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Old September 5th, 2005, 09:29 PM   #1
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Render to DIVX/XVID .AVI with Muxed Lame MP3?

Alright, this has always been my nemisis since I first started using Vegas. I can't be the only one that does this can I? I see posts both here and in the Sony forums and elsewhere where people say they have this problem, but I have yet to see anyone give any practical advice for fixing it or working around it. So, here it goes...

I want to render from Vegas direct to Divx .avi with embedded mp3 (muxed into the avi). I do this all of the time when transcoding DVDs into Divx format. But for some reason, Vegas errors out every time I try to do this with my MiniDV footage. So, I'm working with 720x480 NTSC MiniDV widescreen (PAR 1.2121) footage in the timeline. After installing the appropriate Divx codec, I can easily render to Divx .avi or MP3 seperately, one at a time. However, if I want to render to Divx with sound from Vegas, I have to use the built-in MP3 codec that opens up from within the customized .avi template I have that uses the Divx codec (or Xvid codec for that matter). This would be fine, except it tops out at a really crappy bitrate for audio. So of course, the next logical step would be to install the defacto MP3 codec of all codecs: LAME. Done. Now, I get the option to use the LAME MP3 codec in my render options when Divx or Xvid are selected as the video codec, but then... ERROR! No render, back to timeline. WTF?

Anyone have any ideas about how to fix this? I get this sinking feeling that I think the avi spec for NTSC DV doesn't support MP3 beyond some low bitrate, that Vegas isn't letting me do it even though I'm rendering out to DIVX! If that is true, that sucks because DIVX/MP3 is used for movies all of the time without incident. Now, I could render out to MPEG2 like I'm going to burn a DVD, then transcode that MPEG2 to DIVX like I do with any other movie, but that is a royal pain in the ass, requires two renders, and degrades my video. Another thought would be to render out the DIVX and MP3 seperately and mux them using avisynth or something, but that seems like an extra step that shouldn't be needed unless Sony did something weird with their avi rendering rules?

Help...
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Old September 6th, 2005, 07:32 AM   #2
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Something is probably corrupting some memory somewhere. Or the LAME codec
is only for Video For Windows (but then I would not expect you to see it at all).

However I'm not sure why you would need it at all. The MP3 encoder here tops
out 320 kbps (in both Vegas 5 & 6) which is the maximum MP3 audio can go to.

You can't go any better (with MPEG-1 layer 3 audio). So I don't see the problem?
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Old September 6th, 2005, 08:52 AM   #3
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I can't be the only one that does this can I?

Well... probably not the ONLY one but quite possibly a very small percentage of Vegas users.

I want to render from Vegas direct to Divx .avi with embedded mp3 (muxed into the avi).

I'm going to ask this because I'd really like to know the answer: WHY?

DivX is not a supported format in Vegas so I'm not surprised that there may be some problems. What's so special about DivX that you want to use it? I've never seen a reason to output or input any DivX (or XVid) footage. I would truly like to know what's so special about that format as opposed to DV, MPEG, WMV....
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Old September 6th, 2005, 06:49 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward Troxel
I'm going to ask this because I'd really like to know the answer: WHY?

DivX is not a supported format in Vegas so I'm not surprised that there may be some problems. What's so special about DivX that you want to use it? I've never seen a reason to output or input any DivX (or XVid) footage. I would truly like to know what's so special about that format as opposed to DV, MPEG, WMV....
Edward, first let me say thanks for all of your contributions around here, I've learned a lot from reading your old posts and your newsletters (ever since I switched to Vegas last year). That said...

I believe, of course, that every format and codec has its place. DV is great for raw video, MPEG2 works for DVD, WMV and QT are good formats for web distribution on pcs and macs, AND... Divx and Xvid have there place for Internet distribution of very large video files such as movies. There are really good reasons why these formats are the defacto standard for trading movies on the Internet. Now, not that I condone copyright violation at all, because I don't, but what I'm saying is this: loads of people use those formats because they often produce better looking and higher quality video at equivalent or lower bitrates than formats like WMV and QT (now people might argue about that, but Divx/Xvid can take a two-hour movie down under the 1 gig mark in filesize and lower sometimes and still look pretty damn good). It also has much cross-platform support for playback once the codecs are installed, not to mention that Xvid is free, opensourced and GPL'd (I think). It is probably also worth mentioning that both Divx and Xvid are basically just early MPEG4 codecs. Using a combination of two-pass MPEG4 and other optimal encoding settings can yield very impressive video quality at significantly small file sizes. That is the reason why, and yes, I know there are a lot of reasons why using these codecs can be a pain -- the lack of support in some apps being one of them. But sometimes, it's worth it too, just depends on your situation. Want to host a movie on your own server (big bandwidth), Xvid and Divx are viable codecs for niche purposes. At least that is my humble opinion.

