Handbrake is one of the very few, functionally mature open source video transcoding tools with a decent, usable user interface (of course command line options are still available).
Generally the Handbrake development team take a long time between official releases, and v0.9.5 is no exception. This latest version comes more than a full calendar year after the previous milestone release.
While Handbrake doesn’t support a wide range of broadcast video formats, which would be a nice addition for me personally, this is not really their target market. Handbrake does a great job on web targeted and home use video encoding jobs. Ripping Blu-Ray DVDs, encoding for Apple TV2 and advanced finite controls for H.264 transcoding are all now supported in the latest release.
Further details about the release available here.
Discussion thread, specific to this release, available here.
Multi-platform downloads found here.
It has been announced as available for a while now, but only recently was the download made publically available again for FFmbc 0.5. Lead developer Baptiste is doing a super job moving this project forward, but really needs the support from more media professionals to fully realise the early promise of this open source, broadcast media focused, transcoding solution.
FFmbc 0.5 download available here.
FFmbc 0.5 feature updates include:
- Sync on FFmpeg svn r25202.
- Yadif video deinterlacing filter.
- Overlay video filter.
- Fade video filter.
- HQDn3d video filter.
- Rename ffmpeg binary to ffmbc.
- FFmbc is now GPL only.
- Disable shared libraries.
- Remove -s resizing output cli option, use -vf scale.
- 23.98 and 24 fps support in MXF muxer.
- Mpeg-2 aspect ratio bitstream filter, to change aspect ratio without reencoding.
- Fix an issue with -async and audiomerge.
- Fix an issue with the fade filter.
- Write interlacing information in mov files, fix deinterlacing with quicktime player.
- Correctly support interlaced in yuv4mpeg and quicktime.
- Display interlacing when printing information.
- Fix an issue with resampling and audiomerge.
A little over one month since the release candidate was made available, FFMBC has officially rolled our version 0.4. Lots of useful and interesting updates for our favourite open source video transcoding tool:
FFmbc (FFMedia Broadcast) is an off-shoot of the FFmpeg project that is targeted squarely at the broadcast media world. The project while still in its infancy, but available for around 6 months already, is currently at release version 0.2. Launched and managed by Baptiste Coudurier, well known for his work on the FFmpeg project, FFmbc rolls out the following enhancements:
• Creating XDCAM HD422 files in .mov or .mxf
• Creating XDCAM IMX/D-10 files in .mov or .mxf
• Creating AVID DNxHD files in .mov
• ID3v2 complete support.
• Itunes complete support.
It’s been a long time now since I wrote my original How-To for building FFmpeg on Debian. A lot has changed since then, in both the Debian and FFmpeg world, so it’s definitely time for an update.
This tutorial describes how to build x264 and FFmpeg from scratch, on a base Debian Squeeze system. Throughout this tutorial I will be assuming that you are operating as either root or su, or aware of how to use sudo (make sure you’ve added yourself to the /etc/sudoers list).
First, we need to update the sources list. I use pico as my text editor, as I was a long time Pine mail user way back when. Feel free to use vi or emacs if you prefer.
Go to the Debian Multimedia repository site and download the keyring package. Follow the instructions for unpackaging it about half-way down the front page. Now update your sources list:
Add deb http://www.debian-multimedia.org squeeze main on a new line and save the file.
Now you’re using the latest sources and packages.
Next, install all the additional libraries we’ll need:
>aptitude install install build-essential subversion git-core yasm libgpac-dev libdirac-dev libgsm1-dev libschroedinger-dev libspeex-dev libvorbis-dev libopenjpeg-dev libdc1394-dev libsdl1.2-dev zlib1g-dev texi2html libfaac-dev libfaad-dev libmp3lame-dev libtheora-dev libxvidcore4-dev libopencore-amrnb-dev libopencore-amrwb-dev
Once that has successfully completed, it’s time to grab the latest x264 code:
>git clone git://git.videolan.org/x264.git
Hopefully all is still going well and you encountered no errors so far. Great, let’s grab FFmpeg from Subversion:
>svn checkout svn://svn.ffmpeg.org/ffmpeg/trunk ffmpeg
Now to configure FFmpeg. There’s so many options, it’s sometimes hard to know which ones to choose. The list below is my personal preference, but do try ./configure –help to assist in choosing your own.
