The ramblings of a Linux geek

Mar 3, 2009 - 5 minute read - Comments - Linux

Welcome back!

In this post I’m going to take a look at WinFF and Hyper Video Converter.  In my Arch Linux post I detailed my many problems getting a decent video converter to work right in Arch Linux and on the Acer Aspire One.

In all of the big all-in-one packages: OGMRip, dvd::rip, AcidRip, HandBrake, etc.  I ran into one problem after the other.

OGMRip would seem to start, but on two different DVD’s it never finished.  It died sometime in the middle of the rip.  AcidRip did not support H.264 out of the box, and queueing files could have been easier.  OTOH: once I fixed AcidRip to work with H.264 the resulting file was in excellent condition.  See my Arch Linux post on what I did there.

dvd::rip worked great on Ubuntu, except that once again H.264 support was lacking in the default ffmpeg compile.  Since I had intrepid, and there was no easy way to get H.264 support without re-compiling, I went with Arch.  Arch Linux’s ffmpeg supports H.264 perfectly, and everything seems to run.. until you realize dvd::rip freezes at about 70% ripping but the log file says “Title 1 finished”.  Encoding after that invariably gave me async audio.

At this point I decided I was probably going to have to do this by hand, but a new google search popped into my head: ffmpeg frontends.  I also searched for anything with ffmpeg in it in my repositories on arch.  I used the Yaourt package on Arch which allows you to search the user contributed repositories, and not just the normal Pacman repo’s.

In there I found hypervc-qt4:


I show the settings I used in this screenshot.  H.264, avi, aac, default, 1500 kbits, 128 Kbits, 16:9, default, default.

This has produced decent quality for me.  The nice thing about this is that you first create the command, which shows in a small window on the bottom and you can from there either run the command manually or click the “convert” button.  You can also simply add multiple video files (including vob) into the top and it will encode each of them in batch operation.

Note:  It does not join them, putting 4 vob’s of the same movie will result in 4 avi files.   You need to first join the vob files together in some manner like:

cat My_Totally_Legal_Movie-001.vob My_Totally_Legal_Movie-002.vob > My_Totally_Legal_Movie.vob

Which I have done, but I have not yet encoded and watched a movie I did like that so I can’t guarantee it’ll work.  It appears to while playing the vob in mplayer though.

Anyway, the reason getting the commands is so nice is you can setup a NFS share on your netbook, mount it on any other Linux Box laying around your house (since we all use Linux now right? :D) and then run the command on that machine.  Allowing you to encode more than one movie at a time.

Another program I came across in WinFF:


This one came with tons of default Presets.  I selected the MP4 option and it defaulted to using H.264.  Unfortunately, the one file I did using this program came out with no sound.  Not sure what happened there but didn’t look too deep into it since I had an alternative already ready.

WinFF also allows you to show the commands to convert the files.. and in this case WinFF outdoes HyperVC.  WinFF will show you the ffmpeg commands of every video file you add to the list, all at once.  You just copy and paste.  HyperVC will not let you create commands if you select the radio button to “Convert All Input”.

Both of these programs let you save your settings, in HyperVC it is called Profiles and in WinFF it is called Presets.  WinFF comes with defaults like iPod, Palm, PSP, Mobile Phone, etc.  There are also some available online if you look around.  HyperVC comes with nothing default, and you just create your own as you go. Thanks to hyper in the comments, I found that in arch linux you need to run this command for HyperVC:

cp /usr/share/hypervc-qt4/hyperconf ~/.hyperconf

And you will get tons of new profiles to play with. Including some for DivX, xvid, Ipod, Mobile Phones, DVD, FLV, etc. Very useful!

While my test of the WinFF did not go so well it may have been user error, since both WinFF and HyperVC are frontends to ffmpeg, they both should work.. it’s just a matter of tweaking the settings to get them right.  I find these applications to be awesome, and seeing that I don’t see many threads/posts on using them when searching around for “Ripping DVD’s on Linux”.. I thought they deserved a post in somebody’s blog.. somewhere.  While these don’t go directly from DVD, a simple vobcopy command to get a single vob file on your hard drive is not difficult and takes little time:

vobcopy -l -o /path/to/output

Some quick filesizes for comparison (all are good quality)

AcidRip + H.264 + 1500 kbits + MP3 128 kbit audio = 1.3GB

dvd::rip + xvid + VBR + MP3 128 Kbit audio = 1.4GB (with H.264 I got one to 950MB).

HyperVC + H.264 + 1500 kbits + AAC 128 kbit audio = 1.2GB

So as you can see.. and what would be logical.. using the same settings in the different applications doesn’t get you anything.. but obviously doing things like lowering the audio bits, or the Video Bitrate you could probably get really good looking videos into the 700-900mb range.

A quick summary, I love HyperVC, and WinFF certainly does the job.. ultimately it really doesn’t matter which application (including the big boys) you use if they work.. just whichever one has the right look and feel to match you.  I recommend trying AcidRip and DVD::Rip on your setup and see if they work – if you have any problems, these two are excellent and lightweight alternatives.

Thanks for stopping by!

UPDATE:  I now use MP3 format for my audio, which passes the -acodec libmp3lame option to ffmpeg.  The AAC audio was not playing well on my Netbook and mplayer would always return the “Your computer is not fast enough to play this video”.  Messing with the -nobps or -ni options sometimes returned good results but that was just annoying.  MP3 audio works without needing to do anything special, and still sounds fine to me.