I hate software, Part 4

* I am sorry for the language below, but I am very frustrated right now *

I f*cking hate software. It never, ever, ever, EVER works as it should be. After 7 hours trying to find an acceptable solution to this, I am so frustrated right now that I could smash whatever is in front of me.

So, as you remember from my yesterday’s blog post, I am trying to export 1080p for use with the Xbox360 and the PS3, from interlaced HDV videos. The only utility that came close but not quite, is SUPER. SUPER is just not as flexible as it should be, because it only allows for 29.97 fps encoding, while my camera also supports 24 fps too. Everything else seems to be ok with that app.

My previous efforts included using the freeware XViD4PSP and the very popular MediaCoder which failed miserably in many levels: from encoding errors, to wrong aspect ratios., to crashes (they all use ffmpeg, mencoder, x264 btw). So, I went the commercial route. I tried ArcSoft’s MediaConverter 2.0 which came with my hardware h.264 encoder stick, but it failed miserably with HD resolutions. I downloaded the new version of MediaConverter, 2.5 but this doesn’t get the aspect ratios correctly either (it doesn’t “stretch”, even if the “stretch” option is checked), neither it de-interlaces. Another commercial utility I tried which was possibly riddled with spyware but I had no choice but to try it, MP4Converter, wouldn’t encode at all, plus it wouldn’t go more than 3 Mbps which is too low for 1080p.

Want to go with QuickTime Pro? Slow-ass h.264 encoder (worse of all in terms of encoding speed so don’t ask me to buy FinalCutPro and a new Mac either), with no de-interlacing support and with keyframe problems (visible “ticks” every second or so in the video no matter what keyframe settings you set), as of with versions from since 6 months ago onwards. Apple stills sleeps over the issue.

PS3Video9 you said? Terrible interface aside, it won’t de-interlace, no matter if you add (as suggested) the -deinterlace ffmpeg option in the CLI. It’s like ffmpeg, to which PS3Video9 is a front-end, doesn’t take it into account at all. FFmpeg “writes your request in its balls”, as we say in Greece very accurately. Either that, or its de-interlacing sucks balls.

Overall, from my experience with at least 7 shitty utilities which for some reason are very popular, their main problem seems to be flexibility and open mind when they develop their software. They just don’t think too much about the problem they are trying to solve. If your video is already 4:3, good luck trying to stretch it. If it is widescreen, non-interlaced (which that would mean that this would possibly be a pirated movie/show), you will be in better luck. But if you have your OWN footage from your own HD camcorder (in other words, if you want to convert legal home videos), you are f*cked. It seems that people are creating encoding front-ends for pirated DivX movies rather than interlaced home footage (that is usually anamorphic too).

So, mediocre software, all over the place. I have not seen a SINGLE application that is able to “understand” a 1440×1080 HDV interlaced file (with the anamorphic flag set *or* not), and be able to transform it to 1920x1080p widescreen at the requested industry standard fps settings or 10 Mbps bitrate. There is ALWAYS something missing from each app, or something not working right. ALWAYS.

God damn it, I f*cking hate software. If this problem is not solved within 1-2 months, I will sell my camcorder. There is no f*cking point getting sunburns while shooting under the f*cking sun if I can’t enjoy my f*cking footage as I should be in a f*cking 1080p TV. SUPER does most of what I need except providing an option for 24fps, but thing is that I want to shoot 24fps with my camcorder and it’s shit like that that keep me from doing it. I am extremely frustrated right now. Things just don’t work properly. I have tried everything and this ordeal makes me have ZERO tolerance for software. > : (

Update: Finally, some half-assed progress on PS3Video9. Add this to your C:\Program Files\Red Kawa\Video Converter\Profiles\Video\PS3.xml .

<profile name="PS3-Eugenia" encoder="PS3 1-Pass - FFmpeg MI" position="0" duration="0" vcodec="MPEG-4 AVC" vprofile="Main Profile" vlevel="Level 4.1" vmode="ABR" vbitrate="8192" vquality="0" vquantizer="0" vwidth="1920" vheight="1080" vaspect="Original" vframerate="29.97" varenabled="true" varmaxres="1920x1080" varmod16="false" vartotal="false" vafenabled="true" vcroptop="0" vcropbottom="0" vcropleft="0" vcropright="0" vpadtop="0" vpadbottom="0" vpadleft="0" vpadright="0" vcli=" -deinterlace " vavsenabled="true" vavsautofps="false" vavsmanualfps="0" vavsconvertfps="false" vbufsize="20000" vminrate="0" vmaxrate="25000" vkeyint="300" vthreads="1" vcabac="true" acodec="AAC-LC" amode="ABR" abitrate="128" achannels="2" asamplerate="0" avol="100" acli="" />