>./configure –enable-gpl –enable-postproc –enable-pthreads –enable-libfaac –enable-libfaad –enable-libmp3lame –enable-libtheora –enable-libx264 –enable-shared –enable-nonfree –enable-libvorbis –enable-libgsm –enable-libspeex –enable-libschroedinger –enable-libdirac –enable-avfilter –enable-avfilter-lavf –enable-libdc1394 –enable-libopenjpeg –enable-libopencore-amrnb –enable-libopencore-amrwb –enable-version3
After a successful configuration, all the enabled decoders, encoders and muxers will be displayed. There are some configuration dependencies here. If you don’t –enable-gpl things like postproc will fail at build time. Next….
“Make” will probably take quite a long time.
Optionally you may like to build qt-faststart as well. If you don’t know what this does, use Google, but in short it arranges atoms in QuickTime header files to allow for progressive download delivery.
If you try to use FFmpeg now, by simply typing “ffmpeg” you are likely to encounter an error regarding shared libraries (we did build FFmpeg with –enable-shared). To fix this we do the following:
Add the line “/usr/local/lib” (without quotes) to this file and then save it. Read more about dynamically linked libraries here, specifically the fourth paragraph to explain what we just did.
That’s it! Finished. Pretty easy, right? Now you just need to learn how to use FFmpeg, but that’s a topic for another day. Very briefly though, here’s a command line for creating a 2-pass H264 file, at 750kbps and 480×360 resolution, in a mov container, with progressive download enabled.
>ffmpeg -y -i inputfile.mpg -pass 1 -vcodec libx264 -vpre fastfirstpass -s 480×360 -b 750k -bt 750k -threads 0 -f mov -an /dev/null && ffmpeg -deinterlace -y -i inputfile.mpg -pass 2 -acodec libfaac -ab 128k -ac 2 -vcodec libx264 -vpre hq -s 480×360 -b 750k -bt 750k -threads 0 -f mov outputfile.mov
>/tools/qt-faststart outputfile.mov outputfilefast.mov
Finding a full featured open source video transcoding solution is no easy task. There is of course FFmpeg, which is fantastic and powerful, but one does need to spend a serious amount of time learning the syntax and various options. This is fine if you’re taking one type of input file and creating one type of output file. Easy to script and I’ve seen some really good results, especially using the x264 library. However, trying to find a nice GUI to do the same thing, so far no joy.
I had really hoped HandBrake might be the right tool for the job. It’s been around for a long time now, it’s not just for Mac anymore and there seems to be an active community around it.
The last stable release was almost 10 months ago, but recently an SVN snapshot build was supplied, with some pre-compiled packages to go with it. The usual caveats apply, but the change log provided some tantalising updates, so I decided to try it out.
My home laptop is running Debian Squeeze, but I decided to try the Ubuntu 9.04 GUI package, as I was lazy and didn’t feel like compiling from source. Maybe this was a mistake….. The installation of the deb package went fine. No errors to speak of and a nice little HandBrake icon appeared in my Sound & Video menu. Starting the application also worked flawlessly.
I hadn’t used HandBrake before, so I didn’t know what to expect. On first glance the software appears to be mainly geared towards H.264 transcoding. While this is currently an important video codec, I was hoping for a much wider range of output options. I couldn’t find any.
Fine, let’s stick with H.264. My source file for testing was 4.2GB of DNxHD – a little over 3 minutes of content at 185Mbps. HandBrake uses FFmpeg in the backend to do the transcode heavy lifting. I know FFmpeg supports DNxHD, so I was not expecting any real problems. Unfortunately, my assumption proved to be incorrect.
Selecting the DNxHD file as source, HandBrake scanned the file for a couple of minutes, then stopped. No error message, no warning, just the UI sitting there waiting for the next input. Fortunately, there’s an Activity Window to select and view the command line output. Here’s what I saw…..
