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Old 2007-05-16, 19:02   Link #1
Starks
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So... I'm moving to x264...

I may not be the best encoder out there, but I know when its time to embrace the future.

I want to dump Xvid (and possibly VirtualDubMod) and learn how to use x264 and MeGUI.

So, what kinds of barebone settings should I be running in MeGUI for anime?

Also, what filesize should I aim for if I have 1024x576 raw?

Finally, are x264 bitrate calculators any good?
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Old 2007-05-16, 19:18   Link #2
Harukalover
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http://aflux.deltaanime.net/Zero1/MP4/x264.html <--- best guide to read that currently exists.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Starks View Post
So, what kinds of barebone settings should I be running in MeGUI for anime?
Depends if you have some type of profile aim. If not then I suggest searching around for that old thread Quarkboy made that archived a bunch of settings from various encoders and test out some of their work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Starks View Post
Also, what filesize should I aim for if I have 1024x576 raw?
CRF18, or aim for the filesize you're told to use by the group's leader, or use your own judgment. We can't guess filesize on sources that are non-existent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Starks View Post
Finally, are x264 bitrate calculators any good?
In my limited use of them they work just as accurately as XviD calculators.

NOTE: Don't release CRF encodes. They are good to be used for testing how well a source compresses. The usual CRF values I've seen people use and I've used before range from around CRF18-20
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Last edited by Harukalover; 2007-05-16 at 19:36. Reason: Edited to save us all...
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Old 2007-05-16, 19:22   Link #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Starks View Post
I may not be the best encoder out there, but I know when its time to embrace the future.

I want to dump Xvid (and possibly VirtualDubMod) and learn how to use x264 and MeGUI.

So, what kinds of barebone settings should I be running in MeGUI for anime?

Also, what filesize should I aim for if I have 1024x576 raw?

Finally, are x264 bitrate calculators any good?

The HQ-insane profile is a good place to start, tweak settings downward until you get a speed/quality ratio you can deal with. Trellis 2 slows things down a LOT, as does reference frames 16... You should probably lower that down to around 8 unless you have a super fast computer.

Filesize is, as usual dependant on the source. Note the logs that x264 reports after the encodes, and look at the average I-frame, P-frame, and B-frame quants. x264 uses a different logarithmic quant scale than xvid, see http://www.fansubbers.org/index.php/KB/Quanttable

In short, for "excellent" quality I'd shoot for I-frames with quants somewhere in 12-18 range, and B-frames with quants somewhere in the 18-24 range.

You can do a quick "turbo" pass for the 1st pass and look at the average quants at the bitrate you chose, and then assume a non-turbo pass would lower the quants by about 3 or 4 to get a good guesstimate at how low a bitrate you can use.

As a start, I'd say for a 1024x576 raw (assuming you are releasing it at that resolution), hmm...

YPC5 is 1280x720 at 1300 Kb/s
HM was 1280x720 at 1100 Kb/s
PCMH is 640x480 at 690 Kb/s

Okay, then I'd say a bitrate of around 1000 Kb/s would be a good starting point. Probably you can go lower than that.
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Old 2007-05-16, 19:25   Link #4
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... a bitrate calculator is a bitrate calculator, it's the same calculation no matter which codec you use. The only thing that differs is container overhead (if any). I usually use the XviD VfW one because it's good and I'm too lazy to find another one (and I don't use MeGUI).

Filesize depends on source, as always. Try --crf 18 and see what it turns out as.

As for settings... my high quality TV-rip/pretty good compression but not insanely slow twopass settings are something like the following:
B-frames: 4
Reference frames: 8-14 depending on source and how anal I'm feeling
ME: umh (always)
SubME: 7
ME-range: 18-24
Deblocking: depends on source, usually -2:-1 with nice clean sources, stronger settings the blockier the source is naturally
Trellis: 1 (2 is extremely slow and generally not worth it)
B-bias: 0-15 depending on how much compression I need to squeeze out
AQ-strength: either disabled or 0.7-1.0 depending on how dark/blocky the source is
Partitions: all
8x8 DCT: yes
B-pyramid: yes
B-RDO: yes
Bidirectional ME: yes
Weighted B-frames: yes
Mixed references: yes
No fast P-skip: yes


Edit:
Quote:
Originally Posted by that x264 guide
--ratetol
Usage: --ratetol <float> (default=1.0) [0.1 - 100.0]
Defines the allowed deviation in the average bitrate. Setting it higher than 1.0 may result in files larger than your target, and likewise setting it less than 1.0 may result in undersized files.
This is incorrect. a) it only applies to 1-pass ABR, and b) it simply defines the allowed deviance from the given bitrate in percent, and setting it to more than 1 will not automatically result in oversizing; it might just as well result in undersizing.
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17:43:13 <~deculture> Also, TheFluff, you are so fucking slowpoke.jpg that people think we dropped the DVD's.
17:43:16 <~deculture> nice job, fag!

01:04:41 < Plorkyeran> it was annoying to typeset so it should be annoying to read

Last edited by TheFluff; 2007-05-16 at 19:42.
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Old 2007-05-16, 19:26   Link #5
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1. I have zero idea of which profiles are good for anime. What do most people use?

2. I'm freelancing again so I'm encoding on my own terms for the group (we're a new Negima!? group). Also, what is CRF18?

3. Thanks. I hate having to guesstimate.
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Old 2007-05-16, 19:31   Link #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Starks View Post
1. I have zero idea of which profiles are good for anime. What do most people use?

2. I'm freelancing again so I'm encoding on my own terms for the group (we're a new Negima!? group). Also, what is CRF18?

3. Thanks. I hate having to guesstimate.
Like I said, the "HQ" profiles that should have come with megui are a good place to start.

