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zehd
2006-12-22, 12:19 AM
New Beta Released: 1.0.808...

Edit: I've taken the last releases notes and rewritten them here. Please read! New stuff is at the end...

I invite the strong and the sturdy to beta test my newest version of ZProcess!

This closed, sticky thread will detail the download, installation, new features, and usage notes for this new beta. I intend to add, delete, and edit these notes and when finished, update my wiki page.

These notes should be considered to supercede the wiki for right now...

What's new?


Well, I've made use of MEncoder to do a lot of transcoding. For AVI to MPG, it's so much faster, that it transcodes in about half the time on my test machines. This addresses the whole 'GB-PVR eats faster thatn ZProcess can cook' cause for crashes...

You will be able to select a preferred transcoder for each of the ZProcess Transcode profiles. (MEncoder is the best for the 'trans2mvp' profile...)

But the most exciting new feature is the ability to correct picture, hue, saturation, brightness and even individual gamma for Red, Green and Blue...

I have also added Audio Normalization. This makes the audio of different videos about the same range, so you don't have to adjust the volume all the time...

ZProcess will work with newer features of the soon to be released GB-PVR... More news after it's been released.

ZProcess will operate correctly as ZProcess.exe or FFmpeg.exe (but remember, if you use ffmpeg.exe, then the real ffmpeg.exe must be renamed something else, like fmpeg.exe (one f)).. Further instructions on the pathing follows..

Added a toggle of preferred Transcoder, that can be called from a batch file, which can be hooked into a 'Custom Task' More later



But I caution you... if you do not feel comfortable using brand new, possibly rough around the edges, poorly documented software, hang back and wait for ZProcess to finish with its growing pains...

As always, thanks for your input, comments, (even complaints) and mostly your patience...
--------

Files You Need...

VLC
I strongly suggest that you download and install VLC

http://www.videolan.org/vlc/

FFmpeg.exe (the real one)
You should download a later version of FFmpeg.exe (from my ftp, named fmpeg.exe) The one that I think I'll be using for the next little while was released this year, and is about 6 MB in size... (it's also going to be the one released with GB-PVR

Download it from here: http://members.shaw.ca/ztest/fmpeg.exe

If you still wish to use the one released with GB-PVR, I have written a workaround so you can do so. Please read about the 'add 1000' feature, later in the docs...

MEncoder
You will require MEncoder if you want faster transcoding and colour correction. There seems to be several ways to get the version I use, and so here are the directions to get it...


visit: http://www.mplayerhq.hu/design7/dload.html
In the first table, second item, download from any of the links on the left... The file should be: MPlayer-mingw32-1.0rc1.zip

Unzip it into a folder you'll remember and recall later in the installation phase...

What I did was to save the 'mplayer' directory into the 'C:\program files\devnz\gbpvr\third party' folder, right next to the 'ffmpeg' folder...


ZProcess
Download the latest beta of ZProcess. Version 1.0.808... Download aardvark808.zip
http://members.shaw.ca/ztest/aardvark/
(You may even see a slightly newer version on the FTP server) :D

Within the zip is 'ffmpeg.exe' AND 'ZProcess.exe'.

Extract the contents into the 'C:\program files\devnz\gbpvr\third party\ffmpeg' folder.

Now you should have:


C:\program files\devnz\gbpvr\third party\mplayer\mplayer.exe
C:\program files\devnz\gbpvr\third party\mplayer\mencoder.exe
C:\program files\devnz\gbpvr\third party\ffmpeg\ffmpeg.exe <<< actually the newest ZProcess
C:\program files\devnz\gbpvr\third party\ffmpeg\ZProcess.exe
C:\program files\devnz\gbpvr\third party\ffmpeg\fmpeg.exe <<< actually the new 6 MB ffmpeg.exe...
C:\program files\devnz\gbpvr\third party\ffmpeg\Toggle-MvpTranscodeAllVideo.bat
C:\program files\devnz\gbpvr\third party\ffmpeg\Toggle-Transcoder.bat

Installation instructions...

If you have previously used ZProcess, and had some tweaked aspect ratio settings, specifically in the 'trans2mvp' profile, I suggest that you write down those numbers...

Run RemoveZprocess.reg to strip out old or errant registry entries.

You will probably not need to run ZProcess-Install.bat It will not hurt anything if you do...

First run...

When ZProcess starts, it may ask for the location of ffmpeg.exe. Please note that it can be called ffmpeg.exe, fmpeg.exe, and can be located just about anywhere on your hardware. If you can't find it, it's possible that the selector is filtering for files named one way, when you want to see something else. Just select, in the 'Files of Type:' combo box, 'All', and you should find it...

(I know there's a lot of confusion as to the name of ffmpeg.exe and zprocess. In the next couple of versions, I will be sorting that out, but I had to wait for GB-PVR to make a change for that...)

ZProcess will look for mencoder and maybe VLC. (And of course you'll need to provide paths for other stuff like comskip, if you use it. It will also re-ask you for your root backup and override folder... (Don't just take the defaults: find or create the folders)


eg:
c:\TV
c:\TV\Recorded
c:\TV\Override
c:\TV\Backup


When ZProcess finally comes up, verify that you have 1.0.807, in the top-right hand corner...

Click the 'Directories' tab and click 'Use Override' (This is just for testing. I want to make sure that any files you open, you won't accidentally try to over write them. I have written safeguards, but every once in a while, something sneaks by.)

