Quantcast Procoder 2.0 encoding has macroblocking - digitalFAQ Forum
  #1  
02-04-2005, 06:19 AM
blazey blazey is offline
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Ok, last year you helped me with some capture issues and I'm back for more!

All my captures are from Laserdisc to uncompressed AVI in Vdub sync. Dropped in Vegas 5. I usually only do a fade in/out and add some contrast and black restore and clean up audio in SF.

When I encode I have done this:

Use the MC in Vegas - not bad, a bit soft
Use TMPGEnc - Great, the noise reduction is stunning, but video is not crisp. A bit soft.
Bought the full MC - HORRIBLE! SOFT AND GRAINY!
Gave in and bought Procoder 2.0.

Now, heres my real question. Procoder encodes are stunning. Sharp, clear and detailed. BUT... I'm seeing a bit of macroblocking in soft focus background areas of my encodes. Is this just "the way it is" and I've reached the level of what consumer level encoders can do? I am sitting on 3 "good" encoders, but still not getting the perfection I am looking for. Is it me? I encode at Mastering with 2 pass VBR 8000-6000

Also, your Procoder filter guide is not up yet. I was wondering if you have come up with presets to match TMPGEnc's noise filter yet?

Lastly, VDUB's noise reduction during capture. What kind of filter is this? Where is a good setting to avoid "plastic" and still remove some analog noise from the laserdisc?

Thanks!
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  #2  
02-04-2005, 07:15 AM
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Oh, one more thing...

When I encode the audio in PC 2 as a PCM, DVD Architect does not permit me to re-encode it to AC-3, and thusly my files are WAY too large for the DVD. Is there a setting I'm missing?
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  #3  
02-05-2005, 11:59 PM
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Captures sound good. Clean LD source, uncompressed is good, using VirtualDub is fine. Vegas is nice to edit. SoundForge is great for audio work. Nice setup.

The thing to understand about MainConcept is that it is simply an engine, and not a piece of software. Hopefully that makes sense. The engine is bought by other companies and tweaked to their needs. Sony, Ulead, Adobe, Sonic and a few others use it.

- Sony's MainConcept is probably the best version of MC.
- Adobe's looks good too.
- Sonic and Ulead use a really minimalist version, but still not horrible by any means (not soft).
- Your observation of in-house MC 1.4 encoder released by MC directly is about on par with most people. it's soft and gooey looking. The MPEG capture tool inside it is lacking too, and sucks up too much CPU. Great engine, poor usage.

CinemaCraft (CCE) is full of noise. It adds a kind of digital "grain" referred to as "mosquito noise". For this reason alone many people hate it. Most CCE lovers flock to the unneeded up-to-9-pass encoding.

TMPGEnc is based on freeware turned payware. It is an excellent encoder when you want to filter to heck out of video. If you source is perfect, TMPGENC is not for you. It is not really "soft" as much as it gives a "plastic" or "flat" (sometimes even "muddy") look to the video.

I still have Procoder 1.5. I had the 2.0 trial for a while, but it has problems. The 2.0 engine is supposed to be better ... BUT... there are reports that it's MASTERING mode is flawed. The new 2.0 is a faster and higher quality engine ... however MASTERING takes less time than HIGHEST and often looks worse. Go figure. Flaw of the software. (The non-paying crowd also gets to deal with addition issues, as the illegal hacks do not work correctly.)

I've used VDUB filters before in the past, but never really in capture. I just ran a test to be sure, and my memory is correct: these are mainly blur filters. They could trade detail for less noise. It is a decent filter however. Different source will react differently, so run some tests. I had the filter at the default level (about 20% towards the right on slider) and it did clean up a decent amount of grain on an old tape. It's comparable to ATI VideoSoap. It worked fine on my P4 1.8Ghz using HuffYUV.

I hate Procoder's audio encoding. People complain about TMGPENC having audio imperfections, but it's flawless compared to PC. If you can avoid encode audio in PC, that would be great. Adobe Premiere has an option to export WAV audio separate off the timeline, and I use that.

PC 1.5 also has a bug where the MPG video-only files have a blank audio stream sometimes, so I've had to demux files in the past. No idea why (though it may have something to do with some quirky tweaks I did one time).

Consumer encoders and professional encoders are pretty much the same thing. PC, by all rights, is a pro encoder. So is CCE and MC. HOWEVER, pros also have expensive hardware to encode with, so that can also be part of the different. AND they have the original high quality source scanned in, not a digital re-acquisition from an analog format that is already lossy.

And yes, the longer you're at the hobby, the more picky you get. You may have finally hit that plateau where you will not be happy. Especially if you watch tv on a huge screen or HDTV.

So yes, 2-pass 6000-8000k VBR is about your max potential.

