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Old 2008-01-19, 12:45   Link #1
Orochi
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Video artifacting and quality issues.

Recently I've noticed more and more that in dark areas of the screen when watching fansubs (I think usually h264, but I'm pretty sure I've noticed it in a couple of XviD files I've watched recently) that there is a lot of artifacting and the like when fading in and out of darkness, etc. I got a new monitor for Christmas, and while it's a relatively high resolution LCD monitor, I don't see why that would be the problem. I'm also using a GeForce 7900 GS, which hasn't given me any problems in the past, either. I very recently (today) reinstalled ffdshow and even updated my video drivers to see if a reinstall and settings reset would fix it (in case I'd borked something myself) but it's still pretty noticable at times. If there's some settings related to media player classic, that would also be helpful, as I have no idea what any of the stuff about overlays, etc are for or do.

Here's an example screenshot, any help would be appreciated.

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Old 2008-01-19, 13:38   Link #2
SeijiSensei
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Are you scaling up a video? Trying to watch something encoded in 704x400 at much higher resolutions can produce this effect. What happens if you rescale your monitor image to a resolution similar to the program you're watching? What if you watch the video in a window in its native resolution? Does the problem go away?

I've found these artifacts to be especially obvious when watching scenes with dark solid backgrounds like the one you showed here.
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Old 2008-01-19, 14:27   Link #3
Eviltape
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Bad encode? This is m.3.3.w & BakaWolf's version of the same. I do, however, remember something like what you're describing when I used VLC with an XviD video back in the day.

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Old 2008-01-19, 14:51   Link #4
Orochi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eviltape View Post
Bad encode? This is m.3.3.w & BakaWolf's version of the same. I do, however, remember something like what you're describing when I used VLC with an XviD video back in the day.
I don't maximize or scale up video files unless particularly necessary, so my desktop resolution shouldn't matter in that regard, correct? The screenshot I posted was only about a 1/3rd of my full desktop at it's normal size, and I've noticed it on more than just that one video file, that was just an example.

I tried it again after setting my resolution all the way down to 600 x 800 and it was still there, although I couldn't find any good examples of it in any of the Shinsen encodes I had on hand, so maybe it IS just my selection of groups' doing.
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Last edited by Orochi; 2008-01-20 at 11:57.
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Old 2008-01-19, 15:16   Link #5
jpwong
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It does that because that particular scene is bitrate starved. It typically happens in dark scenes simply because the encoder program tries to save bits on those areas.

You see it more on XVID because when people try to cram a show down to the 170MB sizes and things from a 250-350MB source file, it has to remove data from somewhere.
You'll see it on any encode if they reduce the bitrate enough, or if they don't allocate enough bits to the darker scenes.

On the other hand, it could have been that their raw was shit quality, in which case they couldn't really have done much about it.
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Old 2008-01-19, 19:14   Link #6
Orochi
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So there's nothing I can do for sure? It's kind of distracting, and more and more fansubs I've downloaded recently are doing it.
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Last edited by Orochi; 2008-01-20 at 12:17.
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Old 2008-01-19, 22:00   Link #7
Ledgem
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpwong View Post
It does that because that particular scene is bitrate starved. It typically happens in dark scenes simply because the encoder program tries to save bits on those areas.
You're right, but the example he posted looks really terrible. I haven't seen an encode look like that since fansubs six or seven, maybe eight years ago. I've never heard of Kagami before - I just joined their IRC channel now and they look really small, perhaps new. If they're new staff then the encoder may be inexperienced. I'll download the episode and see if it looks that way to me as well.

If you want to improve it, you can look through FFDShow and turn on some of the post-processing options. It should make it look a bit better, but it's not a miracle cure by a long shot. And if the episode was encoded very poorly, you probably won't notice a difference.

Welcome to the joys of having a better monitor - when things look good, they really look good, but you notice the flaws in everything. Try to go for H.264-encoded material at higher resolutions if you can.

If there's no reply beneath me when I check the episode, I'll edit this post with an update on the episode. Otherwise I'll add another reply.

