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Comparing Codec Packs

Everyone,

I hope people will add to this discussion.

I've been exploring the various "codec packs" available for the best and safest ones to use, and seek input and advice not only concerning the packs themselves but also the best installation practices.

This discussion is primarily about the encoders available in these "packs", for our screen recording purposes, though they all seem to be primarily targeting the people who "want to play every kind of file" they encounter on the web.

For instance, the K-Lite Full-pack includes the LAME MP3 encoder, ffdshow and Xvid, but it has soooooo many codecs that you have to stay "in control" and select only the ones you really need! Particularly these:

• ffdshow:
- ffdshow [revision 3487]
- ffdshow VFW interface

• VFW video codecs: (VFW stands for "Video For Windows", which pre-dates DirectShow and the new Win7 "Media Foundation" system, but is still supported in Vista and Win7 for backwards compatibility.)

- XviD [version 1.3.0 build 2010-12-07]
- x264 [revision 1834]
- Lagarith [version 1.3.20]
- huffyuv [version 2.1.1 CCE Patch 0.2.5]
- DivX [version 3.11]


(Do we need these???)
- On2 VP7 [version 7.0.10.0]
- huffyuv [version 2.1.1 CCE Patch 0.2.5]
- YV12 (Helix) [version 1.3]
- Intel I.263 [version 2.55.1.16]

• ACM audio codecs:
- MP3 (Fraunhofer) [version 3.4.0.0]
- MP3 (LAME) [version 3.98.2]

Do we need this one?
- AC3ACM [version 1.5]

http://www.free-codecs.com/download/k_lite_codec_pack.htm
The best thing about the codec pack approach is that they install and register everything correctly right from the get-go.
But everyone I've ever heard of who installed the "complete package" ran into problems eventually, including myself. Must be something conflicting in there (or just too darn many codecs!!!) :-)

Others at free-codecs.com I've heard of include:

MediaCoder 0.7.5 build 4720: http://www.free-codecs.com/download/MediaCoder.htm
"MediaCoder is an open source audio/video batch transcoder, putting together many excellent audio/video softwares from the open source community into one friendly GUI."

x264VfW - H.264/MPEG-4 AVC codec 24.1666bm: http://www.free-codecs.com/download/DTS_x264_VfW.htm
"x264vfw is the VfW (Video for Windows) version of well known x264 encoder + ffh264 decoder (from FFmpeg project). Install it and you'll be able to play and edit all VfW AVC files with no extra software!"

I've not tried these, but would like to know what your experiences have been like.

DivX:

I've had bad experiences with the DivX installer placing a persistent file, divx-updater, that takes over your machine upon boot-up (that is, it runs a process that eats up 100% of your CPU for several minutes, and remains as a CPU hog for the rest of time). Search the web for that term and it will describe various ways to eliminate it, but the easiest way is to merely re-name the file's folder name so the registry cannot find it.
(...that is, from "DivX Update" to "DivX Update_" adding the underscore - found in the Divx folder in Program Files)
http://www.google.com/search?q=divx-updater

Terry

Comments

  • Hi Terry

    Great resource ... I've also dipped in and out of codec packs in the past ...

    The one I use on a daily basis which I mentioned before is the FFDShow Tryout (http://ffdshow-tryout.sourceforge.net) which installs as an usable codec in CamStudio and you can select different encoding methods (Flash Video FLV, H.264, DivX3, various type of WMV and even uncompressed video)

    I also purchased the latest DivX Pro (V8 - codec version 6.9.2) which didn't give me good results (skewed greeny video) so I'm sticking for the time being with FFDShow+H.264 but will experiment further when I have the time.

    Another codec pack that seems to get good reviews and that's constantly updated is Shark007's codec packs:

    http://shark007.net/

    He has a pack for 32-bit XP and Vista and a specific pack for Windows 7. Support for 64-bit Windows versions is included, but I don't have this type of Windows so I can't personally confirm these work.

    HTH

    Cheers

    Nick :o)
  • Nick,

    My only issue with Shark's pack is that you have to agree to install a toolbar or something to use it at all, and if I recall correctly, something I needed was missing from that pack (I don't remember what!), so I uninstalled it and replaced it with a very pared down installation of K-lite, which has worked fine.

    I'll give ffdshowTryout a try on my laptop and see how that goes! And I'll give Shark's another look so I can report something relevant...

    Terry
  • edited August 2010
    I've rediscovered my favorite codec pack for encoders galore, the k-lite mega codec pack:

    http://www.free-codecs.com/download/K_Lite_Mega_Codec_Pack.htm

    This has many more encoders than the "Full" pack (compare with above post), including:

    • ffdshow:
    - ffdshow [revision 3512]
    - ffdshow VFW interface

    • VFW video codecs:
    - XviD [version 1.2.2]
    - DivX [version 6.9.2]
    - x264 [revision 1666]

    Not sure you need these:

    - DivX [version 3.11] (How old is this???)
    - On2 VP6 [version 6.4.2.0]
    - On2 VP7 [version 7.0.10.0]
    - Intel Indeo 4 [version 4.51.16.2]
    - Intel Indeo 5 [version 5.2562.15.54]
    - Intel I.263 [version 2.55.1.16]
    - huffyuv [version 2.1.1 CCE Patch 0.2.5]
    - YV12 (Helix) [version 1.2]

    • ACM audio codecs:
    - MP3 (LAME) [version 3.98.2] (From what I hear, superior to Fraunhofer)

    Extras but nice:

    - MP3 (Fraunhofer) [version 3.4.0.0]
    - AC3ACM [version 1.5]
    - Vorbis [version 0.0.3.6]
    - DivX WMA [version 4.2.0.0]

    • Real Alternative:
    - RealMedia codecs [version 12.0.0.756]
    - RealMedia plugin for Internet Explorer
    - RealMedia plugin for Firefox/Mozilla/Netscape/Opera/Chrome
    - RealMedia DirectShow splitter [version 1.3.1959.0]

    WOW! That's a TON!!! Far more than you'd need all installed at once! Still, nice to see them all available.

