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H.264 - What Encoding Bitrate for HD ?

Last post 06-12-2012 11:39 AM by marvin-miller. 5 replies.
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  • 12-09-2011 4:27 PM

    H.264 - What Encoding Bitrate for HD ?

    Hi Folks!

    Probably a simple question but I have a Hauppauge Colossus and I'm using it Microsoft's Media Center. It records in H.264 and I've been thinking about file size and encoding rates and wondering if they are too high or could be lowered to save space with no real decay in picture...

    I'm recording HD off my STB and it's currrently set at;

    Bit Rate = 9.0 Megs

    Peak Bit Rate =13.5

    Bit Rate Mode = Variable (Average)

    Any idea what a good setting is for HDTV?

  • 01-17-2012 12:43 AM In reply to

    Re: H.264 - What Encoding Bitrate for HD ?

    Hey there.

    Being that I know the bitrates range (which is one of the only things I know about on here, post-wise at least) I can help out.

    First, your video bitrate is much too large (at least for my projects' opinions). I deal with SD mostly by preference, but I'll use the info I know to guide you.

    Your video bitrate for H.264 (being a little better than AVC) should not be above 2 Mbps, if you want it to fit on a DVD disc. Normally, for SD projects of my own, I prefer 1 - 1.25 Mbps... as it is obvious that H.264 codec is a form of HD codec (if I remember right) in itself.

    Variable mode is best and my prefence all around, because it's more accurate towards which should or shouldn't vary in the video quality.

    Also, if you need audio advice, use 384 Kbps AC-3 audio... though for my projects, I want better audio vs. high video b.r.

    My recommendations is to use these ranges: 1 - 4 Mbps VBR AVCHD/H.264 video (as 4 Mbps is the typical base default for HD, and 448 - 640 Kbps AC-3 for audio (you can't go higher than 640 Kbps in audio, and more commonly 448 Kbps in most audio bit rates.

    Remember, higher bit rates mean higher quality, but more importantly, much larger file sizes. I have a preference of limiting my projects to SD (reg. DVD discs) res., the only thing I care about is how the picture quality looks, and WS resolution (in 720x480 or maybe 1280x720) so far

    Hope that helps you out.

    P.S. If you know or reply, can you tell me if MKV converted files, would keep the subtitle/captioned data .WTV/.DVR-MS video contains... I hear it might. And last, what editing software programs allow editing of MKV files?

    I know I have basic questions too, but not about bitrates, resolution, caption making or authoring discs.

    Gregory 

    marvin-miller:

    Hi Folks!

    Probably a simple question but I have a Hauppauge Colossus and I'm using it Microsoft's Media Center. It records in H.264 and I've been thinking about file size and encoding rates and wondering if they are too high or could be lowered to save space with no real decay in picture...

    I'm recording HD off my STB and it's currrently set at;

    Bit Rate = 9.0 Megs

    Peak Bit Rate =13.5

    Bit Rate Mode = Variable (Average)

    Any idea what a good setting is for HDTV?

  • 05-04-2012 9:43 PM In reply to

    Re: H.264 - What Encoding Bitrate for HD ?

     Marvin,

    I apologize for the delay between posts; I know it's been a while since any replies or responses to this community. I'll try to answer your question with my suggestions for video, as long as I'm not appearing like a lost, forgotten cause after you read this.

    I convert WTV to DVRMS through Windows... so I know all about excessive bitrates. I prefer SD or Basic HD res. for my videos (720x480 or 1280x720). I also recommend using the H.264/AVC codec for them, but keep the bitrate on VBR to a total maximum of no < 2.0 MBps (or 2000 - 2048 kbps), and no > 3.0 MBps as a general range for Recorded TV broadcasts.

    You also wanna make sure you have AAC audio, ranging from no < 128 KBps, and no > 256 KBps. That plus enabling 5.1 Audio and Widescreen Aspect Ratio, should give you superior results and about 1/4 - 1/8 the size of a DVR-MS, MPG, or TS file. The safest format for these projects might be a MOV file, or you can use MP4 on occasion for web streaming and iPod playback. For those, subtract about 1.0 - 1.5 MBps from the given total, and stick to 128 KBps, stereo AAC audio.

    I apologize again for my long break... tell me if this post helps you evenutally when you get a chance to read it.

    Gregory

  • 05-04-2012 11:23 PM In reply to

    Re: H.264 - What Encoding Bitrate for HD ?

    Hi Gregory - no worries, as I recall you posted up a reply to my original query but much has changed since then :-)

    As mentioned, I changed over to HD and also picked up a new TV (nothing special - just a 42" LCD). Due to the screen size I'vehad to re-record the majority of my series collections because they were originally tailored for a 24 or 24" CRT TV :-)

    As part of the changeover to HD I eneded up being forced into recording in H.264 (Hauppauge Colossus) and that led me to another issue, doing frame accurate cuts with H.264 encoded files. As it turns out, this is not easy and my research led me to only two products that could do it, VideoRedo and another, Chinese (I think) software product.

    My desire was to be able to automate commercial removal without transcoding the H.264 files into a different format. Fortunately, VideoRedo can cut and splice H.264 natively (no transcoding) and ComSkip can also scan H.264 natively....so the only thing left was to get DVRMStoolbox working with VideoRedo. That turned out to be difficult, I asked several times for help, got pretty much none and so I began investigating other options.