Edit: I watched the ending sequence and it didn't look bad at all - especially not anywhere near as bad as that screenshot. I'd suspect it's something wrong with your codecs or settings. Your screenshot also has the background looking like a light blue, while Eviltape's screencap and what I saw had a black background.

What codecs have you installed on your system? I suppose we can also go through your FFDShow settings. To make sure that it's an FFDShow setting and not a setting within MPC, try opening the file in a different video player and see if it looks the same.
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Last edited by Ledgem; 2008-01-19 at 22:44. Reason: Episode viewed
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Old 2008-01-20, 01:58   Link #8
Hanxue
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You didn't disable the h264 inloop deblocking filter did you?

(ffdshow -> codecs -> h.264/avc -> untick both "skip deblocking" boxes)
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Old 2008-01-20, 12:07   Link #9
Orochi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hanxue View Post
You didn't disable the h264 inloop deblocking filter did you?

(ffdshow -> codecs -> h.264/avc -> untick both "skip deblocking" boxes)
Nope, those are both still unticked.

Quote:
If you want to improve it, you can look through FFDShow and turn on some of the post-processing options. It should make it look a bit better, but it's not a miracle cure by a long shot. And if the episode was encoded very poorly, you probably won't notice a difference.
I don't know much about what any of the post-processing effects are, tbh. Any suggestions?

Quote:
What codecs have you installed on your system? I suppose we can also go through your FFDShow settings. To make sure that it's an FFDShow setting and not a setting within MPC, try opening the file in a different video player and see if it looks the same.
I set up all my playback and decoding utilities before the existence of the CCCP or whatever, and have maintained them on an individual basis since. Should I wipe all that off and get the CCCP pack? I notice I don't have any of these problems on my laptop, which uses all of the same components except under the CCCP; granted, it's only a 15-inch screen.

Let me try some files under a different media player. Unfortunately, I don't really have many others.

Scratch that, I don't have ANY other players that support .mkv. Should I get something else so we can deduce if it's an MPC problem?

Here's two more examples from files from different formats and groups.

Spoiler:


Spoiler:


Btw, the thing you mentioned about having a better monitor may or may not be relevant, as I was using a 21-inch CRT before, and am using it as my secondary monitor in a dual-screen configuration now, but as I mentioned earlier in the thread, the files still looked trashy even when I dropped my resolution to like, 600 x 800.

Actually, ew. Upon closer inspection by moving the window back and forth between monitors, the problems I'm noticing are much harder to see on my old monitor. I wonder how long it's been like this.
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Old 2008-01-20, 14:04   Link #10
jpwong
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Orochi View Post
Let me try some files under a different media player. Unfortunately, I don't really have many others.

Scratch that, I don't have ANY other players that support .mkv. Should I get something else so we can deduce if it's an MPC problem?
Assuming you have a XP based setup, you should have Mplayer2.exe which you can use as an alternate test to MPC. It should be located in your program files\Windows Media Player folder.
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Old 2008-01-20, 16:32   Link #11
Ledgem
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Orochi View Post
I don't know much about what any of the post-processing effects are, tbh. Any suggestions?
It sounds like the issue is a codec issue, so we'll skip over post-processing options for now.

Quote:
I set up all my playback and decoding utilities before the existence of the CCCP or whatever, and have maintained them on an individual basis since. Should I wipe all that off and get the CCCP pack? I notice I don't have any of these problems on my laptop, which uses all of the same components except under the CCCP; granted, it's only a 15-inch screen.
CCCP or your choice of another FFDShow build makes it easier. The reason I ask what components you have is because occasionally the wrong component forces itself to be used, resulting in problems like these. Way back when, I used to have DivX and XviD on my system. DivX 5 broke its preferences, and as a result forced itself to be used over XviD - when running a newer XviD file, I saw horrible blocks (similar to what you're seeing) and massive discoloration. Removing DivX fixed it, as XviD - the proper coded - was being used.

Quote:
Scratch that, I don't have ANY other players that support .mkv. Should I get something else so we can deduce if it's an MPC problem?
Yes, but avoid using VLC. VLC uses its own internal codecs, and as a result we wouldn't be able to tell if you had a codec issue or a player issue.