    ONLY INSTALL WHAT YOU WILL ACTUALLY USE/NEED/RECOGNIZE!!! Everyone I've ever met who just installed everything ran into problems one way or another. This includes the decoders as well - be selective and parsimonious (rely on as simple a structure as possible).

    Terry
  • Hey Terry

    Thanks for the follow-up.

    I'll check K-Lite out ...

    Also something worth keeping an eye on if nothing else ... Google bought On2 Technologies a while back (authors of the VP6 and VP7 codecs) and they're going to open source the latest version - VP8.

    The big deal? VP8 will be playable within HTML5 browsers *without needing Flash*

    All the details and links here: http://techcrunch.com/2010/05/19/webm-google-h-264/

    Cheers

    Nick :o)
  • edited August 2010
    Nick says:

    "The big deal? VP8 will be playable within HTML5 browsers *without needing Flash*"

    Holy Kamoley! That IS a big deal!!!

    Does YouTube accept V6/V7/V8 files? Who uses this codec already?

    [Edit: Well, this is Google, who owns YouTube, so it will support V8 most certainly, and Flash players already do as well, from reading the comments at Nick's link above.]

    Are the On2 V6 and V7 codecs from this K-lite Mega Pack I wrote about above useful to the CamStudio user base at the present time?

    [Edit2: Best lines from the comments section in the article Nick shared above:

    chrisco: "What's the time line?"

    @ikostar: "A timeline is like a clothesline, but for hopes and memories. In the middle of the clothesline is a tiny little bird that thinks it owns the clothesline… and can control the clothes by chirping and bouncing about. I would say "you are that bird", but really it could be anyone."

    That is just so... wry!]

    Terry
  • @Terry

    Hahaha ... hadn't seen that comment ... it reads so ... zen!

    Hmm ... sounds like the title for a book: Zen and the art of commenting ...

    YouTube is already beta testing video support for HTML5 browsers here:

    http://www.youtube.com/html5

    According to that page, Firefox 4 beta is natively supporting WebM now and it looks like YouTube is transcoding to that format as well as H.264.

    Sweet!

    VP6 and VP7 were licensed for support with Flash Player 8 - I remember using it with my old Sorenson Squeeze V3 which was pretty darn cool.

    I don't know if VP6/7 is still supported by Flash Player 10, but I know that H.264 is the preferred codec of choice now.

    Cheers

    Nick :o)
  • I use this one: http://cccp-project.net/
    It seems to have the appropriate codecs, I've never run into a problem playing video so far.
  • NightKev,

    Playing videos (decoders) is not so much the issue we are concerned with here, at least not as much as being able to record videos using the encoders supplied by the pack.

    Which encoders come with CCCP?

    I've heard tons of great things about that pack for playback, for certain

    (I still say, only install what you actually need or will definitely use... seems to be the safest way to ride.)

    Terry
  • edited January 2011
    Anyone else have some input on Codec packs?

    PS - Don't miss Nick's settings from a related thread that he uses to get HD quality on YouTube every time using FFDShowTryout:

    "Walshlg

    As Terry says, the FFDshow Tryout is my fave codec at the moment, because it's a single smallish installation but gives you LOADS of encoding options.

    I can get HD quality videos on YouTube every time with the following settings:

    Drop screen depth to 16-bit (Control Panel > Display Settings) or check Disable Desktop Composition in Compatibility tab for Recorder.exe

    Recording dimensions: 960 x 720 or 1280 x 720 (both will give you all quality options in YouTube, including HD)

    FFDShow Tryout Codec:

    Encoder: H.264 (not lossless version)
    FOURCC: H264
    Mode: one pass - average bitrate
    Bitrate (kbps) : 900

    (Everything else default)

    CamStudio:

    Quality: 70%

    Keyframes: every 30 frames

    Capture rate: every 50ms
    Playback rate: 20 fps

    Audio Settings:

    Recording Format: 44.1kHz - 16-bit mono
    (sometimes I'll test - 22.05 kHz 16-bit mono to see what difference it makes to the final filesize vs. quality)

    Compressed Format: PCM (which is no compression)
    Interleave every: 100 ms

    Hope that's useful

    Anyone else getting great results from certain settings, go ahead and post em."


    Terry
  • edited January 2011
    Just read that VP8 (which has been renamed by Google "WebM") is stirring up some controversy:

    From Apple Insider "Google reaffirms intent to derail HTML5 H.264 video with WebM browser plugins":
    "Google therefore sees HTML5 video as desperately needing a free video codec to prevent it from having to sell its platform, which could otherwise be free. In order to make that happen, Google purchased On2 and hastily released that company's commercially failing VP8 video codec as an open standard under the new brand WebM. The codec isn't as sophisticated as the open H.264, in part because it was created internally by On2 as a proprietary product."

    http://forums.appleinsider.com/showthread.php?s=67932325737a00ccff6ff59631fcef22&t=116815

    Terry
  • I've heard talk on the web about people using huffyuv and lagarith, but I know little about those - which reminded me that I actually know little about most of these as well:

    - XviD [version 1.3.0 build 2010-12-07]
    - x264 [revision 1834]
    - Lagarith [version 1.3.20]
    - huffyuv [version 2.1.1 CCE Patch 0.2.5]

    I use ffdshow mostly for the rare full-motion video I record. I use CamStudio Lossless 1.5 98% of the time.

    Anyone know anything about these others?

    Terry
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