CRF is one of the 3 different single pass encoding modes of x264:

CRF = also called "constant quality" is a mode that is supposed to keep relatively constant quality, but not constant "quant". Don't ask exactly how it works, it's complicated and not particularly important. It's a good mode to use when you don't care about filesize, or are testing things to see how compressible they are.

ABR = "average bitrate" is the usual xvid-like 1-pass average bitrate based compression, that adjusts on-the fly to scene complexity and generally gives way worse results then 2-pass encoding

CQ = "constant quant" encodes at a constant quant. I.e. it compresses each frame the same amount. This is different than CRF for complicated reasons and isn't actually that useful at all.
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Old 2007-05-16, 19:38   Link #7
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So, how many passes do I arrange for x264 and how do I set them up properly in MeGUI? Do I do Automated 2-pass?
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Old 2007-05-16, 19:45   Link #8
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3-pass is generally only worth it with very short clips with extremely fluctuating bitrate, with normal anime eps it's mostly just a very good way to waste CPU time. So, 2-pass is what you want. As for how to set it up with MeGUI, you'd have to ask someone who actually uses it, but I hear this wiki is pretty useful.
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17:43:13 <~deculture> Also, TheFluff, you are so fucking slowpoke.jpg that people think we dropped the DVD's.
17:43:16 <~deculture> nice job, fag!

01:04:41 < Plorkyeran> it was annoying to typeset so it should be annoying to read
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Old 2007-05-16, 19:48   Link #9
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For best results, which would be a 2-pass VBR mode, you should choose Automated 2-pass just as you said.

EDIT: Beaten by TheFluff...
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Old 2007-05-16, 19:50   Link #10
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Is there anyway for me to change the framerate or decimate from within MeGUI.
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Old 2007-05-16, 19:55   Link #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Starks View Post
Is there anyway for me to change the framerate or decimate from within MeGUI.

No.

Use avisynth scripts.
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Old 2007-05-16, 20:02   Link #12
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So, do I want VFR with x264 or do I want 23.976 (or higher)?
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Old 2007-05-16, 20:05   Link #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Starks View Post
So, do I want VFR with x264 or do I want 23.976 (or higher)?
Use VFR if your source is VFR (see TheFluff's VFR thread to find out how to determine this). Or if you have some kind of VFR need then just use Dedup so you can make your source VFR.

The only evil VFR is stuff that comes out like at 60fps. You should decimate those sections down to 30fps. 60FPS h264 isn't easy to decode so don't be lazy and skip it... ;P
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Old 2007-05-16, 20:12   Link #14
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VFR of course depends on the source, if it's actually hybrid framerate do go for VFR if you think it's worth the extra work. (Remember to also consider the implications on subtitle timing and typesetting.)

Also on not using CRF, I remember some conversation IIRC held on Darkhold and Doom9, in particular this conversation involved pengvado, that in most cases a CRF encode won't be distinguishable from a 2-pass encode aimed at the same average bitrate that the CRF encode produces.
I'm no encoder, but based on that, if you don't care for "CD/DVD-friendly" file sizes or such do go for single-pass CRF encoding to save time.
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Old 2007-05-16, 20:17   Link #15
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Wow... Why is encoding x264 so friggin' slow? I'm not even running any filters and it's going less than 1 fps. My machine is less than a year old and is pretty damn fast. I'm not waiting 5 hours for a single pass. There has to be something wrong here.
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Old 2007-05-16, 20:36   Link #16
Quarkboy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Starks View Post
Wow... Why is encoding x264 so friggin' slow? I'm not even running any filters and it's going less than 1 fps. My machine is less than a year old and is pretty damn fast. I'm not waiting 5 hours for a single pass. There has to be something wrong here.
1028x576 encoding is going to be slow, especially if you use high quality settings like we suggested. With my core duo 2, 1280x720 encoding goes around 2fps.

Lower the number of reference frames, turn off trellis 2, lower the motion estimation search range... all those will help speed things up.
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Old 2007-05-16, 21:19   Link #17
Starks
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quarkboy View Post
1028x576 encoding is going to be slow, especially if you use high quality settings like we suggested. With my core duo 2, 1280x720 encoding goes around 2fps.

Lower the number of reference frames, turn off trellis 2, lower the motion estimation search range... all those will help speed things up.
By how much? Hours?

Short of doing what you suggested, should I also lower the resolution?
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Old 2007-05-16, 21:28   Link #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quarkboy View Post
1028x576 encoding is going to be slow, especially if you use high quality settings like we suggested. With my core duo 2, 1280x720 encoding goes around 2fps.

Lower the number of reference frames, turn off trellis 2, lower the motion estimation search range... all those will help speed things up.
Ow. High motion content? I get pretty much the same performance with anime (1024x576 and 720p intermediate encodes) on my p4EE. I didn't think a c2d would be in a similar ballpark.

For a 24 min. episode I'm getting around 45 min for a first pass and around 4 hours for a second.
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Old 2007-05-16, 21:41   Link #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xat View Post
Ow. High motion content? I get pretty much the same performance with anime (1024x576 and 720p intermediate encodes) on my p4EE. I didn't think a c2d would be in a similar ballpark.

For a 24 min. episode I'm getting around 45 min for a first pass and around 4 hours for a second.
Is that filtered or unfiltered? If that's unfiltered, that's ****ing crazy.
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Old 2007-05-16, 21:56   Link #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Starks View Post
Is that filtered or unfiltered? If that's unfiltered, that's ****ing crazy.
x264 is anywhere between 4 times and 10 times slower than xvid.

My HD encodes tend to take 40 minutes for the 1st pass, and 3-4 hours for the second.

That's with very light filtering. With heavy filtering, it bumps up to 6 hours total.

If you don't like it, I suggest lowering the resolution or the encode settings.
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