Anyway, someone (like me), sometimes might have a need to render out to one of these high compression MP4 codecs for internet distribution purposes. I just sometimes would like to be able to do this, not always, but here and there it would be nice. BTW, I'm not trying to edit xvid or divx footage, I am editing standard DV footage like always, I just want to render out to one of these other codecs. Although, I think Vegas does alright with editing Divx/Xvid, it's just the embedded MP3 can be problematic.

The strange thing is, I can render out Divx or Xvid video (without audio), no problem at all from Vegas right now using all of the codecs different settings like two-pass, keyframes, motion compression, etc. -- works like a charm, just pick avi from the menu, and choose the codec you want, and it renders fine right now. Once installed, Divx is right there in the avi template menus like everything else and works perfectly (just not with LAME at the same time). Same goes for stand alone MP3 using the standard MP3 codec or the LAME codec, they both work by themselves fine. So, yes, I know that Vegas doesn't "support" it, but it's so close, and it actually DOES work already, that I thought there might be a way to make it work, but maybe not... :(

So, I guess I might just be stuck with this situation because of the lack of support for those codecs in Vegas. So I can either render out divx/xvid first, then render out mp3 seperately, then use avisynth or something else to mux the two direct-streams together into one Dvivx file in an AVI wrapper (without recompression). OR, I could just render out to MPEG2 at high bitrates, then use a different third-party transcoder app to convert the MPEG2 into divx/xvid at lower bitrates than the MPEG2, which would work flawlessly using all sorts of available freeware GPL tools (it just requires two lossy compressions in a row in the workflow, which should probably still look pretty good if I then bring it down to 1mbs Divx from there).
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Old September 6th, 2005, 09:00 PM   #5
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first off, windows media also has it's roots in mpeg4... but the current wmv9 is much better than that.

while you might be able to argue a case for decent video quality with xvid or the very newest divx, where you are losing out is with the ancient mp3 audio codecs... there are much better alternatives.

the reason that vegas doesn't need to be compatible with your particular workflow is because there is zero commercial demand for it.

i can't imagine what scenario you have created that puts video into vegas that absolutely must be transcoded into divx/mp3, but there are better workflows and better codecs for internet distribution.

you could, for instance, output a dv avi from vegas, and then encode that with any encoding tool you wanted... you could also use nero h.264, which blows the doors off of xvid and divx, with reasonable rendering times... it should play in the latest quicktime.
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Old September 6th, 2005, 09:31 PM   #6
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Bill, thanks. That's all I was looking for was an explanation. You gave a very eloquent one. That said, I've never had a need for DivX so I can't really help with the use of that format. Hope you get it working.
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Old September 6th, 2005, 10:26 PM   #7
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re: validity of xvid/divx.

the internet movielover community has elected divx/xvid as the de facto in internet movie distribution. the target audience that a filmmaker like Bill is going after shun .wmv (or any microsoft formats regardless of how good it is)&.mov or any other codex and formats that aren't anti-establishment. i'm not referring to ifilms.net or atomfilms.com, etc. those are pretty much commercials.

an example of this is Star Trek New Voyages. it is distributed both as a DVD-R iso as well as divx/xvid, NO OTHER FORMATS. that's cause online audiences are sophisticated enough to understand bittorrent or has the desire to d/l films from internet. and don't give me the "oh but it's so simple." to most people BT is still a big mystery (let alone usenet).

there's just no other codecs one should use for the sake of movie distribution on the internet. VERY FEW people will watch it if they have to try and convert your movie from .wmv or other formats. they're just 2lazy.