    At about that time I found out about a free program called VAP, which is basically a stripped-down version of DVRMSToolbox designed for use with VideoRedo. To make a long story short, I ended up working with the author pretty intensely for a month or so until the program got mature and had the required options to make it a viable solution. So, I've been on a bit of detour :-)

    The good news is, I've got completely automated commercial detection and removal working once again, this time working in H.264, from end to end, with no transcoding. In fact, in most respects I've never had it so good :-) As you can probably guess, this means I'm no longer using DVRMStoolbox, which is sad as I had been using it for at least 5 years 24x7 :-)

    With respect to H.264 encoding bit rates (etc) I took a different approach. I think I earlier mentioned that I was recording at 9 Megabits VBR with a peak set at 13 Megabits. This was good but not as good as the original source signal (I could tell the difference). So, I took a different approach. I cranked up the bitrate to the maximum that that Colossus supports (which is, I believe, 20 Megabits VBR with a peak of 24 Megabits) and left it there. I realize this is probably over-kill but the picture quality is now very, very good. As you can probably imagine, this uses up a lot of space so I started buying those external 3TB hard drives from Seagate. I get them for about $149 on sale and crack them open and remove the drive and install it in my system as a standard SATA drive :-) Surprise, surprise, they are the same model number as the 'internal' ones that sell for $229 :-)

    So far I've bought two and was looking at a 3rd one today but I can probably wait :-)

    While I miss the infinite configurability of the toolbox, VAP has been running 24x7 for several months now and it really hasn't missed a beat. Comskip has matured to the point where it's far beyond ShowAnalyzer (which is a dead product anyway) and so, for the last while, it's been nothing but watching commercial-free TV, entirely automated and with all the recodings being properly filed away :-)

    The other benefit of using VideoRedo as the 'engine' of all file processing is that it's a GUI and it's very easy to make it transcode into any file format it supports - which is quite a lot :-)

  • 05-23-2012 9:02 PM In reply to

    Re: H.264 - What Encoding Bitrate for HD ?

    Hey Marvin.

    Glad to know you found a solution for your needs.

    As for my approach with video, I am using 7MC as my recording source still... and if I need to, I will convert those to DVR-MS files. The main difference for me, is that through DTB 1.2.2.5 or any recent version, you can use DTBVideoEditor to plot in your timecodes for .dvr-ms files. Then afterwards, you can use the .edl file and DTB to remove them, and create a new .dvr-ms file; the advantage of this is, until I learn of new ways to play, edit, etc., the CC is guaranteed to appear!

    Now my questions for you are something of the sort:

    1. What does your program VAP stand for and cost?

    2. (because I've had a history with SUPER for a while, and it's a very powerful converter for free...) I've discovered (even if it's nothing new to most readers) that through the FFMPEG encoder engine in SUPER, you can now convert a file to .mpg format output, while specifying the H.264/AVCHD video codec, along with AC-3 multichannel audio. This is a match for me, instead of .ts or .mp4 or .mkv, 'cause of it's high-quality picture (f.e. even at ~4 MBps bitrate) and it keeps the CC data in the file somewhere for when I need it.

    If I am allowed to, I will give all of you some links to the things I use in the process... (most of it is freeware, but well-worth it... and if you need a shareware or paid application for any reason, that's listed at the bottom of the list.)

    I would be curious about something if you know an answer to this question: what video-editing applications (regardless of license cost in the end, but freeware/open-source is preferred) can I download/purchase to make basic cuts to my video wo the need to re-encode?

    Also, what video-editing application supports keeping the CC/Subtitles data?

    Last, do you know what the setting is for fixing cc/subtitle sync issues - from appearing to fast at times?

    Here's your list of tools from me:

    www.erightsoft.com,

    ccextractor.sourceforge.net,

    DTB (ofcourse at this site),

    DivX-Land Media Subtitler: www.divx-land.org.

    Start checking those out, and think about if you even need something to purchase... if you do afterwards, check out the VideoStudioPro products: www.corel.com.

    And for my example program of cuts without re-encoding, check some screenshots of Free Video Dub (or similar titled program) at www.download.com. Right now, though, I would love to hear about a program with similar features to Free Video Dub, that doesn't crash after each load...

    as my file format extension, thanks to Super, is an .mpg file with AVC/H.264 video codecs (around the same bitrate ranges I've mentioned) and AC-3 (5.1 Dolby Surround Sound) audio. Thanks for the reply and reading this.

    Good luck, G.

  • 06-12-2012 11:39 AM In reply to

    Re: H.264 - What Encoding Bitrate for HD ?

    Hi Gregory - just a quick reply as I've been super-busy :-)

     VAP stands for VideoRedo Auto-Processor and it's free ($0). It's just a simple GUI-based interface to VideoRedo ($99) so that you can automate commercial detection and removal - among a whole lot of other things. It works with ComSkip and also makes use of VideoRedo's cheezy built-in effort at commercial detection (not recommended).

    You can set it up to process shows into just about any format and it also has a QSF feature to ensure H.264 recordings are spec compliant prior to processing.

    I use it solely for automatically cutting commercials from H.264 recordings, without recoding or any user input. It's very good and while I don't know much about VideoRedo itself, most folks seem to think it's pretty much the defacto standard for editing video.

    You can find info on VAP here => http://www.videoredo.net/msgBoard/forumdisplay.php?f=41

    and on VideoRedo here => http://www.videoredo.com/en/

    All I can say is that between VAP, VideoRedo & Comskip I've got fully automated commercial-free TV in 5.1 - so, for me, this issue was cased a few months back when I got into VAP :-)

     I don't know about subtitles and closed captioning but I would guess it's come up before. You can probably find a lot of info about it on the VideoRedo site.

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