If you want to clip off a 10MB (or smaller) chunk of the final MPEG file (video only), upload ONE file here:
http://www.digitalfaq.com/uploads/upload.asp
Note: If your net connection is too slow, it may time out.

Believe it or not, MPEG encoders are MUCH MUCH better in 2005 than they were in 2001. Back then, we mostly had XING, LSX, Panasonic and a couple other miserable choices. While PC, MC, etc existed ... they were mostly "pro only" and unknown to consumers.



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  #4  
02-06-2005, 12:39 AM
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Something else you may want to consider to fight off softness in an image is a DETAILER unit.

Vidicraft made several of them (Detailer II, III, IV), and they can be found on eBay for about $50-100 each. That company is now out of business, so cannot buy new.

Vidicraft employees eventually worked for Studio 1 Productions, and Vidicraft sold their stuff to an Asian company, and that's pretty much the end of them.

Studio 1 Detailers (DR-1000 Image Enhancers) can be found on eBay for about $75-150.

Sign Video is the modern version of Studio 1 Productions gear (including DR-1000), and they sell video equipment at http://www.signvideo.com. About $300+ for one of these new.

I have a DR-1000 from SignVideo. EXCELLENT piece of equipment.



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  #5  
02-06-2005, 12:41 AM
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Reading your questions one more time, MACROBLOCKING is usually a sign of inadequate bitrate.

SOFT FOCUS in the background is the nature of MPEG encoding. Even commercial DVDs will likely suffer this. Though not as bad as captures.

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  #6  
02-06-2005, 01:42 AM
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Ok, good stuff! Since I am stuck with PC 2.0 and can't buy 1.5 if I wanted to, I am determined to make this work. I uploaded you a 10 sec sample of the worst area of a B&W encode I've done with PC 2.0 in Mastering. Are you saying I should not be using the Mastering setting for the best quality? It's really only the "dark" areas of video I take issue with. Any "well lit" secenes look outstanding. Perhaps a change in Gamma in the encode? I really don't understand what it is or even HOW to color correct or what the filters do, so any help with that is a good thing! I am looking into a Vidicraft unit already. I have a Sima SCC, but I pulled it from the signal chain as I SWEAR it adds noise and other crap to the capture. It's only for defeating Macrovision now. I will try bypassing PC's audio and render AC-3 from Vegas. I never thought to do that! Any thoughts on PC's filters to replicate TMPGEnc's noise reduction? Oh about that MACROBLOCKING... I don't see it in TMPGEnc with the same settings - but I will live with it for PC's sharp and nice contrasty output. I can't wait until DL discs become affordable! Then it's everything at 2 pass at 9800 and we'll see who's macroblocking now! LOL! - blazey
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02-11-2005, 12:27 AM
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Is that LD captured from s-video output? If so, it has terrible dot crawl. Most LD players have a really inferior s-video y/c as compared to more modern s-video output. I would suggest composite to give it a less "alive" look.

Some of that may be what's causing less desireable results from the encoder.

Your SIMA SCC most likely added noise and caused other problems. That's very common. Those devices are inferior to outright TBC's and proc amps.

Procoder 1.5 did NOT have temporal noise removal. It was only intra-frame, so it essentially just softened the image. I do not have a version of 2.0 to test with. I need to contact Canopus, but they tend to not like me, because I refuse to accept their smoke-and-mirrors marketing when it comes to their overrated hardware. As I hear it, however, from people I trust, the noise removal is more advanced in 2.0 and does included a temporal axis. Several frames are compared to one another, and the one with something odd gets those few pixels replaced by info from another frame before or after. That's how temporal works. Intra-frame usually just blurs and hopes to hide errors. PC 1.5 was terrible at it, at least compared to TMPGENC.

In your sample I actually did not see any macroblocks at all. I viewed it in PowerDVD and then in Womble MPEG-VCR. It looks nice and clean, aside from dot crawl (which gives it the "infested by amoebas" look).

The clarity/tonal quality on the monitor appears like it would be fine on a tv set.

I would suggest a proc amp with color on 0% when doing B&W videos. I've even used a Sima SED-CM a few times (though still not the best method, best is true proc amp). That will allow the encoders to concentrate better on the colors you want, not worry about chroma as much, just the luminance.

I hope some of this helps.






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  #8  
02-11-2005, 11:57 PM
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I didn't know it was called dot crawl. I do get it on the composite output as well as S Video. I have tried an AC Line filter which has helped, but not much. That dot crawl is why I use TMPGEnc's noise reduction and skip PC often. It's on both of my LD players I've tried. They are Panasonics. Maybe I need a Pioneer. I do have a Vidicraft Detailer II now from Ebay (if it works when I get it), so we'll see how that helps.
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