Now click the 'File' tab, find a wide screen AVI that we can play with. Browse for the input file. Click the Transcode tab. Select the Trans2MVP profile. In the bottom left click 'more'.

For your first transcode, please set things thusly:


Target: NTSC-DVD (notice the rest of the values auto fill in)
Final Output: 640x480
Video Bitrate: 4000
x 1000: checked (if you are using the 6mb ffmpeg.exe. unchecked if the older 2Mb version)
Preferred Transcoder: MEncoder (new control in the bottom right...)

Save the profile...

Test it by clicking 'Start' and then you can click the 'VLC' button in the 'Experimenting' box, to simulate a MVP that is called, shortly after a transcode starts... VLC should display a 4x3 window, with a centred letterbox of your video...

Now let's try it with the MVP

If you have saved these values in the Trans2MVP profile and there were no errors, and VLC was able to display an on the fly transcode, you should be ready for the next step: Watching a video on the MVP...

In theory, GB-PVR is already set to work with ZProcess, and that's because it thinks that ZProcess is 'ffmpeg.exe'

So if you are in the Video Screen in PVR (on the MVP) and you select your avi, in a few seconds (by the GB-PVR default of 5.5 secs) a letterboxed video should play...

What should be happening is: ZProcess should be on the server, with a MEncoder window and a Hunter window. GBPVR Recording Service is also running, serving the newly created, on-the-fly MPG to the MVP...

With your PVR computer currently under this CPU load, MEncoder should be transcoding the file faster than real time, even while GB-PVR is serving the newly created MPG to the MVP. If you restore the MEncoder window, you should see a frame rate of better than your original video's framerate. On my dev computer I still get a framerate of 100fps. On my production PVR I get about 45fps. That's almost double the 23.97fps of my test avi...

Now let's tweak the colours...(and sound)

Back on the server, MVP not running for the moment, we open ZProcess again, open the same test avi, select trans2mvp, and click 'more'

Now click on the 'adjust picture' button, bottom right....

The issue I have (which I'd say is common) on my H2 MVP is that the saturation is a little too strong and overall, things are a bit too reddish...

The only values I changed here were the blue-green slider was increased from 1.0 (default) to 1.1. Then I slid the Saturation down 1 point and the brightness up 1 point.

When you slide, you get tool tips of the immediate value. Most of them show up as 10 times more than they should. When you let go, the number on the right adjusts to show a decimal value, and the command line blank below is changed.

Now, just to see what changes I've made, I can start the transcode right from this screen, and look at it in VLC. I can also close the Transcode process remotely too...

I've also added three new tweaks for audio:
Volume Padding: which adds (or subtracts) sound from overall volume of the Vid file
Normalize Volume: which corrects the overall volume of the vid file to be in line with the volume of your others.
Extra Stereo: Expands the stereo separation. Kinda cool, but doesn't work great on all transcodes... Experiment with it, but use at your own risk...

When I'm satisfied, I close the Picture adjust window, and then back in the Transcode tab of ZProcess, I save the new values into the profile...

I can now test again using the MVP, and I should see a corrected Image on the MVP

zehd
2006-12-22, 01:10 AM
Edit: The batch files are currently not working. I suspect it is a permission thing where the called batch file doesn't have permission to change the registry... I'll look into this...

Using those batch files...

re: Toggle-Transcoder.bat

While you're on the couch looking at the MVP, you might want to quickly toggle between using ffmpeg or mencoder, so you can show off to your friends and wife (or husband) the difference that ZProcess can make.

I've already written a small batch file you can hook into GB-PVR. Here's how you do it (although this is more GB-PVR info than ZProcess)

- Open the GB-PVR configuration applet. Click Plugins, and click Custom Task, add...

- Make a Button name: "Toggle Transcoding Engine from FFmpeg to MEncoder to FFmpeg.exe"

(If you can fit that text into the button, you get a prize)

- Possibly add the previous text example into the 'description' field...

- Under the Executable, browse, 'filename' type *.* and hit enter. that will show you all files...

- Find Toggle-Transcoder.bat in your ZProcess folder...

- Close the config

- Open it again, look in the plugins tab and you should see your new Custom Task...


Re: Toggle-MvpTranscodeAllVideo.bat

You can do the same for this. As of GB-PVR version 99.5, there exists a new feature. I'm to understand that this is a hidden feature, and perhaps unsupported. But I asked for it, so you can slam me if it doesn't work....

<MvpTranscodeAllVideo>false</MvpTranscodeAllVideo> default is 'false'

true= means all videos, including MPEGs will be sent to the configured Transcoder before it goes to the MVP. That means that ZProcess has a chance to adjust the aspect, colour, and sound on all videos now...

But to quote sub: "I dont want to encourage transcode, so <MvpTranscodeAllVideo> will probably stay as some feature hidden in the config.xml. Transcoding is evil in my book, and should be avoided if at all possible."

To put this in context, Transcoding takes away from the GB-PVR experience. It slows down response, prevents comskip from working, ff/rw is sketchy (though much better with MEncoder transcoded files), not to mention other GB-PVR features, I'm sure...

But, it does give you a chance to process the picture and sound before it shows up on MVP.

If your MVP is acting so badly, that you feel you need excessive tweaking of aspect, picture and sound, it really should be replaced...

Good Luck