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Old 08-01-2010, 11:33 AM
hazza_t10 hazza_t10 is offline
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Default h.264 tutorial using SUPER

DEPRECATED!

Please see new thread here

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Hi everyone.

I've noticed quite a lot of people asking about, or having problems with encoding h.264 video to work on the S9. Whilst there are answers floating about, I thought it would be much easier to have a single thread on ABI that people can refer to, rather than having to open a new one each time.

There will be some simple/obvious stuff in here, but I want it to answer as many questions as possible. I will also update this over time, hopefully adding a guide for Badak too.


Why bother with h.264?
---------------------------


h.264 achieves a higher quality for a given bit rate than other MPEG-4 codecs, such as XViD or DiVX.

Simply put, a video file encoded using h.264 can have a smaller file size than an XViD or DiVX file to obtain the same level of quality.
For the same file size, h.264 will yield higher quality.

This makes h.264 support highly desirable for portable media devices, and is worth taking advantage of where you possibly can.


h.264 support for the S9
-----------------------------


The Cowon S9 DOES support h.264 video, but only in quite a specific way, as we will see later. For the majority of people, these restrictions should not pose any problem, and conversion is easy enough.


What converters are out there?
-----------------------------------


Whilst there are no end of freeware or shareware video converters, either Badak or SUPER are recommended for use with the S9, as some converters are not capable of producing compatible video. For example, Handbrake is (unfortunately) not suitable.


Using SUPER
--------------


1) Open SUPER. If you are using Windows Vista or 7 it is recommended that you run it in 'Administrator mode'.

2) There are several options that must be set correctly for the resulting video to be compatible. These out outlined in red below:




NOTE: MP4 container with AAC LC audio does work with H.264 (I believe from firmware version 2.50 and above), but I have had some problems with quality. Therefore, I recommend sticking with .AVI and MP3


3) Now click on the icon near the top-right labelled"H264 Profile". A box similar to below should appear.



It is important to set the options as I have shown above, else the resulting video may not be compatible. Levels lower than 2.2 may work, but these restrict the video resolution so it is recommended that you stick with 2.2. The BaseLine profile MUST be used, as the S9 does not support CABAC, and the number of reference frames must be set to 1.

Whilst video using 2 or 3 reference frames can actually be played by the S9, I have sometimes experienced problems with artifacts in the video. As it is not consistent, and the benefit of multiple reference frames is quite small, I would reccommend using only 1.


4) Click the icon labelled "Other Opts" below the previous icon. Set the options this box to the same as below:




You may allow SUPER to adjust the encode volume if required, though be careful, as increasing it too much will introduce clipping (distortion). If you do need to do this, I would suggest you try 3db or maybe 6dB initially.

DO NOT allow SUPER to "Insert BFrames" as this will make the video incompatible.

5) Add your video files by right-clicking within SUPER and selecting "Add Multimedia Files".

It's worth noting that SUPER is capable of handling a wide range of input video formats. You can even convert straight from DVD TS files, though I would suggest using some other encode between TS files and SUPER. I tend to use Handbrake, as I keep the intermediate Handbrake MKV file (full res and high quality) on my PC with the relevant parts of the DVD (ie. certain chapters and correct subtitles, if required), then convert this 'master' file using SUPER for my S9 file.

6) Resolution and aspect ratio. You will need to make some intelligent choice about resolution of the output video. As stated earlier, I have not had any success with videos larger than 480x272. The main factor in choosing a resolution should be the aspect ratio of the input video. I make a particular effort to maintain this, as otherwise the squashed output can look terrible on the S9!

If the input video is 16:9 then output should be 480x272. This also goes for files where the actual content is some other ratio, but the file includes the 'black bars' and the overall aspect is 16:9 (typical for DVDs). When ripping DVDs for the S9, it is sensible not to crop these black bars, as it makes life easier at this stage.

For other aspect ratios, I divide the input width by input height to give you the ratio. Divide 480 by this value to give you the height to use on the S9. Use a custom aspect ratio by clicking "More" on the "Video Scale Size" region at the top of SUPER, and enter the width as 480 and the height as your calculated value.

7) Make sure the checkbox next to the files is checked, then click the button at the bottom labelled "Encode (active files)"

8) A small box will now pop-up:



You should select the radio button labelled "H264" and click OK.

Then just wait for the results!


