 codecs. See the MPEG4 page.

July 15,2001

Made VDTimer, a version of TTTimer that starts and stops VirtualDub's capture module.

June 25,2001

Added an audio page w. some sweep samples.

May 5,2001

For all people who use StudioDV under Win98 or WinME, here is the ultimate capturing solution:
Scenalyzer Live
now writes .scn files for StudioDV.
I contributed my .scn file structure knowledge from

Bugfix in chapter on using VirtualDub with WindowsMedia8 (vdicmdrv.dll must also be copied to System directory).

Mar 31,2001                                         

Added link for Matrox G400/G450 DualHead owners: "DivXG400" is a little filter that enables TV-out also for videos 720 pixels wide (or other formats that are not a multiple of 32). This has always been a problem with MPEG4, MJPEG, MSMedia7 and 8, and DV codecs except Microsoft's. This is not a codec but a filter. Works with Media Player 6.4 (not 7) and any codec.

Mar 30,2001

Added an MS WindowsMedia8 page with hints to use VirtualDub for filtering and frameserving.
Field order issues with DV: Description and workaround on DV page.

Mar 29,2001

WindowsMedia8 encoder release version (contains decoder; the separately downloadable decoders are still beta). These codecs compress better than MPEG4/MP3. CPU load has dropped compared with the beta, now comparable to MPEG4 or even less. More here.
The encoder is command line based, so you'd probably like this GUI which makes it very easy to use.
Some free 3rd party utilities like MediaCleaner EZ 4 are also available at Microsoft's site. Surely worth evaluating.

A really conservative mainstream website, Internet Archive, have meanwhile released part of their collection of rights free movies encoded with the "DivX;-)" codec. Demand for a good universal distribution codec is really strong, obviously.

Mar 10, 2001

Pegasus starting to charge for PIC MJPEG codec (was free before). 'Special offer' now is about $18, which is still very reasonable. (Regular price list shows $99, which would be overpriced compared to $20 ask for theirs).

Mar 5, 2001

Added hint about dvd2avi (makes VirtualDub read MPEG2) to links page.
Updated low bitrate MPEG2 templates for TMPGenc.

Feb 26, 2001 now redirects to Systran. Conditions and functionality no longer acceptable. Removed.
TMPGenc 12c with re-enabled MPEG2 support is out since some days, however it's time limited and some people reported crashes with it.
StudioDV 1.10 final with support for MPEG2 and all system codecs ins available (English version only). Recommended upgrade, supports but does not need DirectX8.
Warning: Many older media programs cannot work with DirectX8. Do not upgrade unless you have to. Make a system backup just in case, because there is no deinstall! Some newer software packages require it, but some even don't tell you and install it without any warning, bombing other applications :-(
p.s.: DirectX 8.0a now seems to work without problems.

Feb 2, 2001

Scenalyzer Live beta/preview released.

Jan 25, 2001

An open source MPEG4 codec from 'Project Mayo', that is supposed not to infringe with software copyrights, had its beta release.
Of the "DivX;-)" codec, a version (3.20) has been sighted that has a scene detection feature.

Jan 16, 2001

Recordable DVD drives to become reality.

Jan 2, 2001

TMPGenc will soon be released as payware with MPEG2 function enabled again, and there will also be demo versions available.

Jan 1, 2001

Using VirtualDub for multi segment DV capturing possible (thanks to Mr. Muehlemann for the hint), see StudioDV page.
I really have to add this link: not only has a versatile DV editing software, it also has a free tool for DV type1/type2 conversion and a really comprehensive online guide to digital video, excellent, about 200 pages.

Dec 22, 2000

First tests have shown that the new Windows Media 8 encoder compresses much better than MS MPEG4. CPU load and encoding times are however much higher !
A GUI for the command line based encoder has already been released by an independent programmer.

Dec. 15, 2000

New Microsoft Windows Media 8 codecs released.

Dec. 8, 2000

News about Tsunami encoder: TMPGenc 1.2b has no MPEG2 support any more, which makes it pretty useless. This because the manufacturer would have to pay 4$ per copy to the MPEG licensing agency. No message about a licensed version. Instead the author plans to market an SDK to companies. My opinion: Keep your copy of 1.2a until further news.

New hint for StudioDV(1.10beta): Holding down the Shift key while starting StudioDV will make it recognize all installed codecs. MPEG4 and MP3 bitrate settings don't work however, default only.

Have decided to upload WaveMP3 with permission. More under Links.

Tricks to squeeze the max out of MPEG4, here.

Dec. 1, 2000

If you're trying TerraTV WDM beta 0.3, you might find my little experimental timer utility useful.

Nov. 29,2000

Tired of blurred motion when viewing TV in your PC ?
Try dTV !

Nov. 25,2000

Mpg4 Calculator 1.5c, now NTSC aware.
Several text updates all over these pages.

Nov. 20,2000

ScTrans 1.5 beta released. Corrected some possible bug with Scenalyzer lists from DV files. Better user interface for multiple file output.

Nov. 16, 2000

ScTrans 1 beta released. Now asks before replacing .scn files.

Nov. 15,2000

Comments about using Media Player / Media Tools 7 added to MPEG4 page.
Mpg4 Calculator 1.5 uploaded. If you don't have the necessary VB6 runtime files, you can obtain them from Just do a search for 'runtime'.

Nov 8,2000

I've decided to write my own bitrate calculator for MPEG4. This one can also optimize the frame size for 3 selectable quality levels, based on empiric data.
Cinemaster2000 now finally sold as stand alone product from Elsa (ELSAmovie 2000). This DVD player installs the best MPEG2 decoding engine for Media Player, in my opinion. Only about 14$.

Nov 5,2000

Replaced MPEG2 and some MPEG4 examples with the same material now captured via DV interface and compressed with latest filters. Better quality.
Added PAL DVD template for Tsunami due to requests.

Nov 3, 2000

Interlaced MPEG4: Some experiments led to a big surprise, see MJPEG/MPEG4 page.

Nov 1, 2000

ScTrans 0.5 alpha - simpler interface (simply drag scenelist onto program icon), exportable protocol window.
ScnView 0.2 alpha - a little tool to view the contents of .scn files.

Oct 30, 2000

Updated DV codec section
Complete filesize restriction Workaround for StudioDV under Windows98SE
ScTrans 0.3 alpha released (bugfix: file selector would only work properly for root directory)

Oct 29, 2000

ScTrans 0.2 alpha released (see DV page)
ScTrans now handles Scenalyzer output from multiple file scans.
This offers a convenient method to overcome the 4 GB barrier under Windows98SE: Capturing to 4GB segments with AVI_IO, let Scenalyzer run over the files in one step, convert to .seg files in one step, then all files can quickly be opened with StudioDV and combined in one project. Otherwise you wait half an hour after opening each single file because StudioDV will do an optical scan for each, even if the source was digital tape !

Oct 28, 2000

News page added

DV page added

ScTrans 0.1 alpha released (see DV page)
(converts Scenalyzer scene lists to StudioDV format)

Oct 23,2000

Web translator links added. Really crazy results :-))



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