Now, in order for ffmpeg to de-interlace, your source video file MUST be in the YUY2 colorspace. So, as per the tutorial yesterday, install the Huffyuv lossless codec, change its settings as described on one of the last paragraphs to use the YUY2 colorspace, and then use that exported .avi file to re-encode to 1080p using my profile above. Apparently, FFmpeg is extremely picky about YUY2 (which is not of the highest-quality btw) and it won’t even support that in some other lossless codecs that use that same colorspace (e.g. Lagarith). Not sure if the resulted file will playback on XBox360 (I will need testing), but it should play ok on the PS3. Anyways, at last, something that kinda works, I can definitely live with the YUY2 restriction as long as everything else works ok. It wasn’t easy to figure this out btw. It took 8 hours of trial and error.

Update 2: I talked too early. Apparently ffmpeg’s deinterlacer SUCKS. This leaves me with NO application that can create good 1080p h.264 videos out of an HDV interlaced/anamorphic source with reasonable fps/bitrate/aspect-ratio-resize flexibility. I talked to JBQ about it and he agrees that the features I need to work flawlessly are pretty basic and he said that what’s wrong is the lack of process that all these developers have. There were no product requirements ever specified when they had the “cool idea” to start developing an encoder front-end.

It’s official: Software sucks.

Update 3: Apparently, in order to de-interlace correctly with FFmpeg, the -deinterlace CLI option must be the FIRST argument in the ffmpeg command line! After I did that, I got a correct de-interlaced output! I hope the PS3Video9 developer fixes this.

I also downloaded and checked Adobe Premiere Pro CS3, only to find out that the trial version has no HD support (stupid Adobe, how can I test my hardware and my exporting options now?). However, by simulating the resolutions it seems that Premiere is able to create a correct HD h.264 output.

Update 4: So, to get it right, use ffmpeg from the command line. Install PS3Video9, just don’t use its UI (at least until the deinterlace bug is fixed). Copy your Huffyuv YUY2 interlaced .avi file on C:\Program Files\Red Kawa\Video Converter\Tools\FFmpeg\ and navigate there with a DOS command prompt. I use the follow commands for my projects, which should be relevant to all people with HDV and DV *NTSC widescreen* camcorder footage who want their videos to play nice on their EDTV/HDTV via the PS3 or the XBox360.

1080/30p (for 24 fps use “8192″ bitrate instead of “9216″ below):
ffmpeg.exe -deinterlace -i "C:\Program Files\Red Kawa\Video Converter\Tools\FFmpeg\XXXX.avi" -y -f mp4 -title "XXXXX" -vcodec h264 -level 41 -s 1920x1080 -r 30000/1001 -b 9216k -bt 9216k -bufsize 20000k -maxrate 25000k -g 300 -coder 1 -acodec aac -ac 2 -ab 128k "C:\Program Files\Red Kawa\Video Converter\Tools\FFmpeg\XXXX.mp4"

ffmpeg.exe -deinterlace -i "C:\Program Files\Red Kawa\Video Converter\Tools\FFmpeg\XXXX.avi" -y -f mp4 -title "XXXXX" -vcodec h264 -level 41 -s 1280x720 -r 30000/1001 -b 4096k -bt 4096k -bufsize 15000k -maxrate 16000k -g 300 -coder 1 -acodec aac -ac 2 -ab 128k "C:\Program Files\Red Kawa\Video Converter\Tools\FFmpeg\XXXX.mp4"

ffmpeg.exe -deinterlace -i "C:\Program Files\Red Kawa\Video Converter\Tools\FFmpeg\XXXX.avi" -y -f mp4 -title "XXXXX" -vcodec h264 -level 41 -s 852x480 -r 30000/1001 -b 2048k -bt 2048k -bufsize 10000k -maxrate 11000k -g 300 -coder 1 -acodec aac -ac 2 -ab 128k "C:\Program Files\Red Kawa\Video Converter\Tools\FFmpeg\XXXX.mp4"

For 23.976 fps instead of 29.97 fps, change the “-r 30000/1001″ to “-r 24000/1001″.


l3v1 wrote on July 25th, 2007 at 7:45 AM PST:

“I f*cking hate software. It never, ever, ever, EVER works as it should be….Apparently ffmpeg’s deinterlacer SUCKS…what’s wrong is the lack of process that all these developers have…After I did that, I got a correct de-interlaced output!”

You blame people for not writing apps to your liking. Your prerogative, still, unsympathetic. Then, you blame an app for you not being familiar with its parameter particularities. Then, you also forget that frontends are just that, frontends, not the apps. And many frontends to ffmpeg, mencoder and the likes do not give enough flexibility as you’d have wen using the apps directly.