Restrictions on video resolution and bit rate
-------------------------------------------------


Whilst level 2.2 does allow videos of a higher resolution than the screen of the S9 (480x272), I have no success so far with videos larger than this size. I *assume* this means that it does not support videos bigger than this, but I may be wrong. If it does not, then it would be bad news for people who like to use the S9 for TV-out.

There will also be a limitation on the maximum bit rate that can be used, as with all videos. So far, I have not found this so I believe that it is quite high.


Recommendation for video bit rate and resolution
---------------------------------------------------------


I suggest that any video should be encoded to a size that maintains its aspect ratio, rather than simply using 480x272 for everything.

I generally use a video bit rate of 480 kbits for films at 480x272, but for animated material or lower resolution videos, then you can get away with much less. For example, for some cartoons as 368x272 I have used as low as 240 kbps, and the quality is still acceptable.

A typical film at 480x272 @25fps will occupy ~500MB at 480kbps.
A 10 minute cartoon at 368x272 @29.97fps will occupy ~30MB at 240kbps.

If you feel that you can get away with less, then do! You can achieve some really small file sizes and cram your S9 full of video! It's all down to what quality you think you can put up with.


Recommendation for audio sample rate and bit rate
------------------------------------------------------------


For most films, the sample rate is 48KHz or higher. For this reason, I always use a 48KHz sample rate for films.

For films I would recommend using a minimum of 160kbps. However, if you feel you are happy with less, then go for it. With some films that I have encoded, 48KHz 128kbps has resulted in some very annoying distortion at low frequency. Increasing the bit rate solved the problem.

For animated material, I typically use a 44.1KHz sample rate, or occasionally 32KHz if I am really trying to minimise the file size. 112 kbps or 96 kbps would be a satisfactory minimum in my opinion.


Hope that helps people!
If anyone has any further questions or anything, just give me a shout!
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Last edited by hazza_t10; 01-18-2012 at 03:40 PM.
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  #2  
Old 08-01-2010, 12:46 PM
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Great post - indeed, sticky worthy. Could help legions of S9/J3 owners.

Good job :-)
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Old 08-01-2010, 01:03 PM
hazza_t10 hazza_t10 is offline
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Thanks a lot lestatar
I had totally forgotten about the J3 actually! Would it be worth opening a thread in their section and linking it to here do you think? Or just wait and hope that one of the admins does something clever?
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Old 08-01-2010, 01:15 PM
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Wait a day...see what happens :-)
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Old 08-01-2010, 02:18 PM
hazza_t10 hazza_t10 is offline
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Great Thanks admin!
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Old 09-18-2010, 11:27 AM
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"3) Now click on the icon near the top-left labelled "H264 Profile". A box similar to below should appear."

should be top right. thats why i was like wheres the H264 Profile lol
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Old 09-19-2010, 04:12 PM
hazza_t10 hazza_t10 is offline
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Cheers, fixed!
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Old 09-20-2010, 07:09 PM
marcmatles marcmatles is offline
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Thanhs alot for information
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Old 11-01-2010, 05:47 AM
hazza_t10 hazza_t10 is offline
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Some people are having problems with newer versions of SUPER crashing/closing when they click the "encode" button. I would advise upgrading to build 41 (released 31st Oct 2010). If the problem persists, open the SUPER menu and check the item labelled "Use older validation procedure". This newest build also brings support for several new codecs.
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Old 11-23-2010, 05:26 AM
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cheers man
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Old 01-12-2011, 11:43 AM
hazza_t10 hazza_t10 is offline
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Updated!
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Old 01-12-2011, 11:52 AM
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Thanks for tutorial.
Latest version is .42
I am using latest version and it used to crash when I enqueue multiple files(usually .vob files of DVD) then I found a workaround I used Join vob tool (within 5 minutes it creates 1 file for DVD9 main movie) then encode with SUPER.
I un check old validation and I have no problems(Win.7).
Edit: a sample file is linked in J3 section.(encoded with SUPER)
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Old 01-13-2012, 03:05 AM
hazza_t10 hazza_t10 is offline
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New, improved guide on the way next week! We can say goodbye to SUPER
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Old 01-18-2012, 04:18 PM
hazza_t10 hazza_t10 is offline
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New guide has arrived people! Please check it out! I will leave this guide up, but I DO NOT recommend using SUPER, as new versions are bundled with spyware-like software.
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