Re-Encoding Your DVDs

Like Donald Knuth, I think much of the current multicore hype is overrated.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original blog entry at:

x264 has been getting a lot of visual improvements lately - the screenshot up there is definitely from before Variance AQ, which was specifically made to fix loss of detail in flat bits. That’s really the only problem I can see there.

I too can’t get enough cores. I did a Blu-Ray two days ago. I can fit it on a DVD at 1280x720 with a bitrate of about 6 Mbps (if memory serves). Superb image quality, no degradation AFAICT. Did it overnight on a dual-core @ 3.3 Ghz.

For fun, I figured I could do a DVD-9 at a full HD resolution of 1920x1080. The encode took me 26 hours… lol

Dennis already mentioned part of this, but…

Don Knuth (PBUH) said iI get to use them both only when I’m running two independent jobs at the same time; that’s nice, but it happens only a few minutes every week./i

Which is, well, utter bollocks.

Sure, Dr. Knuth doesn’t often do two “tasks” at once, directly, in the sense of doing two things with his active attention at once.

But even if he (unlike the vast majority of us) only uses a console with an editor and switches out to compile things, the Irest of the OS/i will run tasks while he’s working all the time.

While he’s spot on (of course) when speaking of individual programming tasks that parallelism doesn’t help, the idea that an extra core isn’t making the machine as a whole faster than not having it, seems unsupportable even in a plain-jane unix setup, though that’s where the benefit will be least, and least obvious - though a more typical setup even then would have compiles going while one does other things, and it’s nice to minimize the effect either has on the other.

(He says he’s speaking of technical work, not recreation, but even in “technical work”, many of us want multiple processes running at once, have environments that do background compilation* or optimization, are using those icky “web browser” things to look at Idocumentation/i, and even using our computers to play (efficiency-enhancing) music while we work.

And then there’s those of us who are working on systems either for the web or with a DB backend or both, who need, just to work, to have a running webserver and/or SQL server, both of which will be competing for cycles with our actual work product.

*Yes, I’m talking to you, Visual Studio.)

Actually the one thing (unless I’m missing it) I don’t like about this concept is that you’re limited to a single audio track. Sure, I can forego the Spanish, French, etc. tracks but I like the audio commentaries. Are there any good compression formats out there that have nice automated programs like Handbrake (DVD - Format) that can store multiple audio tracks? Because then I’d be all about having a Home Server with the ability to stream all this crap to a Media Center PC.

How long before the movie industry wants to get in on that “format shifting” tax that the RIAA is pushing for in the UK? See here:

Aaron G said: Is there even a single case on the books where government lawyers have gone after a private citizen for transcoding? I’m not talking about the MPAA here, whose lawsuits generally don’t involve the DMCA at all, not to mention that they only ever go after mass distributors.

You mean like when the DVD-CCA pressured Norway into arresting DVD Jon?

One strange thing is that XBMC tends to be much better at playing XVid encodes of DVDs than it does playing the original DVDs. It’s like there’s too much data to keep up with, so skipping around is not instant.

I agree with Jon Raynor because it will never be possible to distribute your private key with the video.

With the cost of terabyte hard drives in a downward spiral, I find myself no longer encoding DVDs to DivX, xVid or H.264. I now just rip them to disks with DVDFab HD Decrypter, removing the FBI warning and foreign language(s) that I don’t need. This has one major advantage for me compared to encoding… the chapter jumping features are intact. The other advantage, it takes just 10 to 15 minutes to rip a DVD compared to 2 to 3 hours to encode it to H.264 (at approximately 1/4th the size of the original).

Ah, but breaking the CSS to rip your dvd’s is committing a serious crime there. How dare you steal from those poor filmmakers by not buying their movie a second time in a degraded format when you want to watch it on your computer?!

Handbrake is seriously awesome, though.

I’d just like to point out to those who don’t know, we cannot “rebuild them better than they were before”. This is due to the fact that H.264 involves lossy compression. What this means is that each time you compress the video, you lose some quality, the degree of loss depends on a few things though.

However, as it stands at the moment, there’s no doubt that if you want the best compression out of your videos, H.264 is the best solution.

P.S. If I recall correctly, H.264 does allow for lossless encoding, however, the bitrates (and therefore storage space), are surplus to most people’s requirements.

Maybe The actuel computers were meant for the future programming?
What do you think of the Parallel Extensions to the .Net framework Microsoft is working on?

That would give a “purpose” to the so called “hype” don’t you think?

I mean… even WoW benefits from the multicore now (Since 2.0.1)!

Would there be any point in pre-scaling movies?

I know that you can’t just create pixels out of thin air - but when you play a 720x480 dvd on a 1920x1080 screen, something somewhere is doing a lot of scaling of that video.

It seems as though it should be possible to use a higher quality but slower scaling algorithm ahead of time and end up with something that might actually, overall, look better than the original DVD scaled by your dvd player.

Obviously the bandwidth requirements go up as well, but HD space is cheap :wink: Any thoughts?

What do you think of the Parallel Extensions to the .Net framework Microsoft is working on?

I think the minute you touch the database or do any kind of significant I/O, the performance benefits will be miniscule. It is a small step in the right direction, of course.

You say: “Unlike audio CDs, DVDs are already compressed digital data.”,
but remember that they are usually not originally digital data, in the
transfer from regular film (thats in the camera during filming) to the
actual Digital DVD, there can be a LOT of data lost.

I remember seeing the film “Once upon a Time in Mexico” on DVD and after
hearing that it was filmed on Digital camera, I ran it through an MPEG4
encode and the output was incredible! Even during fast motion scenes
there was no blur whatsoever.

Good post anyway… You had me right up until the screenshot from
"Idiocracy" … Shakes Head … Shocking, just shocking movie.

It goes beyond geek nirvana, dvds and cds are dead.

First I read this:

And now I read this: “Like Donald Knuth, I think much of the current multicore hype is overrated.”

I’m confused…!

I used to routinely re-encode my DVD’s, but the abundance of really cheap storage and gigabit ethernet has eliminated most of my desire to endure the re-encode process. I guess I don’t need to be that flexible.

I routinely walk with 250+GB so bringing over a couple of deletable 8GB files is really no biggie and since I don’t share, ever, transfer time is irrelevant.

Idiocracy is a great movie.

I found one really useful feature of quad processors. Running multiple virtual machines. Since I’m an OS X fetishist and a .NET developer being able to work in Windows and OS X simultaneously without having to reboot uncomplicates my life.

I’m still on the fence about re-encoding DVDs. I copy the entire DVD to the drive so my son can watch his shows. The little one loves to hit the eject button and it keeps me sane. I prefer keeping the menus; since I’m an anglophone in France being able to switch languages by remote is essential.