[mythtv-users] Helpful feedback

James Linder jam at tigger.ws
Sun Apr 15 00:38:27 UTC 2018

> On 14 Apr 2018, at 8:00 pm, mythtv-users-request at mythtv.org wrote:
>> G?day all
>> I?ve been struggling with the local (Australian ABC) HD H264 recordinggs. mythtranscode chokes and all my (undoubtably naive and silly) fiddling with ffmpeg trying to cut commercials fails (ie bitrate is so slow the picture is blocky) (ABC is a non-commercial channel but they sure pack in a lot of Next, Forthcomming, and what's on iView their streaming service)
>> I?ve found Shotcut works well (well flawlessly) just a bit slow. The deinterlacer and interpolator are really good.
> When you are trying to cut out bits of a video file, there are two
> ways to do it.  It depends on the codecs involved, but most work as I
> am describing here (in a simplified way).  The video data is mostly
> made up of two different sorts of frames.  The "key" frames, and the
> other frames between the key frames.  Only a key frame has all the
> data necessary to display the picture for that frame.  The other
> frames only have data that tells the differences between that frame
> and the previous one.
> When you tell your cutting program that you want to cut at a key frame
> and stop cutting at another key frame, there is no problem - it just
> copies all the data up to the key frame at the start of the cut, then
> drops all the frame data until the key frame for the end of the cut.
> Similarly, if the start of the cut is at a between frames, and then
> end is on a key frame, that works too.  Data gets dropped for all the
> frames from the start of the cut to the end, but since the end is a
> key frame, it and the data after it can be copied and you still have a
> valid video stream.
> When you want a cut to start at a key frame and end between key
> frames, there is a big problem.  If the data from non-key frames does
> not have all the frames prior to and including the previous key frame
> in the output video stream, it will be invalid.  The playing program
> may be able to find another key frame later in the video stream and
> recover from there, but it may also just get lost and stop playing. So
> the cutting software needs to calculate all the changes in the video
> output from the prior key frame to the cut point, and put into the
> output stream a new calculated key frame, and then recalculate all the
> non-key frames from that new key frame on until the next key frame in
> the input stream.
> Video cutting software has two ways it normally handles this problem.
> Either it ignores the precise frame you tell it to cut at, and cuts at
> the nearest key frame, or instead of just doing cutting, it completely
> transcodes the entire video stream, regenerating the full frame at
> each key and non-key frame, and then re-compressing to produce the
> output stream.  The first strategy gives you very imprecise cut
> points, so you still get bits of the things you were trying to cut
> out.  And if the software is bad (and it often is), you can also miss
> bits of the video you want, as it will choose the wrong key frame to
> cut at.  But the cutting is very quick - it just takes as long as it
> takes to read the file and write the new one.  If the second strategy
> of doing a full transcode is used, you get precise cutting, but as
> with any transcode using lossy encoding, the resulting video output is
> of lower quality than the input was - there is another set of
> compression loss.  And it takes a long time as video decompression and
> recompression is a very CPU intensive operation, and not well suited
> to use of multiple CPU cores.
> Only very few cutting programs do it correctly, using the proper
> strategy of copying the data when possible, and only doing a full
> transcode when necessary.  This takes a little longer that cutting at
> key frames only, but as only a small proportion of the data gets
> transcoded, it is nearly as fast as the first strategy.  You do still
> get quality loss at the cut points where transcoding is necessary, but
> it is generally not too noticeable as it is for only very short
> periods.
> My guess is that Shotcut is using the second strategy of completely
> transcoding the video.  That would explain why it is slow.  But check
> its options to see if it does have any that might make it use the
> third, correct, strategy.
> And I would also like to suggest that cutting out the advertising is
> not really necessary.  Unlike most TV software I have tried,
> mythfrontend is very good at being able to manually skip forward and
> backward using the remote when you hit an ad break.  With the correct
> settings for how skip works, it becomes second nature to just skip
> forward until you see program again, then back a little to the last of
> the ad break, and let it play.  You see only less than 10 seconds of
> ads and then the program again.  In New Zealand, the automatic
> commercial detection does not work on any of our channels, so if we
> want to cut out the ads, we would have to manually mark where they are
> before trying to transcode.  That is way too much effort when it is so
> easy to just manually skip when you get to the ads.  This is a huge
> advantage MythTV has over its competitors - it really works well.  But
> it relies on the correct setup of the skip settings.

Stephen thanks for all the info.

While I agree re cutting ads (and commercial detection in Oz is a bas as NZ sounds) I chop ads from movies that I want to keep because skipping on my samsung tv using uPnP is very tiresome.
I also need to recode the video and recontainer it because of foibles of samsung uPnP. ie it will procaim ‘unsupported format’
but play the same movie from a usb stick.

All my cutting is done with mythtv


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