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post #1 of 56 Old 10-14-2007, 12:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi folks,

There are good guides for DVD playback, but nothing for lower-quality video files.

I've been playing with FFDshow post-processing for the best quality playback without killing my cpu. Any C2D should be able to use these settings very smootly.

First of all, get the latest ffdshow-tryout, because it has better deblocking post-processing features which are not needed for DVDs but essential for divx. i use the v. 1523 dated 5 oct.
Enable the raw video processing, with wmp11 support:


Suggestion: activate the OSD, it will help fine-tuning. The cpu% detection is not accurate (for an euophemism), so open task manager, minimize it and look there instead.

Order of filters:
-postprocessing
-resize & aspect
-blur
-sharpen


For better quality, the blur and sharpen must be done AFTER the resize. I wouldnt do the postprocessing after the resize because is a gratious burden to the cpu. Ideally, the noise reduction should have been done before the resize, but its in the same page. I didnt try to use the blur in the resize page, maybe it's a better option. Anyway, with my settings the PQ of a GOOD dvd (especially if using h.264) rip is indistinguishable from a real DVD. A decent rip has a quality close to a DVD.

1) Postprocessing: This is essential, because it does the deblocking of the compressed file. The best option (SPP deblocking) unfortunately is too much stressing for the cpu. I can speculate that only a QX6800 is able to use is and have a smooth playback. Anyway, the settings on this page provide an excellent result with low cpu use.
The settings:
Enable presets, slider at max, tick automatic quality control (this doesn't make a difference if not easying the cpu a 2-3%)
Processing method: mplayer with accurate deblocking



2) Resize: Considering that avi files comes to many different non-standard resolutions, i preferred a fixed size instead of the classic 2x that works wonder on dvd or HDTV rips. Here you can choose between DVD size (720x480) and HD size (1080x720). It depends on the resolution of the source, for very small videos, 720 is more than enough, and you may try SPP deblocking instead if you want 1080 (and have a fast quad core), which is the only thing that can improve the PQ of something as low as 350x240-ish.
The settings:
Specify horizontal size: 1080 (or 720)
tick keep original aspect ratio
Resize if x < 1080 (or 720) and y < 720 (or 480 or put 576 for pal and 3:2 letterbox rips)
tick process pixel aspect ratio internally



2b) Resize settings page: The Spline does a much better work than Lanczos on compressed movies. Click on lock to enable it also for chroma. Some of you may want to experiment with the blur and sharpen here so the noise reduction can be done before.
The settings:
Luma method: Spline
Click on Lock and enable chroma method, select Spline
Tick accurate rounding



3) Blur & NR: Too much blur causes bad results on dirty compressed sources as xvid. Also the gradual denoise causes ghosts and must be avoided.
The settings:
Soften: 10 -is more than enough
tick only denoise 3d and HQ. leave the sliders at defaults



4) Sharpen: Xsharpen is my favourite. Unsharp mask have similar results but it makes the video less natural IMO.
The settings:
Select Xsharpen, strenght 20, treshold 150 (default).



I also enable the subtitles, with vobsub. I have already all my subs in the moviename.srt format (for playback in stand-alone dvd player), but ffdshow allows for different names and for more subtitles to be used.
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post #2 of 56 Old 10-14-2007, 01:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Sample pic (not the best choice tough )
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post #3 of 56 Old 10-14-2007, 04:21 PM
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I linked to your guide in my sticky thread.
I get requests for these settings and I don't know what to say since I don't use divx and xvid.


There is new, and then you are new.
This is a moral of the bears and their cereal.
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post #4 of 56 Old 10-14-2007, 09:00 PM
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Thanks for this! Can you explain the rationale of having 1080 as your horizontal size? Rather than 1280 or 1920, I mean.
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post #5 of 56 Old 10-16-2007, 12:48 AM
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Why 1080 as orizontal size?
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post #6 of 56 Old 10-17-2007, 04:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 8:13 View Post

I linked to your guide in my sticky thread.
I get requests for these settings and I don't know what to say since I don't use divx and xvid.

Thanks
Compressed files seem neglected more than not.
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post #7 of 56 Old 10-17-2007, 04:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fitbrit View Post

Thanks for this! Can you explain the rationale of having 1080 as your horizontal size? Rather than 1280 or 1920, I mean.

I just wanted to put a number higher than 720. 1080 gave me a low cpu %, never over 40%.
What you put depends on the screen on which you will display the content.
1280 should be doable for a core duo.*

1920 definitely is too high for my E6600 (not overclocked at the mom), cpu% will go "over" 100 and frames will skip resulting in unplayable video.
But if you have a quad core, I think is doable. The more resize, the most demanding, i.e. lower resolution divx will be the most taxating.

*In theory the best results are with a resolution which is a bit higher than the physical resolution of the screen. So for true HD screens you should put 2100-2200.

I think is possible to load a profile with a command line option, so you may make have a low-res profile and a high-res profile and a dvd profile as well, if u use ffdshow (I dont because it crashes TT when combined with nvidia, but that gives me already a good PQ). For the low-res video I will stick to a fixed 2x. They are generally old files with poorly optimized codecs like divx3 and low bitrate. Still some of us have movies that are difficult to obtain again.
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post #8 of 56 Old 10-19-2007, 07:21 PM - Thread Starter
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if you have more questions...
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post #9 of 56 Old 10-19-2007, 08:51 PM
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Is there any way in FFdshow to have different postprocessing options for both Divx and DVDs?


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post #10 of 56 Old 10-20-2007, 05:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carmine View Post

Is there any way in FFdshow to have different postprocessing options for both Divx and DVDs?

Not within FFDShow. You can use different settings in the video player like TheaterTek, Zoomplayer and MPC (media player classic).
TT doesn't allow a further encoder, but supports EVR, while Zoomplayer doesn't. So, it's always a tradeoff.

From other players I think u can call ffdshow command line specifying the profile to load, if somebody knows the commands let me know and i'll do some tests.
I'm using MediaPortal and it has a LOT of flexibility regarding the players to use. Unfortunately it does not recognize specifically DVDs ripped on HD as DVD. And the controls are much more limited vs TT or zoomplayer.
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post #11 of 56 Old 10-20-2007, 05:34 PM
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FFDshow's preset autoload conditions allow you to select a different profile based on various conditions - filenames, codec presence, resolution etc.

Back when I sued it a lot, I had one profile for DVD, one for lowres xvid, another for highres xvid, and one (with no processing at all) for h264. FFDshow selected the appropriate one automatically.
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post #12 of 56 Old 10-21-2007, 04:00 PM
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Telsar,

Thanks for posting this. I've been looking for a better solution for DivX/Xvid playback than 8:13's DVD settings (which are considerable and equally appreciated).

Can't get into your thread again at the Green Button forums to comment, so I'll do it here:

1) On the codecs page, you don't show if you've enabled ffdshow's Divx/Xvid codecs or not. I use TT, so I opt for ffdshow's rather than DivX's, since there is a problem with Full Screen (the DivX taskbar icon competes with Full Screen, causing TT to minimize). So I'm assuming that if they are enabled, one gets decoding and post-processing all in one pass (?).

2) I need to set my output to YUY2, instead of YV12 (as is stated in many guides) in order to get video, not a black screen. This is even if "prefer YV12" is set in TT. Not clear on why, other than that's what works.

3) My understanding on the "process whole image" setting on the top of several pages in ffdshow is that it's better to leave it unchecked, so black bars on 4:3/2.35:1 material aren't needlessly processed, easing the burden on the CPU.

4) With regards to employing additional codecs with TT: couldn't you create a graph with exactly which codecs you'd like to use and have TT use that? Then have TT do post-processing with ffdshow?

Any thoughts?

Thanks again, Bruce
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post #13 of 56 Old 10-21-2007, 05:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bruce73 View Post

Any thoughts?

1) Altough I have not expressely disabled divx from the codec page of ffdshow, the divx taskbar does not pop in, so, it's only ffdshow doing the decoding.

2) Some people have this bug, I read in the TT forum. I dont So, I didnt change it.