re: demux mp3. bill, i dunno if vegas can do this but most online viewers want ac-3 (Dolby Digital) with their movies nowadays. so if vegas can't do it you can use other tools like virtual dub or somn to combine an .ac3 file into a xvid codec .avi file.
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Old September 7th, 2005, 10:48 AM   #8
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compared to the windows media player installed base, there are very few divx/xvid players on the 'net... so putting content on the 'net that nobody has a media player for is a guarantee that it'll never get played, because most people are not sophisicated enuf to locate, download, and install media players that nobody has ever heard of.

so yeah, you can limit your distribution to a very small number of pirates who steal copyrighted content, or you can put it out there in a format that everyone has a media player for... it's the difference between targeting thieves, or targeting a legitimate audience.
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Old September 7th, 2005, 02:56 PM   #9
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dan,

but that's the thing. "legitimate" audiences don't d/l movies and watch them on the computer. they dunno about standalone DVD players that can playback divx/xvid. therefore the primary target audience on the internet is the remainder.
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Old September 7th, 2005, 09:53 PM   #10
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Wow, seems like I touched a nerve around here... Sorry, I just wanted to encode some video to Divx. Is that a crime? LOL.

It's easy to make a lot of assumptions and generalizations on this topic, but all I originally posted about was rendering a Divx or Xvid video file from the Vegas timeline of video that I personally shot, which has nothing to do pirating whatsoever, and has everything to do with encoding to a perfectly legitimate codec. There are plenty of good reasons to want a Divx file, and plenty of reasons why you would NOT want a Divx file. Like I said before, every codec has its best use, and just because you have no use for a Divx file doesn't mean I don't.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Euritt
compared to the windows media player installed base, there are very few divx/xvid players on the 'net... so putting content on the 'net that nobody has a media player for is a guarantee that it'll never get played, because most people are not sophisicated enuf to locate, download, and install media players that nobody has ever heard of.
I guess, maybe, if you assume as much... But what if I KNOW my audience can play the file. What if, I might be making a file for one or two people that I already know for a fact can play it? Or a community of people that have no problem playing these files? Then Divx is fine, and in some cases might I dare say preferrable. For some people, installing a codec is no big deal, and once installed, the file plays right in Windows Media Player no problem just like every other video you have. But yeah, you've got to download and install a codec, it's more complicated, and some people simply won't be able to play the file. That's the deal with Divx or any other random codec you might use... Its a known thing, and you might still, despite all of those problems choose to use it anyway. And by the way, I render to AVI, MPEG, WMV, and MOV all of the time directly from the Vegas timeline or by using Procoder or Sorenson Squeeze, so trust me, I understand the tradeoffs inherent in using Divx.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Euritt
so yeah, you can limit your distribution to a very small number of pirates who steal copyrighted content, or you can put it out there in a format that everyone has a media player for... it's the difference between targeting thieves, or targeting a legitimate audience.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yi Fong Yu
but that's the thing. "legitimate" audiences don't d/l movies and watch them on the computer. they dunno about standalone DVD players that can playback divx/xvid. therefore the primary target audience on the internet is the remainder.
You've got to be kidding right? All users of Divx and Xvid are not pirates, and if you think so, you're just flat out wrong. Let me ask you a question. When was the last time you saw a near-DVD-quality, two-hour long video posted in WMV or MOV format on the Web? I'm sure there are some out there somewhere, but the files end up being just too damn big. Divx can sometimes bridge that gap, the bandwidth gap and the storage gap. Let's say you wanted to "open source" a two-hour video you made, or better yet, you wanted to release it into the wild using a Creative Commons license -- with Divx and Bit Torrent, you could actually distribute it. When you really think about that, it is AMAZING. Free distribution of a high resolution video on the Net.

Back to the point, which is that I am not "targeting thieves." That is just silly. You really have no idea why I want to encode to Divx, nor do you see the potential reasons why I might want to use it regardless of its downsides. And by the way, many of the largest studios now release Divx versions of their trailers, some even in DivxHD, and they do this for a reason: it makes really high res video downloads a reality. The Divx trailers are often released at higher quality than other formats too. Just go to Divx.com if you want to see trailers for all sorts of new movies. Even some indy/underground films are being released via Divx these days. Are they all pirates?

Nah.