Input #0, mov,mp4,m4a,3gp,3g2,mj2, from ‘/home/phillc/Media/South Pacific Avid DNxHD.mov’:
Duration: 00:03:11.12, start: 0.000000, bitrate: 189668 kb/s
Stream #0.0(eng): Video: dnxhd, 1920×1080, PAR 1:1 DAR 16:9, 25 tbr, 25 tbn, 25 tbc
Stream #0.1(eng): Audio: pcm_s16le, 48000 Hz, mono, s16, 768 kb/s
Stream #0.2(eng): Audio: pcm_s16le, 48000 Hz, mono, s16, 768 kb/s
Stream #0.3(eng): Audio: pcm_s16le, 48000 Hz, mono, s16, 768 kb/s
Stream #0.4(eng): Audio: pcm_s16le, 48000 Hz, mono, s16, 768 kb/s
Stream #0.5(eng): Audio: pcm_s16le, 48000 Hz, mono, s16, 768 kb/s
Stream #0.6(eng): Audio: pcm_s16le, 48000 Hz, mono, s16, 768 kb/s
Stream #0.7(eng): Audio: pcm_s16le, 48000 Hz, mono, s16, 768 kb/s
Stream #0.8(eng): Audio: pcm_s16le, 48000 Hz, mono, s16, 768 kb/s
[10:14:27] scan: decoding previews for title 1
[10:14:45] scan: could not get a decoded picture
[10:14:58] scan: could not get a decoded picture
[10:15:12] scan: could not get a decoded picture
[10:15:26] scan: could not get a decoded picture
[10:15:40] scan: could not get a decoded picture
[10:15:54] scan: could not get a decoded picture
[10:16:08] scan: could not get a decoded picture
[10:16:23] scan: could not get a decoded picture
[10:16:35] scan: could not get a decoded picture
[10:16:49] scan: could not get a decoded picture
[10:16:49] libhb: scan thread found 0 valid title(s)
What’s it all mean?
It would seem that FFmpeg recognised a valid DNxHD file. It found the video track and 8 tracks of audio, but after this, who knows! Not being able to get a decoded picture is not an error I’ve come across using FFmpeg from the command line before.
EDIT: The root of this problem is actually FFmpeg and not Handbrake. The DNxHD file was 10-bit, but FFmpeg currently only supports 8-bit files of this codec.
That’s as far as I’ve managed to travel in the HandBrake world. I had a look at some of the H.264 file output options, which are comprehensive, but don’t at first glance seem to support the general x264 preset options. HandBrake presets are more geared towards devices – iPod and Apple TV. It appears to be possible to queue multiple jobs using HandBrake, but not set watch folders nor apply rules for output files. E.g Once transcoding is finished, move file to folder X.
HandBrake is probably a good tool for those looking to create web media, from DVD or Camcorder source, but it’s not powerful enough to deal with high end media from the post-production or broadcast domain.
It’s been a long while since I’ve posted on this blog, but finally today something has spurned me into action.
A request on the Ubuntu forums asked for some assistance creating x264 files from footage originating on DVD. The following FFmpeg command represents input from a couple of users regarding what might be the best options:
ffmpeg -y -i input_file -an -v 1 -threads auto -vcodec libx264 -deinterlace -b 5000k -bt 175k -flags +loop -coder ac -refs 1 -loop 1 -deblockalpha 0 -deblockbeta 0 -parti4x4 1 -partp8x8 1 -me epzs -subq 1 -me_range 21 -chroma 1 -slice 2 -bf 3 -b_strategy 1 -level 30 -g 300 -keyint_min 30 -sc_threshold 40 -rc_eq 'blurCplx^(1-qComp)' -qcomp 0.7 -qmax 51 -qdiff 4 -i_qfactor 0.71428572 -maxrate 5000k -bufsize 2M -cmp 1 -s 720x480 -f mp4 -pass 1 /dev/null
ffmpeg -y -i input_file -v 1 -threads auto -vcodec libx264 -deinterlace -b 5000k -bt 175k -flags +loop -coder ac -refs 5 -loop 1 -deblockalpha 0 -deblockbeta 0 -parti4x4 1 -partp8x8 1 -me full -subq 6 -me_range 21 -chroma 1 -slice 2 -bf 3 -b_strategy 1 -level 30 -g 300 -keyint_min 30 -sc_threshold 40 -rc_eq 'blurCplx^(1-qComp)' -qcomp 0.7 -qmax 51 -qdiff 4 -i_qfactor 0.71428572 -maxrate 5000k -bufsize 2M -cmp 1 -s 720x480 -acodec libfaac -ab 256k -ar 48000 -ac 2 -f mp4 -pass 2 new_file.mp4
This command, as an overview does the following:
- Uses libx264 as the output video codec
- Uses libfaac as the output audio codec
- Deinterlaces the original DVD sourced footage
- Allows FFmpeg to choose the number of threads to use for multi-core systems
- Sets the output video bitrate at 5000kbps (or roughly 5Mbps)
- Sets the output audio bitrate at 256kbps
- Deblocks the output footage
- Uses CABAC encoding
- Uses .mp4 as the output file container
- Uses B-Frames
- Uses 2 pass encoding – directing the first output to /dev/null and the second pass to a new file
There are of course many other options included in this command. Further useful reading can be found on the FFmpeg documentation page:
Also, this Mencoder specific page has some useful information regarding encoding using x264: