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.
In August 2009, Google acquired codec developer On2 Technologies for a rumoured $106 million. The flagship On2 codec was VP8 and it was also rumoured at the time that Google may open source this technology in the future, although a number of challenges lay ahead.
in effect from November 1st 2009.
Stream #0 has now made available our first Amazon Web Services (AWS) AMI. This is based on Eric Hammond’s 64-bit Squeeze AMI: ami-fcf61595.
The first Stream #0 AMI can be found by looking for the following AMI ID in the AWS Management Console: ami-b535d6dc
The following additions have been made over the base Squeeze build:
- Added Debian Multimedia Repository
- Updated and Upgraded to October 22nd 2009 latest packages
- Build x264 from source. r1301
- Build FFmpeg from source. r20350
FFmpeg has been configured as per the options noted in the How-To here
Ultimately we’re planning to build a few different AMI variations. e.g. Lenny with FFmpeg 0.5 build and x264 from Debian Multimedia Repo as a slightly more stable version of the “Squeeze build everything from source” AMI approach.
The AMI has been made public and Stream0 would really appreciate feedback on this, our first time AMI build.
Everything you need to know about Amazon’s Web Services:
A short while ago I wrote a review about Open Movie Editor. Essentially this review was written after a couple of hours testing various video clips and assessing the functionality within OME. Now, I can write about what OME is like on a real editing assignment.
Recently I was given a DVD full of PAL DV material and asked to create a compilation from the individual clips. A fun little project that should only take a day or two. Open Movie Editor was the obvious tool for the job.
The good news I can report is that even after 10 to 12 hours of constant video editing, OME is still a very stable piece of software. I only managed to induce two crashes – once when trying to undo multiple edits in a row and once when vigorously moving clips around on the timeline. Other than that, Open Movie Editor was easily up to the task.
I’m not an advanced video editor, happy within my comfort zone using something like Adobe Premiere, but also not using all the intricate features. However, Open Movie Editor does still lack a few basic features, that would have greatly increased my productivity. Changing playback speed of a clip is not possible within OME. I needed to change the framerate of target clips using FFmpeg and mjpeg tools to achieve this effect. While fade transitions are easy enough, I’m sure they could have been even quicker if such a function was built into OME. Precise frame editing, for splitting clips for example, would also make life easier.
There are some really nice features in Open Movie Editor though. Audio automations are a breeze, the media browser window provides easy access to your video library and the list of render options is quite vast – dependent on FFMpeg, Libquicktime and other shared video libraries.
So what did I produce in my 12 hours of work? A fun 4 minute clip, which is still a little rough around the edges, but generally a good laugh. Here’s a link for your viewing pleasure:
Edited in Open Movie Editor, with some clip transformations using FFmpeg and mjpeg tools. Follow this with final transcoding to x264, again with FFmpeg for more finite control, and you have an Open Source Editing project.
The Kapital Moto TV site uses open source products where possible. The server runs on Debian Etch, the site is served with Apache, built largely with PHP and data is stored in a MySQL database. Content is a mix of QuickTime generated H.264 and FFmpeg generate x264 video files. The Flash player is not open source, but is free as in beer.
After my previous overview of Open Movie Editor (OME), I decided to create a small How-To regarding an easily obtainable piece of functionality that’s not yet standard within OME.
Open Movie Editor natively contains only one transition between clips – a simple cross fade. However, one of the most used transitions in video editing is a fade to black. By adding a black still image, between two clips on a single video track in OME, it is possible to generate exactly what you need.
Here’s how by following the steps below:
1. Open your favourite image editor, in this example we’ve used the GIMP.
2. Create a new image with a solid black background, at the same size as your video clips. We’ve used PAL 720×576.
3. Save the image as a PNG, although JPG will also work.
4. Switch to Open Movie Editor and navigate to your footage in the Media Browser window. We’ve previously downloaded two QuickTime clips from stock footage supplier BBC Motion Gallery, to use in this example.
5. Add the first clip to video track one.
6. Add the black still image to the same video track.
7. Add the second video clip to the same video track.
8. Now, overlap the beginning of the black still image with the end of the first clip. A blue area with a red cross through it should appear – this is the length of time that the fade will occur.
9. Adjust the length of the black still image to suit the speed of the fade to black required.
10. Now, drag the beginning of the second video clip over the end of the still image, so that another blue box and red cross appears.
11. Move the timeline marker before the first blue box and test your fade out to and in from black.
Easy! Move the clips, and adjust the length of the black still image until you are happy with the fade.
To make is even easier, we’ve created a screen cast for you to watch, complete with a couple of extra fades created in OME. Don’t adjust your volume, there is no sound.
Get Flash Player 9 to see this movie.
var so = new SWFObject(‘http://stream0.org/flash/flvplayer.swf’,’player’,’640′,’500′,’9′);
This screen cast was created with RecordMyDesktop, edited with Open Movie Editor, and transcoded into an x264 file, using a custom Perl script to control FFmpeg.
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:
Recently I took the time to run a quick comparison test using FFmpeg for producing content with the x264 and xVid codecs. x264 produces H.264 content, while xVid encodes in MPEG4. I was a little surprised with the results.
The input file was sourced from BBC Motion Gallery.
It was an MPEG2 Program Stream with I-Frames, encoded at approximately
50Mbps. It also contained a single MP2 audio track at approximately
356kbps. To see the clip on BBC Motion Gallery, click here.
The clip was chosen because it is only 2 seconds long, so I could
transcode it quickly, and there is also lots of movement, so I expected
The output file container is QuickTime MOV, the video bitrate
around 2Mbps, the audio codec aac (through libfaac) at 128kbps. I
performed a 1 pass and 2 pass encode with x264 and xVid. The output
file was to be 720×404 in size, this is 16:9 aspect ratio. All files
were played back on a Windows XP machine using QuickTime Player 7.1.3.
Some cropping of the original MPEG2 was required to remove VITC at the
top and some black padding left and right. An example FFmpeg command
line I used is outlined below. As you can see, there are very few
optimisations other than the base settings.
FFMPEG command for the second pass x264 encode:
ffmpeg -i 2573-9.mpg -vcodec libx264 -f mov -b 2000k -acodec
libfaac -ab 128k -s 736×442 -croptop 34 -cropbottom 4 -cropleft 8
-cropright 8 -deinterlace -pass 2 2573-9_h264.mov
The final output file sizes are as follows:
- x264 1 pass: 599.558 kilobytes
- x264 2 pass: 553.767 kilobytes
- xVid 1 pass: 577.232 kilobytes
- xVid 2 pass: 559.947 kilobytes
So, while xVid one pass produced smaller file sizes than x264 one
pass, the x264 2 pass file is smaller than the xVid 2 pass file. Due to
the short duration of the input file, no comparison of encoder speed
could really be made. However, anecdotally from other ad hoc encoding
jobs, xVid does seem to be quicker.
Now, to the real proof of the pudding, what was the quality like. Have a look at the following image file, click the thumbnail for a larger version:
This is where I was surprised. The x264 files are on the left. 1
pass is bottom left. 2 pass is top left. The xVid files are on the
right. 1 pass bottom right. 2 pass top right. Clearly, the 1 pass xVid
file is superior to the 1 pass x264 file. I also believe that the 2
pass xVid file is slightly better quality then the 2 pass x264 file.
Areas for close inspection (we’re looking at the two top files here):
- Bottom right corner. There is more blocking and artifacts on the x264 file.
- Top right wing tip. The xVid file has better definition here.
- The underside of the wings and tail. Again the xVid file has better definition.
- The background fire. I think the xVid file has less artifacts and better definition in general.
- As there aren’t a lot of colours in the example video, it’s hard to
say which codec handles colour better, but there is obviously more
depth in each of the 2 pass samples, compared to the 1 pass output.
I was surprised that to my eye the xVid
content appeared to be superior to the x264 output. Perhaps with a more
complext FFmpeg command and options this would have changed.
I wanted to install FFmpeg on my Ubuntu Gutsy
Gibbon (7.10) desktop machine. This is so I can encode and transcode
video files to various formats locally, and also render projects from
the non-linear editor (NLE) PiTiVi.
This post will mainly cover just the commands I used to install FFmpeg on Gutsy, with very little commentary regarding why or how
things work. If you want a more in-depth look at installing FFmpeg, you
can read about the installation
of FFmpeg on my Debian Etch server earlier today – which ultimately
moves me closer to on-the-fly video transcoding of user submitted
content on Kapital Moto TV
Installing FFmpeg on Ubuntu Gutsy:
sudo apt-get build-dep ffmpeg
sudo apt-get install liblame-dev libfaad2-dev libfaac-dev
libxvidcore4-dev liba52-0.7.4 liba52-0.7.4-dev libx264-dev libdts-dev
checkinstall build-essential subversion
svn checkout svn://svn.mplayerhq.hu/ffmpeg/trunk ffmpeg
make distclean (I used this because I already had an older SVN snapshot of FFMPEG downloaded, configured and made from last night)
./configure –enable-gpl –enable-pp
–enable-libvorbis –enable-libtheora –enable-liba52
–enable-libdc1394 –enable-libgsm –enable-libmp3lame –enable-libfaad
–enable-libfaac –enable-libxvid –enable-pthreads –enable-libx264 –enable-shared
Some things you might want to do when prompted to by checkinstall:
- Select 0 change maintainer name
- Select 3 to set version name. I used svn11213-ubuntu-gutsy-20071213
And that’s it FFmpeg installed on Ubuntu Gutsy.
NB: This How-To is now almost totally worthless as it is so out of date. Please click here for an updated version explaining how to install FFmpeg on Debian Squeeze.
I have to say, that the video manipulation
program FFmpeg, while very powerful, is not very user-friendly when it
comes to installation. While many Linux programs can be happily
installed from either a pre-compiled package, or downloading source and
compiling yourself, this isn’t necessarily the case with FFmpeg. The
ease of FFmpeg installation largely depends on how many different video
codecs and containers you want to be able to input or output. The
greater the number, the exponential increase in installation
difficulty. My main need was for FFmpeg to accept a wide range of input
formats, while outputting H.264 encoded QuickTime (MOV) files. Here’s
how I achieved this on a Debian Etch server……..
I’m going to assume that you are familiar with using the Linux
command prompt, moving between directories, editing text files and have
at least some experience compiling programs.
The first thing I would recommend doing is making an addition to your source repository lists.
Add the following line:
deb http://www.debian-multimedia.org stable main
This repository contains some essential libraries for xvid and
x264 (an open source H.264 codec) amongst other things. You’ll need to
install some software from here. The software may well be available
from other repositories too, that are already in your sources.list
file, but add this one to be safe.
Next rebuild your sources:
I would also recommend installing checkinstall. This program can
be used instead of a regular “make install” command and produces a deb
package file that will make re-installation or multiple machine
installs much easier. If checkinstall isn’t already on your machine
download it from:
Maybe navigate here with lynx, maybe use wget once you’ve found
the actual file you need, maybe download it with a GUI based web
browser and then copy it to your desired directory. It’s your choice. I
grabbed the latest .deb package. After the download, execute the following as root:
dpkg -i checkinstall_1.6.1-1_i386.deb
Checkinstall should have happily installed on your system. Now it’s time to really get into FFmpeg.
Build the dependencies:
apt-get build-dep ffmpeg
Next we’re going to install a whole lot more useful software
that will allow FFmpeg to output many more than just the minimal file
apt-get install liblame-dev libfaad-dev libfaac-dev
libxvidcore4-dev liba52-0.7.4 liba52-0.7.4-dev libx264-dev
We’ve also ensured that you have the necessary tools installed
to compile from source (build-essential) and obtain files from the Subversion version control repositories.
We’re ready to checkout FFmpeg itself:
svn checkout svn://svn.mplayerhq.hu/ffmpeg/trunk ffmpeg,
At the time of writing the latest revision was 11212. If you’d
feel more comfortable not using the lastest bleeding edge version of FFmpeg, issue the Subversion command as follows:
svn checkout -r 11212 svn://svn.mplayerhq.hu/ffmpeg/trunk ffmpeg
This will ensure that you are also downloading the 11212 revision. Once downloaded, move into the ffmpeg directory (cd ffmpeg) and configure:
./configure –enable-gpl –enable-pp
–enable-libvorbis –enable-liba52 –enable-libdc1394 –enable-libgsm
–enable-libmp3lame –enable-libfaad –enable-libfaac –enable-pthreads
–enable-libx264 -enable-libxvid –enable-shared
So, what have we done here……
- gpl – allow use of GPL code, the resulting libav* and ffmpeg will be under GPL
- pp – enable GPLed postprocessing support
- libvorbis – enable Vorbis encoding via libvorbis (http://www.vorbis.com/)
- liba52 – enable GPLed liba52 support (http://liba52.sourceforge.net/)
- libdc1394 – enable IIDC-1394 grabbing using libdc1394 and libraw1394 (http://sourceforge.net/projects/libdc1394/)
- libgsm – enable GSM support via libgsm (http://packages.debian.org/testing/sound/libgsm-tools)
- libmp3lame – enable MP3 encoding via libmp3lame (http://lame.sourceforge.net/download.php)
- libfaad – enable FAAD support via libfaad (http://www.audiocoding.com/faad2.html)
- libfaac – enable FAAC support via libfaac (http://www.audiocoding.com/faac.html)
- pthreads – use pthreads (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/POSIX_Threads)
- libx264 – enable H.264 encoding via x264 (http://www.videolan.org/developers/x264.html)
- libxvid – enable Xvid encoding via xvidcore, native MPEG-4/Xvid encoder exists (http://www.xvid.org/)
The essence of his information, and many more options, can be found by typing ./configure –help first.
(You might also consider including libtheora in your configuration, but I forgot at the time)
We’re now ready to make the installation files so at the command prompt:
If something goes wrong, and you need to start again, a useful command to know is:
Make sure you do this first and then run the configure command again.
You will be asked a few questions, which should be
straightforward enough to answer – yes to creating the documentation,
choose a name, select D for Debian package, lastly select number 3 and
type a version name that means something to you. Mine was
svn11212-etch-20071213. Checkinstall will now create a Debian package
of FFmpeg, bespoke for your system with the configuration options
you’ve selected earlier. Checkinstall WILL NOT install the package, so
don’t forget to do that:
dpkg -i ffmpeg_svn11212-etch-20071213-1_i386.deb
With some small amount of luck, you should now have a working
version of FFmpeg installed on your Debian Etch server. You will be
able to output H.264 encoded files in a variety of containers.
Now the fun part really begins as you spend days tinkering with
commands to output the best possible files. Documentation for using
FFMPEG can be found at:
(Credit for getting me started in the right direction goes to Paul Battley and his FFmpeg Ubuntu Feisty install how-to)