Quote:
Btw, the thing you mentioned about having a better monitor may or may not be relevant, as I was using a 21-inch CRT before, and am using it as my secondary monitor in a dual-screen configuration now, but as I mentioned earlier in the thread, the files still looked trashy even when I dropped my resolution to like, 600 x 800.

Actually, ew. Upon closer inspection by moving the window back and forth between monitors, the problems I'm noticing are much harder to see on my old monitor. I wonder how long it's been like this.
Regardless of the resolution, it is very relevant. In general, LCDs are much sharper than CRTs. It's due to the differences in the technologies used. Back when I used a CRT the blocks seemed less clear and a bit more blended with the rest of the scene, and were much less of an annoyance. The problem can't purely be attributed to your monitors, because your screenshots clearly show that there's a problem. It's possible that it wasn't as noticable to you before, as you mentioned.
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Old 2008-01-20, 17:40   Link #12
Orochi
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...Okay. What do you want me to do now, then? I'm pretty sure I don't have any wonky extraneous codecs floating around on here, as I do a pretty extensive set-up just to play anime and media files whenever I start using a freshly-formatted hard drive. Any surefire way to check other than browsing through Add/Remove Programs?

Quote:
you should have Mplayer2.exe which you can use as an alternate test to MPC.
Windows Media Player and this scaled-down version won't open my .mkv files, which is what I meant when I said I didn't have another player to try.
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Old 2008-01-20, 17:53   Link #13
martino
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Then your system is borked somewhere. Both are DirectShow players, just like MPC and thus _should_ work. Do you have CCCP installed? If not, then try it. But before remove any other codecs that you might have installed, like ffdshow/vsfilter/haali/etc...

Try to check it also with mplayer. It uses pretty much the same stuff as CCCP does, so if that works fine then you can narrow it down.
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Old 2008-01-20, 18:12   Link #14
Orochi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by martino View Post
Then your system is borked somewhere. Both are DirectShow players, just like MPC and thus _should_ work. Do you have CCCP installed? If not, then try it. But before remove any other codecs that you might have installed, like ffdshow/vsfilter/haali/etc...

Try to check it also with mplayer. It uses pretty much the same stuff as CCCP does, so if that works fine then you can narrow it down.
Yeah, I just finished installing CCCP since I remembered it also comes with Zoom player. Once I reinstalled and went rhough setting everything up, I notice the problem seems to be greatly decreased, but still very present. It's the same in both Zoom Player and MPC, and the classic version of WMP that suddenly can recognize .mkvs (I think it had to do with the "register extensions" portion of setting up the CCCP). Also, of note, I suddenly can't take screenshots in either program anymore., a problem I remember having quite a long time ago but don't remember how to fix.

Anyway, the reason the problem looks to have decreased seems to me the same reason it's harder to see on my CRT monitor: the quality has been reduced. The dark scenes are just darker, rather than cleaner. I posted a screen from Kimiaru earlier in the thread where the protagonist is leaning over the balcony, and while the artifacts are less visible, you can barely make out his face now, too. So evidently I had changed some settings to improve the visual quality and it was simply making the imperfections more visible as well.
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Old 2008-01-20, 18:19   Link #15
martino
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Regarding the screenshots, you can fix that by going into MPC's options, Output and change DirectShow video to Haali's Renderer (should work just fine since you have a 7900GS). Remember to restart before you try again though. However your issue is just too weird, because I had the same file, Ayako's one, and I don't remember seeing anything like that. Either way, no one would release a file with such video artefacts unless it was really unavoidable.
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Old 2008-01-22, 19:29   Link #16
Orochi
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I got the second episode of Shigofumi when it was released by "FTP-A" and skipped right to the ending sequence. It looks much more like the correct screenshot posted by Eviltape than my initial screenshot, which leads me to believe my problem is fixed now. It was either a bad encode, or more likely, some issue with my video settings that was since corrected by reinstalling the CCCP and resetting all of my decoder and playback software all at once.

So I guess the issue's closed, thanks for everyone's help.
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