Having said that, hd support is generally lacking on very many areas. Still, ranting about how coders are a useless unworthy bunch of pot smoking unrealistic jerks is just, well, not polite, to put it mildly, since you wouldn’t even have what you do if they weren’t working.

This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on July 25th, 2007 at 8:02 AM PST:

>You blame people for not writing apps to your liking.

NO, I am blaming people for not writing apps that WORK. My “needs” are NOT from the outer space! My needs are so NORMAL needs that ANYONE that owns a *DV camcorder* would fall into the problem!!! You see, these “people” wrote applications that help you re-encode already progressive/non-anamorphic videos, in other words: PIRATED VIDEOS. But no one took the time to actually create video utilities that work *properly* for owners of interlaced widescreen camcorders! Adobe DID though!

>you blame an app for you not being familiar with its parameter particularities.

The front-ends ALL had *bugs* or stupid designs that don’t cater for all cases. It has NOTHING TO DO with me not being “familiar”. As for ffmpeg itself, it is a PIECE OF SHIT and I write this with experience on using it. Even in 1970 people could write command line utilities that the argument order did not matter. Look where that limitation got them. No, I am not talking about “Eugenia not being able to do this or that”, but I am talking about DEVELOPERS falling on that TRAP exactly because ffmpeg has these “particular peculiarities”. The bug on PS3Video9 not getting deinterlacing right all falls to the shoulders of the ffmpeg people, not the PS3Video9’s developer in reality. Besides, who told you that I accept in this day and age to use the COMMAND LINE just to get it somewhat working?!? I expect the GUIs to do it, but guess what! NONE did! This is why I am bitching about it!

>Still, ranting about how coders are…

As an engineer you should know that software is expensive to write the right way. Software like ffmpeg was written without any process or care for the human or even developer guidelines. Show me the spec and market research!

>since you wouldn’t even have what you do if they weren’t working.

What I had up until 30 minutes was nothing. None of the applications I used was able to create a 1080p file to be used with the PS3 when the source was interlaced/anamorphic. I had to use the command line to somewhat get it working, even with a slight quality loss because of the YUY2 and the bad de-interlacing algorithm they use.

And btw, Premiere CS3 gets it. Their export options WORK as expected. But then again, Premiere CS3 costs $1000. That’s the difference between some serious work and people working on their bedroom. The first case creates something that WORKS, and the second one creates something that barely does. This is exactly why I am not fond of *community* open source, freeware/shareware *OR* outsourcing to Asia/Russia. Because in most cases, that kind of software is a pile of shit written without any specs or on the cheap.

You don’t like hearing this that but truth is, it costs $200 per LINE of code to make sure that the end product will work the way it should. Yes, it would be the most boring job in the world, but the customer will be happy. You get what you pay for!

I have no plans to stop my bitching about this because on my blog I write whatever has an impact in my life, whatever HELPS me getting by and whatever SLOWS ME down (I lost overall 12 hours today on this issue — how much do you think THAT cost me?). My blog is a mirror of how I feel about things. Feel free to stop reading my blog if you can’t take it.

This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on July 26th, 2007 at 8:43 AM PST:

Ralf, I just tried. Three tries, three crashes. It just doesn’t work with any of the lossless codec .avi files I threw at it. This app mostly seem to work with small mpeg files or divx or whatever “consumer” formats are around, but not big lossless files.

Ralf. wrote on July 26th, 2007 at 2:29 AM PST:


whenever I do video scaling and converting stuff, I use my “swiss-army-knife” for video converting: MPEG Streamclip!

Until now, MPEG Streamclip worked well for me – maybe you give it a try:

Squared 5 Homepage

Ray wrote on August 1st, 2007 at 2:01 AM PST:

I agree with the author; software sucks ass. Software, and in some respects, hardware, are fundamentally flawed.

“This is exactly why I am not fond of *community* open source, freeware/shareware *OR* outsourcing to Asia/Russia”

Actually open-source has contributed many of great software, it’s not wise to bash the whole community over bad apples. In fact, the same thing could be said about commercial software.

Outsourcing, unfortunately, allows businesses to pay lower wages with pretty much the same quality for software. From a business stand-point which would you rather do? Pay some egotistical American coder +50K or some Indian coder for 30K overseas? Do the math.

Nonetheless, software is RIDICULOUS, it always amazes me to hear about software costing $7 million then decides to be scraped because they couldn’t get it to work. I foresee the day when software will get so complex, we’ll have to start from scratch, which will set us back 10+ years.

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