Shrinking a file...

RickN

New member
I record movies to my computer with a Hauppauge 1600 HVR and control recording with Wintv. All resulting files are mpeg2 and are in dvd format (720x480). On occasion, the file size is too large to burn to a single DVD. For example, I have two files from this weekend that are 5.3 GB and 5.9 GB after editing out commercials with VRD. I am using the latest version of WinTV (beta v 6 which allows the HVR 1600 to record QAM channels in the clear). Unfortunately, the beta version has only one recording rate (2 GB/hr).

I downloaded Autogk and was successful in shrinking one of the files to less than 4 GB. It was a very simple process and easy to burn as a data disk. But, there are a few issues. First, it took over 7 hours on my system (P4, 2.4 Ghz, 768 MB RDRAM, XP SP2) to convert the file. Second, I lose portability (our standalone DVD player does not recognize AVI/Divx/XviD files). Third, no way to get chapters on the AVI files. Fourth, VRD does not recognize AVI files and therefore cannot fix any sync problems that may occur in the future.

I considered using HDTV2DVD as a possible conversion program but it requires downloading Net 1.3 something and my ATI video card driver/suite requires Net 2.0 Can I download an earlier version of Net and have both running at the same time?

Are their other programs to consider?

Thanks,

Rick
 

Anole

Moderator
Other members have suggested other products - I've used WinAVI.

However, you can also use DVDshrink, after the fact.
I sometimes do that for Formula 1 races.
My three shows sometimes are 5.2 to 5.5gb after authoring.
Takes 30..60 minutes, but I squeeze down the whole disc image to fit a single layer disc.

Probably lots of other ways , too.
 
If you've recorded QAM or any OTA digital channels, then the bitrate setting is meaningless, since it basically copies the data stream to the hard drive with some additional info added with a "Mux" filter, and you can't change it (this makes it an .mpg instead of .ts or .tp). I use gui4ffmpeg (remember to add a "k" to the bitrate setting) to convert my HD files to DVD format (it works for standard def as well). Check the file with Ctrl-L in VRD to see it's headers and the summary page after editing for actual bitrate.

I have not worked with V6 since I'm running my HVR1600 under Windows2000 (really unsupported) but Hauppauge has always given you ability to alter and create new profiles in an "advanced" setting box so that limitation should be changing. Registry settings have also been possible to modify in the past. Of course, third party applications give you the ability to use different recording profiles and QAM support is coming soon for them. These settings only apply to the analog side of the card since it uses the encoder and the digital side does not.
 

RickN

New member
Other members have suggested other products - I've used WinAVI.

However, you can also use DVDshrink, after the fact.
I sometimes do that for Formula 1 races.
My three shows sometimes are 5.2 to 5.5gb after authoring.
Takes 30..60 minutes, but I squeeze down the whole disc image to fit a single layer disc.

Probably lots of other ways , too.
As I understand it, to shrink with WinAVI, I need to perform the following steps:

1) edit in VRD and save as Mpeg file
2) convert to AVI using Autogk
3) convert to DVD format with WinAVI (generates Video_TS files)
4) import Video_TS files to Nero burning rom and burn

What happens to PQ with step 3? The one time I ran Autogk, it converted the file from 720 x 480 to a 532 x something AVI file. Does PQ degrade when stretching back to full 720 x 480 format? WinAVI appears desirable in that it creates chapters and does provide portability to the standalone DVD player. Major disadvantage is computer processing time for Autogk and perhaps WinAVI as well.

To shrink with DVD shrink, again if I understand correctly, I need to perform the following steps:

1) edit in VRD and save as elementary streams
2) create Video_TS file from elementary streams using Muxman
3) import Video_TS file into DVD shrink and shrink to fit
4) import revised Video_TS files to Nero burning rom and burn

Hmmm, this second approach appears easier and should take considerably less time. Probably can complete the task in one evening rather than spreading it out over two days. I'll try this first.

Thanks for your advice!

Best,

Rick
 

RickN

New member
If you've recorded QAM or any OTA digital channels, then the bitrate setting is meaningless, since it basically copies the data stream to the hard drive with some additional info added with a "Mux" filter, and you can't change it (this makes it an .mpg instead of .ts or .tp). I use gui4ffmpeg (remember to add a "k" to the bitrate setting) to convert my HD files to DVD format (it works for standard def as well). Check the file with Ctrl-L in VRD to see it's headers and the summary page after editing for actual bitrate.

I have not worked with V6 since I'm running my HVR1600 under Windows2000 (really unsupported) but Hauppauge has always given you ability to alter and create new profiles in an "advanced" setting box so that limitation should be changing. Registry settings have also been possible to modify in the past. Of course, third party applications give you the ability to use different recording profiles and QAM support is coming soon for them. These settings only apply to the analog side of the card since it uses the encoder and the digital side does not.
These current files are analog captures. I will be RMA'ing my 1600 back to NY this week. The ATSC terminal appears to have broken (has play in it and it no longer can find the clear QAM channels). I looked under advanced settings but the beta only has one recording rate option for the analog captures. I agree that the final version will likely have multiple recording rate options.

I'll check out gui4ffmpeg. You've been happy with the copies you've saved to DVD?

My wife thinks I'm crazy spending all this time on the computer. She thinks I should just rent a DVR from the cableco and capture programs that I want to burn to DVD with the HVR 1600. She does have a good point. I shudder to think how long it will take for my machine to convert a HD file to DVD format... Guess there's always overnight processing... :)

Question, which option will provide a DVD with higher picture quality:

A) HD clear QAM --> gui4ffmpeg --> DVD
B) HD on DVR --> HVR 1600 over s-video --> DVD


Thanks for your advice!