3) Thanks for the head up. I was playing with "only right half" to see if i had PQ improvements with the various settings and when something was ok, i ticked "process whole". I didn't think about the black bars. I have very few videos which are in letterbox. but I will edit the OP to change this, to avoid unnecessary cpu usage.

4) Yes, I have to figure out how to use graphedit. Also, I am evaluating other codecs. I'm not expert yet. This and custom FFDShow profiles are my next steps.
For istance, I compared the above settings vs mainconcept h.264 codec (v. 2.10) in PQ of a movie encoded with high bitrate in mp4 and h.264 (i think coreAVC). I can say that it DIDNT need the upscaling and filters at all with mainconcept/elecard codec. PQ was amazing. Tested on my computer with 1600x1200 CRT. I dont have a 50" full HD plasma or projector to see further details but I can tell that the codec matters.

There are two things that I'm strongly convinced, though.
-Spline is MUCH Better than Lanczos, I dont know why everybody recommends it.
-AVISynth may be unneeded with the latest builds of ffdshow. Probably can improve things for DVD playback on true HD screens, but lesser than that, waste of time IMO.
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post #14 of 56 Old 10-21-2007, 05:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arfster View Post

FFDshow's preset autoload conditions allow you to select a different profile based on various conditions - filenames, codec presence, resolution etc.

I definitely have to setup something like this. I suspected the profiles can be accessed by condition and not just switching with the osd.

Quote:


Back when I sued it a lot, I had one profile for DVD, one for lowres xvid, another for highres xvid, and one (with no processing at all) for h264. FFDshow selected the appropriate one automatically.

These are exactly the profiles I want to setup. When I'll do (and I'll choose the most appropriate codecs as well, I'll update this thread.

BTW do you know if ffdshow can get these values when is called in Theatertek? I dont want to loose EVR. I load TheaterTek from MediaPortal.
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post #15 of 56 Old 10-21-2007, 07:17 PM - Thread Starter
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So, I made the test I had in mind using a high-quality xvid dvdrip, my ffdshow settings (that i called now divx high) in WMP11 (second picture, ignore the fake cpu usage), and zoomplayer5 with the following graph:

WMR9-Elecard mpeg4 decoder-Elecard audio decoder-avi splitter (first picture)
Maniconcept codec is hardware-accelerated and Elecard plugin costs 20-40$. My 8800gtx does a great job, but this is not my htpc

PQ-wise there is no difference that my eyes can tell.
CPU usage is: around 15% for ZP+Elecard and 35% for WMP+ffdshow.

Now onto to do some test with dvds.
This thread made me eager to try how much purevideo and TT have improved over 2 years. Remember that i'm using Vista and EVR enabled when allowed by the player.
LL
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post #16 of 56 Old 10-29-2007, 06:25 AM
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Thanks for your work on DIVX videos. I have been dying to see something like this. I had some settings based on the DVD settings, but yours are much better. I also played with some profiles, but never got very far. I do wonder about Media Portal, though. I tried it and couldn't get it to work too well. Takes too much time to set up. Every change I made it went into outer space with the hard drive going full tilt for like 20 minutes. (I was setting up channels from a set top box.)
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post #17 of 56 Old 10-29-2007, 05:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RealTelstar View Post

BTW do you know if ffdshow can get these values when is called in Theatertek? I dont want to loose EVR. I load TheaterTek from MediaPortal.

It appears so. I use TT almost exclusively for DVD/Divx/XviD, and changing profiles in ffdshow while playing a file is dynamic, great for comparisons (and I still see EVR in the graph when playing DVDs).

Your DivX/Xvid settings are a vast improvement, albeit a bit soft for my 50" DLP (on the Blur & NR tab, I lowered Soften to 5, and changed the denoise3d to 1/3/5 -- am I on the right track? Can't really see much difference.). But the biggest difference is much less blocking, which is great.

Now I'm trying to get the autoload profile feature to work. Basically all I want is to load 8:13's Basic settings when I play a DVD, and your DivX settings with DivX/Xvid material. To date, I've tried:

1) the wildcard/file option (*.ifo and *.avi for each respectively), but that didn't work. Perhaps the syntax is incorrect (?).