Here's another legit use I can think of. I have more than 15 MiniDV tapes of family home videos. At 1 hour each, they would take up a ton of room on my server if in raw avi DV format, and I don't really feel like encoding and burning them all to DVD/MPEG2 (maybe some special moments here and there, but certainly not all of the raw footage). With Divx, no problem, I can encode the tapes using single-pass CBR, and then just leave them ALL on my file server. Then on-demand, I can have near-DVD quality random access to my entire home family movie collection right in my living room on my huge TV. I can do this through a PC connected to my 50" Native 720p LCD HDTV. The beauty of these codecs is that with each MiniDV tape worth of "family memories" weighing in at under 500 Mb each, I can have INSTANT access to all of tapes in near DVD-quality on-the-fly from my living room HDTV. But yeah, you've got to have the gear and the willingness to totally geek out on stuff like that. On the other hand, we all know things are going to continue to change at a rapid pace on the digital video technology front.

How about another example? Let's say you've video-taped a "taper-friendly" band and concert. Maybe it's even a band that your friend is in that plays original music (no covers). You've taped three hours of great audio and video of the band's concert, and now the band's decided they want to publish it to the web -- the whole three hours of footage to their cheesy little band website. This is a perfect time to use Xvid and Bit Torrent because the band just wants some exposure, and they are willing to give it away for free. Posting something like that to Btree Bit Torrent trackers would be ideal. These guys could post a one-gig Xvid file and seed it themselves. Yeah, it's kind of underground, but there is a whole scene that deals with audience taping of bands that actually are cool with it.

Anyway, I'll end my rant just by saying that there is a time and a place to use every codec. I had some good reasons of my own, that really don't matter in the grand scheme of my original question, to want to render to Divx. Bottom line is that it is a very efficient codec that does require some extra effort, but for certain applications, such as releasing long (hour or two), near-DVD quality video on the Internet, then Divx and Xvid are very viable options that should not be overlooked IMHO. It is a niche format that should be used within its niche, but I certainly wouldn't just totally disregard it as some hack of a codec that only pirates use when it is in fact a very sophisticated MPEG-4 based codec that at this point is better than H.264 with standard baseline features. And by the way, chances are you'd still have to install a new codec in the same process you have to with Divx if you really wanted to play an H.264 video file with any features beyond those of the H.264 standard. Seems to me that MPEG4 codecs are currently in a state of total chaos, and really, choosing Divx or Xvid over H.264 for this type of application is a no-brainer. That'll probably change with time, but H.264's got a long way to go.
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Old September 7th, 2005, 09:56 PM   #11
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Here is some interesting info about Divx, stuff that makes you think:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Story
Standard Definition Video: Quality & File SizePeak Signal-to-Noise Ratio (PSNR) testing shows that at fixed quality, DivX 6 achieves better compression than videos produced with H.264 baseline. In fact, DivX videos are 21% smaller than H.264 baseline videos, proving that DivX can compress full-length, DVD-quality movie titles to file sizes small enough to be downloaded, stored on a CD and played back on computers or a range of DivX Certified devices.

High Definition Video: Quality & File SizeDivX high definition (HD) is the most advanced HD technology on the market today, supporting 720p HD resolutions at 4Mbps or lower while offering significantly faster encoding and better compression of HD video than H.264 baseline. PSNR testing shows that at fixed quality, DivX HD videos are 28% smaller than H.264 baseline HD videos, which means DivX achieves files sizes small enough to fit an entire HD movie on a standard red-laser disc. DivX Certified HD DVD players already available in the retail channel.
Even though some of that is marketing hype via press release, it nonethless makes you think. I mean, Divx is never going to become the HD standard or anything, but those are some impressive numbers going up against what people claim to be the next gen internet formats (H.264), and the fact that you can actually purchase Divx-HD-ready DVD players in the market is just cool. Cutting edge, early adopter stuff no doubt, but the codec rocks (so does Xvid), so say what you will. "DivX 6 version will be able to encode 720p at 4Mbps, instead of the standard 19Mbps for MPEG-2 HD streams." Those kind of numbers even start bringing HD footage into the "downloadable" realm. Here's another quote from an interesting story I recenty read:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Story
“So that made me look for the videocoverage.org domain because I wouldn't mind traveling to more cool events to simply film those events to report back using DivX and bittorrents.” Which is exactly what he did at the IFA show, and you can see the results at the link he provided in the article linked to below. We asked Charbax how he’d managed to accompish this, and here’s what he said: Actually I have spent 3 days now working to release these videos since I'm back from IFA. I filmed these videos during the 2nd and 3rd September, the first two days of the IFA. I filmed with my new HDR-HC1 sony high definition 1080i camera. Captured from the HDV tape using freeware CapDVHS program, to a program stream mpeg-2. I can open that 1080i mpeg-2 file directly in VirtualDubMod. Then encode to 720p using DivX6, Extreme encoding mode (less than 2fps on a 3ghz), b-frames, 3908kbit/s, de-interlace and resize filters of DivX6 Pro.
http://p2pnet.net/story/6166
Quote:
Originally Posted by Story
DivX HD compression delivers 720p HD video at 4Mb/s, allowing for an entire DivX HD movie to fit on a single standard DVD. DivX HD allows films to screen in High-Definition resolution using DivX Certified High Definition DVD players that are on the market today. Experimental pieces to be screened include the HD Premiere of Guy Roland's critically acclaimed film Spacer
and New York artist and NEA recipient Shelly Silver's film What I'm Looking for.
http://www.webpronews.com/news/ebusi...mFestival.html
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Old September 7th, 2005, 10:07 PM   #12
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Ok, let's put the topic to rest. Yes, it has been used by pirates. Yes, it has been used for legitimate purposes. Yes, people can use it without being pirates. While I've never had a need to use it, that doesn't mean that noone does. Bill, I seriously hope you get it working.
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Old September 8th, 2005, 11:17 AM   #13
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Sorry Edward, but I felt the need to put things straight.

Anyway, I have found a workable solution for my issue. It requires an extra render (but a fast one) and some extra temporary HD space, but it works, and it works well. Here's the workflow (Xvid or Divx, and the LAME MP3 codecs must already be installed for this to work):

1. Capture DV like always and edit in Vegas timeline like normal
2. Render out to full res DV-AVI file
3. Open VirtualDub, then open the DV-AVI from the file menu
4. From Video menu, choose "Fast Recompress"
5. From Video menu, choose "Compression", then choose Divx or Xvid and change your compression settings to whatever you want (I usually use 1 mbs which seems to look more like 4 mbs MPEG2)
6. From the Audio menu, choose "Full Processing"
7. From the Audio menu, choose "Compression", and then choose LAME MP3 and change your compression settings to whatever you want (I usually use 192Kbps at 48Hz for pretty decent audio)
8. From File menu, save the new Divx or Xvid avi with muxed MP3 out to a new file
9. Delete your temporary AVI-DV file

Done! One-hour of near-DVD quality audio and video at under 500 Mb with the right compression settings...
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Old September 8th, 2005, 11:21 AM   #14
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Bill, thanks for the solution you found.
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Old September 8th, 2005, 09:56 PM   #15
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bill,

1. i never explicitly stated that you are targeting pirate audiences =). don't shoot the messenger. i'm agreeing with you about the benefits of divx/xvid. the portability, scalability and the small file size is unbeatable.

2. have you seen movies captured from HDTV 1080i or 720p broadcasts compressed into xvid/xvid 720p@lower bit-rates? the results are NOT comparable to h.264's 25mbps bitrate. there are a lot of visual artifacts during action sequences. i've watched the matrix, gladiator, truman show and a few other films i forgot on on my HTPC (70" screen size) with 1280x720p films. it is a tiny bit better than DVDs, but not by much. most audiences won't be able to differentiate. but if you compare the t2, xvid/divx 720p@6mpbs (~4GB) to the 1080p wmv-HD@6.7mpbs (also around 4GB), there is just no comparison. the t2 looks so damn sharp on my front projector whereas the divx version suffers from 2many pixelization, etc. for low-res/internet applications, divx/xvid is unbeatable. i wouldn't choose divx/xvid over other codex if quality was a concern, but if internet delivery and size is a factor, that's a no brainer. divx/xvid is the codec to use.

3. bill/ed. have you figured out how to vegas to encode a divx/xvid file WITH .ac3 (5.1) at the same time in ONE .avi file container instead of doing it in another steps with virtualdub?
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