Best,

Rick
 

Anole

Moderator
As I understand it, to shrink with WinAVI, I need to perform the following steps:
1) edit in VRD and save as Mpeg file
2) convert to AVI using Autogk
3) convert to DVD format with WinAVI (generates Video_TS files)
4) import Video_TS files to Nero burning rom and burn
Here's one way I actually have done it:
1) edit in VRD and save as mpeg (WinAVI reads -many- formats)
2) run through WinAVI in mostly default mode, outputting a single .VOB file.
3) read the VOB back into VRD and have it demux (very quick) to mpa/mpv files
4) author with DVD Labs
5) burn with Nero Bruning ROM
...or, you could squeeze with WinAVI first, and then edit in VRD, outputting the mpa/mpv
That probably saves time and steps.

WinAVI can output a lot of formats, too.
So deciding which way to use it, is another variable to deal with.
(and fodder for another discussion)
What happens to PQ with step 3? The one time I ran Autogk, it converted the file from 720 x 480 to a 532 x something AVI file. Does PQ degrade when stretching back to full 720 x 480 format? WinAVI appears desirable in that it creates chapters and does provide portability to the standalone DVD player. Major disadvantage is computer processing time for Autogk and perhaps WinAVI as well.
I rarely use the output of WinAVI to directly make a DVD.
Most stuff I do, gets polished a bit more by DVD Labs.
Only if I'm in a terrible hurry would I use WinAVI's direct DVD output.
Not because it's bad, but more because it's simple... and I generally want a menu and multiple shows per disc. :)

As for quality, the old saying holds true: garbage in; garbage out.
And the same is true for: you can't get blood out of a stone.
Format conversion is synonymous with quality loss.
I set WinAVI to the lowest quality level that works, when up-converting a file.

I've never used AutoGK
To shrink with DVD shrink, again if I understand correctly, I need to perform the following steps:
1) edit in VRD and save as elementary streams
2) create Video_TS file from elementary streams using Muxman
3) import Video_TS file into DVD shrink and shrink to fit
4) import revised Video_TS files to Nero burning rom and burn

Hmmm, this second approach appears easier and should take considerably less time. Probably can complete the task in one evening rather than spreading it out over two days. I'll try this first.
Well, here are my actual steps:
1) edit in VRD and save as mpa/mpg
2) author in DVD Labs, creating all the .VOB and support files
3) run DVD Shrink, outputting all the same .VOB and support files as in #2
4) burn with Nero Burning ROM.
So, yes, the steps are the same
You threw me refering to Video_TS ... but you're right.
The entire contents of the Video_TS file, including all the VOB and support files.

Takes far less time to fire it up than to talk about it. :)
I often do several DVDs this way, in a single evening.

edit:
due to the simplicity, I'm come to favor the post-processing approach of DVD Shrink for my current projects.
 
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RickN

New member
Thanks for the follow-up clarifications! Very clear. I'll try out option 2 tonight.

All the best,

Rick
 
I'll check out gui4ffmpeg. You've been happy with the copies you've saved to DVD?
I have some amazing DVDs of "Heroes" created from the HD broadcast.

I shudder to think how long it will take for my machine to convert a HD file to DVD format...
Mine does it in about real time. I have a dual AthlonXP2400+, 1GB RAM, and multiple hard drives.

Question, which option will provide a DVD with higher picture quality:

A) HD clear QAM --> gui4ffmpeg --> DVD
B) HD on DVR --> HVR 1600 over s-video --> DVD
A, definitely. I have done a lot of captures and conversions with Hauppauge cards and S-Video does work very well. I have recorded from tapes and from a Holywood Plus card. The Hollywood has S-Video output that will match or exceed any set-top-box in quality. I used to use it to convert from PAL to NTSC and it does a great job. S-Video is very close to commercial DVD resolutions. (horiz. res., s/n ratios, etc) I was very happy with my S-Video transfers on a 53" TV to a 144" projector but the HD conversions are amazing.

I experimented with gui4ffmpeg for one project and was surprised at the results. I also expected it to be a multi-hour task but a TV show took about 45 minutes from 1080i to 480i.

There are other options besides ffmpeg and it's front ends but I don't know how they could be much better for quick high quality conversions.

You may also find some QAM stations will be at less than HD resolutions and many of them will make DVDs without conversion, even though they aren't 720x480.
 

RickN

New member
Tip of the hat to Zaphod! Good information and advice! I'm looking forward to getting my new 1600, setting up the recordings, and making some captures. I appreciate your sharing your experiences. I'll definitely try burning some dvd's from clear QAM captures using your suggested software!

All the best,

Rick
 

mxw

New member
Yes I would definitely suggest transcoding your overlarge mpeg files with DVDShrink --

http://www.videohelp.com/tools/DVD_Shrink

I would also suggest grabbing the modded version, that burns the shrunk files to DVD disk via ImgBurn - IMO the best DVD burning software out there (& free!).

Make sure to check the quality enhancement options in Shrink. Processing can take up to an hour or so.

Another option is to reencode the mpeg, using DVDRebuilder & a free encoder such as the brilliant HC.
 

laserfan

New member
I record movies ... resulting files are mpeg2 and are in dvd format (720x480). On occasion, the file size is too large to burn to a single DVD.
Rick for these DVD-compliant recordings, the easiest route to a DVD-5:

- Output from VRD+ as Elementary Streams
- Include a chapters.txt file if you like (for your DVD)
- Import to MuxMan and output as VIDEO_TS (too big still, you said)
- If size is such that no more than 25% compression is needed, import & output again using DVD Shrink

I suspect even the 5.9Gb size will Shrink and still look good (and Shrink is very fast).
 
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