2)the FourCC choice which works for DivXs, but I'm not sure what to plug in for DVDs (MPG2 ??).

3)choosing an exact res for DVDs (720x480) works, but what if I have a DivX file that is at that res? As you know, those are all over the place.

4) choosing no autoload for DVDs, but having the Basic profile as the default (bold) one. I thought this would be the winner, but I see that it doesn't always change over to the DivX profile.

Any idea the best way to do this?
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post #18 of 56 Old 10-29-2007, 07:49 PM
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Your ffdshow settings are strange, and will certainly not give the best result for most MPEG4 ASP (Xvid, Divx, etc.) files. You've got full postprocessing, an arbitrary resize, plus softening, denoising and sharpening after the resize. This will ruin many videos.

And to begin with, the ffdshow decoder is generally worse than the Xvid decoder.

Before jumping to ffdshow and plugging in all these settings, you need to think about your source file and your intended output source, and adjust the settings accordingly. Many times the bare Xvid decoder will already give you optimal speed and quality.
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post #19 of 56 Old 11-22-2007, 07:55 AM
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I've been testing with FFdshow for over a year now and I've accomplished great picture quality so far but I just tryed your settings suggestions and it was astonishing !.....with less CPU usage as a bonus !!! as for resizing I put 720 because of CPU load at 1080....can I put a non standard value like say 900 ?......or should I try to change to SPP deblocking ?

Thank you for sharing your testing !
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post #20 of 56 Old 11-27-2007, 11:58 AM
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I must be doing something wrong. I went threw the entire process opened mp 11 and the OSD still says default resolution?
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post #21 of 56 Old 11-28-2007, 04:57 PM
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I spent the last 2.5 hours following this direction to setup FFDSHOW and TheatreTek using an 8600gts and when I tried to play a movie I get black screen. At one point I get an error about video card not supporting reclock.

How do I fix this so I can get picture back?
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post #22 of 56 Old 11-29-2007, 04:42 PM
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dannieboiz: I have a 7600gt card and had a similar problem with ReClock and Vista Media Center (I think this was before I installed TheaterTek, not sure). I uninstalled ReClock and Windows reverted back to the default DirectShow audio renderer (my Realtek onboard card). TheaterTek most likely would behave the same way. And I never understood the big deal about ReClock anyway. Try uninstalling and see.

You could also check the TheaterTek forum and see if there's any mention of ReClock problems.
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post #23 of 56 Old 12-01-2007, 05:27 PM
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Rips look not only washed out, but I can detect wavy lines using these settings. I used process right side only to compare, I will stick with the noise. These settings are for really sub par rips I am sure. I did notice an improvement in noise, but that was about it.
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post #24 of 56 Old 12-28-2007, 12:35 PM
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I backup my dvd's with nero recode, making nero digital avc .mp4 files.

Are these divx/xvid also good setting for them to play, or can I better use the settings for dvd upscaling.
Of course I can look for quality difference myself, but an expert opinion would be handy.
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post #25 of 56 Old 12-29-2007, 02:41 PM
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Sorry this may be a noob question -- I know your settings are for divx/xvid, but would these settings work better than the default ffdshow settings when running x264 mkv files?
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post #26 of 56 Old 01-01-2008, 01:07 PM
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x264 are best left as-is
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post #27 of 56 Old 01-02-2008, 06:06 PM
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In the output size it soesn't change a thing for me same input and output
640*480.
any ideas?
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post #28 of 56 Old 01-02-2008, 06:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vajcs85 View Post

In the output size it soesn't change a thing for me same input and output
640*480.
any ideas?

I solve it cheking the resize always option.
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post #29 of 56 Old 01-02-2008, 07:11 PM
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thanks
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post #30 of 56 Old 01-05-2008, 08:16 PM
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Thanks for your setup Telstar

I find it introduces quite a smoothing effect as opposed to preserving detail. I don't mind the noise/blockiness as much because when I view these movies they are from enough distance. I edited my simple resize preset though and am using Spline for it now, thanks!
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